Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary, His Most Holy Mother! Once again may I express my sincere gratitude to all of you for the innumerable acts of kindness and warm welcome that all of you have extended to me. Above all, I thank you for your beautiful example of fidelity to Our Lord Jesus Christ and Our Blessed Mother, the all Holy Immaculate Blessed Virgin Mary.
As life progresses, very often we become aware that certain opportunities may never be realized. But there is one thing for which it is never too late. And that is to become a saint! Such a thought may seem very unthinkable to us, but as our patron St. Paul reminds us, This is God’s will for you, to be a saint.
To be a saint does not mean that we will perform extraordinary feats and miracles. It simply means that in the ordinariness of our everyday lives, we will love God. All work is holy and can become the Work of God, if we do everything with love for God. The Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) reminds us that in sanctity there is simplicity…it is doing little things with love that makes them truly great.
There is a time-tested way to grow in sanctity. That way consists of prayer, the sacraments and penance.
Prayer is simply speaking to God about all the things that are happening in our lives…our hopes and disappointments, our sorrows and joys, our pleasures and our pains. Prayer is returning to those beautiful prayers we learned as children, above all, the Holy Rosary. It is the Hail Mary that will take us to heaven. So let not one day pass without prayer.
The Sacraments are the means that Our Lord Himself has given us to grow in holiness. We should make every effort to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion frequently and to receive the sacrament of penance frequently. The saints recommend monthly confession as the sure means of coming under the great mercy of God and growing in holiness.
Penance is an indispensable part of Christian life. It consists of giving of ourselves for the sake of others. Married couples give of themselves to one another and to their children. And it is in that giving that true happiness and fulfillment may be found. We try not to follow the spirit of the world but rather that advice of St. John the Baptist who said while pointing to Our Lord: He must increase, but I must decrease!
May I thank you for all your generosity in your sacrificial giving to our parish. Your generosity has allowed us to complete many projects this summer. My next column will be about some of those projects.
We remind you that your loved ones may be remembered by giving in their memory the bread and wine used for Holy Mass, or the sanctuary candle which burns before the Most Blessed Sacrament, or the flowers placed at the altar each week. (Contact parish office for details).
We express sincere gratitude to our squires who as a service project have been tidying up the Church after each Mass. They are fine examples of Christian young men and we are all very proud of them.
May God bless you and may Mary keep you. Nos cum prole pia, benedicat Virgo Maria!
Monsignor James F. Pereda