Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother! Once again, may I express my sincere gratitude to all of you for your extraordinary kindness both to St. Paul the Apostle parish and to me. May God reward each and every one of you for your goodness in giving of your time, treasure and talent. I am very humbled to serve as the pastor of such a wonderful parish.
Last week I wrote to you about a daily plan of life which will help us in the growth in the life of sanctity. It is my intention to continue that theme in writing of a weekly, monthly and annual plan of life for growth in holiness. But this week we must cease from these thoughts and turn to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the All-Holy and Immaculate Mother of God, who’s Assumption we will celebrate on Thursday of this week.
The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary is a Holyday of Obligation. The Holy Masses will be on Wednesday evening at 5.30 (please note the change in time from 5.10) and on Thursday (the Holyday itself) at 8.00 am, 9.00 am, and 7.30 pm. All Holy Masses are in the Church.
The Assumption of Our Lady is both the most ancient and the principle Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It celebrates the wondrous mystery that at the end of her earthly life Our Lady was taken Body and Soul into Heaven.
Many of our parishioners have visited the tombs of the saints. Here in our beloved country we may visit the tomb of Mother Cabrini in upper Manhattan. We may visit the tomb of St John Neumann at the Church of St. Peter at 5th and Gerard in Philadelphia; we may visit the tomb of St. Elizabeth Anne Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland. But no matter how many times we circle the globe we will never find the tomb of the Virgin Mary. We, who are believers, know why that is the case. It is because there is no tomb nor has there ever been a place that has claimed to have her body! She was taken body and soul to heaven. Three is no tomb.
Make every effort to attend Holy Mass and to offer a special gift of love to Our Lady. In many places there is the custom to fast from August 1st until August 15th . This is called Our Lady’s Lent. May God bless you.
I am so very grateful to the parishioners who have already come forward to offer the memorials I mentioned in my letter of last week. The cantor’s podium, six ciboria (the plural of ciborium) and one vestment have already been offered in memory of loved ones. We need now only three vestments. Our parish vestments, though many, have worn over the course of the years.
Sincere gratitude to all of our parishioners who put so much hard work and effort into the Center Stage production of Fiddler on the Roof. May God bless you and May the Virgin Mary bless us with her Divine Child.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda