May 5, 2019
THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
MAY - THE MONTH OF OUR LADY
The Month of May: As everyone is well aware the month of May is the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We may ask ourselves why is such the case? After all, each of the months of the year brings around her glorious feasts. Why is August not the month of Our Lady when we celebrate the Assumption? Why is December not the month of Our Lady when we celebrate her Immaculate Conception? What is it about May which makes it the month of Our Lady? Quite simply, it is because the month of May is the most beautiful month both in the natural and supernatural order. And Our Lady is the most beautiful of all the Good God’s creation.
May is the most beautiful month in the natural order. It is in May that the season of spring is first perceived. Although spring begins at the vernal equinox toward the end of March, it is not until May that we see the days grow longer, brighter and warmer. The earth breaks forth in full life and the birds sing for joy. And although even May sometimes may be quite harsh, nonetheless, we know that soon the warm weather will be with us. It is therefore the month of hope and promise.
May is also the most beautiful month in the supernatural order. Almost always the whole month of May is in the Easter season when the joy-filled alleluia rings through our churches. This year, 2019, that is the case. All of May is in the Easter season. The feast of the Ascension is always in May (except once or twice every forty years or so) and more often than not, (but not this year) the Feast of Pentecost is in May. May also brings with it the celebration of many of the saints. Three of the apostles have their feastdays in May: St. Philip, St. James and St. John. The Holy Archangel St. Michael’s apparition on Monte Gargano is celebrated in May. And so dear to us here at St. Paul’s, the feast of St. Philip Neri (May 26th) is celebrated in May. His holy image and relic adorn our Daily Mass Chapel. On May 24th we celebrate the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians. It is the new image of Our Lady which we see inside the Church.
During the month of May we should make every effort to offer a gift to Our Lady each day. Not the kind of gift one buys at the store. We should offer a spiritual gift. One day we could offer her the Rosary well said, another day a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, another day a visit to an elderly or lonely person, etc. You see there are as many gifts as there are days in the month.
St. Gabriel Possenti was a member of the Passionist order (Many may know the Passionists from their monastery in Jamaica) who died at the age of 24 in 1862. Here is his advice to us: Love Mary! She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you.
This wonderful month will bring many graces and activities to our parish:
Yesterday, May 4th our little ones made their First Holy Communion. We congratulate them and their dear families.
Ascension Thursday (May 30th): Thursday May 30th is Ascension Thursday. It is the wondrous feast of Our Lord’s return to heaven where He awaits us and where He has prepared a place for us. It is a HOLYDAY OF OBLIGATION. The Masses that day will be Wednesday evening at 7.30PM and on Thursday at 8.00AM and 12.15PM. Make every effort to attend Holy Mass that day. Interestingly, in England the Feast is called Holy Thursday and what we Americans call Holy Thursday (the Thursday before Good Friday) is called Maundy Thursday in England. Maundy is the Old English word for the Latin mandatum which refers to the foot washing ceremony. Please note the parish office will be closed in observance of the Holyday.
Confirmation: On Ascension Thursday May 30th His Excellency Bishop John O. Barres will confirm our candidates for Confirmation. May God bless them and their families. May God reward our catechists and aides who give so much of their time to the formation of our young people. May God bless Br. Joseph Bellizzi, S.M., principal of Chaminade High School and Director of Religious Education here at St. Paul’s. May God bless Mrs. Louise Shannon our Faith Formation Administrator.
The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Next Sunday, May 12th at the 9.30AM Mass the children who have made their First Holy Communion this year will be enrolled in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The scapular is Our Lady’s own gift to us. On July 16th 1253 she appeared to St. Simon Stock in Aylesford, England, and presented the scapular to him. She promised many graces to those who would wear it faithfully. (I will write more about the scapular near the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in July. May our little ones always be under the patronage and protection of the Holy Mother of God. They will also crown the statue of Our Blessed Mother after the Mass.
Mother’s Day: As we know, next Sunday is Mother’s Day. May God bless and reward all the mothers in our parish. A mother gives of herself completely to her family and very often in unnoticed and unseen ways. The only one of the Ten Commandments which has a blessing attached to it is the Fourth Commandment – Honor thy father and thy mother.
A mother is a person who receives a child into her own flesh, providing for him the stuff of his own body. And yet, the Christian mother is called to more: to receive the child in Christ’s name.
So many of the saints of the Church were mothers who exemplified the beatitudes. St. Elizabeth of Portugal was a peace maker. She rode out between the warring armies of her husband and son and restored peace. St. Matilda meekly removed herself from her own home rather than stir up her son’s anger. St. Margaret Clitherow, on the eve of her brutal martyrdom, sent her shoes to her daughter with the clear message, follow my path. St. Monica relentlessly prayed her son St. Augustine into the Church. Augustine wrote in his Confessions, “She wept more for me than mothers weep over their children’s dead bodies.” May these saints who were mothers ever intercede for our dear mothers!
Please be sure to enroll your mothers (living or deceased) in the Mother’s Day Novena of Masses. All the mothers will be blessed at every Mass this weekend.
Marian Guild and Knights of Columbus Communion Breakfast: On Sunday, May 19th there will be the Marian Guild and Knights of Columbus Communion Breakfast. The members of the Marian Guild and the Knights of Columbus who are so devoted to the parish, will attend the 9.30 Mass. Afterwards there will be breakfast in Monsignor Costa Hall. Our guest celebrant at the Mass and speaker at the Communion Breakfast will be Father Leo Song, the parochial vicar at St. Rose of Lima in Massapequa. Father Leo was ordained a priest last June after four years of study in Rome. Father Leo received his First Holy Communion here at St. Paul’s and his parents and the catechist who prepared him for First Holy Communion will be here with him. Please make every effort to attend the Communion Breakfast and to welcome Father Leo back home to St. Paul’s.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda