From the Pastor
November 24, 2019
Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
The Last Sunday After Pentecost
CHRIST THE KING
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 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. Blessed Miguel Pro was executed before a firing squad for Christ the King on November 23, 1927. 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!
OUR LADY, SEAT OF WISDOM: Some may have noticed the new shrine that has been built at the entrance to Monsignor Costa Hall. It is the gift of the Repole Family and will stand there to welcome all to the lower hall for years to come. It is the depiction of the Virgin Mary holding the Holy Infant Jesus. The name of this statue is Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom (in Latin Sedes Sapientiae). It is under this title that Our Lady is Patroness of the Montfort Missionaries and Daughters of Wisdom. She is also Patroness of the Society of St. Sulpice whose seminary (Theological College) in Washington, D.C., both Bishop Barres and I attended. Please sit at the soon to be installed benches and there look lovingly at Our Lady. See yourself as being in her arms, and all troubles will pass away.
SATURDAY EVENING MASS: As has already been announced, the time of the Saturday Evening Mass will change from 5PM to 4PM beginning on the weekend of the First Sunday of Advent. That will be Saturday, November 30th. This is a change for which parishioners have asked for many years and for which many have expressed gratitude. Several of the Churches in our area have moved the Saturday Mass to 4PM and it has been met with great success. Obviously, like everything in life, it cannot make everyone happy, but we will monitor the attendance. Please remember that this large parish is served by only one priest who is 39 years ordained (assisted by only one deacon). We must face the reality that we do not have four priests here and must be willing to make small sacrifices.
POT/LUCK SUPPER AND TREE LIGHTING: Please make every effort to attend our Tree Lighting and Pot/Luck supper on the evening of December 6th, the Feast of St. Nicholas. We are grateful to the Knights and Squires for providing this fun-filled and grace-filled evening.
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY: Because in this year of 2019 December 8th falls on a Sunday of Advent, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is transferred (moved) to Monday December 9th. Although the Feast can be moved the obligation to attend mass cannot be moved. (It is an old principle of Canon Law that good things are amplified, while restrictive things are curtailed). There is no obligation to attend Mass on December 9th but, nonetheless, Holy Mass will be in the Chapel at 8.00AM on Monday December 9th. Please consider coming to Mass that day to honor the Immaculate One. Vergine Immacolata, aiutateci! (Immaculate Virgin, Help Us!)
THANKSGIVING DAY MASS: On Thursday, November 28th, we keep our national holiday of Thanksgiving Day. As everyone is aware, this is not a Holy Day of Obligation, nor is it even a Catholic Feast. However, for those who would like to attend Holy Mass on this day the one Mass will be on Thanksgiving Day at 10.00AM. Please note there is no Mass on Wednesday evening November27th. Please consider coming to Holy Mass on Thanksgiving Day and bring a food item for the poor. We are most grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Joe and Linda Curro and their staff who so lovingly attend the needs of the homeless and poor in our area in our food pantry. All food items will be placed in our Food pantry
The Food Pantry has been built in blessed and eternal memory of Mrs. Angela Lostritto. A plaque with her name on it welcomes those who seek the charity of Christ. I am so pleased that at all the buildings and centers of our parish campus a statue of Our Lady welcomes us. As we enter the Church, Our Lady of Grace stands to greet us. As we enter Monsignor Costa Hall, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom welcomes us, and she prays our dear children will learn religion well. At the entrance to the Food Pantry, the poor and homeless need not feel embarrassment, because here Our Lady of Banneaux stands to show her love for those who, like her, are pure and humble of Heart. That statue was commissioned by Father Potterton, the founding pastor of St. Paul. How pleased I am that it is still with us and has been restored as part of our Capital Campaign. Father Potterton loved Our Lady of Banneaux because he himself was an alumnus of the North American College at Louvain (Belgium) of which She is Patron and took great delight in her presence.
Yes, here at St. Paul’s we have three statues of the Blessed Mother outdoors and images of her in the Church that are beyond enumeration. But, as St. Bernard wrote, de Maria, numquam satis. (Of Mary, there can never be enough). I have been blessed to be the pastor of a parish where Our Lady is so loved and venerated.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda