February 3, 2019



CORRECTION: Bob Broderick, the Grand Ol’ Lady’s “significant other”has informed me that I made a HUGE, TREMENDOUS, GINORMOUS, EARTH-SHATTERING error in last week’s column whilst speaking of his mistress. I reported that, considering the astronomical cost of a new pipe organ, our hope was to replace the “innards” of the esteemed instrument with an ELECTRONIC organ.


Well, in my complete and utter ignorance, I said something RIDICULOUSLY STUPID. Only a total and
complete FOOL would want to do THAT! What I SHOULD have said is that we hope to replace the “innards” with a DIGITAL organ. Apparently, to paraphrase the Scottish SNL character from days gone by, “If it’s not, DIGITAL, it’s CRAP!


Please accept my humble apologies for any confusion I may have unintentionally sown!


GOOD ORGAN NEWS! (POSSIBLY): Monday morning, after last week’s near-obituary for the Grand Ol’ Lady, I received a MOST WELCOME phone call. I don’t want to say too much just yet. However, let me offer this teaser: Immaculate Conception parish may POSSIBLY be offered up to HALF the cost of the above-mentioned DIGITAL organ.


Guess who is on his knees, hands piously folded, eyes tight shut against all distraction praying feverishly RIGHT NOW that this MIRACLE actually takes place?! And further, praying that SOME OTHERS will join in the effort ….


COVER PHOTO: A fortnight ago, as was indicated in this space the past two weekends, I was enjoying some R&R in frigid Deep Creek, Maryland. But it was not a COMPLETE respite from my priestly duties. It goes without saying that in our world of constant connectedness there are ALWAYS emails, FB messages, texts, etc. etc. ETC. to be answered. (Of course, I have no one to blame but MYSELF for not choosing to disconnect myself!) In addition to that reality, when I had scheduled this time away I had failed to note that First Confession was also scheduled that weekend. Since the drive is only seventy-five minutes I figured there would be no issue in me driving back Saturday morning. I would be a HORRIBLE Pastor if I had “blownoff” such an important moment in our children’s spiritual journey!




However, mother nature threatened to interfere with my well-laid plans. According to the media the storm of the MILLENNIUM was fast approaching and we were all in danger of imminent DEATH beginning Saturday morning. That would have been all well and good; First Confession would have been cancelled, and I would have enjoyed snowmageddon from the comfort of the Deep Creek house. But as the weather forecast changed, seemingly minute by minute, it started to appear that Connellsville would escape unscathed but the weather would be DREADFUL in my locale. Which presented a BIG PROBLEM. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck in Maryland while the First Confession service was taking place. Not only would I look like a total LOSER as Pastor, but (more importantly!) I would be crestfallen, having let down these young parishioners, so ENTHUSIASTICALLY gathered to experience the wonders of God’s mercy.


In the end, all turned out well. I awoke Saturday, looked out the window, and LO AND BEHOLD there was not a trace of the horribly inclement weather we had been told to expect. (Although after I arrived
back in Deep Creek the weather DID turn miserable, with snow followed by an evening and night of
freezing rain.) Thus I was able to make it safely to Saint Rita and celebrate the Sacrament with this year’s First Communion class and their families. And a celebration it was! This was one of the best-prepared classes I have ever experienced. I want to recognise all those involved in preparing them for the Sacrament. First and foremost I must express my gratitude to the parents who took their obligation as “ the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith” (from the Rite of Baptism’s Final Blessing). Well done! Debbie Mastowski did an OUTSTANDING job as our Second Grade catechist, as did Goldie Lohr, who teaches the Second Graders at Conn-Area. And last, but certainly not least, our Director of Evangelization Mary Sampey, who oversees the entire program, deserves commendation for all the time and effort she gives to helping ALL of us grow stronger in our faith. She commented that having her own daughter go through the process this year helped her to understand how best to assist other parents.


Mary captured the beautiful shot gracing the cover of her daughter Ava making her First Confession.


Please pray for these children (and their families) as they continue the sacramental journey to the “source and summit of the Christian Life,” the Eucharist (Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium).




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