A blessed Palm Sunday to everyone.

Jesus entered in Jerusalem with the crowd shouting hosanna in the highest. And in a few short days they would turn that into crucify him, crucify him. But just when all seems to be lost, Jesus would lay down his life for you, for me, for everyone, for the forgiveness of sins, and in doing so we gain eternal life. That’s why in my optimism I firmly believe, that God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.

With the coming of Holy Week, we will be together in our prayers and in our love for our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Please take some special time this coming Good Friday between 12 noon and 3 pm to remember that Jesus loves you so much that if you were the only one on earth, He would still go to the cross for you. If possible, remain quiet and just know that God loves you so very much. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

May the blessings of the Easter season be always with you. 

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

Fr Mike ✝


A Letter from our Pastor

December 17, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

Over the last year, the parish leaders and I have shared with you that our eight parishes in Greene County and Ravena, which we are temporarily calling “Hudson Valley Vicariate West Network”, will be working closely and cooperatively to bring the mission of Jesus Christ to our parishioners and to all who wish to hear his saving word.  To facilitate this, Bishop Scharfenberger recently named me pastor of all our network parishes.

In these challenging times, our current administrative structure is not sustainable.  We must become more effective, efficient, creative, and collaborative.  After careful study and consideration, we have decided to form a central administrative office, for now located at St. Patrick’s in Catskill, to centralize key administrative work needed to support the function of our parish regional network.  Dawn Brownson will be our Director of Business and Operations.  Four newly designed administrative positions have been created and will be filled to support network-wide operations.  We will be accepting applications very soon and plan to have all administrative positions filled to move forward by the end of January.  Be assured that we will honor the years of loyalty and service of any current, dedicated office staff members who do not find an administrative position in the new structure.

With your help as parish volunteers, we intend to continue offering you convenient and accessible ways to satisfy the needs currently received in the parish offices including bringing office services to you at Mass.  If you would like to be part of our parish office volunteers, please contact Dawn Brownson and she will provide you with details.  We will implement this important ministry across the whole network as we recruit and train the necessary volunteers. 

As we make this transition, there will be times when, despite the best intentions, something may not work, and we’ll need to review and retool what we are doing to serve you.  Would you please do three things for us? 

  • Please pray for our parishes and our leadership during this transition 
  • Please be patient with us as we try to do things in new ways
  • Please discern how you and your gifts could serve our parishes as a volunteer 

We foresee an active and involved laity as critical to the future life in our parishes and in our larger parish network.  Once we have our administrative office running smoothly, we will set up forums for you to participate in the discussion, planning, and visioning for the future of our network.  Please listen for invitations and announcements at Mass, check our social media and websites and read our bulletins and newsletters.  We are excited about the future, and we need your help.        

May you and your families enjoy abundant Advent and Christmas Blessings all in the Name of Jesus who makes all things new!

Fr. Jay Atherton, Pastor

For volunteer ministry interest, contact Dawn Brownson:

To view Network Job Postings, visit:



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.