Dear Parishioners of Our Beloved St. Paul:
Christ is Risen! He is Truly Risen! The glorious celebration of Our Lord’s Holy Resurrection is so wondrous that it is not celebrated in merely one day, but through an entire octave, i.e., for eight days. During the Easter Octave which begins on Easter Sunday and concludes today, each day is Easter yet again. And although the stores may advertise Easter candy at 50% off, we know that Easter has just begun. For after the Easter Octave then we move into the Easter season which reaches its wondrous fulfillment on Pentecost Sunday and the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit upon the earth.
As is evident by the title of our meditation, there is no other Sunday in the Church’s Year of Grace with so many wondrous names. It is, of course, the first Sunday after Easter, and thus is called the Second Sunday of Easter because it is the second Sunday in the glorious time of Easter. During the Middle Ages in England and Ireland the Sunday was given the very charming name of Low Sunday. It was thus called to differentiate it from the previous Sunday (Easter) which was called the High Sunday. It is also called Quasimodo Sunday after the first word of the Entrance Antiphon in Latin, Quasimodo infantes (As infants…) Students of literature will recall the famous novel of Victor Hugo The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Many may recall that the hunchback’s name was Quasimodo. In the novel the future hunchback was discovered on the steps of Notre Dame in Paris on the Sunday after Easter. The canons of the Cathedral gave the infant the name Quasimodo after the Sunday of his discovery, since they never were certain of his birthday.
Another interesting name for today is Dominica in Albis (depositis). In English translation it would be called the Sunday of the putting away of the albs. It is amazing how much can be said in just a few Latin words. After the catechumens were baptized on the Great and Holy Vigil of Easter they continued to wear their white robes (albis) for an entire week so all would know the great grace which had come to them. On this Sunday they would remove their robes and place them in the wardrobe of the Church and simply wear their everyday clothing.
In our own day, Pope St. John Paul II elevated the Sunday to the Divine Mercy Sunday. The Mercy of God, deserved by none yet accessible to all, was poured upon the world through the resurrection of Our Lord. On this Sunday we give thanks to God for the Divine Mercy. You will notice an image of the Divine Mercy near the ambo (pulpit). For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and upon the whole world! We come under the Divine Mercy whenever we go to confession. Let us all make the resolution to do so each month. As you know we are in the Year of mercy and so we are doubly blessed as recipients of the Divine Mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday in the Year of mercy.
Holy Week: Holy Week at St. Paul’s this year was most uplifting and inspiring. For that I am deeply grateful to all of you. I was so impressed with the faith and devotion of our people. The music was so uplifting as we heard the ancient chants of the Church. The Palm Sunday procession when we followed Our Lord into His own city was so joyous and grace-filled. I was particularly moved by the Veneration of the Holy Cross on Good Friday. The Roman Missal instructs us that there should be only one Crucifix for the veneration of the faithful. Naturally, that takes longer but it is a time of grace that we all need to be before the Cross. You may have noticed that our Squires held the Cross for us all and wiped Our Lord’s most sacred wounds. What a service they did for our parish! They took their duty in holding the Cross. Many of you commented on the beauty of the Crucifix. This magnificent crucifix (hand carved in the northern part of Italy by German craftsmen) was donated to our parish by a family who wishes to remain anonymous. It will be venerated in our parish for generations to come. As the sixth pastor of our beloved St. Paul’s I had the honor to carry the Cross into the Church on Good Friday and to kiss it barefoot. During the veneration I was thinking that the 60th pastor of St. Paul’s will be barefoot before the same crucifix. We were blessed to have the passion sung on Good Friday as its haunting melodies washed over us. On Easter Day timpani and brass heralded Our Lord’s Resurrection.
Our altar guild, under the direction of Mrs. Ursula Coughlin did a splendid job in decorating the Church. The Altar Guild members and their assistants this year are: Jesmel John, Irene and Julie Coronel, Ronnie Borelli, Joann and Frank Cruz, Joann and Diana Cinelli, Paula and Jessica Dawson, Sarah Oey, Vincenza Rinklin, Stephen Esposito, Jihun Son, Anthony Zabal, Paul Donovan and Tom Principe. We did not use a professional florist. Who would need one when we have so many talented members of the Altar Guild. I am most grateful to our ushers, lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, sacristans and our servers. The servers were present in large numbers and their parents drove them for the practices.
E-Giving: After a great deal of time in discussion our parish e-giving is up and running. The first contribution was made by a young High School student. Please visit our parish website (on front page of bulletin) and you will find it both convenient and easy to give in this manner. There will be further explanations and details in the future from members of the Finance Council. But the system is up and running for your convenience.
May God reward you for all you have done for me and for St. Paul’s. Christ is Risen; he is Truly Risen.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda