Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
THE HOLY ANGELS
Just last week I wrote to you in my weekly article telling you that I would begin a series on the seven capital sins and last week I wrote on the sin of gossip. However, for this week I would like to interrupt my plan to speak on an important truth of our Catholic faith, the Holy Angels. I do so because today is the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels and Thursday of last week (September 29th) was the Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
Each Sunday when we come to Holy Mass (may God reward you for doing so) we pray the Nicene Creed or the Profession of Faith. This prayer goes back to the year 325 and we should all rejoice in the fact that we profess the same faith that our ancestors have professed for centuries before us. In fact, many in our Church today may count among their ancestors the Holy Martyrs who shed their blood for the faith which we now profess.
Each week we say that I believe in One God, the Father almighty maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. What is meant by the phrase invisible? We know that God Our Lord has made everything that we see…all the animals, plants, and minerals of the visible order. But he has also created a vast creation that is invisible, that we cannot see. This is the order of the Angels.
Angels are intelligent creatures of the spiritual order. They do not have bodies and thus do not change. They are pure intelligence. They are purely spiritual and thus are invisible. That angels exist we are certain. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament speak constantly of the presence and work of the angels. God promised Moses that he need not fear about leading the Chosen People from Egypt, because My angel will go before you. And it was the Holy Angels who ministered to Our Divine Savior during His fast of forty days in the desert.
Since the angels are pure spirits without a body they may not be seen. The Holy Angels are invisible but when God gives them a mission on earth they appear in a visible form. Often they are seen as young men as they were at the tomb of Our Lord on the first Easter morning. In art they are pictured with wings simply to remind us of how they may travel in speed from one place to another. Since the angels cannot change, they were not given the grace of the redemption as was the human race. The wonder of our glorious human nature is that we can change; we can repent. The angels cannot change and thus once they chose between good and evil their choice was final. The devils are angels, but evil angels who are forever in rebellion against the goodness of God.
To each of us has God assigned a Guardian Angel. The guardian angel is our dearest friend who inspires us with good thoughts and protects us both in body and soul. Not only do individuals have angels but God has assigned guardian angels to protect cities, villages, nations and parishes. (Please pardon the personal reference). On April 29, 2013, I arrived for the first time at St. Paul. I had been appointed Pastor only the previous week and it would be my first visit ever to St. Paul and to visit my beloved predecessor Monsignor Clerkin. Monsignor had invited me for lunch at noon (which was delicious). But I arrived at 11.30 to walk the grounds and to invoke the Guardian Angel of St. Paul’s Parish and of all our beloved parishioners, especially the Guardian Angels of our dear young people, of the sick, and of the elderly. Only then was I ready to ring the bell of the parish office. (I no longer ring the bell since I now have a key).
May I encourage all of you to be on intimate and friendly terms with your guardian angel. The Holy Angels will do great services for us both in the material and spiritual order. Parents should invoke the Guardian Angels of their children so that the Angels may watch over and protect them. Holy Guardian Angels pray for us and protect us.
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One of the great services of the Guardian Angels is that they serve as ambassadors. If we are not getting along with anyone, we should invoke the Guardian Angel of that person and ask him to sort things out. We may ask our own Guardian Angel to work in concert with the other’s Guardian Angel to make peace and relieve tension, friction, and strife.
FIRST FRIDAY ADORATION: May I remind you that Friday of this week (October 7th) is First Friday. The Most Blessed Sacrament will be exposed in the Daily Mass Chapel from 12 noon until 8.00pm at which time there will be Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. (The Divine Mercy Chaplet will be prayed at 3.00pm). I would encourage everyone to spend some time on Friday in adoration. It is the remedy to every ill that afflicts us. No one ever leaves Our Lord’s sacred presence without a sense of peace and serenity.
BLESSING OF ANIMALS: Tuesday, October 4th we celebrate the Liturgical Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi. It is also the Name Day (onomastico) of the Pope. The traditional blessing of the animals will take place on Saturday, October 8th at 11:00AM. Please bring your animals to the lovely plaza in front of the Church at 11.00AM so the priest may say the prayer of blessing over all the animals and then walk among the animals to bless them with Holy Water. Please keep the dogs on leashes.
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 in 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.
MASS OF THANKSGIVING ON OCTOBER 23RD: On Sunday October 23, 2016, at 11.00AM there will be a Mass of Thanksgiving for the 35 Years of the Holy Priesthood that God has given to our pastor Monsignor Pereda. There will be a reception for all parishioners, friends, and family, after the Mass with a special treat for the children. This is the Sunday before our Parish Gala Dinner/Dance and Casino Night which is on Friday October 28th. (Please see the announcement elsewhere in the bulletin). Everyone is most cordially invited. This is not an occasion for the giving of gifts which should only go toward our Parish Gala.
LOOK TO MARY: Look to the star of the sea, call upon Mary…in danger, in distress, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. May her name never be far from your lips, or far from your heart…If you follow her, you will not stray; if you pray to her, you will not despair; if you turn your thoughts to her, you will not err. If she holds you, you will not fall; if she protects you, you need not fear; if she is your guide, you will not tire; if she is gracious to you, you will surely reach your destination. – St. Bernard of Clairvaux
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda