We rejoice this weekend as a parish and a Church as we celebrate the Confirmation of 71 of our young parishioners. We welcome Bishop Spalding of Nashville, Tennessee who has traveled here to celebrate the Confirmation Mass. Pray for these young men and women as they are sealed in the Holy Spirit.
Too often confirmation is seen as a kind of “graduation from formation.” Having attended RE Classes since the first grade, they are finally, officially “done.” Formation in the faith takes a lifetime and never ends. Confirmation is a beginning not an end. As these young Catholic adults begin their high school years they do so with the grace of the Sacrament of Confirmation.
We encourage their sponsors for Confirmation to understand that they are charged to be a witness of Christ’s love, if not for the whole world at least for the candidate. So, we pray and hope that these sponsor, don’t treat confirmation day like graduation. Their task has just begun. Be a light to the nations, starting with the teen upon whose shoulder, your hand has rested. We also hope and pray that these newly Confirmed continue to stay close to Christ by faithfully attending Mass, seeking his mercy and forgiveness in Confession and through pray. In the coming weeks we will invite all these newly Confirmed to consider taking up a ministry at OLM. We hope some of them might choose to serve as Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Religious Education Teachers, Ushers or Adult Choir Members. They are an important part of the life of our parish and we hope they commit to serving their parish. Please pray for them that they may continue to grow in the faith, knowledge and love of God.
The Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church states that all priests are “bound to make time for spiritual retreats." This is to be a time of prayer and reflection away from the parish at a monastery or retreat house. It is meant be a time of spiritual renewal far from the world and from parish duties. It isn’t mean to be a holiday or a time of leisure. Retreats are a time to, as the name implies, get away from your ordinary activities and spend a period of time trying to stand shoulder to shoulder with Christ, and look at your life from the outside, from his perspective. I encourage everyone to make a retreat at least once a year. It doesn’t have to be a week but perhaps a day or two. It is a time of refreshment and renewal in the Lord! Try it, you might just like it.
Fr. Barrow made his Annual Retreat this past week at Arnold Hall in Pembroke, Massachusetts. Arnold Hall Retreat and Conference Center opened in 1964, thanks to the good work and faith of Fr. Joseph Musquiz . He was a Spanish Priest who came to the U.S. in 1949 to begin Opus Dei activities here, and who was dedicated to the spiritual renewal and growth of God’s people. His cause for canonization has been introduced by the Church.
I made a retreat at Arnold Hall last November and found it an outstanding location and a truly powerful time of spiritual renewal. This coming week I once again return there to make my own Annual Retreat beginning on Monday. I ask for your prayers for me during this week of retreat as I promise you my prayers for you and your intentions. I intend to offer daily Mass for all of you. Please pray that these Retreats are a time of renewal of the spiritual life and priestly zeal for Fr. Barrow and myself. As St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei reminds us: “ You go to pray; to become a bonfire, a living flame, giving light and heat.”
This Sunday we mark Veterans Day. It is a day that invites us to pause for a moment and reflect with thanksgiving on the lives of men and women who respond and responded to the needs of our Nation. We thank all veterans for their service. As George Washington said: “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”
Congratulations to the newly Confirmed. Welcome Bishop Spalding! Be well. Do good. God Bless. Happy Veterans Day! Go Pats!!!