Good Shepherd Sunday
Let Us Give Thanks to the Lord Our God!
We find ourselves this Sunday rejoicing in the Holy Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ as we continue to move through the Great Fifty Days of Easter. The joyful alleluia’s, absent for the whole of Lent, continue to resonate through our Church. On this Sunday in the Easter season we commemorate Good Shepherd Sunday. Our Lord is the Good Shepherd who has given His life for us the sheep. He continues His work of shepherding the Church through the Pope, the Bishops and the Priests. In fact, the Latin word for shepherd is pastor. To mark this special day we welcome a seminarian from St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, who has come to us today to speak on his own vocation to the Sacred Priesthood. It is a day to pray for all priests in a special way.
The glorious Easter season has seen a wonderful renewal here at St. Paul’s. We moved through the solemn and most sacred days of the Easter Triduum with great reverence. We processed with the Most Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday and saw the re-enactment of the mandatum, the washing of the feet. On Good Friday we allowed the sung account of the Passion to wash over us and cleanse and heal our wounded souls. On that Most Holy Night of the Easter Vigil, when heaven is wedded to earth, our darkened Church was illuminated with the light of Christ. One adult, Ali Jonathan Khanat was baptized, confirmed and received the Blessed Eucharist for the first time while another adult, Lora Kern-Elsirgany, was received into full communion with the Catholic Church and confirmed and received the Blessed Eucharist. On April 9th our dear First Holy Communion Class went to confession for the first time with great happiness for them and their families. They will receive First Holy Communion on April 30th. On May 7th our Confirmation Candidates will receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation administered by His Excellency, Bishop Robert J. Brennan, and the Vicar General of the Diocese. We have much to be grateful for indeed!
This great joy was only augmented by the wonderful response of our people to the Easter collection and the financial health of our parish. Your generosity will never be forgotten as many of you continue to make donations through the Tree of Life and our other Fundraising. As you know, we now have e-giving. There will be a general mailing giving more detailed information about how this can be done. The mailing will come through the envelope company mailing. May God bless and reward you.
As you know, we have finished our Feasibility Study. The results have been most encouraging to me and I am sure to all of us. The final results show a full 87% of our parishioners wish to go forward with our capital
campaign to make the necessary improvements to our parish plant; Church, grounds, Msgr. Costa Hall, Rectory. God bless and reward you. A full 98% of our parishioners are greatly satisfied or satisfied with overall satisfaction with the parish.
The Summary of the Feasibility Study is available on the table at the Front Doors of the Church (where the bulletins are kept). Please feel free to take one.Again I am most grateful to you for this overwhelming support which is quite humbling. Together we will do something beautiful for God. I have ceaselessly been invoking the intercession of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph. I am most grateful for their never failing intercession. At my mother’s wake a few weeks ago a very fine and respected pastor in our diocese spoke to me before my mother’s mortal remains. He said to me: The work of a Pastor is most difficult. Now your mother will help you from Heaven. After all my mother’s suffering on this earth, I cannot help but believe that she is in Heaven. And I know she is helping me be your Shepherd, an office that I hold in the greatest veneration and gratitude.
As some of you know, I teach in our Religious Education Program (7th grade on Monday nights and 6th grade on Tuesday afternoons). I love to teach the children of our parish. Some have asked me aren’t you too busy to teach? Many may not know that every Sunday afternoon Pope Francis teaches children in the Cortile San Damaso in the Vatican. If the Pope is not too busy to teach children how could I be too busy to teach?
Anyway, to return to our story. One of my students told me that if he won the lottery he would give me all the money to do all the work that must be done here at the Church. As generous and beautiful a thought as that may be, I told the child that I would not take the money. You see, we must all be in this together. We do not want a handout. We want to do this all together so that we can truly see WE OWN THIS BEAUTIFUL WORK. Our sacrifices, our dedication have done this. May God bless you all. DEUS LO VULT!
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda
As a post script we run again those two charming stories that many of you have found so helpful.
THE MAN THE BOY AND THE DONKEY
A man and his son headed to market with their donkey. A man on a horse passed them and asked, “Why aren’t you riding your donkey?”
The man placed his son on the donkey, and they continued on their way. They passed by a family working in their fields. A young girl said, “Look at that lazy boy riding while his father is walking.”
The man told his son to get off the donkey, and he climbed on. They passed a group of women and one said, “What a selfish man, making his son walk while he rides.”
The man asked his son to climb on the donkey with him. They passed a traveler on the road, who said, “That poor donkey is carrying too much weight.”
Not knowing what to do, the man and his son began to carry the donkey. But the donkey kicked so violently they released their hold and the donkey ran away.
ST. PHILIP NERI AND THE GOSSIP OF ROME
St. Philip Neri lived in Italy in the early sixteenth century. After many years as a lay apostle, caring for the sick and teaching young people, especially boys in street gangs, about the love of Jesus, Philip became a priest. One day, a woman who was notorious in all of Rome for being a gossip went to confession to Father Philip. For her penance, Philip told her to carry her feather pillow to the windiest hill in Rome, cut it open and shake out all the feathers, and then return to him. The penitent did as she was told. When she returned, Philip told the woman to go back to the hill and collect all the feathers that she had shaken out. “But Father!” she exclaimed, “The wind has carried away all the feathers by now! It would be impossible for me to collect them again.” Saint Philip replies, “That is what has happened to all the rumors and gossip you have spread around Rome. You can never take back all those idle words you have spoken.”