Baptism of Jesus

Last Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan. You know this is an unusual feast. Why was Jesus baptized? All accounts agree that John the Baptist was a Baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin. How could our Lord repent when he had nothing sinful to regret? By going into the water he had to be going through the motions. Otherwise his submission to John would be an admission of sin, and that could not be. I offer you three reasons for the Baptism of Jesus:

Firstly, Jesus was baptized for our example - to underline the importance of repentance. Jesus was effectively bolstering the message of John, to encourage the people to repent.

Secondly, the baptism of Jesus is an occasion of revelation. It reminds us of who and what he was. After the baptism, "The Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.'" So a baptism which seems to merge him in the crowd in reality sets him apart. The sinner is really our savior. Mark made our Lord's baptism the first act of his public ministry. What John does in his Prologue (John Chap.1) and Matthew and Luke in their infancy narratives, Mark does here.
Thirdly, the baptism of Jesus is a sign of his love. The Gospel echoes in particular several passages in the Book of Isaiah where the Messiah is called the Suffering Servant of God. Mark links the Baptism of Jesus and the notion of Servant. This baptism is more than a simple use of water; it is a dedication rather like a priestly ordination to a life of service to the people of God. Jesus came to be a servant to us his followers. Jesus entered our lives at love-level when he became man as one of us, and he did it again in a public way at his baptism. we can be thankful tat secure in Christ's love we are all God's children, and we can call God, our loving father Abba.

Of course in order to become God's special children we need to be baptized "in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost." The earliest followers of Jesus were all Jews, and circumcision was their hallmark. When Paul went to the Gentiles he began to baptize them and stopped circumcision. This practice would have horrified many Greeks, among others. So baptism became the requirement to become a Christian, and hence this is another reason for highlighting the baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan.
Baptism is a wonderful sacrament which we usually celebrate in the Parish Church, the place where the Christian local community worships, in the presence of the baptisee's family. Baptism gives a person all the rights of being a Christian, and is a joyful occasion. The ceremony is full of symbolism and indeed it is a subject which I must speak with you all about in an upcoming article. Baptism is a very important event for the Christian community.

Saint Patrick's Parade

The Irish American Society (IAS) of Nassau,Suffolk and Queens Inc., will host The 63rd Annual Saint Patrick's Parade on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at Mineola. This parade is sponsored by the IAS and the Grand marshal this year will be Mr. Patrick J. Sexton. The Aides to the Grand marshal will be Maureen Clark, Ed Friel, Louise McCann and Patrick Smith. To help defray expenses the society is publishing an attractive and skillfully printed Parade Journal. People who are interested in supporting this journal for such a worthy cause are asked to contact any of the journal committee members at 516-746-9392 or 516-742-8080. Email is

The Officers of the IAS are Patrick Kerins Jr., President; Jeff Clark, Parade Chairman; and John Doyle, Parade Co. Chairman.

The Journal Committee consists of Aileen Scott, Betty McLoughlin and Margaret Frankola.

The Mineola Parade is a wonderful annual event which shows the Irish heritage at its best. The people come out in their thousands to honor the feast of St. Patrick, Patron of Ireland. I am also very pleased to see my good friend P.J. Sexton being chosen as Grand Marshal for this year's event. So we look forward to having a great day on March 3, 2013.

The 38th Annual Brooklyn St. Patricks Parade will take place on Sunday March 17, 2013 in historic Park Slope, under the auspices of the Brooklyn Irish American Parade Committee. There will be an Annual Parade Souvenir Journal in conjunction with the Parade Installation Dance to be held on Saturday night February 2nd (from 8-12) at St. Patrick's Hall, 4th Ave. and 97 Street Brooklyn. You may send greeting to the Parade Honorees; advertise your business; or take an ad in memory of a loved one. The Parade Chairperson is James McDonagh; Co.-Chairperson is Michelle Brennan; Parade Journal Chairperson is Kathleen McDonagh; public relations officer is Joe Ferris. To take a journal advertisement please contact 718- 499-9482 or 718-941-2887.

This is an excellent parade which this year takes place actually on St. Patrick's Day. The Grand Marshal is Robert O'Hare, Pipe Major, Clann Eireann Pipers.

The Aides to the Grand Marshal are Michael McMahon (Business); Bridie Tully (Irish Culture); Noreen O'Donnell-Mills (Education); Mary Lennon (Gaelic Sports/Camogie); Frank Thompson (AOH-Division12, Kings County); John Houlihan (Dublin) Aide-at-Large; Michael Carolan (Grand Council/Emeralds).

The Parade is also in rememberance of the Heroes and Victims of 9/11-WTC, and dedicated to the memory of the Irish Korean War Veterans, who have a monument dedicated to them in Green Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn. The Parade honors all veterans who served in the Korean War, with a tribute to the memory of John McDonagh, Parade Flag Bearer, Irish Musician and famed Gaelic Hurler.

This is a well attended parade which shows the heritage of the Brooklyn Irish and how proud they are of the great contribution they have made to the United States.

I do not have any details yet of the Queens Rockaway parade for 2013, but I am told it will be good. The people in the Rockaways and parts of Brooklyn have suffered a lot as a result of Sandy. I feel this upcoming parade will enable a suffering people to make a statement about their resilience and never give up attitude. When I have fuller details of this parade I will let you all know.

Irish Cures

I was reading recently about ancient Irish Cures which people depended upon before the advent of modern hospitals. Here are some examples:

Dock Leaves: When rubbed on nettle stings they eased the pain. I often tried this remedy as a child.
Goose Fat: This was supposed to heal a sprained limb when rubbed on the injury.
Bread Poultice: This was applied to an infected wound or to a boil. In ancient times moldy bread (containing wild fungus) when applied to a wound hastened the healing process.
Cold Tea: A sore eye was healed by bathing it in cold tea.
Brown Sugar: When boiled in water and made up into a syrup this was used to cure a sore throat.
Turnip: This was boiled with hot bran, put into a woolen stocking and tied around the neck to cure a swollen throat.
Water: The water in which an egg was boiled was said to cure warts when they were bathed in it. A pain in the ear could be cured by holding the affected area over a jug of boiling water. Holy Water, and especially Easter Water was used in times of sickness and worry of all kinds. I have not yet discovered any cure for "a pain in the neck".