Why the name?

"Holy Conversation" does sound like an exceptionally pious name, even for a parish blog. And we can't guarantee that everything here will meet the high standard the name implies. But the phrase comes from the story of our patron saint, and we think it fits. Here's why.

St. Scholastica was a sixth-century abbess who, according to the Dialogues of Pope Gregory I, used to meet once a year with her brother, St. Benedict. On the last occasion they were together, they spent their time "satisfying each other's hunger for holy conversation about the spiritual life."

We hope that this blog can become a place where the members of our parish can find a taste of the companionship and conversation that Scholastica and Benedict enjoyed so much. Welcome!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Youth Ministry Pics!

St. Scholastica Youth ministry's "Roamin' Catholics" are on the move again, in a variety of activities this week.  Here are some looks in on the action!

Camp Helping Hand--Participants in Year 18!


Litter cleanup

Camp Helping Hand at Habitat for Humanity

Family House
Pet Therapy

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Vacation Bible School

Here are some pictures from Vacation Bible School in June.  Thanks to all who made it a success!

We are champions for Christ with Pope Francis!

Crafts

Meredith and Jamie lead a song!


Contemporary Choir

Here is a recent picture of the Contemporary Choir, who lead us in sung worship at the 9:00 a.m. liturgy.  Sr. Pat invites anyone who would like to join a choir to contact her as soon as possible this summer!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wahid and his new car

     Nancy Heil's note in the Stewardship Corner this week revisits the story of young Wahid and his family.  Here are the pictures that Nancy wanted to share.

Wahid and his new car
Wahid hugs a volunteer as his father watches.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Thoughts on the Passion According to Matthew and John

The following little essay, written in 2005, is relevant in 2014 as the three-year cycle of Gospel readings comes round again to the Gospel according to Matthew for the Palm Sunday Passion account.


On Palm Sunday and Good Friday this year, we hear the Passion accounts of Matthew and John.  As it happens, these two Gospels contain passages that have caused a great deal of trouble in relations between Christians and Jews.  All four Gospels make it clear that the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem were involved in Jesus’ condemnation, along with the Roman government that carried out the execution.  Only Matthew, however, reports that “the whole people” in Pilate’s courtyard exclaimed:  “His blood be on us and on our children” (Mt 27:25).   John’s Gospel, for its part, sometimes refers to Jesus’ enemies as “the Jews” (see Jn 18: 31, 36; 19: 7, 12, 20, 38), despite the fact that Jesus and all his followers were Jews as well.  Why do these Gospels speak in this way?
To answer, we must begin by recalling the process by which the Gospels were written.  It can be imagined as occurring in three stages.  The first stage is the ministry of Jesus—his words and actions, witnessed by those around him.  In the second stage,  which lasted for a generation or more after Jesus’ death and resurrection, his words and deeds were passed along by believers mainly by word of mouth.  As the process unfolded, the preoccupations of a particular community would shape what they remembered about Jesus, and how they presented his words and deeds.  Finally, in a third stage, the Gospels were composed by the evangelists, drawing on the traditions passed on to them.
It is likely that the Gospels of Matthew and John show such hostility toward the Jewish leaders and people because the communities that produced them were involved in disputes with the Jewish communities of their own day.  Reconstructing the histories of these groups involves a great deal of educated guesswork.  Still, the communities that produced these two Gospels seem to have been formed of Jews at first, Jews who believed that Jesus was sent from God.  Over time, their belief that God had exalted Jesus and their openness to Gentiles who shared that belief produced disputes with other Jews, and the disputes became heated.  The bitterness of these conflicts, occurring many years after Jesus’ death, led the two evangelists to speak in generalized ways of the Jews as enemies of Jesus and his followers.  The situation of the later community was written back into the Passion accounts.
In later years, as Christianity became a separate religion from Judaism, and the dominant religion in Europe, these Gospel passages were used to justify condemnation of Judaism and harsh persecution of the Jews.  Christian hostility toward Judaism has abated significantly in recent times, symbolized by Pope John Paul II’s trip to Israel in the Jubilee year of 2000, when, in a traditional Jewish practice of prayer, he left a note in the Wailing Wall.  The note expressed regret for Christian mistreatment of Jews over the centuries.
What, then, can we learn from looking at the Passion accounts in this way?  We can be reminded of how deep anti-Judaism runs in our tradition, and take special care to pass on the faith to our children in ways that are free from that stain.  In addition, we can learn a great deal about how to interpret the Bible responsibly.  As Fr. Raymond Brown, the late biblical scholar, put it:  “Christian believers must wrestle with the limitations imposed on the Scriptures by the circumstances in which they were written.  They must be brought to see that some attitudes found in the Scriptures, however explicable in the times in which they originated, may be wrong attitudes if repeated today” (A Crucified Christ in Holy Week, p. 16).
The Scriptures are the word of God, but they are given to us in human words.  As the bishops of the Second Vatican Council wrote, “the words of God, expressed in human language, are in every way like human speech, just as the Word of the eternal Father, when he took on himself the weak flesh of human beings, became like them” (Dei Verbum, 13).  When we, acting within the Church community and using its wisdom, seek the divine message that comes to us in the Scriptures, we must keep in mind that God has chosen to convey that message through inspired but limited human beings.
                                                                        --Andrew Bechman, March 2005

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Staff Opening--Part-time Position for Organist/Pianist


 April 2014 Note:
This job opening is no longer current.
St. Scholastica Parish, Aspinwall, PA  15215
Works directly with the Director of Music:
   5 p.m. Saturday Liturgy / 11 a.m. Sunday Liturgy with SATB Choir
   Wednesday evening rehearsals with SATB Choir
   Holy Days/Special Liturgical Celebrations / Funerals  (if available)
   Meets regularly with Director of Music  (Immediate Supervisor):
  
Fully responsible for Weddings:
   Works directly with Pastor
   Meets with couples to plan
   Communicates plans with all involved
   Rehearses with cantor, musicians…

Skills:
   Proficient on both organ and piano
   Developed classical / sacred music repertoire for organ
   Personal Qualities:  cooperative / able to work well with others /
       able to follow direction / respectful / encouraging with volunteers

Instruments:
     Allen Organ / Renaissance Quantum /  Quad-Suite / Two- Manual Console / 35 Stop /
          140 Voice / Plus Smart Recorder  (Purchased 2005)
     August Forster  (Handmade German) Concert Grand   (1980 / Reconditioned 2013)

Salary to be negotiated with Pastor based on experience and Diocesan Guidelines
Safe Environment Clearances, as mandated by the Diocese of Pittsburgh

For more information:       Contact     Sr. Pat Baker, CDP at 412-781-0186  (x17)
Send resume/references to:                                   patbakercdp@saintscholastica.com
                                   

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Fr. Ken's Homilies

Fr. Ken has decided to stop recording his homilies to post here.  You may still listen to many homilies in the blog archive.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Year of Welcoming


“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

Is there anything that lifts us up faster than a hearty welcome? 

Anything better than knowing that the people around you are happy that you’re there? 

Wherever people get that feeling, they want to stay.  And when it is time to leave, they want to come back again.

What if every person who walked into our church or any parish event felt that way?  Whether having grown up in the neighborhood or recently arrived, what if everything she or he experienced said, “Come in, you belong here.”

To further enhance the vibrancy and richness of our parish life together, the Pastoral Council is working on events that will be fun and help us all to get to know each other better.  In addition, we can actively enliven the ways in which we welcome visitors and new members of our parish family. 

That is why, during the Liturgical Year that runs from the First Sunday of Advent-2013 until the feast of Christ the King-2014, we will be celebrating the “Year of Welcoming” at St. Scholastica Parish.

Programs, activities, worship services, and outreach efforts during this special year will be grounded on the goal of building a wider, deeper, and more inclusive spirit of a welcoming community among all parishioners.

Look for more information on opportunities to share your smiles, warmth, and ideas as together we celebrate the Year of Welcoming at St. Scholastica.

For, as Jesus said:

“Whoever welcomes [a] child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” (Mk 9:37)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Grace Under Fire" -- Fr. Ken's Homily for 6 October 2013

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"Consumers or Stewards?" -- Fr. Ken's Homily for 29 September 2013

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Opening the Windows," Fr. Ken's Homily for 22 September 2013

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"Lost and Found," Fr. Ken's Homily for 15 September 2013

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"Calculate the Cost," Fr. Ken's Homily for 8 September 2013

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"One Table"--Fr. Ken's Homily for 31 August 2013

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Homilies Returning Soon!

Fr. Ken stopped recording his homilies while he recovered from surgery on his foot.  His recovery is moving along well, and he has begun recording homilies again.  We will post them again soon!

Parish Connection Upload Update

We began uploading contact information for our parishioners yesterday, Sept. 17, as planned.  As so often happens with things technological, though, (especially when it involves people who don't have deep training or experience using the technology) we ran into some bumps in the digital road. We are proceeding, but doing the upload gradually. 

So if you have not received an email message with login information, please be patient.  We will continue uploading contacts on Thursday, Sept. 19.  We hope to have them done by the weekend.

Thanks!
Andrew Bechman and Christine Morton
Parish Connection administrators

Thursday, August 1, 2013

"Our Father" -- Fr. Ken's Homily for July 28, 2013

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Compassion and Action" -- Fr. Ken's Homily for July 14, 2013

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

"Angels of Grace" -- Fr. Ken's Homily for July 7, 2013

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

"What's Most Important" -- Fr. Ken's Homily for June 30, 2013

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Vision Therapy"--Fr. Ken's Homily for June 23, 2013

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

"A Fixed Peg" -- Fr. Ken's homily for Father's Day, June 16, 2013

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Anawim--and Us

      You may have heard Fr. Ken's homily last weekend on the "anawim"—the little ones of God—widows, orphans, strangers in the land, the poor. [If you missed the homily, you can find it below.]
      Fr. Ken told of his experience of shopping for cargo shorts, only to discover that they were made in Bangladesh. He wondered if any of the 1100 women who were killed in the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh on April 24 had stitched those shorts.
      The Bangladesh disaster raises the question of the moral significance of our involvement in an economic system that supplies cheap goods to the West at great human cost here and abroad. It is certainly a huge and complicated question. There is a danger that we will see it as so big and our own potential contribution as so small that we do nothing. In doing so, we risk turning our backs on the anawim—the very ones our Lord calls us to serve.
      We may not be able to do a great deal, but we can do something. If you have an Internet connection, you have the means to make a difference. Here are some places you might start: The Clean Clothes Campaign is dedicated to "improving working conditions and supporting the empowerment of workers in the global garment and sportswear industries.You can find them online here.
      One of the principles of Catholic doctrine in relation to the economy is that people who work deserve—by their God-given human dignity—to be paid a just wage, a wage that supplies what is needed for a decent life. You can learn about efforts to support a living wage for Asian factory workers by checking out the YouTube video "Asia Floor Wage—the animated story" or by visiting the Asia Floor Wage site here.
      One of the main ways that workers around the world try to improve their condition is through unions. Catholic doctrine supports these efforts.  LabourStart is an excellent British site where you can learn about and support the efforts of workers all over the world to defend their human right to join unions and gain fair wages and better working conditions.
      If you would like to learn how all of these efforts are related to our Catholic faith, visit the site of the Human Life and Dignity page of the website of the United States bishops.  The links on that page will take you to information on many areas including "Economic Justice."
      The U.S. bishops also sponsor an organization called Catholics Confront Global Poverty that focuses more on issues of trade, international aid, and migration than on workers' rights.
      If you are interested in joining with others at St. Scholastica who want to make a difference for the anawim of our day, please send me your email address. No meetings (unless we want to later on)—just trading information and support. We can, by the grace of God, be the hands of Christ reaching out today—even through our computer keyboards!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"Centrality of the Eucharist" -- Fr. Ken's Homily for June 2, 2013

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"Two Languages" -- Fr. Ken's Homily for May 26, 2013

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"A Pentecost Story from Oklahoma City"--Fr. Ken's Homily for May 19, 2013

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"No Greater Love" Fr. Ken's Homily for May 12, 2013


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