Dear Parishioners: Happy Labor Day! The first week of school is now complete! It’s Labor Day Weekend so it’s hard to believe we’ve finished one week of school already. However, the students are back in the swing of things as they are studying for tests, completing their homework and reading up on their subjects.
Fr. Barrow and I have homework too! This week we picked up copies of the revised Order of Celebrating Matrimony. It has been long in the making. Following the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), the Church published a revised Order of Celebrating Matrimony in Latin in 1969 and the official English translation was published in 1970. In 1991, a revised version of this Order of Matrimony was published in Latin, but the English translation was delayed for various reasons until now.
In the summer of 2015, the Vatican gave its required approval to the work voted on by the U.S. Bishops. We can begin to use the revised version on September 8, 2016, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but it is obligatory as of December 30, 2016, the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Thankfully the Diocese is hosting a workshop for priests and deacons later this month on the revised ritual.
As it did previously the Order of Celebrating Marriage stresses the importance of the sacramental covenant between a man and a woman. The introduction of the revised Order reminds us: “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish a life-long partnership between themselves, derives its force and strength from creation, but for the Christian faithful it is also raised up to a higher dignity, since it is numbered among the Sacraments of the new covenant.”
For those getting married in the Catholic Church, the high-point of the wedding day is the wedding liturgy, where bride and groom become husband and wife in the lifelong covenant of marriage. It is a day of great joy for the bride and groom and their families but also very importantly it is a day of great faith. I am reminded of some advice Pope Francis' offered to engaged couples about weddings: "Make your wedding a real celebration – because marriage is a celebration – a Christian celebration, not a worldly feast!” Please pray for newly married couples and for those engaged to be married.
Of course this weekend Blessed Mother of Teresa of Calcutta is being canonized a saint. She knew well what poverty and lack of work could do to people and families. Serving the poorest of the poor and the unwanted of the world, Mother Teresa offers a sterling example of what it means to truly love and serve God and neighbor. May she intercede for us and our needs as she is officially declared part of the communion of saints. Her Feast is September 5 and we will celebrate it Monday morning at 8:30am Mass. Monday is also Labor Day, a day in which we give thanks to God for our work and the prosperity, security and dignity it provides us and our families. In the Annual Labor Day Statement of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami writes the following on behalf of his brother bishops: “Dignified work is at the heart of our efforts because we draw insight into who we are as human beings from it. Saint John Paul II reminded us that human labor is an essential key to understanding our social relationships, vital to family formation and the building up of community according to our God-given dignity, to a just wage and to the personal security of the worker and his or her family."
On Monday we offer our prayers in solidarity with all working men and women across our nation. Labor Day celebrates human labor and human dignity. In between the cookouts, the golfing and the beach trips on Monday, please take a moment to stop and give thanks to God for the gift of a good job, offer a prayer for the unemployed who seek the dignity that a good job and work provide. May God Bless all working men and women!
Happy Labor Day! Be well. Do good. God Bless. Go Sox!