July 2, 2017
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost – Thirteenth Sunday of the Time Throughout the Year (Ordinary Time).
Virtues, Part III - Hope
(See the Catechism of the Catholic Church #s 1817-1821)
Praised be Jesus Christ, and Mary, His Most Holy Mother!
Today I would like to return to my little series about the virtues, something I began several weeks ago. It is my fond hope that these mediations on the virtues will help us all to grow in holiness.
Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful."84 "The Holy Spirit . . . he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life."85 (the numbers referred to are the numbers in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
1818 The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.
1819 Christian hope takes up and fulfills the hope of the chosen people which has its origin and model in the hope of Abraham, who was blessed abundantly by the promises of God fulfilled in Isaac, and who was purified by the test of the sacrifice.86 "Hoping against hope, he believed, and thus became the father of many nations."87
1820 Christian hope unfolds from the beginning of Jesus' preaching in the proclamation of the beatitudes. The beatitudes raise our hope toward heaven as the new Promised Land; they trace the path that leads through the trials that await the disciples of Jesus. But through the merits of Jesus Christ and of his Passion, God keeps us in the "hope that does not disappoint."88 Hope is the "sure and steadfast anchor of the soul . . . that enters . . . where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf."89 Hope is also a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation: "Let us . . . put on the breastplate of faith and charity, and for a helmet the hope of salvation."90 It affords us joy even under trial: "Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation."91 Hope is expressed and nourished in prayer, especially in the Our Father, the summary of everything that hope leads us to desire.
1821 We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will.92 In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere "to the end"93 and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God's eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays for "all men to be saved."94 She longs to be united with Christ, her Bridegroom, in the glory of heaven:
Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.95
Independence Day: We wish all of our dear parishioners a very safe and Happy Fourth of July. We pray for the members of the armed forces of our nation and for all who serve and protect us: police, firefighters, EMT’s, first responders. Let us continue to pray that our beloved country will always walk under the laws of God so that she may be a true light to all the nations. We will all enjoy a hot dog this weekend! Our parish office will be closed on Monday the 3rd and Tuesday the 4th.
Fourth Anniversary: Many of you are aware that we have deadlines because of the new printing schedule of the bulletin. And even the pastor must follow the deadlines. So I find myself writing this article on June 23, 2017, even though it will not appear until July 2nd. It must be sent to the printer today. I recall that it was four years ago on June 26th that I arrived at St. Paul’s. I remember the day so well. It was the Feast of St. Josèmaria Escrivà, the Founder of Opus Dei. On that day Mr. James Black, Esq. PGK, along with some young people (Chris, Danny, and Jess), assisted in unloading the truck. My first visitor to welcome me to the parish that very day was Mr. Tom Fitzsimmons a longtime friend through the Little Sisters of the Poor. My second visitor was my close friend of over 23 years, Father Elias, who was the pastor at the time of St. Rocco in Glen Cove. We were happy that after so many years we would be neighbors again. I am so happy to be so close to my friends the Canons Regular of St. Augustine who staff the Glen Cove parishes. In fact, Dom Daniel, Can. Reg. is the new pastor of St. Rocco and Dom Gabriel who said the 11.00AM Mass here last Sunday, is the new pastor of St. Patrick’s, Glen Cove.
These four years have been most challenging. We have all tried to work together for the renewal of our parish. The only true renewal is a spiritual renewal and the growth in holiness. The physical renewal of our building and grounds, while most important, is secondary to the life of grace in souls. I am most grateful for the success of the capital campaign thus far. On the Feast of the Sacred Heart this year (June 23rd) we received a single gift that is the equivalent of 10% of our overall goal of 2.8 million dollars.
I want to thank you for your outstanding cooperation in working with me to build up the Kingdom of God in this parish. And yet ultimately this is a supernatural work that depends completely on God and His Most Holy Mother.
It was a grace and a joy for me to be appointed the pastor at St. Paul. As many of you know, for many years I had been in administration of the diocese and teaching. For several years I had studied and lived in Rome. I never thought I would be a parish priest. But all the while, my own good father who is dead over 24 years, prayed I would be a parish priest. He was a good and simple man. He was a man of great faith and highly decorated for his service in the South Pacific during World War II. He was in the battle of Guadalcanal and vowed that if he survived that battle he would attend the Miraculous Medal Novena every Monday night of his life. (He was in anti-aircraft and lost his hearing in the left ear; with sadness he told us of incidents of what would later be called friendly fire). He was faithful to that promise to Our Lady and brought me along with him to the Novena every Monday night. It was there that I discovered my vocation to the priesthood. As I looked at the monstrance even as a ten year old I knew someone was there. I looked at the good God, and the good God looked at me. One of the first additions after my arrival at St. Paul’s was the institution of the Miraculous Medal Novena every Monday after the 8.00AM Mass.
My father was never impressed when after a few short years in parish life I was sent for doctoral studies to Rome and assigned to the chancery and to teaching. He, in his simple way, used to say a priest should be with parishioners in a church, not in a classroom or office. Now I believe he is happy; I am a parish priest again, as he always wanted.
SAVE THE DATES: It is never too early to begin to save the dates especially in parish life. In addition to the Centerstage dates mentioned in the bulletin, please remember our Parish Picnic which will be on Saturday Evening September 9th. Please remember that the Saturday Evening Mass for that Saturday only will be at 4.00PM, not at 5.00PM. I am grateful that Mrs. Louise Shannon and Mrs. Adriana Milana will be the co-chairs of the picnic this year. Since my arrival in June 2013, I am grateful to Mr. James Black who served as chair in 2013 and Mr. Jesse Cromer who served as chair in 2014 and 2015.
Our Gala Casino Night will be at the Milleridge Inn on Thursday, October 26th. 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 the official welcome of Deacon Raymond P. D’Alessio to St. Paul’s. I am grateful to Marco Posillico of M&M Entertainment, and a longtime friend, who will provide the casino games once again.
Our annual Golf and Tennis Outing and Awards Dinner will be on Monday, May 7, 2018. I am grateful to all our parishioners who make these wondrous events possible.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda