Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Praised be Jesus Christ and His Most Holy Mother Mary His Most Holy Mother!
The Month of May: As everyone is well aware the month of May is the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We may ask ourselves why is such the case? After all, each of the months of the year brings around her glorious feasts. Why is August not the month of Our Lady when we celebrate the Assumption? Why is December not the month of Our Lady when we celebrate her Immaculate Conception? What is it about May which makes it the month of Our Lady? Quite, simply it is because the month of May is the most beautiful month both in the natural and supernatural order. And Our Lady is the most beautiful of all the Good God’s creation.
May is the most beautiful month in the natural order. It is in May that the season of spring is first perceived. Although spring begins at the vernal equinox toward the end of March, it is not until May that we see the days grow longer, brighter and warmer. The earth breaks forth in full life and the birds sing for joy. And although even May sometimes may be quite harsh, nonetheless, we know that soon the warm weather will be with us. It is therefore the month of hope and promise.
May is also the most beautiful month in the supernatural order. Almost always the whole month of May is in the Easter season when the joy-filled alleluia rings through our churches. The feast of the Ascension is always in May (except one or twice every forty years or so) and more often than not, the Feast of Pentecost is in May. May also brings with it the celebration of many of the saints. Three of the apostles have their feast days in May: St. Philip, St. James and St. John. The Holy Archangel’s apparition on Monte Gargano is celebrated in May. And so dear to us here at St. Paul’s, the feast of St. Philip Neri (May 26th) is celebrated in May. His holy image and relic adorn our Daily Mass Chapel.
During the month of May we should make every effort to offer a gift to Our Lady each day. Not the kind of gift one buys at the store. We should offer a spiritual gift. One day we could offer her the Rosary well said, another day a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, another day a visit to an elderly or lonely person, etc. You see there are as many gifts as there are days in the month.
St. Gabriel Possenti was a member of the Passionist order (Many may know the Passionists from their monastery in Jamaica) who died at the age of 24 in 1862. Here is his advice to us: Love Mary! She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you.
The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Today the children who have made their First Holy Communion this year will be enrolled in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at the 9.30 Mass. The scapular is Our Lady’s own gift to us. On July 16th 1253 she appeared to St. Simon Stock in Aylesford, England, and presented the scapular to him. She promised many graces to those who would wear it faithfully. (I will write more about the scapular near the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in July.) May our little ones always be under the patronage and protection of the Holy Mother of God.
Mother’s Day: As we know today is Mother’s Day. May God bless and reward all the mothers in our parish. A mother gives of herself completely to her family and very often in unnoticed and unseen ways. The only one of the Ten Commandments which has a blessing attached to it is the Fourth Commandment – Honor thy father and thy mother.
A mother is a person who receives a child into her own flesh, providing for him the stuff of her own body. And yet, the Christian mother is called to more: to receive the child in Christ’s name. So many of the saints of the Church were mothers who exemplified the beatitudes. St. Elizabeth of Portugal was a peace maker. She rode out between the warring armies of her husband and son and restored peace. St. Matilda meekly removed herself from her own home rather than stir up her son’s anger. St. Margaret Clitherow,
on the eve of her brutal martyrdom, sent her shoes to her daughter with the clear message, follow my path. St. Monica relentlessly prayed her son St. Augustine into the Church. Augustine wrote in his Confessions, “She wept more for me than mothers weep over their children’s dead bodies.” May these saints who were mothers ever intercede for our dear mothers!
Please be sure to enroll your mothers in the Mother’s Day Novena of Masses.
Spring Gala: Friday of this week is our parish Spring Gala. It is our primary fundraiser of the year. We thank Mrs. Paula Maturo and her committee for all the hard work they have done to make this such a wonderful evening. I will see you there!
Marian Guild Communion Breakfast: Next Sunday, May 18th, will be the Marian Guild Communion Breakfast. The members of the guild who are so devoted to the parish, will attend the 9.30 Mass. Afterwards there will be breakfast in the Lower Hall. Deacon David Atanasio will be our speaker at the breakfast. Deacon David will be ordained to the Sacred Priesthood June 14th at St. Agnes Cathedral. During his years in the Seminary, Deacon David assisted at St. Paul’s. He will also serve as Deacon at the 9.30 Mass on Sunday the 18th and preach to us at Holy Mass. We thank Roxann Romano and her board for all their devoted work and dedication.
Mass Manners: This is our third installment in this little series in which we have been looking at behavior in Church. In our first installment we considered eating/drinking/chewing gum in the House of God. Last week we considered the fine missalette/hymnals that have been donated to our Church. It is my hope that they will serve many generations of parishioners. And they will if we take care of them by placing them neatly in the pew racks.
Today I would like to consider talking in Church. St. Dominic used to say that in Church we either speak to God or about God. The Church is an oasis of calm in a noisy world, and so we refrain from speaking in Church. After Mass, we should visit with family and friends outdoors in this nice weather and not remain in the Church to speak.
Next week I will write about the priests greeting the parishioners after Mass.
Benedicat Virgo Maria!
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda