Dear Parishioners: Recently Bishop Tobin wrote a letter asking all people to take up prayers during this month for persecuted Christians. He wrote: “I invite all members of the Church to undertake some personal acts of prayer, sacrifice of charity for our suffering brothers and sisters. Perhaps you could dedicate the Lenten practices you have already begun to this specific intention. Perhaps you could undertake additional prayer, sacrifice or good works for this attention.”
In this letter he reminds us of the plight of persecuted Christians in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and North Korea. In these places and others Christians have seen their churches and schools attacked and even destroyed. There are reports of personal attacks upon Christians who have been kidnapped, raped, tortured, crucified and beheaded. This is being done, Bishop Tobin reminds us, “precisely and solely because of their faith in Jesus Christ.”
In light of this continued persecution, perhaps we can all take on some prayer and penance in solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters. We might offer this prayer from the Roman Missal: “O God, who in your inscrutable providence will that the Church be united to the sufferings of your Son, grant, we pray, to your faithful who suffer for your name’s sake, a spirit of patience and charity, that they may be found true and faithful witnesses to the promises you have made. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
On Tuesday we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a solemn Mass at 12:05PM. St. Patrick lived in at time when enslavement, imprisonment and death for one's faith in Christ were not uncommon. We ask for his intercession and celebrate his bringing the Gospel of Christ to Ireland. Fr. William O’Neill is our homilist at the St. Patrick’s Day Mass. He is the Pastor of St. Mark’s Church in Jamestown and a native of Ireland. Our Mass is to feature Irish hymns, music and readings in the Irish language. We invite you to the Mass and the light reception of Irish Bread and coffee that follow.
On Thursday we mark the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church, with a Mass in Italian celebrated by Bishop Evans. Fr. David Procaccini, the Pastor of St. Francis de Sales, is our homilist. We invite you to join us for Mass and the reception of zeppoles and coffee to follow. The Mass features Italian hymns and readings. Please join us for these parish celebrations of such great feast days. May Glorious St. Patrick intercede for us and our parish! May Good St. Joseph intercede for us and our parish! May they both intercede for persecuted Christians across the globe.
Next weekend we begin our Parish Lenten Mission with Fr. Michael Najim. Father serves as the Director of Spiritual Formation at Our Lady of Providence Seminary and Chaplain at LaSalle Academy. He is preach all the Masses next weekend and then next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night at 7:00PM preach a Mission Talk. Each night Confessions are to be heard beginning at 6:00PM with four priests available. This Parish Mission is a great opportunity to take some time from our busy lives to focus on prayer and reflect on our faith. Fr. Najim is a dynamic preacher and I think you will truly enjoy this time of Mission with him.
I thank you for the generous response to the Blanket Drive for the Homeless. We collected nearly 200 new blankets for Emmanuel House. These blankets go to provide our homeless brothers and sisters some small measure of warmth during the winter season. Thank you for your generosity! Also I offer my continued thanks to those who have generously supported the Catholic Charity Appeal. We are moving toward our parish goal of $193,000. If you have not yet made your pledge, please do so today. In the name of the poor and needy I thank you for your support. God Bless. Remember Fridays are for fish and Stations of the Cross! Happy St. Patrick’s Day and St. Joseph’s Day!