Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother! We come today to the Last Sunday of the Church’s Year of Grace, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. Next week when we come to Holy Mass we will see the solemn and somber color of violet reminding us that we have placed our feet once more along the path of holiness as we begin a New Year of Grace on the First Sunday in Advent. The poet T.S. Eliot wrote in his wonderful poem Ash Wednesday that the Church journeys as a ship along the violet and violet of the seas. He was referring to one Advent following another.
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King is of relatively recent origin; it was established in 1923. At that time an unprecedented persecution of the Church had begun in Spain and in Mexico. From 1936 to 1939 over 4,000 priests were killed in Spain and more than 20,000 religious sisters and brothers. Many were killed in terrible ways. Some were clubbed into unconsciousness and fed to the wild animals of the zoos. In Mexico churches were burned and many were tortured in unbelievable ways. This official persecution of the Church in Mexico lasted until 1992.
At the time the Church established the Feast of Christ the King. This was to remind all the faithful that Our Lord is not only the Lord and God of individuals but also of nations and all society. As our father and patron St. Paul the Apostle reminds us, Oportet illum regnare. (He must reign). Christ is King of all the faithful but also of all the nations. Therefore all of society must be subject to his rule. When the Mexican martyrs were being executed they cried out Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King!
May we too ever have that phrase upon our lips. May Christ reign in our hearts and souls; may Christ reign over our families; may Christ reign over our nation and all the peoples of the world!
Today at the 11.00am Mass we honor all the parish volunteers and bless them. It is most fitting that we do so on this Feast but also on the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day. For without our volunteers we would have no parish. Today also we honor and bless all of our Founding Parishioners. These heroic men and women founded our parish and remember Mass being celebrated even before the Church was built. They are our founders in the faith and today we recognize and honor their service. We also pray for all our former pastors: Monsignor Potterton, Father Galloway, Monsignor Eugene Murphy, our beloved Monsignor Costa and Monsignor Clerkin. May God reward and bless each of them.
Finally may I extend sincere gratitude to all of you, the parishioners of St. Paul. Your sacrificial giving allows all of the wonderful things happening at St. Paul’s to occur. I never forget you in my prayers because I realize that every crust of bread that touches my lips is your gift.
May God bless all of you then on this Thanksgiving Day which is celebrated on Thursday. Why not begin it in the right way by attending Holy Mass on Wednesday at 7.30pm in the Church? Let us give thanks to the Lord our God…It is right and just! There will also be Mass at 9.00 am (note the change from the usual 8.00) on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day itself. Later in the day I will be having my Thanksgiving Dinner with the Little Sisters of the Poor for whom I served as chaplain for 13 years. They are ever grateful for all you do for them.
Please save the date of Friday May 16th. It will be our annual parish party held at the Cottage of the Milleridge Inn, our neighbors and parishioners. We are all grateful to Mrs. Paula Maturo and her committee who have already been working for several months so that we may all have a pleasant, enjoyable and grace-filled evening.
May God bless and reward each of you. I would like to purchase an altar crucifix and candles for both the Church and the Chapel. If you would like to memorialize your loved ones by contributing to this, please see me after Mass or call the parish office. Thank you for all you have done to make our Church and chapel fitting places of worship of the God of All Goodness and Mercy.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda