New Habits for the New Year

12-30-2018Weekly ReflectionFr. David Poecking

Big changes are coming:

  • Parishes are consolidating. At Holy Trinity, St. John of God, and St. Malachy Parishes, we’re actively considering how we should proceed as the RocKenRo grouping. We’ll need to adjust to thinking of ourselves as part of a much broader population than we’re accustomed to.
  • Mass schedules are changing. Around the Diocese, a quarter of all Sunday Masses have been cut out. Many churches no longer have Saturday afternoon Masses or Sunday mid-morning Masses. At RocKenRo, we haven’t yet changed our Sunday Mass schedule, but the changes are coming. A lot of us will have to re-learn our Mass attendance habits.
  • Catholic elementary schools will reorganize over the coming years, becoming regional schools. If we follow examples thus far, in the North Hills, we’ll likely see some close, some merge, and some change the grades they serve. Others will swell with new populations.

Merry Christmas!

12-23-2018Weekly ReflectionFr. David Poecking

For many, Christmas is a time of joy and excitement. Even those among us without deep religious sensibilities often appreciate Christmas for its happy connotations: Families reunited, gifts exchanged, coworkers appreciating each other at “holiday parties,” and decorations standing out against the bleak darkness of deep winter. Media and marketers exploit our happy associations by framing their products with warm holiday images, but they tend to exclude the soberer religious themes of Christmas.

Jesus comes as a baby boy, but more than a cuddly face: His is the birth of a new prince in the enemy’s territory. His coming promises God’s overthrow of worldly powers, and the beginning of a new and perfect government from God, as foretold in this Sunday’s readings by both the prophet and the Virgin Mary. Our Christmas carols often reflect a keen appreciation for the power of Christmas to save us:


Be Not Discouraged

12-16-2018Weekly ReflectionFr. David Poecking

Since October 15, many of you have written of your concerns for the future. At Holy Trinity, people harbor concerns for how the new RocKenRo grouping might affect their cherished faith formation programs for children, youth, and young adults. Folks at St. Malachy parish have expressed regret over changes in the daily Mass schedule and in the scheduling of liturgical ministers. Parishioners at St. John of God speak with some worry for the future of one or another of their two churches. I thank those who express their concerns to me and to those who advise me. I ask you to continue to make your thoughts known.



12-09-2018Weekly ReflectionFr. David Poecking

When I was a Boy Scout in the 1970s, we learned orienteering, the art of finding one’s way through unfamiliar territory with the use of a compass and either a map or travel instructions.

For example, I might be dropped off by car at the edge of a strange forest and expected to use my compass to follow directions, say, “Proceed to checkpoint one, 1,320 yards west-northwest of your drop off point, and there receive further instructions.” I’d then have to find checkpoint one. But it was rarely as simple as walking 1,320 yards westnorthwest. Instead, there’d be barriers: a ravine, a hillside, a swampy area—obstacles that might delay or defeat attempted travel. I’d have to look around and use my wits to guess the best way around the obstacles, without losing my sense of where I was in relation to “checkpoint one.”


(Not?) Ready to RocKenRo

12-02-2018Weekly ReflectionFr. David Poecking

Advent begins. It’s a season for preparation: First, for the coming of Christ as our Lord and Judge. Second, for the celebration of his first coming at Christmas. Advent can therefore also be our spiritual preparation for our implementation of the Bishop’s initiative, On Mission for The Church Alive! Under the watchful eye of our coming Judge, let us set aside our other ambitions and allow him to ready us to fulfill his purposes.