From wherever you have traveled or have been led on your spiritual journey, we, the Catholic community of Oneonta, are glad you are among us. We invite you to make yourself at home and consider joining our Christian way of life, worship and service.

An Advent-ish Lent?

A meditation on an quiet, empty church...

Is there anything lonelier than a table with no one to sit around it?  …or a folded, drooping table cloth waiting to be festively unfurled?  How solitary and black the candle wicks stand rather than aflame with light.

Cups, gaping with mouths wide open like fledglings awaiting to be filled on another day, are stored with plates piled with absence.  Sacred books stand like sentinels on shelves  because there is no one to read to; no one to speak of God’s mercy because there is no one to listen deep in the soul.

The room is silent as a deep blueish purple light progresses in opposition to the setting sun – an unusual and curious dance of pure colour and transcendent light.

Has everything been left abandoned as is to be covered in the dust of Miss Havisham’s mansion?  Or is everything waiting with great anticipation for God to act?

This year Advent and Lent, or is it Lent and Advent?  - commingle in an uneasy blueish purple space leaving us to both wonder, are we waiting or are we wandering?

The Virgin Mother in our midst...

Holy Mary, pray with and for us.

Our Mission Statement...

"To feed, care and connect"

To ponder...








An article by a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, VA was sent to me which caused me to reflect on our present Eucharistic situation.  He opened his article with: "The priest came in. . .and took out the altar stone and put it in his bag; then he burned the wads of wool with the holy oil on them and threw the ash outside; he emptied the holy water stoup and blew out the lamp in the sanctuary and left the tabernacle open and empty, as though from now on it was always to be Good Friday".

This scene from Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited, describes the priest coming to close the Marchmain family’s chapel.  The last line is telling: "as though from now on it was always to be Good Friday".  Our situation is not exactly like Good Friday and I question if that is the best analogy.

The necessary suspension of the Eucharist at this time, as on Good Friday, does cause sorrow for many of us.  But Good Friday is not the only day the Eucharist is not celebrated.  The Eucharist is also not celebrated on Holy Saturday and what a difference between those two liturgical days.  One is a day of great sorrow and the other a day of deep waiting and hope.  Sounds a lot like Advent, doesn’t it?   The two days are linked.  And how often in our lives do situations raise in us both sorrow and hope mingling within us and they cannot be separated.  But can we not draw attention to one emotion over the other?

Holy Saturday is the day within the Sacred Triduum that is probably the most misunderstood and overlooked by Christians.  But do we do so while missing out on an important part of the spiritual life.  The same might be said of Advent.  Holy Saturday commemorates the descent of Jesus into the realm of the death to bring forth from death all the just and righteous from Adam and Eve.  Eucharist is not celebrated on that day as we wait while Jesus destroys death by death itself and offers us eternal life!  A culture marked by an addiction(?) to immediacy, to the instant gratification of our desires, needs the Spirit’s gift of patience and waiting in hope.  Hope is like the fermenting of good choice wine, the aging of fine cheese, or the maturing of a friendship.  It just cannot be rushed.  We will again gather for Eucharist.  We just don’t know when.  Let us therefore wait in hope.  It is an extended Holy Saturday!

Holy Mary, who kept faith on Holy Saturday,

pray with and for us.

Saint Mary's during COVID-19...

  • All liturgical and devotional services are SUSPENDED/ CANCELED throughout the Diocese until further notice. All parish gatherings/meetings are CANCELED.

  • Saint Mary's Church is OPEN for individual prayer everyday from 8am - 4pm.

  • The Food Pantry is OPEN, but by appointment only. Please call 607-386-2623.  As of Monday, 23 March 2020 the Pantry is open on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.

  • For the protection and health of our staff the Parish Office is CLOSED.  If you need assistance please call, 607-432-3920 and leave a message.  For emergencies call 607-432-3920 Ext 6.

Stewardship in the Time of the Virus

Please remember that through this uncertain period, our Parish will continue to have financial obligations and a payroll.  Having said this, it is hoped that parishioners will continue to support Saint Mary's Parish as they have done so in the past.  Thank you.

Online Donating

Please Support...

...to the extend you are able our local shop owners and businesses. 

Quarantine humour!

Isaiah 26:20

"Go, my people, enter your chambers, and close your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the wrath is past."

Lent V - Gospel, Homily & Prayers

Lent IV - Gospel, Homily & Prayers

Video Archive

To view previously posted YouTube videos, click on Video Archives in the menu above.

Prayer @ Home

A positive upside to our quarantining, for the sake of the larger community, can be to discover, recover and/or deepen our home and family prayer.  Christians since the beginning have gathered and prayed at the dawn and the conclusion of the day marked by the rising and setting of the sun.   Morning Prayer (Lauds) praises God for the Resurrection while Evening Prayer (Vespers) thanks God for the goodness of the day and asks for the forgiveness of any sins.   This developed into what became known as the Divine Office; today, The Liturgy of the Hours

The full Liturgy of the Hours can be accessed on the web each day at www.universalis.com/lauds.htm and www.universalis.com/vespers.htm .  You need not pray the entire Office just use the psalms and canticles to begin.  Pause at the end of each line of the psalm and savour the Word of God.

The time honoured prayer of the Rosary as an individual or family when prayed with thought and synced to our breathing can bring calm to a person and allow the Holy Spirit to enter our being.  For now simplify the pray and omit the Mysteries and added prayers from the past.  Just let the beads gently move through your hands, as they did for my grandmother, as you pray the Aves.   A full rosary is 150 Aves which coincided with the 150 Psalms.

Though the Eucharist cannot be celebrated at this time, you can meditate on the daily readings of the Mass.  Go to the website of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops at www.usccb.org and click the day on the calendar.

Don't forget The Little Black Books of Lenten meditations.  Daily Mass can be watched on line as well.  See below.  We may not be able to physically gather but we can pray together in spirit. 

Daily Eucharist...

Click HERE for live-streamed Masses from various parishes throughout our Albany Diocese.

Click the website address below for Mass with Pope Francis.


Meditations - The Stations of the Cross

Confession in a Time of Quarantine

Pope Francis has recently drawn attention to the fact that, before Easter, many faithful go to Confession to meet with God again. “However,” he acknowledged, “many will say to me today: ‘But, Father, where can I find a priest, a confessor, because one can’t leave home? And I want to make peace with the Lord, I want Him to embrace me, that my Papa embrace me . . . What can I do if I can’t find priests?’”

“Do what the Catechism says,” the Pope stressed, “it’s very clear: if you don’t find a priest to hear your Confession, talk with God, He is your Father, and tell Him the truth: ‘Lord, I’ve done this, and that, and that .  . . I’m sorry,’ and ask Him for forgiveness with all your heart, with the Act of Contrition and promise Him: ‘Afterwards I will go to Confession, but forgive me now.’”

“If you do all this,” Francis said, “you will return to God’s grace immediately. As the Catechism teaches,” he reminded, “you yourself can approach God’s forgiveness without having a priest at hand. Think: ‘it’s the moment!’ And this is the right moment, the opportune moment. An Act of Contrition well made,” Francis said, “will make our soul become white as snow.”

– Pope Francis, Friday of the Third Week in Lent, 20 March 2020

An Act of Contrition

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,
I have sinned against You, whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance,
to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin

A Prayer for Balance & Calm

Merciful and compassionate God, may we who are merely inconvenienced, remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors, remember those most vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home, remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children, remember those parents who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips, remember those who have no place to go.

May we who are losing our margin of money, remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home, remember those who have no home.

During this time when we must refrain from embraces, may we discover new ways to hold each other so as to dispel our fears.

We ask this of you O God, who have been there for us in the past, through your Son, Jesus, who was the calm in the boat in the midst of the storm, and now lives and reigns with you and the Life-Giving Holy Spirit, our God forever and ever. Amen!

Created by The Interfaith Hospitality Network of Cincinnati; modified by DWM

Managing Stress during Difficult Times


We are all under a lot of stress and anxiety at the moment.  The reality that God is the One we turn to and is the true source of our comfort and our hope. Together as a people of prayer may we hold each other in prayer.  Here are a few more ways to manage your anxiety and worry:

  1. Breathe. When people are anxious, they tend to breath from the upper chest. “Gut” breathing is the antidote to anxiety. Here’s a YouTube video on relaxation breathing to learn how to do this.
  2. Take time every day to relax and just be. Read a novel. Listen to music. Play an instrument. Go out for a walk or run or bike ride (if allowed). Garden. Find something physical to do. DO something that you love to do. We need to affirm the goodness of the world in a time of fear.
  3. Be honest with yourself about your worry and your fear. It is normal. We have never been through anything like this before. The uncertainty of everyday plays into our fear. Look to the Cross for calm and centering.
  4. Try to connect with others every day using whatever means you have. A phone call or text or Facetime can lift our spirits. Isolation will only add to our anxiety and fear.
  5. Limit the amount of exposure to social media and news. Stay informed, but watching 24 hours a day is like pouring gasoline on a fire.
  6. Try to find some humor in some of what is happening.
  7. Eat healthy meals. Comfort food is ok; but, too much is not healthy. Sometimes too much caffeine will mimic anxiety. It may be a good idea to limit how much coffee, soda, etc. you take in at this time.
  8. Remember, this will come to an end. We are  people who see hope in a cross and a tomb.
  9. Limit the amount of exposure to social media and news. Stay informed, but watching 24 hours a day is like pouring gasoline on a fire.
  10. Pray as you always do.

Father Thomas Konopka, L.C.S.W., is the director and a therapist on the staff of the diocesan Consultation Center. He is also Pastor of St. Mary's Church, Clinton Heights, and sacramental minister for the parish of St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph, Rensselaer.

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Spiritual Direction





The role of the Catholic Spiritual Director is to assist an individual  on their own personal path of spiritual growth.  A spiritual director  listens and offers insight to assist an individual to discern the unique way that God is calling them to live a life of faith and to recognize the guidance of the Holy Spirit so as to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ.

We offer two links below for people seeking to enter into this kind of relationship for spiritual growth.

The Consultation Center of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese offers information about Spiritual Direction on their website which includes a listing of trained spiritual directors


Spiritual Director, Cindy Korb, a parishioner of St. Mary’s Parish in Oneonta.