​​​









                      A salute to BVM in Darby on its 100th anniversary                           To the Times:
        Pride can lead to one’s downfall, but the humble acknowledgment of one’s achievements can lead to joy, gratitude and inspiration. Since Jesus told his followers to
let their “light shine before all,” allow me to shine some light on Blessed Virgin Mary’s parish school (BVM), because it is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
        First,with our beloved Pope Francis we experience “The Joy of the Gospel,” knowing our parish school has given a holistic education to thousands of children from beautiful Darby, Pa., and the surrounding areas since 1917. It brings happiness to our hearts knowing our school has welcomed children from all religions, races as well as social and economic backgrounds for a century. We feel honored when we hear our parishioners describe our church and school as “a ray of light and a center of stability for the community through the dark times of war, depression, assassinations and 9-11.”

          Second,gratitude is our attitude. We acknowledge the dedication and work of our founding pastors who built our church and school. We are thankful that every generation of Catholics at BVM have willingly and unselfishly subsidized BVM school by contributing millions of dollars to keep faith, hope and love connected with education.
          We feel blessed the Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary have taught, served and administered our school for 100 years. We applaud the sacrifices of many lay people for teaching in our school; those who served on our Home and School Association or our Advisory Committees. Our maintenance crew, coaches, office managers and volunteers have been dedicated to BVM School and students. We deeply appreciate the thousands of parents who decided BVM Parish School offered what they wanted most for their children.
          Our school would not have been affordable over the last 15 years without the support of people like Monsignor Chieffo and his congregation at St. Mary Magdalen in Upper Providence, and the contributions of sources outside of Darby (e.g. BLOCS and individuals) who believed in what we offered to the community and wanted to help families through BVM School Tuition Assistance program.
    

          Third,over the last 100 years, BVM school has received and has given inspiration. We have been encouraged by statements from our Popes and Bishops who have urged pastors not to abandon communities because of social or economic status. Consequently, since 1917, our school’s classrooms have been open to immigrants and children of all faiths. We have been motivated by people like James Baldwin, who reminded us “children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” We practice what we teach.

          The ancient Chinese proverb, “If there is not respect between teacher and student, learning does not take place,” captures our decades long requirement to establish mutual respect between teachers, parents and children.


        For the last ten decades, BVM Parish School has helped children discover, develop and share the talents placed in their minds, hearts, souls and bodies by God. We have provided an environment that is the right place to learn, grow and worship for all children. Most importantly, we have given parents what they want: A school that is safe, prepares children for the future, and provides a Christian spiritual atmosphere while teaching self-control and responsible behavior.


 
       Believing “The goal of education is the education of the soul, ”we have inspired thousands of children to have faith, confidence, self-respect and think critically. We agree with Dr. King, who said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and critically. Intelligence and character that is the goal of good education.”

        Let me conclude by saying, blessed are they who have taught or received an education at BVM Parish School in beautiful Darby, Pa., where the sun is bright and BVM Parish school has been “placed on a lamp stand for all to see.”

          The Rev. Joseph M. Corley, Pastor

               Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Darby











BLESSED VIRGIN MARY PARISH SCHOOL CELEBRATES A CENTURY OF SERVICE

     Pride can lead to one’s downfall, but the humble acknowledgement of one’s achievements can lead to joy, gratitude and inspiration.
     Since Jesus told his followers to let their “light shine before all,” allow me to shine some light on Blessed Virgin Mary’s parish school (BVM), because it is celebrating its One Hundredth Anniversary this year.
​     ---
First, with our beloved Pope Francis we experience “The Joy of the Gospel,” knowing our parish school has given a holistic education to thousands of children from beautiful Darby, PA and the surrounding areas since 1917. It brings happiness to our hearts knowing our school has welcomed children from all religions and races, as well as social and economic backgrounds,  for a century. We feel honored when we hear our parishioners describe our Church and school as “a ray of light and a center of stability for the community through the dark times of war, depression, assassinations and 9-11.”

     ---Second, gratitude is our attitude. We acknowledge the dedication and work of our founding pastors who built our Church and school. We are thankful that every generation of Catholics at BVM have willingly and unselfishly subsidized BVM school by contributing millions of dollars to keep Faith, Hope and Love connected with education.
     We feel blessed that the
Sisters,  Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary have taught, served and administered our school for One Hundred Years. We applaud the sacrifices of many lay people for teaching in our school; those who served on our Home and School Association or our Advisory Committees. Our maintenance crew, coaches, office managers and volunteers have been dedicated to BVM School and students. We deeply appreciate the thousands of parents, who decided BVM Parish School offered what they wanted most for their children.
​     Our school would not have been affordable over the last fifteen years without the support of people like Msgr.
Chieffo and his congregation at St. Mary Magdelan in Media, and the contributions of sources outside of Darby (e.g. BLOCS and individuals), who believed in what we offered to the community and wanted to help families through BVM School Tuition Assistance program.

     ---Third, over the last One Hundred years, BVM school has received and has given inspiration. We have been encouraged by statements from our Popes and Bishops who have urged pastors not to abandon communities because of social or economic status. Consequently, since 1917, our school’s classrooms have been open to immigrants and children of all faiths. We have been motivated by people like James Baldwin, who reminded us “children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” We practice what we teach. The ancient Chinese proverb, “If there is not respect between teacher and student, learning does not take place,” captures our decades-long requirement to establish mutual respect between teachers, parents and children.

      For the last TEN decades, BVM Parish School has helped children discover, develop and share the talents placed in their minds, hearts, souls and bodies by God. We have provided an environment that is the right place to learn, grow and worship for all children.

     Most importantly, we have given parents what they want:
A school that is safe, prepares children for the future, and provides a Christian Spiritual atmosphere while teaching self-control and responsible behavior.

      Believing “The soul of education is the education of the soul", we have inspired thousands of children to have faith, confidence, self respect and to think critically.

     We agree with Dr. King, who said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and critically”.

     Let me conclude by saying,
Blessed are they who have taught or received an education at BVM Parish School in beautiful Darby, PA,
where the sun is bright and BVM Parish school is
​“placed on a lamp stand for all to see.”

Respectfully,

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

October 8, 2017

M O T H E R  M A R Y  A N D  T H E  S A C R E D N E S S  O F  HUMAN  LIFE 

“Catholics pray what they believe.” This liturgical principle means the official prayers for Mass express the faith of all Roman Catholics.

Allow me to share a brief meditation on one of the prayers
we use at Mass to honor Mary:   

PART ONE:
“Father, the birth of Christ, your Son, deepened the Virgin Mary’s love for you...” The birth of Jesus brings gratitude and joy to the heart of Mary, which inspires deeper trust in the goodness of God and creates in her an even deeper willingness to serve the Lord. The birth of Jesus leads Mary to affirm the sacredness of human life and the mystery of God’s divine presence, providence and promise.
“All human life is sacred!” 

 PART TWO:
“The birth of Jesus increased her (Mary’s) holiness.”
To be holy is to become like the God we worship.
We worship God through and in Jesus, because we believe he is the true revelation of God the Creator and Sustainer of Life.
The humanity of Jesus gives us freedom and courage in our weakness.
For Christians to be holy is to imitate the humanity of Christ.
In a way, Mary’s “holiness increased at the birth of Jesus” implies she became “more fully human” - that is more free, responsible,
​loving, realistic and spiritually awake. 
May our faith in Jesus help us deepen our trust in God, our willingness to serve the Lord, and motivate us to become holy, more “fully human beings”.       
Respectfully,     
Rev. Joseph M. Corley ​

September 24, 2017

LIFE IS THE GREATEST GIFT

    If God is not your "higher power", who is?

If God is not our guide in making moral decisions, then who is
- people with money, guns, celebrities, or the government?    

October is respect life month. In October we are reminded of the five great gifts (Life, Faith, Family, Friends and religious Freedom).

 Life is the first and greatest gift.      Since Life is our greatest gift, we continue to work hard to prevent our children from becoming dehumanized. We continue to protect life from conception to natural death. We defend the innocent who suffer from violence.  Since life is the greatest gift we say NO to abortion, suicide, war, assisted euthanasia, pornography, and capital punishment (in most cases).
Never be afraid to stand up for life - your greatest gift.    

 Respectfully,    

 Rev. Joseph M. Corley 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

September 17, 2017

PETER THE APOSTLE AND ROCKY BALBOA

You are “Rocky” and upon your heart, I will send my spirit.

Poor humble,  fearful and courageous Peter: you tried to walk on water and failed. You said you would not deny or run, but you did.
You told him he was wrong about the cross, and he called you Satan.
You even slept through his agony.
Still, he called
you to follow him.
He gave you the keys not because you could fish or fight,
but because you called yourself a sinner.
You recognized Jesus as the Holy One who offered you
words full of Hope, Peace and Everlasting Life.
Like Rocky Balboa who had a big heart, he recognized your great heart.

You put your faith in him, and he put his trust in you.

Respectfully,

Rev. Joseph M. Corley ​

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​

September 10, 2017

“ CLEAN THE INSIDE OF THE CUP (MT. 23:23 - 2 6). ”  

Jesus was and Pope Francis is against “Phariseeism.”

That is they do not like a faith that is just about external, empty and endless rituals.

They put love before law and compassion over bigotry.

They do not accept hypocrisy, putting heavy spiritual burdens on people,

or a righteousness built on pride.

When Jesus says, “Clean the inside of the cup,” he is telling us

to examine the motives, attitudes and values that determine our words and actions.  

The command to “Clean the inside of the cup” means we should worry more about our own negative feelings than the faults of others.

It means we pay attention to the things that make our hearts cold, heavy calloused

and like stone.

It means we should change the thoughts that are too judgmental, harsh, corrupt and dark (“you are not thinking like God but man”).

 To look at the “inside” of our hearts, minds and spirit as a blessing.

Asking for the grace to change our minds, hearts and spirit to be more like Christ

is called moral, religious and intellectual conversion.

May we avoid “Phariseeism”

and pray for the wisdom and grace to see what is “inside the cup” of our hearts.      

Respectfully,      

Rev. Joseph M. Corley 

​~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

September 3, 2017

WRITING YOUR HURTS I N THE SAND

This story tells of two friends who were walking through the desert.

During some point of the journey they had an argument.

One friend slapped the other one in the face, and the one who got slapped was hurt.

But without saying anything, she wrote in the sand :

“Today my Best Friend slapped me in the face.”

 They kept on walking and came upon an oasis, where they decided to take a bath.

The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning,

but her friend saved her.

After she recovered from near drowning, she wrote on a nearby stone:

“Today my Best Friend saved my life.”  

The friend, who had slapped and saved her best friend, asked her:

“After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand, and now, you wrote on a stone, why?”

 The other friend replied:
“When someone hurts us, we should write it down in sand,

where the winds of forgiveness can erase it;

but when someone does something good for us, we must carve it in stone,

so no wind can ever erase it.”

Learn to write your hurts in the sand and carve your blessings in stone.  
~ Author of story unknown. ~     

Respectfully,      

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 27,2017

“ AN INSTANT OF GRACE, LIFE AND REDEMPTION ”  

Ann Provoost, a Flemish author, wrote “Falling” and “In the Shadow of the Ark”.

When interviewed by Bill Moyers for a presentation on faith and reason, 
Ann shared her philosophy about what she calls “a fatal instant":

 those moments of poor judgment and bad decisions
that turn our lives upside down and hurt others.

 She also expressed her belief in a power
that allows us to transcend the devastating, life-changing experiences
that could otherwise bring us endless sorrow.  

I agree there is a transcending power that helps us go beyond
the harmful “fatal instants”

that cause us so much pain, regret, shame and guilt.

That power is the healing GRACE offered to all
who surrender to and acceptthe mystery of God
​ to help you turn your “fatal instant” into
an “instant of grace, life and eternal redemption”.

If you trust in God’s mercy and goodness, you will find new life.

“The way down will be the way up.”  

Remember, have faith that God has always been with us and will always be with us.      

Respectfully,    

 Rev. Joseph M. Corley 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 13, 2017

“ YOU CAN DO BETTER... ”  

A few weeks ago I read in the paper that one of the top golfers

was not playing up to par (excuse the Charlie Watson pun).

At one point his caddy looked at him and reportedly said,

“Yo! What’s wrong with you?

Don’t you know you are one of the world’s greatest golfers?

You are playing like an amateur. Now get yourself together.
Hit the ball like a real pro.  I know you can do better.”

And, the pro golfer went on to play an outstanding round of golf that day.  

I believe our Church is like that caddy.

The Church looks at people, at the world, and in the name of God says,

“I know you can do better.”  

Clearly the world could do better with less violence and more peace and justice;

by replacing corruption and lies with honesty and moral integrity.  

Over the year, I have pictured the Church as
 a Beehive, the Tree of Life,

a Prophet, a Nurse, a Shelter, a Samaritan,  

a Community that provides light, and a Field Hospital.  

I like the idea of the Church being a voice of encouragement in the world.

She replaces words of doubt with faith, despair with hope and hate with love.

The Church is a voice that tells the world,

“You can do better."

Respectfully,      

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 6, 2017
RETIRED PRIESTS AND SISTERS:
They Tried to Live the Gospel Life
Their Entire Adult Lives

Over the last month or so, I have had the joy 
of speaking with retired Archdiocesan priests 
at Villa St. Joseph, in Darby and
retired Franciscan Sisters of Assisi House in Aston, PA.  
  I know most of the priests at the Villa.
 Many of them taught me when I was younger. 
I’m still learning from them. 
Their kindness, support and wisdom bring joy to my heart. 
I  get a boost of enthusiasm when I hear them comment on the priesthood,
and what is happening in the Church and world today.   

The Sisters of St. Francis,
 who live at Assisi House in Aston,
 were a pleasure to be with. 
Most of them taught or were nurses. 
In their late 80’s, they continue to have the sparks
of faith and compassion in their eyes.   
The Priests and Sisters were humble. 
They persevered in living the Gospel Life their entire adult lives. 
I admire them. 
May we imitate their faith and endurance.      
Respectfully,      
Rev. Joseph M. Corley 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 23, 2017

HE SAYS YES - SHE SAYS NO.  HE SAYS STOP - SHE S AYS GO.  

So I’m walking on the boardwalk in Ocean City, N.J. and I notice a young father talking to his little girl (probably about three) who was sitting on a bench.

This is what happened. 

The father looking at her face to face, gave her instructions.

Both were dressed for the beach.   I slow down and hear him say,
 “Daddy has to make a call.
I’ll be at the end of the bench.
I want you to sit here. Don’t move. Don’t go anywhere.

Do you understand?”     “Yes, daddy,” the cutie responds.  

He moves to the end of the bench.

She immediately gets up and runs towards the ice cream stand.

After the scene is repeated twice, the dad finally realizes
he must sit with his daughter
while he makes the call.  

That girl had a mind of her own, and a desire for ice cream.

God bless all young fathers and their daughters!      

        

Respectfully,     

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

P.S.- She did get her ice cream.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 16, 2017

QUOTES THAT INSPIRE ME

1. “The life you save may be your own.”

2. “Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend.”

3. “Emotions are contagious - smile!”

4. “If you think you are a victim, you will act like one.”

5. “The word ‘Israelite’ means one who wrestles with God.”  Don’t we all?

6. “If you don’t know, you can learn.”

7. “Most of us are just copies of somebody else.”

8. “Every day, laugh, learn, listen, pray, repent, help someone, relax.”

9. “Words create worlds and people.”   

10. “Do not turn back.” 

11. “Don’t be afraid.”

12. “Your past is not your future." 

13. “Be as wise as a fox and as gentle as a dove.”

14. “We eat with sinners.”

15. “Never love somebody more than you respect yourself.”

16. “Pay attention when you feel reluctant or hesitant.”

17. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

18. “God lets grace fall on saints and sinners.” 

Which one do you like best?  Tell me some of your favorite quotes.   

  Respectfully,     

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 


July 9, 2017

THE GIRLS WENT AGAINST THE FLOW OF THE CROWDS

The boardwalk had big red arrows painted on it - pointing North and South.

The arrows were between two white lines. This was to encourage people to walk
in the same direction to prevent folks from strolling into each other.

(I hear Americans are world famous for keeping in lines).

Anyway, I smiled when I watched three, seven or eight year old girls walking on the white lines (like somebody taken a sobriety text), in the opposite direction of the red painted arrows.

If the arrow pointed North, the girls walked South. The kids were free.

It seemed like they enjoyed balancing on the white lines

and walking against the flow of the crowds. Good for them!

They showed some independence that day.

I know some will say they were wrong, they broke the rules and could cause some confusion.

I get it, but there was something about their innocent freedom

that brought some joy to my soul.

Remember, sometimes faith makes us go against the flow of the crowds.

Respectfully,

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 2, 2017

HAVEA GREATDAY  

On June 20th, about 1:00 PM, while sitting on the boardwalk
in beautiful Ocean City, NJ, I noticed a parade of about 20 people
in wheel chairs pass in front of me.  Some were elderly, some younger. Some were being pushed and others  pushed themselves.
All of them looked happy to be out on a sunny summer day.
Many of them said “hi,” or “have a great day!”  
God bless them and the folks who help them.

May we appreciate our lives and health.
Thank God for life, faith, family, friends and beautiful days. 
    Respectfully,     
Rev. Joseph M. Corley

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 25, 2017

THE INTERSECTION OF MAIN AND MACDADE  

As I sit in my office on the second floor of the rectory,
the unsettling warning sounds of approaching emergency vehicles
and the screeching brakes of trucks and cars coming to a stop
 at the intersection of MacDade Blvd. & Main St. in Darby,
remind me of the hectic and sometimes dangerous pace of life.  
 In my mind the intersection represents the crossroads of life - the times
when we are forced to make a decision
about following the rules about where we are going,
about how we respond to a situation or a person,
about who we are and who we want to be.  
Close to the intersection of MacDade and Main there are two significant buildings.
One, Marvil Funeral Home, is a visible reminder to all of our earthly destiny.
The other building, Blessed Virgin Mary Church, helps people to remember
the redeeming presence of God is with them as they travel the roads of life.      
Respectfully,      
Rev. Joseph M. Corley 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


June 18, 2017

WHEN THE BISHOP KISSED HIS...

On the 25th Anniversary of his ordination to the Priesthood,
Bishop John J. McIntyre celebrated Mass at 5th and Gerard
in the beautiful Church of the Shrine of St. John Neumann
with 75 priests, five Bishops, one Cardinal, his family,
friends and folks from the neighborhood.
The music and choir were good. The preaching was good. The people were joyful.
But the best part was when the Bishop kissed his parents at the offertory,
because it showed his love for his mom and dad who offered him to God
through faith and baptism.

Pray for vocations.   
    Respectfully,      

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 11, 2017

Th e Grace Of  God Has Always And  Will Always Be With Us

 Today isHoly Trinity Sunday.

The image of the Trinity offers us four things to contemplate.

      First, if you reduce all the biblical names for God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you get a sense that our faith is about God                      
who has always been with us, calling us to goodness and life.

        Second, the Trinity is an image of God that is about relationships and living together. The Trinity reminds us to cherish our relationships
and nurture community life.                                                                  

    Third, belief in the Trinity means we have faith in one God who out of love creates, redeems and guides us.                                                       
          Fourth, when I think of the Trinity, I think of God’s promise                                  
 to be with us in the future, and his eternal offer of Grace      
to the good and bad, just and unjust.                                             
May the spirit help us recognize how the grace of God has always been with us
in the past (even in times of loss and sadness), and may our faith in the promises of  God help us to be less fearful and more hopeful about the future.

 
    Respectfully,    

 Rev. Joseph M. Corley 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 4, 2017

“ People  o f the LIE and  People  of the  TRUTH. ”  

Scott Peck, a Psychiatrist wrote “People of the Lie” to explain

that people lie to themselves and others without any conscious shame, regret or guilt.

He sees this twisted ability to ignore the truth as the root of evil.  

His observation reminds me of the creation story, when the snake lies to Eve,

 and starts “the big lie” that causes unending harm in the world.  

We recognize that some people prefer the darkness of deception over the truth.

We also know “the spirit of truth” can guide us to the light of freedom and reality.  

On this Pentecost Sunday, let us reflect on how the Holy Spirit guides us

to what is true and real:  

  A.  The Holy Spirit is at work whenever we turn to Jesus 
          
who reveals the Father’s abundant Love and Mercy.  

 B.  The Holy Spirit brings us Grace  (Strength and Blessings).                  

 C.  The Holy Spirit purifies and renews the Church,
          and each one of us through every generation and stage of life.

 D.  The Holy Spirithelps us see the truth
          about God, ourselves, others and what is really important in life.  

 E.  The Holy Spirit helps us see the truth about:  
          Sin - there is evil in the world, people reject the light.
         Faith in the light of Christ will overcome the darkness of lies and idolatry;
        the Spirit will enable us to see the difference between the false ritualism of the Pharisees  
        and the true holiness of the humble and those who persevere;
        the Holy Spirit will reveal the Mother and Father of the “Great Lie”.  

        The Spirit of truth will expose the “ Big Lie ” and condemn it. 


        May the promised gifts of God’s Holy Spirit help us put our faith into action.
        May the Holy Spirit help us to discern people of “The Lie” from people “of the truth”
        found in the life, 
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.    

Respectfully,

Rev. Joseph M. Corley
  P.S.

    Anonymous:

--1.) “Once you lie to me it makes me question everything you say.”

--2.) “If lying was a job, I know some people who would be billionaires.”  
   Eighth Commandment:

--3)  “Do not bear false witness - you shall not (lie).” 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 May 28, 2017

FROM DEATH TO RESURRECTION

 I have participated in too many funerals since I arrived at BVM in June 1998.
Over the years I have noticed how the death of someone we know
turns our minds to the cross and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  

The death of a loved one forces us to reconsider and ponder how important and meaningful the Cross and Resurrection of Christ can be in helping us overcome the
sadness linked to letting go of a loved one.  

Holy Week and the Easter Season are important because
they remind us 
all of life is about dying and rising. 


Every age of life is about learning how to let the good and bad go.
Every age something ends and 
something new begins for
us.  
Below find some expressions of faith in the sacred pattern of dying and rising:

  • “The seeds of Resurrection are in all our Experiences.”    - Pope Francis.
  • “If Christ was not raised from the dead, our faith is in vain.” - St. Paul.  
  •  “Our Brother (or Sister) was baptized into the Death of Christ,  
                  may she (or he) now come to share in Christ’s Resurrection.” - Funeral Rite.  
  •  “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection,              
             until you come again.” - Eucharistic Acclamation.  “
  • You may shoot me with words, you may cut me with your (lies),
                  you may kill me with your hatefulness,
                  but still, like air, I’ll rise.” - Maya Angelou (from Still I Rise.)      

Respectfully,      


Rev. Joseph M. Corley 


May 21, 2017


ON AN EASTER SUNDAY, SHE SKIPPED DOWN
THE CENTER AISLE OF CHURCH

It was Sunday, April 30th, during the 11:00 AM Mass,
when I saw a little girl, about seven years old, get out of her pew

and spontaneously skip down the center aisle of Church
on her way toward the sacristy.

She reminded me of Renoir’s painting of a little girl in a garden.
It was the Third Sunday of Easter. The Gospel was about
Jesus’ surprise appearances to the disciples on their way to 
Emmaus.
As I watched her “dance” through, Church I thought how
free, innocent, secure and happy she looked.

She had no fear or worries. She was comfortable

being her true self in front of a Church full of friendly people.
I like to think the little girl captured - gave us just a hint of -
the joy, the freedom and the love we experience when we finally put all of
our trust 
in the life, death and resurrection of
Jesus, Our Lord and God.
God bless you!
Respectfully,
Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 14, 2017

T H E  C L A M  T H A T  A L M O S T   K I L L E D  H I M,
G O T  HIM   BACK  TO  CHURCH 

 A friend of mine told me an interesting story.
Last fall he was in Sea Isle, N.J. enjoying a family reunion.
About ten people were on the deck of the house they rented, near the ocean.  
 While they ate and laughed together, my friend heard and felt  
a loud thud on the floor of the deck.
He looked down and saw a “huge” clam shell (and the clam inside)
smashed into a thousand broken pieces.

“It must have weighed a pound or more,” he told me.  

He added that his grandson, who saw the seagull drop the clam said,

“Yo grandpop, the clam could have killed you.”

My friend thought his grandson was right.  

I suggested he go to Church right away.      

 Respectfully,    

 Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



May 7, 2017

HOLDING ON TO EACH OTHER 

The other day I was sitting on a bench just enjoying the warmth of the sun,

in the beauty of the trees and people walking by in front of me.

I saw:

teens on bikes, joggers, strollers, people eating pizza or ice cream, 

and young mothers pushing their babies in carriages.

Thank God nobody was smoking!

Suddenly my eyes focused on an elderly couple.

They were walking slowly, looking straight ahead and holding hands.

Ah!  I love to see people holding hands - holding onto each other:

little brothers and sisters holding hands;

friends holding hands to bring comfort and presence;

kids holding onto their parents;

teen lovers holding hands to tell the world “she likes me.”  

I saw older married people, who have shared many life experiences,

still holding on to each other - until death do they part.  


Finally, I love to see all of us holding hands at Mass.     

Respectfully,      

Rev. Joseph M. Corley 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

April 30, 2017

“ YOUR THOUGHTS ARE NOT MY THOUGHTS SAYS THE LORD."  (IS 55:8 - 9)

 It is good for our humility to remember we are not “God”.

Now and then we need to be reminded God’s thoughts, values and actions do not always go along with the dominant values and thoughts of our world.
Here are some ways God’s ways are not ours:
1. The source of all goodness, life, and hope became a human being                         
 - born as a homeless child, to poor parents.  
2.We are told not to return evil for evil.                                                                                 

     3.God rejoices more over one repentant sinner than

a hundred righteous people.

 4.God does not judge by appearances, but by what is in the heart.                             

 5.  The Love of God is revealed in the horrible crucifixion of an innocent man.      

6. God offers grace to the good and evil, to the just and unjust.                                   

7. A person without religion can have morefaith and love than                                 
a very “religious” person.  

8.We share in the very Spirit of God.                                                                                      

9.Death is not the end.  It is a change.                                                                                    

10. God works through imperfect people.                                                                              

God’s thoughts about compassion, faith, sin, mercy, success,

hope and righteousness are not always like ours.  

Alleluia!

                             Alleluia!          

Respectfully,      

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 23, 2017

HAPPY EASTER!        HAPPY EASTER!  

The Monday before Easter Sunday I visited an institution
that provided care for people who were having problems remembering.
While there I got on an elevator to visit an ex-marine.
As I entered the elevator a young woman standing near the front
looked at me and said, “Happy Easter.”
I thought she was showing respect because I was a priest, but then I noticed two things:   
First, she said “Happy Easter” to everyone who got on or off the elevator.

       Second, when she and her aide got off the elevator (which I was on to leave),
she turned around and waved at everyone saying “Happy Easter” again.
Sweet!
“God works through people.”      
Happy Easter!      
Respectfully,      
Rev. Joseph M. Corley 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 16, 2017

“ THE RESURRECTION MAN IS HERE ”

 The Resurrection Man is here!  

Hang a sign on the tomb that says “empty”.  

Open your eyes, smell the flowers, drop your crutches.  

Take off your shoes, laugh at your demons and jump into the river of life!  

Anoint your hair with oil.  Put on new clothes.  

Light a fire, fry some fish, bake some bread, pour lots of wine,  
pass the macaroni & cheese,  join us at the victory table!  

Time to celebrate - the departed has arrived.  

Promenade with the universe.  
Swing your partner, stomp, shimmy, merengue, rumba with the saints.  

Polka with the poor, jitterbug with the just,
samba with sinners and cha-cha with Church ladies.

Get up and dance.  
Stand up and  joyfully shout “The Resurrection Man is here"!    

Happy Easter!      

Respectfully,      

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 9, 2017

“ LORD BY YOUR CROSS AND RESURRECTION YOU HAVE SET US FREE ”

This week we gather in faith to remember and celebrate the Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem,

His Last Supper, His death on the cross and His glorious Resurrection.

The Church encourages us to see these great events in the life of Christ,
“the Paschal Mystery”, as a guide, a map or spiritual principles for our own lives.  

Our participation in these sacred revelations about God, our lives and relationships

is a heartfelt “Amen” to Jesus as the image of God’s mercy and love on earth.

So, let me share some images from this Holy Week that express
our basic spiritual beliefs about God, humanity and the Church:  
 Palm Sunday:  Jesus is the man with conviction, confidence and courage.                                       Although he is “troubled”, He will not change his message.
We are fickle: we accept the Lord one day and reject him the next.

We are like a piece of palm blowing in the wind.  
 Holy Thursday:  The Archbishop blesses the Holy Oils.                                                                         
We are reminded that faith in Christ heals our troubled hearts.

The Holy Spirit guides the Church to be an instrument of healing.  
 Holy Thursday Evening: Christ washes the feet of his disciples

and calls his closest followers to “do this in remembrance of me”.

The Church is called to sacrificial service.  
 Good Friday:   The cross becomes the sign of  love  and spiritual power                                         
that Christians embrace when turning from darkness to the light.

Judas rejected the Lord, and Peter denied him

but found new life through repentance.  
 Easter Vigil:   The Easter candle reminds us Christ is the Light of the World.                                
Faith in the mercy and goodness of God overcomes the darkness
of sin, despair and death itself.

“Lord by your cross and resurrection you have set us all free.”

Praise God!

Alleluia!                                    

     Alleluia!

                                                   Alleluia!       

Respectfully,      

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 2, 2017

I  AM  THIRSTY    (JN 19:28)

Just before His death on the cross, our Lord said, “I am thirsty.”


Whenever I read those words, I think of the following:  
 FIRST, I imagine the real physical pain and thirst Jesus must have experienced.
                          
 SECOND,I remember His words in the Beatitudes.                                                                                 

“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, (union with God)

for they shall be satisfied (MT. 5:6).”

Certainly His thirst on the cross, and His desire

for our communion with Him and God have to be connected.  

Remember when He met the Samaritan woman at the well
and told her He would give her “life giving water”? (JN 4:9-14)
Remember when He turned water into wine, and wine into His blood for us to drink?  

 THIRD, I think about Mary Oliver, the poet, who at the death of a friend, lost her desire to live. After months of sadness, Mary humbled herself and joined a Bible study at her local Church. The night of her first meeting, the reflection was based on the words of Jesus, “I am thirsty.” Immediately Mary realized she was “thirsty” for new meaning and hope.
Eventually her return to faith satisfied her thirst for life.  

 FOURTH,  for some people the spiritual thirst for union with God and others
                                 
is mistakenly and dangerously satisfied by becoming addicted to alcohol.
Jesus’ “thirst” was both physical and spiritual.
Just as we need water to quench our biological thirst,
trust in God’s love and mercy will quench our thirst for meaning and hope.

Respectfully,
Rev. Joseph M. Corley




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

March 26, 2017

“FATHER, FORGIVE THEM,

FOR THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING (LUKE 23:34).”

“FATHER” While dying on the cross Jesus relates to almighty God as “Father” -

A good father makes sacrifices for his children.

He listens to them, blesses them and supports their efforts to do and say what is good.

Do you look at God as a loving parent who wants what is best for you?

Do you believe in God’s Providence?”

“FORGIVE THEM”:  Jesus used parables to talk about the importance of Mercy
(Good Samaritan, Lost Sheep). On the cross, he prayed, “forgive us...as we forgive those...”

His holiness is revealedin his readiness to forgive
those who mocked, betrayed, tortured, abandoned and crucified him.

“THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING":  When Jesus says those who crucified him “do not know what they are doing"he knew they lacked true knowledge of his Gospel.

Those responsible for his death were blind
and unable to understand (to see) the truth of who he was.

Their ignorance saves them from the consequences of the deadly rejection of God.

Jesus, who taught his disciples to love, and pray for their enemies,
put his words into practice.

May we follow his example.

Respectfully,

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT (MT. 5-7),
OUR CHALLENGE FOR LENT”

“The Sermon on the Mount” in the gospel of Matthew, if taken to heart,

can be a challenge for us during Lent.

In Matthew, chapters 5-7, Jesus is presented as greater than Moses,

and he expects his followers to exceed the religious leaders in holiness.

Jesus wants them tobe the salt of the earthand thelight of the world.
This is how a disciple accomplishes his/her spiritual goals:

where there is conflict, they should work for peace;
where there is hatred, they should pray for their enemies

 (think of the Prayer to St. Francis).

Instead of making judgments and decisions based on money, possessions, power or pleasure,
his followers should be motivated by humility, and love for their neighbor.

Clearly, this involves taking up one’s cross of self-denial

and entering the kingdom of God through a narrow gate.
Our Saints are people who “got” what Jesus said.They obeyed his teaching.
This Lent we are invited totake a closer look at our souls.
We are called to be holy- to stretch our souls by living the teachings of Jesus found in
“The Sermon on the Mount.”
If we can do that, if we can be salt and light for the world,
we will be examples of God’s compassionate love for the just and unjust

- we will remind the world what it means to be truly human and truly holy.

Respectfully,

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


March 12, 2017

“A DIFFERENT CRITERIA FOR MAKING JUDGMENTS”

In 1975, Pope Paul VI encouraged Catholics

to“use a different criteria for making judgments.”

He reminded Catholics that faith in Christ should be the basic rule

that guides how we respond to the joys and challenges of life.

Pope Paul wants usto choose faith over despair, love over hate,
generosity over greed, life over death, and goodness over pleasure.

He urges us to work for truth over lies, unity over division, compassion over bitterness, mercy over vengeance , and peace over violence.

As we begin this second week of Lent,

take time to reflect upon your words and actions everyday.

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you “see” if the criteria for your responses to people and situations

is based on faith or fear, humility or pride, anger

or generosity, encouragement or jealousy.


Also, ask for the grace to repent when necessary.

“God is good all the time. We are good, some of the time.”

Respectfully,

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

March 5, 2017
AND THE OSCAR GOES TO …

The single parent who struggles without much support
                            to provide a home and guidance for a teenaged son or daughter.

The widow or widowerwho, although feeling empty and without much hope,

                            continues to meet the responsibilities of life.

The unemployed man who maintains his dignity,

                             and tries to be a good husband and father. 

The parents who have a child under the spell of addiction

The parents who have a Son or Daughter in the military. 

The grandparents who raise their grandchildren. 

The disabled personwho does not lose heart or hope. 

The man or woman who checks on an elderly neighbor. 

The man or woman who cares for a disabled spouse, parent or child. 

The married couple who grow in their love and respect for each other

                               while providing a warm home for their children

The separated or divorced who have not allowed their hearts to become bitter. 

• The person in recovery who fights the inner conflict “one day at a time.”

The single adult who struggles with faith and responsibilities


May the compassionate, Sacred Heart of Christ
                          be a source
of inspiration for all of us.         

                                                                   Respectfully,     

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

February 26, 2017
HEALING THE PAIN OF LONELINESS 

On February 12th, fourteen people met in our rectory to talk about loneliness.
Generally, loneliness was described as having negative thoughts when alone:

“I don’t have friends.”

                                                                “Nobody cares about or likes me."
                                                 “I wish I had somebody to talk to now and then.” 

      The group agreed that in order to overcome the negative thoughts and feelings
when one is alone, one must have a conversion or “healing” of mind and heart.
Instead of being locked in the isolation of loneliness, and through the grace of God,
a person must learn to change his/her thinking and actions.  
      Last January 31, 2017, the “Elite Daily” magazine had an article on
“Tips from a 90-year-old man on how to cope with loneliness.”
His tips might help you or somebody you know to cope
with the negative emotions associated with loneliness: 


1. Join a hobby club. 
2. Try to make new friends. 
3. Go to the library for talks or to learn the computer. 
4. Take in a paying guest.
5. Call people.
6. Renew old relationships. 
7. Volunteer.
8. Get to know your neighbor. 
9. Ask for help. 
10. Contact the local Social Services for a schedule of social events. 
 

Let me add:  invite people over for a snack and accept invitations to go out.
If you have lost a spouse, you may mourn for no longer than one year.
After that I want you to find a companion who enjoys your company.  


As the Bible says - it is not good to be alone. (GEN. 2:18).     
                       Respectfully,     
                                Rev. Joseph M. Corley
 
P.S.- If you have elderly neighbors who live alone, be sure to make contact

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
February 19, 2017

“ GROW YOUR OWN SOUL ”  
Kurt Vonnegut, author of the novel “Slaughter-House Five,”

was invited by a number of High School students to visit their literature class (2006).

He could not make the trip, but wrote the teens telling them to “grow your own soul”

by being creative and honest.  

The idea of “growing your own soul” got me wondering about the experiences I had in life

that stretched, expanded or caused my soul to mature.
I’ll list a few of the experiences that have caused my soul to grow:


1. Failure :          Can hurt, but it has made my soul resilient and sensitive to others. 
2. Honesty : If being honest with people does not stretch your soul, I don’t know what does. 
3. Facing Fears : Making the decision not to be dominated by fear

                                    pulls your soul up, out and forward. 
4. Willing to forgive and ask to be forgiven : This takes courage, faith, hope and love

                                 - the ingredients of a great soul. 
5. Silence : The Chinese say silence is a great revelation,

                                  because it reveals what is going on in your soul
6. Trying to live the Beatitudes and Corporal Works of Mercy :

                                Are like a B-12 shot to my soul (MT. 57, 25).  
7. Facing serious illness : Always gets my soul’s attention.
8. Compassion : For those who suffer and acceptance of imperfect people

                                     (including myself)  refreshes my soul. 
9. Being disappointed : In myself or others, but reminds my soul to grow in humility.
10. Being captured : The beauty and wonder of all creation lifts up my soul. 
11. Unselfish love : For another person brings my soul joy. 
 

What has caused your soul to grow lately?   
                                   Respectfully,     
                                         Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Feb. 12, 2017
                     REV. AUGUSTUS TOLTON AND HIS MOTHER                              


      In 1886 Augustus Tolton (Servant of God) born in Missouri, was ordained the first African American diocesan priest in the USA. He was educated in Rome, was an outstanding preacher, and although he was the victim of racism, became a great source of reconciliation for different races in Chicago. He died in 1897 at the age of 43.  His cause for sainthood is now up for consideration in Rome. You can Google his name for more information.  


     Augustus was exceptional, but I think I am more amazed with the story around his Mother, Martha.   In her early twenties, her husband died serving in the Union Army. Alone with three small children and living in a slave state, she escaped from her “master”and walked 20 miles with three children to the Mississippi river. There she “borrowed” a small boat (with just one oar). She rowed two miles across the Mississippi to Illinois with Augustus, and his two siblings. She arrived at Quincy, IL., where she received help and support from a Catholic Church. The priests in the Church gave Augustus the encouragement to become a priest.   Martha and Augustus Tolton - two people we should remember
.     

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Feb. 5, 2017

HENRY OSSAWA TANNER

  I have a deep appreciation for Henry Ossawa Tanner’s work.

Henry, born 1859 in Pittsburgh, is an outstanding African American artist,
who represents the “Modernist Period” in America.

Henry's family  moved to Philadelphia in 1866, and he studied
under the directions of Thomas Eakins.

In 1891 he moved to Paris in order to avoid “racial tension in America.“  
 Henry is recognized for painting scenes from the bible and everyday life.
Two of his paintings that I admire most are “The Banjo Lesson ” (1893)
and “ The Annunciation ” (1898).  

Tanner’s “ Banjo Lesson ” presents an old, poor African American man

who is teaching a little boy (seated on the man’s lap) how to play the banjo.

The scene captures the poverty of the two, but a captivating yellowish background
expresses love and hope. When I look at the picture,
it reminds me that all of us have a responsibility to teach and love our children.  

Henry’s “ The Annunciation” is also enchanting.

It portrays a young woman in a simple bedroom. 

She is bathed in a warm embracing yellow light.

The painting captures Tanner’s interest in the bible.

It is a fascinating expression of how his imagination tried to represent

the angel’s visit to Mother Mary (Luke 1:26-38).    

Henry Ossawa Tanner died in 1937. He had a great soul.

I think he looked for the divine and the good in ordinary life.

He expressed his hope in his use of many different shades of yellow and blue.

His art does what art should do–make us stop, look, contemplate and be inspired.        Respectfully,     

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jan. 29, 2017

“The Falcon cannot hear the Falconer;

things fall apart; the center cannot hold ... Innocence is drowned.

The best lack all conviction,

while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

 -- W. B.Yeats (The Second Coming)
The Irish Poet, W.B. Yeats, wrote the words found above
after World War I and shortly before the Irish Rebellion.

He had a poet’s gift to see the chaos and violence linked to political changes of his time.
His poem came to my memory after hearing a number of people express dissatisfaction,
anger and fear associated with changes in our government and Church. 
The negative, cynical and pessimistic attitudes expressed by some
have been upsetting and disappointing to most people in our country and Church.
As we go through another time of transition,
we look for goodness and decency from people of faith.

Once again it is time to renew our faith in God, ourselves and each other.

Faith, hope and love will be the center that holds us together.
My prayer is that we live by the courage of our convictions.

My hope is that we treat each other with mutual respect
and work for the common good of all.

May God help us:

to love our neighbors as we love ourselves;
to remember we are all children of God;

to seek and speak the truth in kindness;

and experience honest dialogue and disagreements

that do not lead to personal attacks, hate speech or violence.
May God continue to Bless our Country, Church and Families.
Respectfully,
Rev. Joseph M. Corley

Jan. 22, 2017

“THE WORD HAS POWER WHEN IT’S TRUE
BECAUSE IT RINGS LIKE A BELL IN ME AND YOU” - JMC

When Jesus told the parables, preached the beatitudes,
criticized stiff-necked Pharisees, and said don’t be afraid,

his word had power.
When Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about justice and
freedom, his words rang true.
When JFK said “ask not what your country can do for
you but what you can do for your country”,
his words rang like a bell in me and you.
When Mother Teresa said “ even rich nations can be
poor” in spirit, her words had power.
Hopefully many of us remember the kind words of
support, mercy, encouragement or challenge spoken to us by
others that rang true in our hearts and influenced our lives.
Words have power.

Your words can be true or false, helpful or hurtful,

a curse or a blessing, cynical or hopeful.
The words of Christ have power, because they are true.
Read the Gospels!
Respectfully,
Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jan. 15, 2017

YOU ARE ALWAYS WITH US
Source and Destiny of Life,
YOU have always been with us:
with us at birth and death,
in
success and failure;
with us
during war and peace;
with us
when broken or whole.
YOU have been with us;
in sorrow and joy,
in alienation and reconciliation,
in silence and celebration,
in love and anger;
with us
in virtue and vice,
in pride and humility.
For YOUR sun shines on the just and wicked.
Your rain falls on the evil and the good (MT. 6:45).
You never grow tired of searching for those who are lost
(MT. 15:24, LK. 15).
Respectfully,
Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jan. 8 , 2017

      FAITH IN DIVINE PROVIDENCE MEANS YOU
TRUST IN GOD

“The Father of Mercy, has
a gentle and loving plan for the
universe and each one of us as “individuals”.

God is patient with us in our weakness.

God is always able to adapt, and transform our
lives after we use our freedom to accept or reject, cooperate or
refuse to cooperate with God’s revealed word
in Christ, the Scriptures and the Church.

Every story in the Bible, in one way or another, directly or indirectly, presumes faith in God’s Providence.
Before the universe was created, God
“destined us in love” (Ep. 1:3-6).
Two limited but perhaps helpful images,
can be used to explain the Providence of God. 

First, God can be compared to a rich father, who gives his Sons/Daughters everything they need to succeed in life (Grace).

But the kids are often foolish. They mess-up and
waste their talents, gifts and opportunities.

 When they are desperate they return to their father,

who is always ready to give them another“start-over”

(God’s grace is unlimited and undeserved – Mt. 5:43-48, Lk. 15:11-32, 1 Cor. 13).
The second imageis the spiders web.
Divine Providence is God’s delicate
web
that reflects light and attracts us to “goodness”.

God, like a spider who constructs a web within a specific plan,
always takes the initiative to lure, persuade and invite us to share in
his Divine Plan. When we turn from God
we can interfere with God’s
“loving and gentle plan,” but we cant’s destroy it.

God is resilient and creative.

God waits, adapts and spins another web of “goodness”.
There is a story about a woman who searched for goodness
and inner peace. One day she came across a beautiful door. Above
the door was a sign, “enter for goodness and inner peace". In front
of the door was an old man who assured her the sign was true, but

finding goodness and inner peace could require some changes,
discipline, pain and sacrificial love.
The woman did not go through the door, because she was afraid.
God the father took initiative in sending us Jesus, and the
Holy Spirit – the Comforter and bearer of Grace.
God continues to take the initiative in our lives
by providing opportunities for us to choose “goodness”.

Jesus, because he trusted in the father’s love
and Divine Providence,
was willing to go through the “door to
goodness and inner peace". 
 
Sin is not trusting God – it is a choice not to go through the door,

but to live in fear, pride or mistrust.
Every day this year, the door to goodness will be open to us,

and the Divine Web will attract us.

If we trust in God’s merciful, gentle, patient, creative and loving plan,

we just might experience
“goodness and inner peace”.

Respectfully,

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 "Night Watch" with You and Mary

       Every New Year's Eve,  for the last 41 years, I have attended Mass in a Church at midnight.  New Year's Eve is sacred to me, because it is a night for reflection, anticipation and spiritual surrender to the mystery of God's mercy and loving kindness revealed in Jesus, the Son of Man.

       New Year's Eve is a silent night of reflection for me.  I use it to review the past year with its joys, disappointments, surprises and foolish worries.   It is a time to think back with gratitude for the good people I have met, and the good things our parish has accomplished.

       New Year's Eve is also a time when I pray for the grace to anticipate the coming year with deeper faith, hope and love of God, family, friends, staff and parish.   I ask for the grace to do God's will in the months to come and not be tempted by anger or despair.

       I love being with a congregation on New Year's Eve for Mass.   It is another opportunity for me to be with like-minded and like-hearted people as we humble and sincerely surrender our lives to God.   It is during Mass I share in the journey of faith with all who are gathered to share sacred time, place and the New Covenant.

       That night, we are like the Shepherds, who were awake during the night watching their flocks, when an angel of the Lord appeared to them.   Though shaken, they believed and found Jesus with Joseph and Mary.

        That night, like Mary, who did not always understand how God would work in her life, let us say "yes" to the voice of  God and the miracle of life itself.  

       All the best to you and your loved ones in 2017.

        Sincerely,

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Dec. 25, 2016

Sacred Hearts at Christmas

While attending Mass in a chapel dedicated to the Sacred Hearts (Jesus and Mary),

I noticed a young woman sitting in the pew next to me.

She was holding a child, who had a disability, on her lap.  

The little boy had blonde hair and bright blue eyes.

He seemed to be full of wonder and desire
to reach out to everyone attending the liturgy.

After Mass most of the congregation visited the mother and child.

They shared hugs and kisses.
 
It was great to see so many "Sacred Hearts" support each other.

When I returned to my room,
I could not stop
connecting the experience with Christmas,

and how we are drawn to celebrate the birth of Jesus
the way the people were drawn to the little boy 
and his mother.
 I was reminded that, in a way, we all have disabilities before God
(emotional, spiritual, physical, social).

It is faith in God's Love and Mercyrevealed in Jesus for us
that heals our brokenness.  

It is faith that changes our hearts of fear and darkness into
"sacred and fully human hearts" of light and love.

Finally, it is faith that allows us to experience the joy
that comes from celebrating

the birth of the little boy.  Jesus.

Merry Christmas!

Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dec. 18, 2016

What I Want for Christmas
This Fourth Sunday of Advent I find myself waiting to
celebrate the beauty , joy, hope and wonder that comes with every
Christmas chance to renew my trust in God,
who became a human being in Jesus Christ, born of Mother Mary.
As I wait,
I pray for the renewal of heart.

As I wait, I seek the grace to forgive old injuries and to grow in virtue.

As I wait, I prepare for the grace to be free of past failures and future anxiety.

As I wait, I look for the light of peace, kindness and honesty in others and in myself.
With the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
I wait in joyful hope.
I know what I want for Christmas!

I want to receive and share the grace of reconciliation.

I want the courageof John the Baptist.

I want the destiny of the Magi,

the dreams of Joseph,

the joy of the Shepherds and the Spirit that overshadowed Mary.

I want the Beatitudes to be my “declaration of dependence upon God.”
I want the wisdom to honor:

the sacrifice of parents,

the fortitude of the widowed,

the innocence of children,

the wisdom of the elderly,

 the restlessness of teens,

the inner strength of the single,

the hope of the engaged,

the recovery of the addicted,

the commitment, love and fidelity of the married,

the gentleness of religious and priests,

the compassion of caregivers,

the generosity of volunteers,

and the dedication of teachers.
This week my eyes
search again

(like the first time my Mother took me to see the Nativity scene

in St. William’s Church, 1950),

for the Baby Jesus.


I search to see God’s grace on earth as it is in heaven.
Have a blessed Christmas for 2016!
Respectfully,
Rev. Joseph M. Corley

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Dec. 11, 2016

A "WONDERFUL" LIFE

Since my three favorite Christmas movies are Home Alone,
Charlie Brown and A Christmas Story
(“You’ll shoot your eye
out”), you can guess how out-of-it I felt when most of the people my
age and older told me
“A Wonderful Life” was the best Christmas movie.

I decided to read a number of summaries of the classic film
and understood why people loved it so much: a decent man (George)
is ready to give up on life, but is saved by his Guardian Angel (Clarence),

who allows George to see how his goodness has helped others.

At the end, George, despite his problems, believes he really has

“A wonderful life”.
As we enter the third week of Advent, I pray your Guardian
Angel or God’s grace (in any form) helps you to

look back on your life with amazement and gratitude.

I pray you are blessed to recognize the “moments of grace”

in your past or present that hint
at the dynamic presence of the Lord’s spirit in your life.
Home Alone and A Christmas Story make me laugh,

 but
the stories about the birth of Jesus in Matthew and Luke,

bring joy and hope.

Although we have money problems and challenges in our relationships,

faith in the birth of Jesus allows us to say,

“I have a wonderful life,”
Respectfully,
Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dec. 4, 2016

“PA RUM PUM PUM PUM” 

 (LITTLE DRUMMER BOY)
“Little Drummer Boy” is one of my favorite Christmas songs.

It is about a little poor boy, who is called to provide a gift for
the newborn King (Jesus), as he rests with Mary and some farm animals.

Since he does not own any “finest gifts” to bring the infant,
he asks Mary for permission to play his drum for the baby.

Mary says “yes,” he plays and the child smiles at him.

The song is about humility.
Before God we are “poor” little boys and girls.
We lack any fine gifts to bring to Jesus

except humility, trust, hope and love.
During Advent remember, and tell your children,

Jesus is God’s Christmas gift to us.

Our response offaith andlovefor others,
is our little gift to God.
Respectfully,
Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nov. 27, 2016

DON’T LET THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS BE HIJACKED BY:


1. Shopping until you are tired, angry, frustrated and in serious debt.


2. Being absorbed into a culture that often seems afraid to mention the word “Christmas”.


3. Thinking material gifts are more important than consistent love,
           presence, friendship, mercy, support and kindness.


4. Using a sacred and wonderful event as an excuse to over indulge.


5. Forgetting the celebration of Christmas is about the joy, hope and grace God offers us

          each year we remember the birth of Jesus.


6. Presuming Jesus did not come to save you from sin, despair and death itself.


7. Not opening the doors of your soul, heart, mind and will to the spirit of almighty God

          revealed in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.


Finding hope and a meaningful life in Jesus is why we celebrate his birth.
                                                             Respectfully,
                                                                     Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nov. 20, 2016


BABY LOGAN AND JESUS
Every day little Logan (about six months old) is carried to
Church by his mother or grandmother. He is cute, curious, pleasant
and has the thickest, darkest hair I have ever seen on a baby.
When I see him at Mass I think, with joy, of the story in
Luke’s Gospel (1:22-38) where Jesus is presented in the Temple by
his parents. At the presentation of Jesus, Simeon and Anna, two who
prayed for the salvation of Israel and were blessed by the Holy Spirit,
recognized him as the Savior.
Like Anna and Simeon, Logan’s family is in the house of
God every day. Daily they carry him to the altar rail as they receive
Holy Communion. When I bless him I ask God to: “Be with Logan.
Help him become a strong Catholic Christian man. Let him have a
deep faith that influences many people by his acts of Gospel
goodness.”
As we continue to ask God to bless our families , I
encourage all parents to: bring their children to Church, to present
them to God each day, and to teach them, by example, the ways of
faith.
Respectfully,
Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nov. 13, 2016

"ONE INSTANCE OF GOD'S GRACE THAT CHANGED MY LIFE"

- BY  MARGO MANGO

          It is amazing how God will use the simplest of things to initiate His plan to draw you closer to Him!

          It was November 2007, and my friend was going to turn 60 years old.  Her daughter had asked to have people write birthday love notes to Louise, that she would collect and put in a scrapbook for her.  

          I went to our friend Montez's house to have her write her love note, when she mentioned that a group of people were going up to the Kairos School of Spiritual Formation in February for a retreat at the Jesuit Center.  She showed me the brochure, and on the front were the words, "Be still and know that I am God"...Psalm 46:10.

          Little did I know that one encounter would lead me to become a student at the Kairos School for four years.

          There I learned about silence and solitude, centering prayer, Lectio Divina (sacred reading of scriptures), St. Ignatius' daily examen prayer, and spiritual direction.  I reconnected with the Stations of the Cross and committed to going to daily  Mass during Lent and haven't stopped since.   I developed a very close relationship with the Blessed Mother, as I spent time sitting and talking with her down at the grotto.

          My relationship with God, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Spirit deepened.   I truly was transformed!  I had the most wonderful unexpected spiritual makeover, all because I was collecting a love note for my firend's birthday.  I became the recipient of God's grace and His life-changing love!

                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  

Nov. 6, 2016

THE GRANDDAUGHTER
I’m not sure how old she was, maybe in her late
twenties, but I am sure she had a deep love for her grandfather.
A few weeks ago I visited a 91 year old man from our parish,
who with the love of his wife and family, had been living
with a serious medical issue for years.
The day I visited him, I met his granddaughter who took
the day off from work to be with and help her “Pop-Pop".

 
While there I witnessed her respect for her granddad,  as she, with
sensitivity and devotion, helped him sit up on the sofa to receive
Holy Communion. She eased his pain almost as much as the Sacrament.

The experience left a powerful and lasting impression on me.


For the last three years we have been talking about the
importance of Family Life
. We have focused on our belief that
love unites the family of our Church, and it binds the different
generations that make up our families at home.


The granddaughter’s love for her grandpop, and his love
for her, was a perfect example of what Pope Francis encourages
all families to do– love each member in our families.


So, today I pray that all families connected to our church
practice a love that is patient and kind, comforting, forgiving and
encouraging.

In the words of St. Paul, may our love for each
other bear all things, believe all things and hope all things,
because real love never dies.
Respectfully,
Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

October 30, 2016

“EVERYONE HAS A WEAKNESS”
I like the Greek myth about “Achilles’ Heel”.

It reminds me that a person can be very strong, even virtuous in many ways

but weak in small, unnoticed and deadly ways.
If you are not familiar with the story,

I will provide a summary and application.
When Achilles was born his mother received an omen that
he would die in combat. To prevent his death she dipped him into a
river that was supposed to provide humans with invincible powers.
When she did so, she held him by his heel, which was not touched by
the protective waters of the river.
As Achilles grew older, he became an exceptionally brave
and victorious warrior.  After many successful battles, Achilles' heel
was punctured by a poisoned arrow and he died.
Everyone has a weakness.Achilles was dipped in a magical
river but remained vulnerable.  As Christians we get baptized but
must gradually and gracefully struggle with our limits, blind spots,
immaturity and faults.

Achilles had his heel.

We have our gossip, bad
attitudes and imperfections.

Unfortunately, Achilles did not believe in
the healing grace of God, 
but we do.

Praise the Father of mercies.
Respectfully,
Rev. Joseph M. Corley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

October 23, 2106

WHAT JESUS CARED ABOUT
1.  He believed in Providence and wanted us to do the same.         
                By Providence I mean trusting that God wants what is best for
us and goodness will overcome corruption.                       
2.  The BEATITUDES (MT. 5-7), Jesus expected his followers to
persevere, to be better then those who only cared about
externals – e.g., money, status and empty rituals.               
         3.  He wanted us to recognize him in the poor and needy (MT. 25).
4.  He wanted us to reject religious leaders and religions who  
did not help or encourage people (MT.23).                     
5.  He believed the Kingdom of God existed in the hearts of       
                    individuals
here on earth as well as in heaven (Luke 17:21), and
God’s grace was offered to all (MT.5:43-48).                     
6.  He came to fulfill the Old Testament Law and promise        
of God (MT. 5:17).                                                                    

7.  He said Marriage was a sacred bond - “Two become one”.
8.  He used parables to get people to think and to teach a new
way of looking at experiences (LK. 14).                         
9.  He stressed the Mercy of God (LK. 5 & 7).                                   
10. He believed that our souls replaced the Old Testament’s   
purpose of the temple.
                                                         
11.  He was against murder and violence (MT. 5:21-24).           
12. He believed in the power of God’s Love, Mercy and Grace.
                 He had confidence and Faith in the Resurrection of the dead.

I suggest all of us who struggle “to have the mind of Christ";
meditate on the twelve things Jesus cared about most.
Respectfully,
Rev. Joseph M. Corley






Blessed Virgin Mary Church

      1101 Main Street                                                                                          Rectory   610-583-2128
      Darby, Pa   19023-1407                                                                                     Fax          610-583-9829