Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you”.

In this week’s Gospel, St. Matthew tells us about St. John, who was known as the Baptist. St John tells us to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. St. John was a very humble man who proclaims that he would not be “worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of His sandals”. In this statement, we take the words that are said in the Eucharistic prayer, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my sole shall be healed.”  No one could possibly be worthy of the Lord God, yet it is God who has called each of us to minister to Him. Not because we are worthy, but because we are not. It’s the great oxymoron. Although no one can be worthy of God’s love and mercy, we are made worthy through his grace and thus we are unworthily worthy. God knows our sinfulness, our weaknesses, and our strengths. And even with all of this, He still calls us to do the special task each and every one of us has been given.

During this beautiful season of Advent, as we all prepare for the birth of Christ, may you all be blessed knowing that you are so very special and so loved by our God. Many Advent joys be upon you.

May God’s love and mercy always remain in your heart. Amen!

Fr Mike ✝


M O R T A L   S I N

What is a MORTAL sin? What is a VENIAL sin? Why must we confess them to a priest? Or why not?

Definition – Mortal sin.

          It must derive from the following formula:

  1. Be of GRAVE MATTER or Serious matter
  2. FULL KNOWLWDGE knowing its wrong
  3. COMPLETE CONSENT to do it anyway

If any ONE of these is missing, then technically, it’s not a mortal sin. To be MORTAL, we knowingly and willingly and of our own free will, separate ourselves from God’s love.

The word MORTAL stems from the word MORT meaning death. This type of sin must be brought to confession to a priest as soon as possible. Any violation of the Ten Commandments is considered a MORTAL SIN.

Any other sin is considered a Venial sin and can be forgiven through a sincere act of contrition.

Examples of MORTAL sins: Murder, killing (abortion), taking the Lord’s name in vain, missing mass intentionally, adultery, stealing, not honoring your father and mother, etc. are all mortal sins. 


Why do we as Catholics have to go to confession to have our sins forgiven? Why can’t we just tell God we are sorry and that’s all?

Confession is perhaps the oldest of all means of ridding ourselves of the burden of sins. To say you are sorry is a wonderful thing and necessary for a contrite heart to be real. We are made by our God to be in full communion with him and each other. We are made for love, to be loved and to give love, for God is love and his love is supreme. And thus, when we sin, this relationship is broken and must be amended as soon as possible.

So, when we approach a priest, don’t worry about what you are to say or where do you begin or worry about past sins you forgot the last time you went to confession. Don’t worry about the details. It’s OK! God knows, and is very pleased that you came to him. His love for you is greater than you can imagine and his forgiveness and absolution is just moments away.

So, after declaring your sins to the priest, just say three simple words in the presence of the priest. Three words from your heart, namely, “I am sorry”, and know that God forgives everything. In the speaking of these words, a real healing takes place that can’t take place in any other way. You ask for forgiveness and say you are sorry, and God says in reply, I forgive you and your sins are forgiven. Your relationship is now re-established with the Lord. This can’t be done by you alone. God’s plan, the sacraments, was designed to be a communal activity. It is part of God’s plan for our salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. With Jesus, the priest as Persona Christi, and you, forgiveness is given and complete.


Penance also dates way back in history. It is the act of recovery or action as an outward sign of being sorry for your sins. The priest will assign an action or prayer(s) as a penance. The priest acts as a Spiritual Director at this time, and through the Holy Spirit will ask the penitent to do this penance before receiving Holy Communion.


In essence, this is apologizing for your sin(s) to God. There is NO formula. Just say you are sorry in any way you desire. Have a contrite heart, and be sincere when you say you will try to do better in the future, by amending your life, changing your life to avoid the sins of the past.

The common prayer, known as the Act of Contrition, is often used. You may bring a copy, or the priest can assist you in proclaiming this prayer.



This is the very act of total forgiveness of all sins by the Holy Spirit, to the penitent, in the presence of a Catholic Priest. The priest, through Apostolic Succession, becomes “Persona Christi”, the very person of Christ. When Jesus gave the authority to forgive sins to His apostles, that authority has been passed down to the bishops and his priests over the centuries. This authority given to all priests, gives the complete and total absolving of all sins. And God has opened his arms to welcoming you home into his loving and embracing arms. Then the priest says the beautiful prayer and words of absolution, “May God grant you peace and pardon,” and this is a very special grace from God. “and I absolve you of all your sins”.

In the Gospel of John: 20, we hear Jesus say to his apostles, “whose sins you forgive are forgiven them”. “Jesus is the priest behind the priest” as Fulton J Sheen once said. This communal action is now completed. Go in peace and sin no more.

News & Events

Starting immediately, our NEW memorial wall at St Patrick’s in both Catskill and Athens, will have a cross placed on it for each soul that was burred from St. Patrick’s Church. The cross will have the deceased name and date of death on it and will remain on our memorial wall to be honored at every mass for one year. 

At the end of one year from the death of that person, it will be taken down and given to the family of the deceased.

Please stay tuned for future announcements.