Dear Parishioners of our Beloved St. Paul:
Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother! On this Sunday before the Feast of Our Lord’s Holy Nativity we come to the Fourth Sunday in Advent. This grace-filled season, now coming to a close, has been a time when the darkness has increased around us, but in which we have held fast to that True Light of the World, a Light which no darkness will ever extinguish. And now our hope is fulfilled for Our Lord is with us and even in nature we see today the return of the sun. From this day forward the days will grow brighter and longer.
For our meditation of today I would like to point to our Beloved Father and lord, St. Joseph. Before time had begun, God chose St. Joseph to be the Guardian of the Redeemer. It was to St. Joseph that God committed the safety of His Only Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. And although St. Joseph was not physically the father of Our Lord who was born of the Ever-Virgin Mary, nonetheless he was a father to him in every way but the physical. The way Our Lord spoke, the way He would plane the wood, the way He made a cupboard, all reflected St. Joseph’s influence.
It was St. Joseph who brought Our Lady to Bethlehem in fulfillment of the ancient prophecies that the Messiah would be born there. Not one word of St. Joseph’s has been recorded, but we know that just as He protected the Holy Family, so will He protect us. He is our intercessor in all things both supernatural and natural.
At this Holy Time, then, may I wish you a very Holy, Happy, Blessed, and Merry Christmas. This is my fourth Christmas at St. Paul’s and therefore a very happy one. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to all of you for receiving me so warmly and with so much affection and kindness. May God reward you for all your goodness both to me and to St. Paul’s.
Please be sure to save the Christmas schedule so that we may all make our Christmas confession. You will notice there are many hours for confession and it is my fond hope that very many will confess so that we may greet the Christ Child in humility and love.
Please consult the bulletin for the times of the Christmas Masses. We are very grateful to a family of our parish who have offered for God’s glory and for the uplifting of our souls orchestral music for both the 4PM and 6PM Mass on Christmas Eve. It has long been a custom at St. Paul’s that at Christmas there would be orchestral music. The 4.00pm Mass on Christmas Eve is usually the most crowded. If one is able to do so, one may consider attending one of the other Masses. At all the Christmas Masses at St. Paul the readings for the Midnight Mass will be used. If there are visiting students from religion programs in other parishes who need their Mass requirement signed, please ask one of the ushers to do so. At St. Paul there is no such requirement, and Christmas day is most busy with our one priest greeting the parishioners and wishing them a Blessed Christmas.
May we all receive Our Lord on Christmas with the purity, humility, the love and devotion with which His most Holy Mother received Him, with the spirit and the fervor of the saints.
For that is precisely why Our Lord came to this earth as an infant, not to judge and condemn, but to love and be loved. He has come to earth so that we may go to heaven. And He calls each and every one of us to be saints. Now is the fullness of time and let us embrace the Holy Infant and hold Him so dearly. May He never depart from us.
TWO ITEMS OF GOOD NEWS; TWO CHRISTMAS GIFTS: BISHOP JOHN O. BARRES AND DEACON RAYMOND P. D’ALESSIO
As many of you already are aware the Pope has appointed a new Bishop of Rockville Centre. His Excellency the Most Reverend John O. Barres has been appointed the Fifth Bishop of Rockville Centre. (the others have been Bishop Walter Kellenberg from 1957 to 1976; Bishop John McGann from 1976 to 2000; Bishop James McHugh, 2000; and Bishop William Murphy 2001-20016). This appointment was made on December 9, 2016. Bishop Barres will be installed on January 31, 2017. He is a very holy and humble priest and will lead us all closer to God.
I have known Bishop Barres since 1983, even before he had entered the Seminary. I had the happiness to study canon law in Rome at the time he was doing his canon law studies. Please pray for the New Bishop, for the Pope and for all priests. Perhaps, in your charity, you will say a prayer even for your pastor who is so in need of prayer.
The other item of good news is one that is much closer to us. Bishop Murphy has appointed Deacon Raymond P. D’Alessio to the office of Deacon and Pastoral Associate of St. Paul the Apostle. Deacon Ray will join us at the end of January. Many of you know Deacon Ray because he has been the Deacon at St. Edward’s for over eight years. The Bishop realized that we at St. Paul’s are in need of assistance and has given us a special gift in Deacon Ray. He is a fine preacher, a holy deacon, and a brilliant administrator. He will help us all grow closer to God. I am deeply grateful for this gift the Bishop has given to us and I am certain it has been through the intercession of Our Lady. Please welcome Deacon Ray who will lead us closer to God and His Most Holy Mother.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda