Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother! Today we keep the Liturgical Memorial of St. Michael the Archangel and on Wednesday 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 angels, 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 29th (five months ago today) 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 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.
May I remind you that Friday of this week (October 4th) is First Friday. The Most Blessed Sacrament will be exposed in the Daily Mass Chapel from 12 noon until 4.00pm at which time there will be Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. (The Divine Mercy Chaplet will be prayed at 3.00pm). Saturday of this week (October 5th) 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 Friday 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 south parking lot at 5.00pm. I will stand on the lovely plaza of the Church to 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. (One of the joys of being in a single priest parish is that it is very easy to make the schedule and one need not wonder which priest will be doing what).
Finally, may I draw your attention to the bulletin announcement of the Annual Red Mass which will be on Tuesday, October 1st at 5.30pm at St. Joseph Church in Garden City. The Annual Red Mass is celebrated by Bishop Murphy at the beginning of the Judicial Year and is attended by many civil officials, judges, attorneys, court personnel, law students, members of the Equestrian Orders and their families. The Mass is sponsored by the Catholic Lawyers’ Guild of Nassau County of which I have been the chaplain for many years. All parishioners of St. Paul are cordially invited. The banquet follows the Mass at the Athletic-Activities Center of Chaminade High School in Mineola.
May God bless and reward each and every one of you. I am so grateful for your many kindnesses and goodness (especially at the time of my installation). I am writing thank you notes to all and thank you for your patience. I am particularly grateful for your generosity to our beloved St. Paul the Apostle Parish. Your generosity keeps our dear parish and its mission of making saints of all of us functioning.
May God bless you and May the Virgin Mary bless us with her Divine Child.