Christ is Risen! He is Truly Risen! We continue to glory in Our Lord’s Holy Resurrection as we stand in the shadow of the Easter candle. The Holy and Glorious season of Easter will reach its culmination and wondrous conclusion on the Solemnity of Pentecost – May 24th. And Easter is made more joyous as we celebrate the liturgical commemoration of St. George which was kept on April 23rd.
St. George is one of the most important saints in the life of the Church. He is the patron of England, of Russia, of Greece, and of Turkey. He is the patron of the Spanish province of Aragon and to this day it is the custom for children to make First Holy Communion on his Feast day in that province. The Cross of St. George is a red cross on a white field and it is the flag of England. We see it in the Union Jack. There are more Churches named for St. George than for any other saint. He is the patron of the Order of the Garter and of the Constantinian Order of St. George. He is the patron of all soldiers, all scouts and our own dear Troops of St. George.
George was a soldier of the Imperial Roman Army and was martyred at the beginning of the fourth century. This was the period right before the conversion of the Emperor Constantine and, ironically, was the time of fiercest persecution of the Church.
George is always pictured riding a white horse and slaying a dragon while a maiden is in the corner whom he rescues. Actually, this is a symbolic depiction of our great martyr. Through his martyrdom he slays the dragon who is, of course, satan, the ancient enemy of our race. The Empress Theodosia was so impressed with George’s courage that she herself sought baptism. She is the maiden in the picture.
O Martyr of Christ, George.
You exposed the perversion of the persecutors
And offered an acceptable sacrifice to God.
Therefore you also received a crown of victory
And through your prayers O Holy One,
Obtained the forgiveness of sins for all.
-from the Byzantine Liturgy
priests, O God grant us many holy priests. By the providence of God Good Shepherd Sunday occurs on the very day of the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel. This feast is kept in our diocese by special indult. Because the parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Brooklyn provided more vocations to the priesthood and religious life than any other, the late Archbishop Molloy, decreed that the feast would be kept in thanksgiving to Our Lady. Let us pray the day will come when one of our own sons from St. Paul will be ordained a priest, something which has never happened before.
That great preacher of the 19th century, Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire, O.P. (1802-1861) wrote the poem, “Thou Art a Priest Forever.” We may be familiar with it. It beautifully and ideally sums up the life of the Priest in as good a way as any has ever stated: To live in the midst of the world with no desire for its pleasures; to be a member of every family, yet belonging to none; to share all sufferings; to penetrate all secrets, to heal all wounds; to daily go from men to God to offer Him their homage and petitions; to return from God to men to bring them His pardon and hope; to have a heart of fire for charity and a heart of bronze for chastity; to bless and to be blest forever. O God, what a life, and it is yours, O Priest of Jesus Christ!
Thank You: As a parish we extend sincere gratitude to two parishioners who are retiring from many years of service to the parish. We thank John Dowd, Head Usher at the 8.00am Mass, and a founding member of the parish. We know John from faithfully serving as head usher for many years at the 8.00am Mass. Ralph Lombardi will now take that position. Thank you John for your many years of service and may God bless you. We also express sincere gratitude to Rose Cevoli who is retiring as a member of the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Rose is also a founding member of the parish and has a living memory of the parish before the church was even built. God bless you and reward you, John and Rose, and may God grant you many years in health and happiness.
Next week I will be writing about our new members of both the Pastoral Council and Finance Council.
May God reward you for all you have done for me and for St. Paul’s. Christ is Risen; he is Truly Risen.
Benedicat Virgo Maria!
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda