July 29, 2018
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Tenth Sunday After Pentecost
ST. JAMES THE APOSTLE -THE SAINT OF THE WAY
The Apostles’ Creed has twelve articles of faith. From the most ancient times it has been the tradition of the Catholic Church that each one of the Twelve Apostles contributed one of the twelve articles of faith. During the Church’s Liturgical Year of Grace we celebrate the Feasts of each of the Apostles. Generally speaking, in every month we keep the Feast of one of the twelve Apostles. Their Feasts are usually kept toward the latter part of each month.
Thus, in June (June 29th) we kept our own patronal Feast, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Saints Peter and Paul. Next month (August 24th) we will keep the Feast of St. Bartholomew, in September (the 21st) we will keep St. Matthew, in October (the 28th ) we will keep Saints Simon and Jude, and then in November (the 30th ) we will keep the Feast of St. Andrew, the First-Called of the Twelve. Since the end of November is the beginning of the Liturgical Year which starts on the First Sunday in Advent we keep the Feast of the First-Called Apostle St. Andrew at the very beginning of the Liturgical Year. And each month we keep the Feast of an Apostle. But for this week’s meditation I would like to think of St. James, whose Feast is kept each year on July 25th just last week.
Like his brother St. John the Apostle and author of the fourth Gospel, St. James was a fisherman. Their father was Zebedee and their mother was Salome who was one of the holy women who stood with Our Blessed Mother at the foot of the Cross.
After Our Lord’s Ascension into Heaven, St. James preached the Gospel at what was then considered the very end of the earth, the Finis Terrae, Spain. St. James labored arduously and yet was unable to make even one convert in the vast Iberian Peninsula. One day he was so discouraged that he sat at the bank of the River Ebro weeping copiously. Suddenly he heard the sound of beautiful singing and saw a bright light. Our Lady appeared to him standing on top of a pillar. She is the Joy of All that Sorrow, the Consolation of the Afflicted, and the Comfort of those who mourn. Just her appearance gave him the courage to continue his great work of the evangelization of the Spanish people. Today on that very spot where Our Lady appeared in the city of Zaragoza there is a great Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar. Many Spanish women bear the name Maria Pilar in her honor. The Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, the founder of the Marianist Congregation who are so much a part of our parish family, received his inspiration to found the Marianist Congregation while praying at that very shrine.
After his great work of evangelization in Spain, St. James returned to Jerusalem and there became the first of the Apostles to be martyred.
But the Spanish people would not be deprived of the presence of their beloved missionary. The body of St. James was brought from Jerusalem to Spain in the fourth century. However, in the seventh century the Moslems crossed the Straits of Gibraltar and conquered Spain, putting many Christians to death and enslaving many others. The body of the Apostle was hidden so that it would not be desecrated.
Many had forgotten where the body had been hidden but in the tenth century a great miracle occurred. Above a field in the extreme northwest of Spain (the province of Galicia) the stars began to shine brilliantly leading the faithful to discover the body of their beloved father and teacher St. James. This Field of Stars (in Latin Campus Stellarum) is today the great City of Compostella. There so many Christians throughout the centuries have come to pray before the tomb of that Apostle who witnessed the glory of the transfiguration and witnessed the bloody sweat of Our Lord in the Agony in the Garden. Many people even to our own day walk the Way of St. James or El Camino de Santiago. It is on that journey that many promises have been made to God and where many graces have been given. Let us pray that St. James will ever lead us along the way of salvation and protect us from all dangers of body and soul.
Our Lady’s Lent: In many places of the Church it is the custom and tradition to keep a fast beginning on August 1st until August 15th. It is given the charming name of Our Lady’s Lent. It is a fast in honor of Our Lady as we celebrate her principal feast of the year on August 15th, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I would encourage our parishioners to follow this ancient spiritual practice.
Bishop Barres Pastoral Letter: Bishop Barres has written a pastoral letter to all the clergy and lay faithful of the diocese. It is entitled The Supreme Gift: The Gift of Life. The letter commemorates the 50th anniversary of the prophetic Encyclical of the late Pope Paul VI (July 25, 1968), Humanae Vitae. The Bishop’s letter is truly worth reading and studying in a prayerful manner. It may be found on the diocesan website www.drvc.org and it is our hope to receive hard copies to distribute to all of you.
SAVE THE DATES: It is never too early to begin to save the dates especially in parish life. Please remember our Parish Picnic which will be on Saturday Evening September 15th. I am grateful that Mrs. Louise Shannon and Mrs. Adriana Milana will be the co-chairs of the picnic this year and I am grateful to all who help with the picnic. As usual the Saturday evening Mass will be at 4.00PM immediately followed by the picnic. (Please note there will be no 5.00PM Mass that evening). There will be delicious food, music, and rides for the children. There will be special treats. Please offer to help in the organizing of the picnic. Many hands make light work. Confirmation students are reminded that their time spent in assisting the picnic effort will be counted as time for their service projects.
Our Gala Casino Night will be at the Milleridge Inn on Thursday, October 25th. This is always a fun filled event and a major fund raiser for our parish. The theme for this year’s Gala Casino night will be in observance of the 50th anniversary of the construction and dedication of our beautiful Church building (Dedicated May 26, 1968). Many may recall that in 2012 there was a Gala at the Fox Hollow to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the parish. The parish was established by a Decree of His Excellency Bishop Walter P. Kellenberg dated June 27, 1962 (the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help). That is why in 2012 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the parish’s establishment. However, as is the case in every parish, and as many still with us will remember, the establishment of a parish does not mean one may simply walk into a beautiful Church. Churches must be built by the hard work of parishioners after a new parish has been established. In fact, in 1962 no one, including the Bishop, was aware where the parish Church, priests’ residence and offices would be built. The only thing known was that the parish was named St. Paul the Apostle. That is why the early documents refer to St. Paul the Apostle, Muttontown. Finally, a tract of land was donated by the Froelich family and after six years, the new and noble Church was built. It was dedicated by the same Bishop Walter P. Kellenberg (the first Bishop of Rockville Centre) on May 26, 1968 (the Feast of St. Philip Neri). That is why our Gala Casino Night does not commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the parish which was in 2012, but rather the 50th anniversary of the building, completion, and dedication of the Church building itself.
Please pardon a personal reference. I hope it has become obvious to you after my being here for 5 years that I have always had an intense devotion to Our Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I have always had an intense devotion to my favorite saint, St. Philip Neri. How frequently would I pray before his mortal remains in the Chiesa Nuova (Santa Maria in Vallicella) in Rome. Immediately upon my arrival here in 2013 I hung in the Daily Mass Chapel a beautiful image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help, and a woodcut image of St. Philip Neri with his relic encased. At the time I was unaware of these two significant dates in our parish’s history. But God did and always does. He knows all things and can neither deceive nor be deceived.
St. Philip Neri: To begin and end well, devotion to Our Blessed Lady, the Mother of God, is nothing less than indispensable.
St. Josémaria Escrivá: Do not make excuses by saying that is my character. It is really your lack of character. Be brave and be a saint!
Pope Benedict XVI: Look at the face of the other…Discover that he has a soul, a history and a life, that he is a person and that God loves this person…
May God bless you and Mary keep you,
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda