Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother! We come today to the Last Sunday of the Church’s Year of Grace, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. Next week when we come to Holy Mass we will see the solemn and somber color of violet reminding us that we have placed our feet once more along the path of holiness as we begin a New Year of Grace on the First Sunday in Advent. The poet T.S. Eliot wrote in his wonderful poem Ash Wednesday that the Church journeys as a ship along the violet and violet of the seas. He was referring to one Advent following another.
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King is of relatively recent origin; it was established only in 1923. At that time an unprecedented persecution of the Church had begun both in Spain and in Mexico. During the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939 over 4,000 priests were killed in Spain and more than 20,000 religious sisters and brothers. Many were killed in terrible ways. Some were clubbed into unconsciousness and fed to the wild animals of the zoos. Among the many martyred religious were a great number of members of the Marianist Order who serve St. Paul’s in such a dedicated and Christ-like way. And in Mexico churches were burned and many were tortured in unbelievable ways. This official persecution of the Church in Mexico lasted until 1992. Exactly 87 years ago today the Blessed Miguel Pro was executed before a firing squad for Christ the King. His dying words were Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King!
At the time the Church established the Feast of Christ the King. This was to remind all the faithful that Our Lord is not only the Lord and God of individuals but also of nations and all society. As our father and patron St. Paul the Apostle reminds us, Oportet illum regnare. (He must reign). Christ is King of all the faithful but also of all the nations. Therefore all of society must be subject to his rule. When the Spanish and Mexican martyrs were being executed they cried out Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King!
May we too ever have that phrase upon our lips. May Christ reign in our hearts and souls; may Christ reign over our families; may Christ reign over our nation and all the peoples of the world!
Today at the 11.00am Mass we honor all the parish volunteers and bless them. It is most fitting that we do so on this Feast but also on the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day. For without our volunteers we would have no parish. Today also we honor and bless all of our Founding Parishioners and the members of our senior’s club. These heroic men and women founded our parish and remember Mass being celebrated even before the Church was built. They are our founders in the faith and today we recognize and honor their service. We also pray for all our former pastors: Monsignor Potterton, Father Galloway, Monsignor Eugene Murphy, our beloved Monsignor Costa and Monsignor Clerkin. May God reward and bless each of them.
Finally may I extend sincere gratitude to all of you, the parishioners of St. Paul. Your sacrificial giving allows all of the wonderful things happening at St. Paul’s to occur. I never forget you in my prayers because I realize that every crust of bread that touches my lips is your gift.May God bless all of you then on this Thanksgiving Day which is celebrated on Thursday. Why not begin it in the right way by attending Holy Mass on Wednesday at 7.30pm in the Church? Let us give thanks to the Lord our God…It is right and just! There will also be Mass at 9.00 am (note the change from the usual 8.00) on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day itself, in the Church (not in the Daily Mass Chapel). Later in the day I will be having my Thanksgiving Dinner with the Little Sisters of the Poor for whom I served as chaplain for 13 years. They are ever grateful for all you do for them.
SPIRITUAL EVENTS FOR DECEMBER: Please remember two important dates that will be of great spiritual benefit to all of us during this Holy Time. On Thursday, December 11, 2014, at 7.00PM Father Gregory Rannazzisi will lead us in an Advent Evening of Prayer in the Church. Father is the Vice-Rector of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington and often appears on TELECARE. Confessions will be available. Father will make his presentation before the Most Blessed Sacrament which will be exposed for adoration
And then on Friday December 12, 2014, at 7.00PM here at St. Paul’s there will be a Solemn High Mass in the Traditional Latin Rite for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The musical setting of the Mass will be a setting by the famous renaissance composer Palestrina. Please come to this Mass to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Unborn, and to hear beautiful polyphonic music.
May God bless and reward each of you. We are looking for donors for a new statue of St. Paul in our chapel, two of the new St. Kilian Candle systems for the Church, and other items. Thank you for all you have done to make our Church and chapel fitting places of worship of the God of All Goodness and Mercy.
Benedicat Virgo Maria!
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda