From the Pastor
July 14, 2019
The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Third Sunday After Pentecost
O LORD, HOW I LOVE THE BEAUTY OF THY
HOUSE AND THE PLACE
WHERE THY GLORY DWELLS
We continue today with our explanation of the chapel and shrine areas in our newly renovated Church. We have already written about the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Today I begin by writing of the Shrine of the Divine Mercy and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus to our left as we enter the Church.
We are all aware that God is infinite, omnipotent and all knowing. He needs nothing. However, the one thing He has continually asked for, and, quite literally begged for, is our trust, our confidence our love. Anyone could do anything else. As the old saying goes, the cemeteries are filled with indispensable people. But there is something unique that only you can do, and I can do. You and I may give to God our trust, our confidence, and our love. No one can do that for us.
Through the revelations of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 17th century France, Our Lord wished all to know the warmth and love of His Heart. He wanted us to trust Him and repay His love with Our Love. There is a magnificent painting of the Sacred Heart on the right wall of this shrine. Our Lord waits for us and wants to show us His love and mercy.
The focal point of this shrine, however, is the image of the Divine Mercy which hangs in the center. The story and message of the Divine Mercy is a very simple one. It is that God loves us – all of us. And he wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His Glory. The Divine Mercy message is one we can call to mind by remembering ABC:
Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and the whole world.
Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and allow it to flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does for us.
Completely trust in Jesus who wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust in Him. The more we trust in Jesus the more we shall receive.
This message and the devotion of the Divine Mercy Chaplet is based upon the writings of Saint Faustina, Kowalska. (She is the saint pictured on the left of the chapel), an uneducated polish nun who God used to make known the richness of His great and abundant Mercy. But such is always the way of God. He uses the little ones whom the world does not esteem (like St. Juan Diego in the Guadalupe Chapel) to make known His message to the world. St. Faustina dies in 1938 and was canonized by St. John Paul II in 2000. At that time, he proclaimed that the first Sunday after Easter would henceforth be known as the Sunday of the Divine Mercy. Interestingly, Sr. Faustina, the young Karol Wojtyla (later Pope John Paul II), and St. Maximillian Kolbe, the martyr of Charity, all lived at the same time and within 15 miles of one another. They never knew one another on earth but all three were used to let open the Ocean of God’s Mercy upon the world. That Mercy flows through all time and through all peoples. It is deserved by no one, but accessible to all.
The image of the Divine Mercy is based on the exact instructions of Our Lord to St. Faustina. Our Lord told her: I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. Our Lord is depicted as raising His right hand in blessing and pointing with his left hand on the Sacred Heart, from which flow two rays: one red and one pale. The depiction contains the message Jesus I trust in You (Polish: Jezu ufam Tobie). The rays streaming out have symbolic meaning: red for the Blood of Our Lord (which is the Life of Souls), and pale for the water which justifies souls. The whole image is a symbol of charity, forgiveness and love of God, referred to as the Fountain of Mercy. Please visit this shrine and venerate the image. Love is repaid by love. Do not be indifferent to the Mercy of God of which we all stand in need.
JESUS I TRUST IN THEE!
Many may realize that these shrines (Our Lady of Guadalupe and Divine Mercy-Sacred Heart) were once confessionals. I smiled when someone asked me if we were no longer giving confession! (And this was asked by someone who is a self-styled founding parishioner). Perhaps many, even after 52 years of going to St. Paul’s, never noticed that the Church was built with four confessionals. There is one confessional in the north transept and one in the south transept. Since we have only one priest assigned to St. Paul, I can assure you that four confessionals were not needed. Unlike Padre Pio, your pastor does not bilocate. The two confessionals in the transepts are now used allowing the penitents a greater degree of privacy. These confessionals are not yet completed. They will be completed in the next phase of our renovation.
Next week I will write about the beautiful Rosary Chapel of Our Lady of Fatima and the niches of the Saints.
Beginning next week, we will be having Mass in Monsignor Costa Hall. This will allow for the last and final phase of the construction to be completed. New lighting will be installed; the lavatory will be renovated (after 52 years). The new marble baptismal font will be placed in the Baptistery. The grille work will be completed at the shrines and the new stained glass will be installed in the Fatima Chapel. The mysteries of the Holy Rosary will be mounted on the walls of that chapel. The fabric in the apse wall (what we look toward) will be replaced with fabric that will perfectly match the color of the wall. Thus, that HVAC- looking rectangle will be no more. The wall between the nave and the narthex will undergo demolition and the new glass (curtain wall) will be in its place, making the Church lighter and more open We will then be able to see the beauty of the stained-glass window of Christ the Creator of the Universe (Pantocrator in Greek) clearly from the inside of the Church. There will be no heavy wood obstructing our view.
The Memorial plaques indicating the donors to the original building as well as to the renovation will be back (not immediately after the renovation since parishioners are still donating toward the renovation). The Memorial Tree of Life will also be placed in a more accessible area.
As I mentioned above, Our Lord needs nothing. However, your pastor stands in need. I ask you to join me in this great enterprise for God’s Glory. If you have not given anything to this glorious renovation, please prayerfully consider doing so. God will not be outdone in generosity and will bless those who love the beauty of His House.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda