Christ is risen! He is truly risen! We find ourselves still filled with paschal joy as we celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The glorious season of Easter will come to its wondrous finale on the Day of Pentecost, June 8, 2014. That day will be particularly joyous for us here at St. Paul as eight adults will be confirmed at the 11.00am Mass.
I wish to extend sincere gratitude to all of you for your great generosity to the parish and to me at the time of Easter. Your offerings allow for the wonderful building up of the Kingdom here at St. Paul’s and I am deeply grateful for all the spiritual and material gifts that you gave to me at Easter. This was my first Easter at St. Paul and my first Easter as a pastor, and therefore it was the happiest of my life. There can be no greater joy for a priest than to be surrounded by his parishioners in celebrating the great gift of the redemption through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord.
And did we not all have a grace-filled and Holy Lent and Easter? We came forward on March 5th to be sealed with sacred ashes. I was so pleased that since the ashes were available all day it gave the opportunity for many to receive the Holy Ashes. During Lent we were blessed to have had our Lenten Retreat given by
Father Tom Cardone of the Marianist Fathers. So many of you attended the retreat and it was an opportunity for all of us to come closer to Our Lord. On each of the Fridays of Lent so many came to walk with Our Lord in the Way (Stations) of the Cross. One Friday evening the Knights and Squires served a Bread/Soup Supper for us and what was saved was given to our parish Outreach. During Lent we also had Holy Hour each Wednesday evening in the Chapel. I was so pleased by the attendance that I would like to make these Holy Hours of Adoration more available at St. Paul’s.
We all had a grace-filled Holy Week as we carried the palm branches to greet Our Lord on Palm Sunday and then on Thursday sat with Him at the Last Supper and obeyed His command (mandatum) to love one another as we re-enacted the Washing of the Feet. Then on Good Friday our wonderful Squires provided yet another service for us as they reverently held our magnificent new crucifix so we could come forward and venerate the Cross on which hung the Savior of the World.
The Easter Vigil was marvelous as we moved from darkness to Light and once again proclaimed the message that the world had waited for from of old: Christ is risen; He is truly risen! Easter Day was a wonderful renewal of our faith, hope and charity.And so I wish to thank all of you: our musicians, Gary, Eva, Cecelia; our ushers; our Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion; our Lectors; our sacristans; those who decorated the Church so beautifully.
One of the happiest moments of my 33 years as a priest was Holy Saturday morning. After hearing confessions for two hours I emerged from the confessional to see about 20 people of all ages (ranging from 8 to people in their 70’s) all decorating the Church. Then I looked to our Food pantry to see some of our volunteers taking food to the poor. At that moment I made an act of thanksgiving to God and His Most holy Mother that I am here at St. Paul’s. May God bless you all.
Spring Gala: As you know our Spring Gala will be on Friday evening May 16th at the Cottage of the Milleridge Inn. We are grateful to Mrs. Paula Maturo and her committee who have worked so diligently to prepare everything. Please make every effort to attend; it is our largest fundraiser of the year.
Mass Manners: We continue today with our new section giving advice about behavior in Church. Last week we addressed the whole issue of eating/drinking/chewing gum in the Church. Today I would like to speak of our parish missalette/hymnals. Back in November we were blessed to have donated to our parish 900 hymnals. These add a great deal of dignity to the Church. Please place them in the racks of the pews after mass. Please close them so that they will last and please do not remove the books from the red cover/binders. It is my hope that these will last many years, and we know that they will if they are cared for properly.
Memorials: We are grateful for the donation of the new image of the Divine Mercy which is now in the chapel as well as the pictures of the two new saints Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II. At present we are in need of an Ambry. The Ambry is the box or cabinet that is mounted in the Church where the Holy Oils and Sacred Chrism (consecrated by the Bishop on Holy Thursday) are kept and displayed. St. Paul does not have an ambry; I do not know whether or not there ever was one. All Catholic Churches have them. At present these Holy Oils are in a cupboard in the sacristy. They are meant to be kept in an Ambry in the Church where they can be seen and where they are safely under lock and key. Please see me if you would like to donate this important Church furnishing in memory of a loves one.
May God reward you for all you have done for me and for St. Paul’s. Christ is Risen; he is Truly Risen.
Benedicat Virgo Maria!
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda