A Leadership Update from Archangel Gabriel School President Dr. Christine Assetta Regarding Nominations for School Advisory Council

06-23-2019Weekly ReflectionDr. Christine Assetta

At Fr. Dave's request, this week's administrative message comes from the president of the new Archangel Gabriel School, Dr. Christine Assetta.

Archangel Gabriel School Principal Mrs. Militzer and I are appreciative of the warm welcome we are receiving from the Archangel Gabriel School community as well as the parishioners from RocKenRo Catholic grouping of Holy Trinity, St. John of God, and St. Malachy. As an instructional leadership team, we feel blessed to work together to achieve a common goal. We are both committed to establishing AGS as an educational institution that focuses on Catholic values and academic excellence. Through our efforts and the direct involvement of our AGS and RocKenRo community, we strive to create an exemplary model of a Pre-K-8 Catholic School in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.



06-16-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. David Poecking

Over the coming weeks, I'll be assembling many data. Some of the data will be qualitative, an effort to get to the heart of what it feels like to be a member of one of our parishes or worship regularly at one of our churches. Some of the data will be quantitative, as in the table below.

  Holy Trinity St. John of God* St. Malachy
Seating capacity 720 750 800
# of weekend Masses 5 2 3
Reported average week 1676 816 830
On-site parking 300 100 136
2017 Baptisms 60 31 33
2017 Confirmations 69 19 49
2017 Marriages 12 5 11
2017 Funerals 50 98


*St. John of God Parish has a second church, Mother of Sorrows, not currently in regular use.



06-09-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. David Poecking

I call to your attention to this teaching from the bishops at the Second Vatican Council:

Christ, the one Mediator, established and continually sustains here on earth His holy Church, the community of faith, hope and charity, as an entity with visible delineation through which He communicated truth and grace to all. But, the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, are not to be considered as two realities, nor are the visible assembly and the spiritual community, nor the earthly Church and the Church enriched with heavenly things; rather they form one complex reality which coalesces from a divine and a human element. For this reason, by no weak analogy, it is compared to the mystery of the incarnate Word. As the assumed nature inseparably united to Him, serves the divine Word as a living organ of salvation, so, in a similar way, does the visible social structure of the Church serve the Spirit of Christ, who vivifies it, in the building up of the body.

Lumen gentium 8

Trigger Warning

06-02-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. David Poecking

"Trigger Warning" In the 16th century, the Catholic Church was afflicted by extensive episcopal corruption, angry schism in the English and Protestant Reformations, and political entanglements like the Spanish Inquisition. The Holy Spirit raised up Saint Philip Neri, a priest in Rome, and gave him the gifts of faith, love, good humor, and a lively sense of the ridiculous. St. Philip's legendary humor burst the prideful bubbles of pompous clergymen. When Christians were inclined to take themselves too seriously, indulging in self-congratulatory "reverence" or hand-wringing anxiety about the decline of the Church, Philip's wry piety helped them find new hope in Christ.


On Mission for The Church Alive! Recap

05-19-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. David Poecking

Recent events suggest that a few have missed important announcements from the Church of Pittsburgh these past three years. I trust, however, that some of you are not entirely oblivious. So I beg your patience as I remind you that we are On Mission for The Church A live!. That means all Catholic parishes, schools, and other institutions across the Church of Pittsburgh, including even the diocesan administration, are undergoing a dramatic reorganization. Our goal is to turn our increasingly limited resources in priests, volunteers, worshipers, and funds away from the maintenance of a multiplicity of institutions and toward a renewed focus on our mission to proclaim the gospel, administer the sacraments, and care for the people.

First to be affected last year were the clergy, many of whom were reassigned, and almost all of whom received expanded mandates to care for several communities. At RocKenRo, Fr. Bob Zajdel and Dcn. Tim Killmeyer stayed in their current assignments but received new responsibilities for all the parishes of RocKenRo. Meanwhile, Frs. Alan Morris, Michael Ruffalo, and I left our previous pastorates to serve at RocKenRo.


The Good Shepherd

05-19-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. David Poecking

The fourth Sunday of the Easter season is often called "Good Shepherd Sunday," because the readings for the day always come from the passage in the Gospel of John where Jesus speaks of himself as the "good Shepherd" and his disciples as his sheep. Shepherds:

  • protect sheep from predators;
  • lead sheep to places where there is sufficient grass and water; and
  • bring sheep to the place of shearing, where their wool is taken and the sheep thus fulfill the purpose for which they have been bred.

Christ is Alive!

05-05-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. David Poecking

Pope Francis recently published an apostolic exhortation, Christus vivit ("Christ is Alive!"). I quote here his remarks about Catholic schools - not because all his praises or criticisms necessarily apply to our current schools, but because I want to consider these things as we envision out future, both Archangel Gabriel School and for evangelization in the RocKenRo grouping of parishes. The whol exhortations can easily be found on the Vatican website.