Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother! This week I wish to write about several of the feasts of Our Blessed Mother that are kept in September and about other items concerning our parish.
On September 8th we keep the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, nine months to the day after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The birth of Our Lady was the dawn of our salvation, for St. Ann gave birth to that One who would be the Mother of God. On September 12th we keep the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary.
The Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary is an historical feast, i.e., it celebrates an historical event in the life of the Church. On September 12, 1683, the Turks were poised to invade Vienna, the very heart of Christian Europe, and to impose Islam on the Holy Roman Empire. The faithful of the City prayed for the protection of the Holy Virgin and at the great battle of Vienna, the Christian forces were victorious over the Turks. This was due in large part to the intervention of the Polish King John Sublieski, the maternal grandfather of the martyred King Louis XVI of France. In celebration of the victory the Viennese bakers baked the bread the next day in the shape of the crescent moon, the symbol of Islam, to show that the Turks were broken as bread is broken. The French name for crescent is croissant, and thus was born the famous breakfast bread eaten in Catholic nations. The Turks fled so quickly that they left bags of Arabica coffee beans in their camps. The coffee was discovered by the Viennese and thus began the great custom in Vienna of drinking coffee (sometimes with the wonderful chocolate cake called the sachretort!)
On September 15th we keep the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows as we recall Our Lady’s standing at the Cross of Our Lord and on September 24th we keep the Feast of Our Lady of Ransom or Our Lady of Mercy. Our Blessed Mother is that Inexhaustible Cup which satisfies every desire of the human heart. Go to Her on Her Feast days and seek her never-failing protection.
Parish Picnic: Please be sure to attend the parish Picnic this year. It is on Saturday September 12th. The Mass that afternoon will be at 4.00PM (instead of the usual 5.00PM). The picnic is a family celebration where we may all gather together. Please bring one dessert and one non-perishable food item for our parish pantry. I have every confidence it will be good weather that day because it is the same day that the Little Sisters of the Poor will have their Garden Party in Queens Village. Thank you Jesse and the whole committee for all they have done.
Gala: We are now in the midst of planning for our annual parish Gala Dinner Dance. As always, I am most grateful to Mrs. Paula Maturo and her dedicated committee who plan this wonderful event. This event is the major fundraiser for our parish. Please see the bulletin for details. The parish gala will be on Friday October 30th. It will be a Dinner Dance at the Milleridge Inn Cottage and its theme will be Casino Night. Our friends the M&M Twins (Marco and Michael Posillico), whom I have known for 25 years) will present a wonderful evening of entertainment. St. Paul’s depends on this fundraiser. It is my fond hope that many parishioners will come together for this fundraiser so that we may continue to exist as a viable and vibrant parish.
A Blessed Labor Day to All and we pray for our nation and all who have died on September 11, 2001, and the wars which followed it.
Looking to the Future: Many recall that in 2013 St. Paul’s celebrated its fiftieth anniversary as a parish. In the year 2018 we will observe an even more important milestone. It will mark the 50th anniversary of the building of the Church. A Church is rightly called Domus Dei et Porta Caeli, the House of God and Gate of Heaven. To observe this event it is my prayer that we will refurbish our Church which has suffered the wear and tear of 50 years. It is my fond hope that it will gleam again with new paint and pews refurbished. It is my prayer that carpet will be replaced with marble and Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament will be placed in the highest and most prominent part of the Church. It is my prayer that new lighting will remind us of the light of heaven and the statues of the saints will be our inspiration. It is my fond hope that St. Paul’s will have a voice again as the bells peel out in joy and toll in mourning. Together we will do something beautiful for God. In the coming months I will be writing and speaking of this great enterprise realizing always, as the Psalms tells us, Unless the Lord build the House, they labor in vain who do so. I know I can count on you for your support both spiritual and material. I have placed this great enterprise under the protection of St. Joseph. As you know here at St. Paul’s Mass is offered in his honor on the first Wednesday of every month and his novena is prayed every Wednesday at 8.30AM, after the daily Mass. Let us all follow Pharaoh’s advice and Go to Joseph.
As the summer ends let us keep in mind the beautiful words of my favorite saint. St. Philip Neri,
The hour is finished – we may say the same of the year; but the time to do good is not finished yet.
Nos cum prole pia,
Benedicat Virgo Maria!
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda