Weekly thoughts presented by our Pastor, Father Andrew Drapper T.O.R.

Archived lower on this page are the Ponderings of our former pastor, Father Andrew Stanko.

8 September, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – September 8, 2019 – Apples



Most communities are not too far away from an apple orchard. Look in the newspaper for an orchard where you can pick your own fruit. Call and find out if you must let them know ahead of time when you plan to come.

Take time to see all there is to explore at the orchard. Look at their apple picking equipment. If there is a cider press, try to see it being run. Is there a device for sorting the apples by size?

Enjoy the smells of the apples. Try to pick some different kinds so that you can see variety in texture, shape, color, and taste.

When you get home with your apples and cider have your children help to make a pie or applesauce and heat up some of the cider and enjoy a hot cup of cider with your children.

Family Time!!      – From Family Life Office

Pastor’s Ponderings – September 8, 2019 – Apples2019-09-08T22:33:16-04:00
1 September, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – September 1, 2019 – Love and it is yours!


Continuation from the north and the south…

Give love, then, and receive the kingdom; love and it is yours.

Love God more than yourself, then, and already you will begin to have what you desire to possess fully in heaven. Be at one with God and with other men and women – so long as they are not a variance with God – and already you will begin to reign with God and all the saints.

The desires of God and all the saints will be the same as yours in heaven, if your desires now are  the same as those of God and other people. So, if you want to be a king in heaven, love God and other people as you should and then you will deserve to become what you desire.

But you cannot have this perfect love unless you empty your heart of every other love. That is why those who fill their hearts with love of God and neighbor desire nothing but the will of God or that of some fellow human being – provided this is not contrary to God.

That is why they devote themselves to prayer, spiritual conversations, and reflections, for it is a joy to them to long for God, and to speak, hear, and think about him whom they dearly love. That is why they rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, show compassion to those in distress, and give to the needy, since they love others as themselves.

Hence too, their contempt for riches, power, pleasure, honor, and praise. Those who love these things frequently offend against God and their neighbor- “for the whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

So those who wish to possess the fullness of that love which is the price of the kingdom of heaven should love contempt, poverty, toil, and subjection, as do the saints.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – September 1, 2019 – Love and it is yours!2019-09-08T22:16:20-04:00
25 August, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – August 25, 2019 – Love and It is Yours!


and from the north and the south…

God cries out that the kingdom of heaven is for sale. The glorious bliss of this kingdom surpasses the power of mortal eye to see, mortal ear to hear, mortal heart to conceive.

If anyone asks the price that must be paid the answer is:  The One who wishes to bestow a kingdom in heaven has no need of earthly payment. No one can give God anything he does not possess, because everything belongs to him. Yet he does not give such a precious gift entirely gratis, for he will not give it to anyone who lacks love. After all, people do not give away what they hold dear to those without appreciation.

The desires of God and all the saints will be the same as yours in heaven. So since God has no need of your possessions but must not bestow such a precious gift on anyone who disdains to value it, love is the one thing he asks for; without this he cannot give it.

Give love, then, receive the kingdom: love and it is yours. To reign in heaven simply means exercising a single power with God and all the holy angels and saints through being so united with them in love as to want only what they want.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – August 25, 2019 – Love and It is Yours!2019-08-30T21:37:43-04:00
18 August, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – August 18, 2019 – God Sees Our Value


God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.
[1 Samuel 16:7]

God see us with the eyes of a Father. He sees our defects, errors, and blemishes. But he also see our value.

What did Jesus know that enabled him to do what he did? Here’s part of the answer. He knew the value of people. He knew that each human being is a treasure. And because he did, people were not a source of stress but a source of joy.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.


Pastor’s Ponderings – August 18, 2019 – God Sees Our Value2019-08-22T22:47:50-04:00
11 August, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – August 11, 2019 – Jesus, Gather Us In


“If we believe that Jesus died and rose, then so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
[1 Thessalonians 4:14]


Most of us can still remember how we felt upon hearing of the mass shooting in Texas and Ohio killing so many and wounding many more. Just when the families were shopping for clothes, school supplies, and various items for the opening of school, just when we thought of nothing more than the coming of school days and field trips—tragedy strikes instead.

Many people ask where is God? There are simply no words to describe the depths of sadness we felt and still feel. As we nationally mourn for those who perished, we mourn locally for one of our own, a grad student at St. Francis University in Loretto described on news as an exemplary alumnus. What a tragedy for us all to have to contend with.

So maybe the only glimmer of hope is a tiny shard of light from an ancient manger, a brilliant flash to remind us that God became one of us in order to make all things new through the death of his only son, his beloved.

God became part of our often-violent world in order to draw us close when our own time comes to wake from our sleep. Jesus in the fullers of our time, gather your faithful into your loving arms.  Amen.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – August 11, 2019 – Jesus, Gather Us In2019-08-15T23:08:08-04:00
4 August, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – August 4, 2019 – Beauty


The Gospel on August 11 seems cruel, harsh and demanding. We are to be servants waiting the return of our Master. Until his arrival at the end of time, Jesus expects us to be active and busy. Jesus expects us to build the Kingdom of God. This is hard work, and we can find many reasons to excuse ourselves: “I’m short on energy, pressed for time. I have other things to do first.”

How can we turn this around? How do we motivate ourselves to work as Christ asks us to do?

What might be required is an appreciation of beauty. Auguste Renoir was one of the greatest painters of all time. Yet, for the last twenty years of his life Renoir dealt with crippling arthritis. His hands were so twisted and gnarled that he had to have his paint brushes tied onto his hand in order to use it. Every brush stroke was agony.

On one occasion his friend, Henri Matisse asked him, “Auguste, why do you keep torturing yourself this way? You don’t need the money. Why do you keep painting?” Renoir answered. “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”

Renoir was able to push through the pain of his arthritis because he saw the beauty in what he was painting. He knew that what he was creating was valuable. We can apply this same attitude to the work of the gospel, because the work of Christ is both beautiful and important.

Mary vocalizes this beauty in her Magnificat on August 15. She is able to accept her role in God’s plan of salvation because she rejoices in God, her Savior. The favor God has shown to Mary lifts her up and energizes her for God’s work.

It is difficult at times to be patient and understanding with our children, our parents, or our spouse. But, if we could see the beautiful parts of the people in our families, if we could remember their sincerity, innocence, honesty, and energy, we would push through all their frustrating peculiarities and love them.

It is a challenge to find the time and strength to help others: to visit the elderly neighbor who lives on our street, to work in a soup kitchen, or to teach a small child to read. But if we could remember how important it is for others to be accompanied, fed, and literate, we could bypass all the complications of our schedules and serve them.

Jesus calls us to build God’s kingdom, and that is hard work. But if we see the beauty of the people around us, we can find the energy to become Christ’s faithful servants. What is important is not the difficulty of our service, but the good that is attained. The pain passes, but the beauty remains.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – August 4, 2019 – Beauty2019-08-09T20:17:43-04:00
28 July, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – July 28, 2019 – St. Alphonsus Liguori


All during the holy season of Lent, we celebrate the Franciscan devotional of Stations of the Cross each Friday evening. We use the stations according to St. Alphonsus Liguori. Ever wonder who this saint was? Here is a thumb nail sketch of the man Alphonsus.

Alphonsus Liguori was born into a family of the Neapolitan nobility. Though his father wished him to study law, he felt a powerful attraction to the priesthood. After his ordination in 1726,  he achieved local fame as a popular preacher in Naples. This led to an ever-widening circuit of mission tours.

His simple straightforward manner of preaching had an enormous influence on the moral and spiritual life of his listeners. Inspired by this experience, Liguori in 1732 founded the Congregation of the Holy Redeemer, an order of priests dedicated to preaching to the rural poor.

Liguori wrote over a hundred books, the most important being his Moral Theology. In this work Liguori steered a middle course between rigorism and laxity. He taught that all are called to salvation and that the means are available to every person. But the moral life was not a matter of tortured or legalistic compliance with the law. It was essentially the life of love.

Other themes stressed by Liguori were the value of human liberty and the importance of an informed conscience. He was a pioneer in stressing the significance of concrete circumstances in evaluating moral conduct.

Liguori died at the age of 91 and was canonized in 1839 and named a Doctor of the Church in 1871.

“When we see a beautiful object, a beautiful garden, or a beautiful flower, let us think that there we behold a ray of the infinite beauty of God, who has given existence to that object.”  –St. Alphonsus Liguori

Pastor’s Ponderings – July 28, 2019 – St. Alphonsus Liguori2019-08-03T14:29:47-04:00
21 July, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – July 21, 2019 – Sacred Stories


The Bible is a library of books: poetry, wise sayings, history, letters and stories. All of the books have one thing in common. They all relate to God, who was very much active in the lives of his people.

I like the stories best because I get to read about ordinary men and women as well as great kings and queens who had problems just like me. I get to see how their response brought them closer to or further away from God. Reading their sacred stories helps me when I reflect on my own story.

Each of us has a story. The weeks, months and years of our life turn into chapters of our story. Few of us reach adulthood without experiencing enough comedy and tragedy to fill our own “sacred” book.

What a shame if we never take the time to sit back and “reread” these pages that continue to shape our future. Take time for theological reflection. Ask yourself where God was in various chapters in your life.

Take time to sit with your children and reminisce. Help them see you as a child you once were with your own fears and failings. Share your stories and your wisdom with them. Listen to their stories and teach them the life skill of reflecting on their own lives and seeing them as sacred stories, too.

Judith Dunlap – Family Life Office

Pastor’s Ponderings – July 21, 2019 – Sacred Stories2019-07-26T15:50:45-04:00
14 July, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – July 14, 2019 – God, Help Me to Believe


Anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists, and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.
        [Hebrews 11:6 msg]

You can believe in God, yet lack faith that he cares enough to respond to your heartfelt prayers.

Many people have been disappointed when past prayers weren’t answered, and have come to believe that God doesn’t usually involve himself with people today. They basically believe that God has already done as much as he is ever going to do, and that from here on, it’s up to us to work hard, seize opportunities, and take care of ourselves.

Small wonder that we don’t bother to spend time in prayer! We think that we can manage life without God’s help.

Now, God expects you to work hard to provide for your needs, and he expects you to think hard to solve problems, but he’s still active in the world. He still helps the helpless. Yes, he does care. And yes, he responds to those who earnestly seek him. But you have to continually seek him and not give up.

God, help me to believe not only that you’re there, but that you’re there for me. Help me to diligently seek you and not give up when you don’t answer immediately.    Amen.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – July 14, 2019 – God, Help Me to Believe2019-07-15T09:22:51-04:00
7 July, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – July 7, 2019 – Prayers are Precious Jewels


The Lord sees the good people and listens to their prayers.      ( 1 Peter 3:12)

You and I live in a loud world. To get someone’s attention is no easy task. He or she must be willing to set everything aside to listen: turn down the radio, turn away from the monitor, turn the corner of the page and set down the book.

When someone is willing to silence everything else so he can hear us clearly, it is a privilege. A rare privilege, indeed.

[Your] prayers are honored [in heaven] as precious jewels. Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord….Your words do not stop until they reach the very throne of God. Your prayer on earth activates God’s power in heaven and “God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don’t need to.

But this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – July 7, 2019 – Prayers are Precious Jewels2019-07-07T22:23:20-04:00