The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time The Second Sunday After Epiphany
THE MOST HOLY NAME OF JESUS
Many are aware that the Month of January is the month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. In fact the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus is kept on January 3rd each year. The Feast gives the character to the entire month.
What’s in a name? Thus did Juliet wonder in Shakespeare’s famous play. Perhaps some of us have even asked that ourselves. We know what is meant by that expression. Generally it means that names are not that important. And yet our faith tells us that names are indeed important.
But we know that names are very important. Think, if you will, of the poor and devoted husband whose wife has had a stroke and who will never hear her utter his name again. Think of the poor mother whose child is getting older and who has not yet said mama. Perhaps she has brought the baby to the doctor who, after testing, discovers that the child has a hearing problem and that perhaps she will never hear the child utter her name or any other name for that matter. These are two examples of individuals who understand the importance of names. And think of a young man and woman who are first keeping company. The very name of their beloved thrills them. Yes, names are important.
What a joy then for us to realize that when God became a man, he had a name, Jesus. The very name Jesus means Savior. It is the name that is so powerful that it is used in all the sacraments of the Church. We pray, Our help is in the Name who made heaven and earth. In fact we should try to do everything in the name of the Lord. It is the name which the angel told to St. Joseph and it was St. Joseph who had the great privilege to bestow the Holy Name upon Our Lord.
We should have only the greatest reverence for the name of Our Lord. We should bow our head when either saying or hearing His name. In the church’s Liturgy the priest bows his head at the name of Our Lord, Our Blessed Mother, the Patron Saint of the parish Church (in our case St. Paul), his own patron saint (in my case, St. James the Apostle), the patron saint of the diocese (in our case St. Agnes) and the saint whose feast is being celebrated. In fact, there is a tradition to use the phrase Our Lord in place of the Sacred Name Jesus so that we do not use the name lightly or carelessly. In the Old Testament, the Chosen People would never use the name of God nor would they write it. Even today, among many pious Jews, they write G-D instead of GOD out of respect for the divine name.
Out of respect for the Sacred Name we should never use Our Lord’s name as a curse or as an expression. How sad to hear the name of God used in an expression, sometimes even by young children who have not even begun to read or write. We should only use Our Lord’s name in a reverential way and in prayer. It is the same spirit of reverence that teaches us to try to make the Church a place of quiet so that a spirit of prayer permeates the whole building. When the English martyrs were being cruelly tortured for our Catholic faith, the Divine Name gave them strength and courage. They would utter a beautiful aspiration that perhaps we, too, could memorize. It is (in Medieval English) Jesu, Jesu, always be Jesus to me! In Latin the prayer is: Iesu, Iesu, esto mihi semper Iesus!
Blessed be God! Blessed be His Holy Name! Yes, dear friends let us always use the Most Holy Name of Jesus with love and with reverence. May that name be our strength and salvation.
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. Deacon Ray will be preaching at all the Masses the weekend of the 28th and 29th of January and there will be a reception after each of the Sunday Masses to welcome him. Please make every effort to come and greet Deacon Ray on that weekend.
CAPITAL CAMPAIGN: Soon our capital campaign will begin. This will be a great enterprise for God’s glory. I am so grateful for all those who have worked so diligently in preparation for this. We have recently received the Bishop’s permission to go forward with our capital campaign, the first ever in the history of the parish. In the coming weeks different individuals will be speaking to us about this important work. Mr. Richard O’Hara who is a member of the Finance Council will speak at all the masses on the weekend of February 4th and 5th about our parish financial standing
In Jesus and Marry,
Monsignor James F. Pereda