Praised be Jesus Christ, and Mary, His Most Holy Mother! On Saturday of this week, July 26th, the Church keeps the liturgical commemoration of Sts. Joachim and Ann, the Holy and Righteous Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are the grandparents of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and in the Eastern Church they are called, the Holy and Righteous Ancestors of God.
As is well known, often a grandmother is called nana or a variation of that word. It, in turn, is derived from the Latin for Ann which is Anna. St. Ann’s very name indicates that she is a grandmother.
St. Ann is one of the most powerful intercessors in Heaven. She has been invoked by the Christian faithful since time immemorial. She is the patroness of expectant mothers, of women experiencing difficult pregnancies, of all children and of young women seeking a suitable Catholic husband. St. Teresa of Avila founded over 16 Carmelite monasteries in Spain during the sixteenth century, and she placed all of them under the patronage of good St. Ann. St. Teresa wrote, Surely, Our Lord Jesus Christ, will never allow to founder any home dedicated to his most Holy and Glorious Grandmother.
After her death in the Holy Land St. Ann’s Holy Body was brought to Brittany in France and buried deep in the mountains for protection. During the sixteenth century, miners discovered the holy remains of St. Ann in a mine. In that place today stands the magnificent basilica of St. Ann d’Auray. In that basilica many pilgrims come to pray before the tomb of St. Ann. The Breton people (the inhabitants of Brittany in France) brought their love of St. Ann to the New World, to New France. And there in Quebec they built the magnificent shrine of St. Ann de Beaupré. Perhaps some of our parishioners have even visited that lovely shrine where so many miracles have occurred.
Because of the circumstances surrounding the discovery of her body, St. Ann is the patron of miners. For that reason each year at the Basilica of St. Ann in Scranton, Pennsylvania, there is a novena in her honor attended by scores of thousands. (Scranton was formerly a major coal mining region in our country).
I know a lady who had a very difficult pregnancy and who was told by many doctors she would lose her child. She had to remain on total bed rest for six months of her pregnancy and she prayed to St. Ann incessantly to spare the child. She dedicated her unborn child to St. Ann and promised that, if the baby were a girl, she would name her Ann. A baby boy was born safely, and in the providence of God became a priest. The miracles, graces and favors wrought through the intercession of St. Ann are innumerable.
The Little Sisters of the Poor are very devoted to St. Ann, and after St. Joseph she is the secondary patroness of the congregation.
In the past readers of this column may remember how mention was made of how when the Little Sisters of the Poor need anything from their dear old people they write a note to St. Joseph and place it under his statue. St. Joseph has never failed the Little Sisters in their trustful confidence in his protection. When I visited the little Sisters on July 13th, I noticed they placed a picture of hand/body lotion (like Intensive Care lotion) under his statue with a note: DEAR ST. JOSEPH, PLEASE SEND US SOME GOOD LOTION FOR OUR DEAR OLD PEOPLE. That is true confidence in St. Joseph.
How blessed we are that a family who wishes to remain anonymous have given to St. Paul’s a magnificent wooden statue of St. Ann, hand carved in Italy. The statue is given simply In Loving Memory of Josie, and it will be in our Daily Mass Chapel. Visit this statue and pray to good St. Ann. It is my hope that after we are all gone and forgotten the future generations of St. Paul’s will love and invoke St. Ann. The presence of this statue gives me great personal joy because when I was ordained a priest 33 years ago I had made a promise of mine that if ever I were to be made a pastor of a Church I would place a statue of St. Ann in the Church. For you see, the lady to whom I made reference above is my own mother, and the baby boy is now your Pastor. Had it not been for St. Ann, I would not be here with you today.
St. Ann, Mother of her who is our life, our sweetness and our hope, pray for us!
Maintenance: On Wednesday, July 2nd, our dear Church was struck by lightning. It is only through the intercession of St. Joseph that greater damage was not done. Good St. Joseph always protects us. I have found that particularly the case after his beautiful statue was placed in our chapel. However, the air conditioning system in the Church was damaged and will need repair. As always, we rely on your goodness and generosity to maintain and repair our buildings and grounds. The system is very old and new parts must be ordered
You may have noticed that once each month we have a second collection for buildings grounds and maintenance. Generally, but not always, this is taken up on the third Sunday of the month. Your generosity enables us to address many areas that have been long neglected in our buildings and try to create a safe, cheerful, and welcoming environment for all
Summer at St. Paul’s: During the summer we are very happy that we will have our First Annual Vacation Bible School. Please see the bulletin notice about this. Our seminarian John Crozier and many fine adult volunteers are very dedicated in providing a very faith filled and fun week for the children. Also our parish Centerstage Production of Jesus Christ Superstar will be performed next month. Many parishioners have been working very hard to provide this musical play for us. Please see the bulletin for the dates of performance.
St. Philip Neri: We must not be behind time in doing good; for death will not be behind his time.
St. Josémaria Escrivá: Do not lament the past; learn from it and begin again.
Pope Francis: Happy are the young because they have time before him to do good.
Benedicat Virgo Maria!
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda