Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother! This week we will keep the Liturgical Memorial of St. Michael the Archangel (Monday the 29th) and on Thursday of this week, October 2nd, we will keep the Liturgical Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels.
Each Sunday when we come to Holy Mass (may God reward you for doing so) we pray the Nicene Creed or the Profession of Faith. This prayer goes back to the year 325 and we should all rejoice in the fact that we profess the same faith that our ancestors have professed for centuries before us. In fact, many in our Church today may count among their ancestors the Holy Martyrs who shed their blood for the faith which we now profess.
Each week we say that I believe in One God, the Father almighty maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. What is meant by the phrase invisible? We know that God Our Lord has made everything that we see…all the animals, plants, and minerals of the visible order. But he has also created a vast creation that is invisible, that we cannot see. This is the order of the Angels.
Angles are intelligent creatures of the spiritual order. They do not have bodies and thus do not change. They are pure intelligence. They are purely spiritual and thus are invisible. That angels exist we are certain. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament speak constantly of the presence and work of the angels. God promised Moses that he need not fear about leading the Chosen People from Egypt, because My angel will go before you. And it was the Holy Angels who ministered to Our Divine Savior during His fast of forty days in the desert.
Since the angles are pure spirits without a body they may not be seen. The Holy Angels are invisible but when God gives them a mission on earth they appear in a visible form. Often they are seen as young men as they were at the tomb of Our Lord on the first Easter morning. In art they are pictured with wings simply to remind us of how they may travel in speed from one place to another. Since the angels cannot change, they were not given the grace of the redemption as was the human race. The wonder of our glorious human nature is that we can change; we can repent. The angels cannot change and thus once they chose between Good and evil their choice was final. The devils are angles, but evil angels who are forever in rebellion against the goodness of God.
To each of us has God assigned a Guardian Angel. The guardian angel is our dearest friend who inspires us with good thoughts and protects us both in body and soul. Not only do individuals have angels but God has assigned guardian angels to protect cities, villages, nations and parishes. (Please pardon the personal reference). On April 29, 2013, I arrived for the first time at St. Paul. I had been appointed Pastor only the
previous week and it would be my first visit ever to St. Paul and to visit my beloved predecessor Monsignor Clerkin. Monsignor had invited me for lunch at noon (which was delicious). But I arrived at 11.30 to walk the grounds and to invoke the Guardian Angel of St. Paul’s Parish and of all our beloved parishioners, especially the Guardian Angels of our dear young people, of the sick, and of the elderly. Only then was I ready to ring the bell of the parish office. (I no longer ring the bell since I now have a key). May I encourage all of you to be on intimate and friendly terms with your guardian angel. The Holy Angels will do great services for us both in the material and spiritual order. Parents should invoke the Guardian Angels of their children so that the Angels may watch over and protect them. Holy Guardian Angels pray for us and protect us.
One of the great services of the Guardian Angles is that they serve as ambassadors. If we are not getting along with anyone, we should invoke the Guardian Angel of that person and ask him to sort things out. We may ask our own Guardian Angel to work in concert with the other’s Guardian Angel to make peace and relieve tension, friction, and strife.
May I remind you that Friday of this week (October 3rd) is First Friday. The Most Blessed Sacrament will be exposed in the Daily Mass Chapel from 12 noon until 8.00pm at which time there will be Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. (The Divine Mercy Chaplet will be prayed at 3.00pm). I would encourage everyone to spend some time on Friday in adoration. It is the remedy to every ill that afflicts us. No one ever leaves Our Lord’s sacred presence without a sense of peace and serenity. Saturday of this week (October 4th) is the First Saturday of the Month. Holy Mass will be celebrated at 9.00am (please note the change from the usual 8.00am). Holy Mass will be followed by the Anointing of the Sick and then the Holy Rosary in honor of Our Lady of Fatima.
On Saturday we also celebrate the Liturgical Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi. On that day there will be the traditional blessing of the animals on this feast of the saint who loved the animals so dearly. It is also the Name Day (onomastico) of the Pope. Please bring your animals to the lovely plaza in front of the Church at 10.00AM so the priest may say the prayer of blessing over all the animals and then walk among the animals to bless them with Holy Water. Please keep the dogs on leashes.
Lighthouse Media: Today a speaker of the Lighthouse Media apostolate will be visiting St. Paul’s to speak to us about this wonderful tool for evangelization.
Religious Education/Faith Formation: Tomorrow and Tuesday our students in grades K-6 will be returning to begin a new year of religious education. May God bless all who teach and who learn. May God reward Brother Joseph Bellizzi, S.M., Mrs. Louise Shannon, and all our catechists, aides, staff, and students. Let us all say in the words of our patron St. Paul: I know Him in Whom I have believed!
Second Collection for maintenance and Extraordinary Expenses: We are most grateful for your generosity in helping the parish meet its expenses. As everyone knows Monsignor Costa Hall was flooded on August 13th. The cleanup cost $9,000. Our air conditioning system was struck by lightning on July 2nd at a great expense to the parish. We pray that the new doors (presently being installed) will be not only attractive, but more easily opened and closed.
May God bless and reward each and every one of you.
May God bless you and May the Virgin Mary bless us with her Divine Child. Nos cum prole pia, Benedicat Virgo Maria!
Monsignor James F. Pereda