Dear Parishioners of Our Beloved St. Paul:
Praised be Jesus Christ, and Mary, His Most Holy Mother! On Tuesday of last week, July 26th, the Church kept the liturgical commemoration of Sts. Joachim and Ann, the Holy and Righteous Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are the grandparents of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and in the Eastern Church they are called, the Holy and Righteous Ancestors of God.
As is well known, often a grandmother is called nana or a variation of that word. It, in turn, is derived from the Latin for Ann which is Anna. St. Ann’s very name indicates that she is a grandmother.
St. Ann is one of the most powerful intercessors in Heaven. She has been invoked by the Christian faithful since time immemorial. She is the patroness of expectant mothers, of women experiencing difficult pregnancies, of all children and of young women seeking a suitable Catholic husband. She is invoked as a protectress against lightning. St. Teresa of Avila founded over 16 Carmelite monasteries in Spain during the sixteenth century, and she placed all of them under the patronage of good St. Ann. St. Teresa wrote, Surely, Our Lord Jesus Christ, will never allow to founder any home dedicated to his most Holy and Glorious Grandmother.
After her death in the Holy Land, St. Ann’s Holy Body was brought to Brittany in France and buried deep in the mountains for protection. During the sixteenth century, miners discovered the holy remains of St. Ann in a mine. In that place today stands the magnificent basilica of St. Ann d‘Auray. In that basilica many pilgrims come to pray before the tomb of St. Ann. The Breton people (the inhabitants of Brittany in France) brought their love of St. Ann to the New World, to New France. And there in Quebec they built the magnificent shrine of St. Ann de Beaupré. Perhaps some of our parishioners have even visited that lovely shrine where so many miracles have occurred.
Because of the circumstances surrounding the discovery of her body, St. Ann is the patron of miners. For that reason each year at the Basilica of St. Ann in Scranton, Pennsylvania, there is a novena in her honor attended by scores of thousands. (Scranton was formerly a major coal mining region in our country).
I know a lady who had a very difficult pregnancy and who was told by many doctors she would lose her child. She had to remain on total bed rest for six months of her pregnancy and she prayed to St. Ann incessantly to spare the child. She dedicated her unborn child to St. Ann and promised that, if the baby were a girl, she would name her Ann. A baby boy was born safely, and in the providence of God became a priest. The miracles, graces and favors wrought through the intercession of St. Ann are innumerable. The Little Sisters of the Poor are very devoted to St. Ann, and after St. Joseph, she is the secondary patroness of the congregation.
How blessed we are that a family who wished to remain anonymous gave to St. Paul’s a magnificent woodcut statue of St. Ann, hand carved in Italy. The statue is given simply In Loving Memory of Josie, and it is in our Daily Mass Chapel. Visit this statue and pray to good St. Ann. It is my hope that after we are all gone and forgotten the future generations of St. Paul’s will love and invoke St. Ann. The presence of this statue gives me great personal joy because when I was ordained a priest 35 years ago I had made a promise of mine that if ever I were to be made a pastor of a Church I would place a statue of St. Ann in the Church. For you see, the lady to whom I made reference above is my own mother who passed away earlier this year, and the baby boy is now your Pastor. Had it not been for St. Ann, I would not be here with you today.
St. Ann, Mother of her who is our life, our sweetness and our hope, pray for us!
Page 4 July 31, 2016
ST. PAUL’S CENTERSTAGE PRODUCTION OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: Please see the bulletin announcement for all the information about the St. Paul’s Centerstage Production of Beauty and the Beast. Many parishioners have been working very hard to provide this musical play for us. Please see the bulletin for the dates of performance and join us for a wonderful evening or afternoon of entertainment. It will be well worth while. I am very grateful to the cast and staff of Centerstage for their efforts and very diligent work.
THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION: This year the Solemnity of the Assumption falls on a Monday (August 15th) and therefore the obligation to attend Holy Mass is dispensed this year. Nonetheless, it is my fond hope that many of our people will come to holy Mass that day to honor Our Lady on her principal Feast. The one Mass that day will be at 8.00AM in the Chapel. I would encourage all of you to fast and pray from August 1st until the 15th. This is a very ancient tradition and is often referred to as Our Lady’s Lent.
PARISH GALA DINNER/DANCE AND CASINO NIGHT: Please save the date of Friday October 28th. That will be our annual Parish Gala Dinner/Dance and Casino Night. Once again we will have the casino night provided by the M&M Twins (my good friends, Marco and Michael Posillico). This proved to be so enjoyable last year and was a great success. May I ask and invite all parishioners to attend this wonderful evening at the newly refurbished Cottage of the Milleridge Inn. Mr. Butch Yamali, the new owner of the Milleridge Inn, recently invited me to go there to bless this new endeavor. I was accompanied by the Chair of the Gala Mrs. Paula Maturo and by committee member Mrs. Anne Maione. I entered every room of the Inn to bless it and sprinkle the Holy Water, all the shops, and the cottage and carriage house. It is remarkable how this historic inn is being restored to its original splendor. Mr. Yamali is a good friend to us at St. Paul’s and I would encourage everyone to come that night and to see the refurbished Inn. It is our major fundraiser through the course of the year. You may have noticed that this year I have completed 35 years as a priest. I am very honored that on that evening we will also celebrate these years of priesthood. We do not honor the priest individually, for every priest’s prayer is that of St. John the Baptist, he must increase, but I must decrease. But rather we give thanks to God for the gift of the priesthood which is love at the heart of the Church. I am most grateful to Mrs. Paula Maturo and her committee for all they have done for the success of this wonderful evening.
St. Philip Neri: We must not be behind time in doing good; for death will not be behind his time.
St. Josémaria Escrivá: Do not lament the past; learn from it and begin again.
Pope Francis: Happy are the young because they have time before them to do good.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda