Sermon Notes – June 4, 2023 – The Trinitarian God

The Trinitarian God

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

June 3 – 4, 2023

Gospel:  John 3: 16 – 18

16 For this is how God loved the world: He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.  17 For God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but so that through Him the world might be saved.  18 No one who believes in Him will be judged; but whoever does not believe is judged already, because that person does not believe in the Name of God’s only Son.

In life, there are two ways in which we are able to learn.  One is by instruction, and the other is by experience.  Notice that I said, “able to learn.”   That doesn’t mean we always learn – just that we are able to learn.  During instruction we are taught stuff that we have no possible way of knowing about.  We know it exists and that’s about all.  

Pope Leo XII said, “The most sublime of all the mysteries is the Trinity through which all the other mysteries flow.”   Indeed, we cannot know who God is unless He reveals Himself to us.   And He does.  Throughout Scripture, He has revealed who He is. . . one divine nature and three Persons.  He revealed His love on the Cross.  Beyond that we probably can’t comprehend who He is because we are able to comprehend so little.  However, we gain greater knowledge of Him through experience.  And that experience is gained by letting Him become a part of us . . . to become one with Him.   Unfortunately, some people don’t learn through experience.  Look at any drunk.  The first time they get sick from drinking too much most people say, “I’m not doing that again!”   On the other hand, the drunk says, “Hey, that was great!  Let’s do it again.”  They did not learn from the experience. 

 If we allow His nature into our sinful bodies, our souls, which have been disfigured by original sin and the sins committed after Baptism, are transformed into His own image and likeness.   The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest gift of all.  If you were a salesman and you had the greatest product in the world, you would approach people and say, “Hey, I’ve got the greatest product in the world, and you’re going to love it!  This is what it does for you.  Try it.”   It’s the same with me and bacon. . . if I have some, I want more and more.  So, people will try your product because it is the greatest thing, and they will want more and more of it because of the benefits.  

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest thing because we see the nature of God.   We see Heaven on the altar.   He is love itself, and He offered His Son on our behalf.  The most sublime act of love happened at Calgary before the Father and made present for us.  Through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, He gives us the fruits of that love which is the gift of Himself.  We receive the nature of God through the Seven Sacraments.  It becomes part of us if we let it.   But you have to cooperate. 

Now, through the Sacraments, we receive the whole God and not just parts of Him . . . the whole Trinitarian God becomes a part of us as long as we remain in a state of grace.   Do we understand it?  No, and we never will.  But we become one with God.  We have His nature inside of us.  By perfecting our human nature, we will grow ever more holy.  This is how we experience Trinitarian love through the Sacraments.  It is how we preach Trinitarian love . . . by having God within us and taking His love to the world by living Christian lives.  This is how we should evangelize. 

When you receive any of the Sacraments, you receive the whole God.  Some will say, “But at Confirmation, you receive the Holy Spirit.”   Yeah.  Each Sacrament contains a particular grace.  Another bad teaching is that Jesus Christ is received for the first time at Confirmation.  That’s not true.  You receive Jesus Christ for the first time at Baptism.   However, you receive the whole God in all of the Sacraments . . . not just pieces of Him.   Each of the Sacraments has a specific purpose in which a part of God’s love is more emphasized than in the others.  For example, the precious blood of Christ is given at the Sacrament of Penance; however, you receive the whole Trinitarian God. 

We become more aware of the nature of God as we conform our souls into His likeness which is brought about by the grace given to us.  God offers to share His very nature with us which is love.  This is the greatest gift of all.  He shares the Trinitarian God . . . the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  When we do good things as a response to the grace God has given us, those acts are Trinitarian because we do it out of love for the whole God.  And that is how we can bring God’s love to the world.

How will you apply this message to your life?  ______________________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” and then “Menu.”  Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on “Categories.”  Sermon Notes are also available on the church Facebook page at  Click on “Groups” and then “Sermon Notes.”

Sermon Notes – May 28, 2023 – Love is the Language of the Holy Spirit

Love is the Language of the Holy Spirit

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

May 27 – 28, 2023

Gospel:  John 20: 19-23

Remember last week I talked to you about the Ascension and how the human nature our good Lord took from the Blessed Mother was assumed into His divine nature.  It’s the same nature that He suffered with, healed with, died with, was resurrected with, and took to Heaven.  So, if Christ’s human nature is in Heaven, how does He continue to do His work in the world?  Fair question.  Well, He takes our human natures and uses them.  Through the Holy Spirt, He takes all our human natures and forms His new Body which is the Church.   With His new Body, He continues to teach, sanctify, heal, and bring His love to the world.  His new Body will continue for generations until the end of the world.   In the Book of Acts, our Lord says, “Paul, why are you persecuting Me?   He didn’t say, “the church” or “a Christian Group.”   He said, “Why are you persecuting Me?”   He said, “Me” personally because we are a part of His body.   

All those who are baptized are baptized in Christ.  You are part of His new body extended throughout the Ages.  That’s why it’s blasphemy when someone says, “Oh, I am reconciled to God but not His Church” or they say, “I love God but not the Church.”  Absolute blasphemy.  You love the head but not the body.  That makes no sense.  You cannot love one without the other.  It’s a whole Person . . . a package deal.  Christ takes our human natures which are offered by us or by our parents at our Baptism.  He assumes our human natures into His new Body to become whatever part of His Body that represents our vocation to bring God’s word to others, to heal, teach, and sanctify.  Whatever the vocation, Holy Orders, Religious, married life, or lay life – whatever part of His Body – we are called to build it up. 

Christ uses our human nature to reach out and to bring His love to the world . . . to speak the universal language   At Pentecost, Peter spoke to the crowd, and everyone heard him in their own language.  Everyone hears the language of Christ.   Now, I am not gifted in tongues.  If you have ever been to the 12:15 Mass, you know that I do not have that gift.  I speak Spanish with French accent.  French is my second language.  Believe it or not, I took Intermediate Conversational French in college, but my aunt who is 95 years old corrects my French.   I had to relearn French because my family was French Canadian and did not speak the French you learn in books which is Parisian.  While I cannot speak many languages, I know a priest who speaks five of them.  We are all called, and we are all able, to speak the most important language – a language nobody hears – and that’s the language of love and of Christ living in the world.  Whatever vocation and whatever circumstance in which you find yourself, bring Christ in.   Be the Good Samaritan.   Everybody sees that love.  Everybody can translate that language . . . . the universal language of Christ. 

I’ve told you this story before.  I don’t have that many years left as a priest, so I’ll share with you the stories I’ve got.  One day I was making my rounds in hospice at the VA, and two EMT’s wheeled in a patient.  They wanted to know which room the patient was going in.  The nurses were busy, so I told them and went down to the room with them.  To transfer a patient onto the bed, it really takes three people. One to grab the sheet, another to hold the head, and another to hold the feet.  Since there were only two EMT’s, I helped transfer the patient by holding his feet.  After we moved him, I went to the sink to wash my hands since I hadn’t used gloves.  One of the EMT’s who had been fairly rude to me earlier came over and said, “Thank you, Father.”   It was a big change from when they first came in even though I hadn’t done anything special.  One time a nurse asked me if I would help clean out a trachea tube which is not a real fun thing to do if you don’t have a strong stomach.  Sure.  “What did you do after that, Father?”  Lunch.  Cleaning the trachea tube didn’t bother me, and a man’s got to eat.  Anything you do to help someone, those acts of love, will be noticed.   They are things we do instinctively and perhaps with no forethought at all.  Something as simple as helping somebody with their shopping cart at Walmart by putting the cart back in its proper place so that it doesn’t go careening through the parking lot.  People will see those little acts of love.  It truly makes a difference because nowadays it’s so unusual.  But we are all called to do this as members of Christ’s Body. 

We are called to teach, evangelize, and to build up His Body which is His Church.  You were given the gift of tongue in Baptism because you were brought into the Body of Christ.  The gift of tongue is not a bunch of babbling.  Get some medicine, and you’ll be fine.   You don’t have to be a linguist . . . you have to be holy.  The gift of tongue is the gift of love by which we bring Christ’s love to the world.  God can work through even such a sinful creature as I am to bring Christ’s love and goodness to people.  You are no different than me – except better looking – God’s grace enables us to speak that one beautiful language of the Holy Spirit which is Christ and love.  And when people ask you how you can do that, you can tell them the reason is your Faith.  By the way, the reason is a Who and not a what.  So do those small acts of love; they always have an effect.  You never know.

Father’s Reflections . . . 

I learned from a highly placed, confidential source that things are crazy at Walmart.  It is Memorial Day weekend, and you can get great deals on all sorts of stuff like cars, mattresses, linens, appliances, and furniture.  It makes me so proud that I fought for our country!

How will you apply this message to your life?  ___________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories.”  Sermon Notes are also available on the church Facebook page at  Click on “Groups” and then “Sermon Notes.”

Sermon Notes – May 21, 2023 – The Apostles’ Last Sight of Christ

The Apostles’ Last Sight of Christ

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

May 20 – 21, 2023

Gospel:  John 17:1-11

1 After saying this, Jesus raised His eyes to Heaven and said: Father, the hour has come: glorify Your Son so that Your Son may glorify You; 2 so that, just as You have given Him power over all humanity, He may give eternal life to all those You have entrusted to Him. 3 And eternal life is this: to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  4 I have glorified You on earth by finishing the work that You gave Me to do.  5 Now, Father, glorify Me with that glory I had with You before ever the world existed. 6 I have revealed Your name to those whom You took from the world to give Me. They were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.7 Now at last they have recognized that all You have given Me comes from You 8 for I have given them the teaching You gave to Me, and they have indeed accepted it and know for certain that I came from You, and have believed that it was You who sent Me.  9 It is for them that I pray. I am not praying for the world but for those You have given Me, because they belong to You. 10 All I have is Yours and all You have is Mine, and in them I am glorified. 11 I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep those You have given Me true to Your name, so that they may be one like Us.

“Go forth and baptize.  Make disciples of all nations.”  This Gospel is called the Gospel of the Great Commission.  And there has been a debate about what it really means.  Does it mean we need 16 extra collections during the year?  I mean it’s a fair question.  Do we need 55+/- commissions and agencies in the diocese?   I don’t think that was what the statement in the Gospel meant.   It did not mention Catholic Social Services in that statement.  I’m just saying.  Everybody has commissions and agencies.  Guess who has to raise the money to support them – we do.   How many Catholics have we gained?  How many people have come to our Good Lord?  Very few and hopefully more than I think.  After years of this stuff, sometimes you can become a bit negative.  

Today we commemorate our Lord’s ascension to Heaven with the body and human nature He took from the Blessed Mother which were assumed into His divine nature.  The one with which He taught, healed, suffered, was redeemed with, and took to Heaven.  Now, the people in this parish have a better than average intelligence. So, I want to ask you this great theological question . . . What was the last vision the apostles had of our Lord in the flesh?   His feet.  He was taken up to Heaven, and the last thing they saw were His feet.  What was so remarkable about His feet?  The nail prints where they drove in the spikes to hold Him captive on the Cross.  That’s the last thing the apostles saw of our Lord.  He took that scarred body and brought it into the presence of God Himself.  

What do those scars and sacred wounds show us?   They show us how bad sin is and how much love God has for us to allow Himself to undergo such a terrible execution so that we could be restored to God’s friendship.   That great act of sacrifice is always before God the Father pleading on our behalf.   While on the Cross, Christ said, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”   That’s a prayer for us and a sign of love.  That prayer is always before the Father on our behalf and a reminder of His great love for us.   

We should contemplate that Christ took our human nature to Heaven.  Next week, I’ll tell you what He’s going to do with our human nature.  I want to keep you in suspense so that you come back next week.   But He will do something special with our human nature.  He is now in Heaven interceding for us.  In the Gospel He said, “I am going to prepare a place for you.  I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be” (John 14:2-3).         

The last physical sight the apostles had of our Lord were His feet.  The same feet He walked the Earth with.  So, He knows our sufferings, and He knows how bad our sins are.  How much He loves us can be seen by the nail marks on His feet.  And because of His great love for us, He intercedes on our behalf before the Father. 

Father’s Reflections . . .I learned a very valuable thing on Thursday night.  It reinforced something that I always thought – I hate Charlotte.  Just driving down there sucks the life right out of you.  I saw a State Trooper pull somebody over on Hwy 485 and I thought, “there is one brave guy!”  I felt better in Iraq.  “What do you mean?”  I had several heavily armed men with me in Iraq.  We didn’t take any lip.  

How will you apply this message to your life?  ___________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” and then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories.”  Sermon Notes are also available on the church Facebook page at  Click on “Groups” and then “Sermon Notes.”

Sermon Notes – May 14, 2023 – Grace Builds Upon Grace

Grace Builds Upon Grace

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

May 13 – 14, 2023

Gospel: John 14:15-21

In Latin, the word “Sacrament” means “mystery.”  So, why does God give us the Sacraments?  Through the Sacraments, He gives us the fruits of His suffering, death, and resurrection for the life of our souls.  The Sacraments (Baptism, Marriage, Holy Orders, Last Rites, Confirmation, Holy Communion, and Confession) are given at various times.  In Eastern Rite churches, Confirmation is called chrismation and is given at birth along with baptism.  I prefer it that way.  It’s like giving children all their shots early so they don’t get sick.   

The Sacrament of Confirmation is a strengthening Sacrament and helps you fight temptations if you use it.  To use it, you must practice your faith. . . . Mass on Sundays, Confession at least once a year, and prayer.  Now, I am a man of no talent while my brother had many talents.  I enjoy people who have talents, and I wish I had them.  Frankie has a wonderful talent.  She reads a foreign language called music.  That is totally foreign to me.  I took some music appreciation courses in college because they were easy A’s.  To get as good as Frankie is, she had to practice constantly; otherwise, she would lose her talent.  It’s just like your muscles; if you don’t use them, they atrophy.  It’s the same for the grace God offers us for our souls.  God gives you the gift of Himself to help you in this world and to keep you holy.  By staying holy, you evangelize.  For example, when you say to people, “I don’t do that” and they say “Why not?  Everybody else does it.”  And you say, “Because it’s not right.  It’s not Christ-like.”  That’s evangelization.  That’s someone who has a Christian backbone and stands up to what’s not right.   God gives you this grace which is fortified by prayer.  You never lose it.  If you commit a grave sin, it becomes dormant because sin drives God out of your soul.   But He is always willing to come back.  That’s the beauty of God’s love.  He never writes any of us off.  At the VA, I don’t ask patients if they want Last Rites because they are going to get it whether they want it or not.  I’m not going to ask.  They will have Last Rites because it’s a sign of God’s love.

God gives Himself to us so that we may have eternal life.   When we receive the Sacraments for the first time like Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage, it’s so exciting.  However, after the first or second time, Confession kind of feels mundane or ordinary.  But it’s not ordinary.  Just because it’s not like the first time doesn’t mean it’s not as good or that you aren’t doing it right.  In fact, it’s just the opposite.  It means you are doing it right, because one grace from the Sacraments builds upon another and strengthens your will.  Grace builds upon grace. 

When you cooperate with the grace from the Sacraments, you grow in God’s love.  A word of caution- when we draw closer to God, it catches the devil’s attention, and he will really come after us.  Now, do you always feel yourself growing closer to God?  No.  For example, many of us are on blood pressure medicine.  You really don’t feel it working, but it’s easy to find out by using a sphygmomanometer.  Thunk!   Just because you don’t feel it, doesn’t mean it’s not working.  That’s a temptation of the devil.   What that lack of sensory excitement means is that your love for God is becoming deeper and more ingrained.  You know what the happiest day of a married couple should be?  The day that one leaves to see Jesus.  Not because you want to see Jesus – although that’s a good idea – and not because you are rid of them – till death do us part is not a hope and prayer.  It’s because that love should have kept on building over all the years and becoming deeper.  It is deeper because the love you have as a 40-year-old is not the same as when you were first married in your 20’s.  It is deeper.  Hopefully, you’ve changed by growing in holiness.  Saying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a lot different for me than it was 38 years ago when I was a young priest.  I’ve said Mass in some unusual places.  I got to say Mass at the cathedral with the bishop.  Woo-hoo!   But each Mass was deeper than the earlier ones.  So, you mustn’t give into the devil’s temptation by saying, “Oh, I’m not getting anything out of the Sacraments.”   Of course, you are.  You may not feel it, but you are.  Otherwise, you are denying His power.  In the Gospel, Christ said, “And I will put my spirit within you.…” (Ezekiel 36:27).  How does His spirit come within you?   It comes through the Sacraments.  So, if you say you’re getting nothing from the Sacraments, you are denying the Gospel.  If you say, “I get nothing out of the Mass,” that’s okay – you aren’t supposed to.  You come to give of yourself.  You give yourself into my hands, and I, acting in the person of Christ, emulate with you Christ’s sacrifice on the altar as an offering to the Father.  You are united to His suffering, and I give you back your life in Holy Communion. 

I want to thank all the teachers who helped with Faith Formation this year.  It was a wonderful year.  It’s hard to do because we live in a very un-Christian society.  I appreciate the sacrifice; I really do.  Never think that your sacrifice goes unnoticed.  You will be repaid for anything you do for the love of God.   But you’ll never know when.  He will reward you for any small act of love you do for Him.  Give of yourself totally in the Mass.  Everybody has problems and they bring them here.  Make an intellectual prayer:  “I offer myself totally to you.”  And with that offering, you become part of Christ’s sacrifice.   From that offering, you give back to yourself.  More than that, He gives Himself to you.  

Father’s Reflections . . . Yesterday was kind of fun.  People were all dressed up for Confirmation although that’s not a requirement.  They really looked good.  Even Tom Adams looked like he was ready for Hartsell’s Funeral Home.  Last night, we had 14 Confirmations and one First Communion.  It was an interesting day.   I administered five of the seven Sacraments.  If I had performed a marriage ceremony, it would have been six Sacraments.  The remaining sacrament is Holy Orders which only a bishop can administer.   Finally, I am sad to announce that Ms. Dottie is retiring after almost 50 years of teaching Faith Formation.  We’ll leave the light on just in case she changes her mind.  She will be missed. 

How will you apply this message to your life?

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories.”  Sermon Notes are also available on the church Facebook page at  Click on “Groups” and then “Sermon Notes.”

Sermon Notes – May 7, 2023 – Lack of Knowledge is Not the Problem

Lack of Knowledge is Not the Problem

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

May 6 – 7, 2023

Gospel: John  14:1-12

Saint Thomas said, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; How can we know the way?”  Jesus told them the way . . . “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”   And throughout His ministry, He spelled out exactly what we need to do to get to Heaven.  A lack of knowledge is not our problem; otherwise I could give you some books, Liz could give you a quiz, and you’d be done and on your way to Heaven.    If a lack of knowledge was the problem, every bishop, every priest, and every cardinal would be a saint.  They all have those initials after their names.  I have initials after my name, but all that proves is that I can take tests.  Taking the knowledge and applying it is the key.  “We want to do it, but we lack the will.”   No.  It’s not a lack of will.  We want to decide for God what is best for us.  We don’t want to be told, and we don’t want to follow.  It’s also not that we lack the strength to do His Will, because God has given us the means to do His Will by prayer and the Sacraments.    He offers to share His divine life which gives us the power to do what must be done.   We return His love by renouncing ourselves and doing what He asks of us.  To be a follower of Christ, we must renounce our very selves and take up our cross.  “Who said?”   I’m just reading the black part from Scripture.  We must renounce our will and do what Christ has asked us to do.  He doesn’t ask us to make judgement calls on what is right or wrong.  He said, “Do what I ask you to do.”  And He was very plain about it.  He is very precise in His directions about what to do and what not to do. 

What is the biggest impediment to following His Will?  Two words . . .  our will.  “Unless you leave your father and mother you cannot be my disciple.”  Now, He was using hyperbole.  The Fourth Commandment is to take care of your parents when they cannot care for themselves.  “Sell everything you have, give it to the poor, and follow me.”   Nope.  Not doing that.  “You can have only one wife until death takes care of her or you.”  Can’t do that either.  The biggest impediment is our will.  But we have to give up our will in order to do His.  Jesus said, “I have come to do the Will of My Father,” and He showed us an example to the point of His suffering and death.  

The most difficult vow a priest takes is obedience.  When I was home, even then I got phone calls because everything is an emergency that only I can handle.  Some day I will take the big “dirt nap” and someone else will have to fill in while someone fills me in up North.  Anyway, the call was from the Chancellor who wanted to know when I was going to schedule vicariate meetings because I’m the vicar and apparently a monsignor too.  I heard that the visiting priest gave me a promotion.  That was awfully nice of him.  I feel really good about myself now!   So, the Chancellor said that Monsignor Winslow wanted me to schedule the meetings.  The Chancellor knew I was away.  I’m on vacation; leave me alone! 
I told the Chancellor that I really couldn’t do it because I was on vacation.  Well, he wouldn’t let it go, and I really wanted to tell him some things that would not have been politically beneficial to me and disobedient.  I knew better.  I would have been out of here in a second.  I’ve got a good gig going here, so I said, “Yes, Monsignor.  I will do it.”   And that’s the hardest part.  It wasn’t the task itself; that was just a phone call and a few notes.  No problem.  It’s the renunciation of the will . . . to imitate Christ and do the Will of the Father. 

There are two parts of the will:  1) objective by following a command by those we owe obedience to and 2) subjective ascent.  Subjective ascent is the hardest of them all.  If you say, “Yes Monsignor.  Yes Monsignor” but in your mind you are thinking, “Take that, Monsignor.”   Don’t let that bad voice come out, otherwise it might not be pleasant.  That’s the hardest part of turning your will over to God.  When Adam and Eve walked with God and talked with God as the old hymn goes, they had one thing to do, and they screwed it up.  And here we are.  It is hard to restrain our will both exteriorly by objective obedience and interiorly by interior sin.  And that’s what we have to work on.  That’s why we pray and do Penance.  “But, I’m not getting anything out of prayer.”  You’re not getting anything out of prayer?  “No.”  Great, you’re not supposed to.  Prayer is a gift for the other.  “I don’t like going to hospitals.  There are sick people there.”   Yeah, I know.  But what the heck, you’re an outpatient and you get to leave.  It’s not about you.  I’d like it to be all about me.  But it’s not. 

You know the way to salvation.  Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”   We imitate Christ which is obedience to the Father by obeying the Father’s Will.  We obey His Will by keeping His Commandments.  Exteriorly, it is very difficult.  Interiorly is the most difficult and that’s what we work on daily, even hourly and minute by minute.  Renunciation of our will is the key to salvation.  It’s not the lack of knowledge.

Father’s Reflections . . .

Yes, I’m back from vacation.  It was an interesting flight.  I overheard a member of the flight crew talking about her plans to kick her boyfriend to the curb.  An in-flight show . . . I like it!   I’ll give you three stories about my vacation.  On the advice of counsel, I can only tell you three.  While on vacation, I did some metal detecting.  I froze my behind out there, but I did find a small key.  I was having fun even though I felt like a frozen popsicle when I got back to the car.  I’ve lost my New England blood.  The other two stories really made me feel my age.  My cousin’s brother gave her $60 to buy lunch for her, my aunt, and me.  We only spent $30.  I must be losing it!   The third story left me shocked and stunned.  I graduated from Providence College in 1975.  The daughter of one of my classmates prepared dinner for a group of us.  We used to call ourselves “The Table.”   I took one look at my former classmates and said, “My God!  I didn’t bring my oils, so I can’t give you all Last Rites!  You guys are old!”  

How will you apply this message to your life?  ________________________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories.”  Sermon Notes are also available on the church Facebook page at  Click on “Groups” and then “Sermon Notes.”

Sermon Notes – April 23, 2023 – Either It is What It is or It Isn’t

Either It is What It is or It Isn’t

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

April 22 – 23, 2023

Gospel:  Luke 24:13-35

In the Gospel, there are many points.  So, start with the minor ones and then go on to the big ones.  Jesus taught us how to study Scripture.   He also taught us what we must do before Mass.  What must we do before Mass?  A famous word from one of the great spiritual directors is “Shut-Up!”  That’s because every time the apostles talked about the Bible, they got it wrong.  Every time our Lord asked them a question, they got it wrong.  The apostles were discussing Scripture one day while in Jerusalem and when our Lord showed up, He asked them, “What are you doing?”  They said, “Talking about Scripture.”  What did He tell them?  “You got it wrong!”  Then, for the better part of two hours, He taught them Scripture, because He is Scripture.  And in the presence of God, they listened.  He explained to them the meaning of the Bible.  Scripture study is not people sitting around a table and asking, “What do you think this is?”   It’s not that.  The Church teaches what Scripture is . . . not what we’d like it to be.  It’s a lot more complicated than just reading a book and saying, “Oh yeah.  I can do that.”  You have to listen to the experts. 

What resulted from the apostles’ time with Jesus?   During the Breaking of Bread (the Mass), their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him.  This is our faith.   Jesus is physically present on the altar and at the altar during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  What happens when we see our Lord in the Breaking of Bread during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?  The same as what happened to two of Jesus’ disciples as they were going to Emmaus which was near Jerusalem.   They were tired, but in the middle of the night they walked seven miles, most of it uphill.   Now most people are afraid to go outside at night even though we have great law enforcement.   Back then, there was no 911.   And the Roman soldiers didn’t patrol at night.  So, you were on your own . . . good luck!    But the disciples were no longer tired.  Instead, they were filled with joy and couldn’t wait to tell people, “We have seen the Lord.  We recognized Him in the Breaking of Bread.”  

This is what we preach for conversion.  Transubstantiation and the Real Presence of our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  This is our Faith.  This is what we preach.  This is what brings people to church.   And this is how we get converts to the Faith.   A good friend of mine, a Catholic priest, took Philosophy 101.  He said that during the first week of class they learned that “a thing is what it is or it isn’t.”   There is no in-between.  Would you want to eat a slightly poisonous salad?  Would you want to get slightly sick on Listeria?   No.  Either the food is good or it’s not.  Either it is or it isn’t.  A wrench is a wrench or it’s not.  You can’t use a pencil as a wrench.  It won’t work.  So, either you believe what Scripture says or you don’t.   
Christ is present in the Eucharist.  His true Real Presence is what draws people to the Faith.  We recognize Him with the eyes of faith and intellect.  Sometimes it affects the whole body . . . sometimes not.   But we recognize Him.  In church, everything is pointed to the Real Presence.  That’s why we kneel, stand, and genuflect.  Some people rather blasphemously call it Catholic aerobics – up and down, up and down.   By the way, do you know why we stand for the Gospel?   We stand out of respect for the Word of God because the Gospel contains the actual words of Christ.  So, we stand out of respect for His words, and we pray with our hearts.  This is what we proclaim.  This is what we profess.  And this is what we teach.  Paul came to that conclusion.  Paul taught people, and he admonished them that “Whoever eats and drinks the body of Christ unworthily is guilty of His death.”   If it’s just a symbol or just a community builder as some blasphemous people say, how can we be convicted of His death?  How can we be like Judas and be guilty of His death?   If His Body and Blood is just a symbol, then what’s the big deal?   

So, this is what we believe.  This is what we profess.  And this is what we tell people.   This is the good news.  What happened to the apostles and what happened to the two disciples enroute to Emmaus, is the same joy and the same Presence we have before us.

How will you apply this message to your life?  _______________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories.”  Sermon Notes are also available on the church Facebook page at  Click on “Groups” and then “Sermon Notes.”

Sermon Notes – April 16, 2023 – He Wants Your Garbage

He Wants Your Garbage

Father Peter Fitzgibbons

April 15 – 16, 2023

Gospel:  John 20:19-31

If you read the Acts of the Apostles, you learn that the Church is to evangelize by using prayers, the Mass, and the Breaking of the Bread.  Further along in the Gospels, Saint Paul said, “We preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23).   We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, which is what we always seem to do because we think we have a better way.  But it never quite works out, does it.  And it is painful and expensive on your part.  I had confirmation of this on Friday while I was having breakfast at a restaurant.  This man came up to me and said, “Excuse me.  I have to apologize because I didn’t know how to properly address you, so I asked someone, and they said to call you ‘Father’.”   Well, thank you!  That man was a Marine who was awarded two purple hearts in Vietnam because he was wounded in combat.   I was really impressed.  But the compliment wasn’t to me . . . it was to my Boss.  So, we must be doing something right here.   

We also want to pass all sorts of laws about inanimate objects.  Really?   How did that work out during Prohibition?  Not too well.  The problem is not an inanimate object; it’s a person.  Do you know what the most common murder weapon is?  A knife.  So, unless you want to gnaw on your food instead of using a knife, don’t ask for more laws. You have to change the person and not the inanimate object.  That’s why we must pass along the Faith.  

Now because it is Divine Mercy Sunday, I will ask you a question and it may frighten you.  What does our Lord want most from you when you come to church?   Don’t reach for your wallets.  Churches always say, “We need your time, talent, and treasure.”  When you hear that, it’s fertilizer and I’m being really, really nice.  He can do without all of that because He is God.  You know what Christ wants?  He wants the worst you have . . . He wants your sins.   He didn’t come down from the Cross and say, “I want your time, talent, and treasure.”  But He cannot forgive our sins unless we say, “God, I’m sorry.  This is what I have done.”  He will ask you to tell a priest who, according to the Gospels, acts in persona Christi.    God is all-powerful, but the one thing that He will not do is take your sins from you until you give them to Him.  He will not violate your free will. 

God gave the power to priests and bishops to celebrate the Mass and the Sacrifice of Christ which produces the Sacraments.  The apostles were told, “I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven” (Matthew 16:19).   But how do we know the difference?  It’s a good question.  Well, what are the three conditions for repentance?  Contrition, amendment, and the avoidance of sin.  Sin will find you.  So, if you don’t want to drink, don’t go into a bar.  There is always someone who will hand you a beer.   You cannot prevent everything but that’s the purpose of amendment.  If you are shacking up, you can’t be forgiven unless you say, “Hey, I’m moving out.”   Otherwise, you are just wanting permission.  But our Lord won’t take your sins unless you agree with Him. 

Now, the morals course I took consisted of two volumes of textbooks which we were tested on.  I also go to FU (Felon University) for refresher courses.   So, if you have committed a sin I haven’t heard during all my years of hearing confessions, I will name it after you.   You will be famous!  You’ll become an “influencer,” get on You-Tube, and make some bucks.  But you’re not that original . . . none of us are.  That’s the guilt, shame, fear, and remorse that sin does to us.  But once we get rid of all that garbage we hold so dear, God will give us His Most Precious Blood that flowed from His pierced side on the Cross and which fills the chalice at every Mass so that we may have peace in our souls.  During the Sacrament of Penance, the priest anoints our soul with His Most Precious Blood for the forgiveness of sin.  Our Lord came to reconcile us to Him so that we may have life and have it to the fullest.  He didn’t come to so that He could use our time, talent, treasure and all that propaganda doodoo.  He wants your sins. 

Take advantage of God’s love.  Give Him the worst that you’ve got . . . give Him your sins.  I cannot force you although I’d like to, but I can’t.  The greatest experience of God’s love is His mercy.  God is always offering us His great gift of love.  So, take advantage of it.  We make our lives a lot harder than they need to be, which makes the lives of those around us a lot harder than they should be.

Father’s Reflections . . .

An interesting thing happened to me yesterday.  I did a baptism and the mother and godmother asked, “Father, do you remember us?”   Um, would it hurt your feelings if I said ‘no’?   Nothing personal.  They said, “You baptized both of us.”   Oh God.  I’m getting old.  I baptized the parents and now I’m baptizing the kids.  I’ve been here a long, long time.  With therapy, you’ll get over it.  People ask, “Father, when you retire, will you move back north to be with your family?”  My family is in the cemetery, but I’ll be there soon enough.

How will you apply this message to your life?  _______________________________

You can read all of Father Fitzgibbons’ sermons by going to and clicking on “Blog” then “Categories” then “Sermon Notes.”  On a cell phone: click on “Blog” then “Menu” and then “Categories.”  Sermon Notes are also available on the church Facebook page at  Click on “Groups” and then “Sermon Notes.”