A word from Pope Francis ~ “The wounds of Jesus are a scandal, a stumbling block for faith, yet also the test of faith. That is why on the body of the risen Christ the wounds never pass away; they remain, for those wounds are the enduring sign of God’s love for us.”
This weekend we celebrate the 33rd and Final Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next weekend, we celebrate the end of the current church year with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. We have been reading from Matthew’s Gospel for most of this church year, and will conclude that reading over the next two weeks. This weekend we have another parable challenging us to focus on our ultimate destiny – the Kingdom of God. We are now living in the time between two comings – the Lord’s first coming as one of us and the Lord’s second coming in glory. Today’s parable teaches us what to do during this time in between, this time of waiting. We are to live in such a way that we grow in our greatest “possession” – the divine life that has been given to us. The Spirit of God that animated Jesus all through his life was given to each of us at our Baptism. We have been given an unmerited share in God’s life. When we are faithful it will end wondrously – we will enter fully into the “master’s joy.”
One of the traditional aspects of the month of November is our prayerful remembrance of those who have gone before us in faith. Our parish Book of Remembrance is now at the front of the Church near the Baptistery and the Easter Candle. During the Centennial Year of our parish, we are including the founding families of our parish and those who provided the buildings in which we gather for prayer. If you were not able to add the names of your beloved dead in the book for our All Souls Day Masses, please feel free to add these names to our Book of Remembrance. We continue to remember all of our beloved dead in prayer during this month of November.
Next weekend we have the opportunity to join with the other parishes of our diocese in participating in the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Since 1970, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has been our church’s compassionate and effective response to the needs of low-income people in our own diocese and throughout our country. CCHD funds more than 300 projects each year, helping people to work within their own communities to create jobs, provide affordable housing, ensure decent wages and organize for change. CCHD is a practical way for us to respond to Pope Paul VI’s exhortation, “If you want peace, work for justice.” Bishop Hicks recently asked for our support of this important program. CCHD envelopes are included in the envelope packs mailed to our homes or you may use your own envelope marked CCHD. Please deposit your donation in the collection basket at the entrance and the exit of the church or give online at this link:
Thank you in advance for your generous support of this program.
Maintaining our holiday outreach programs remains a priority for our parish. We have prepared an all in one place guide for ways of participating in these ministries during Advent. These ministries include Meals for our PADS homeless ministry, a Virtual Giving Tree, Adopt a Family – Christmas Gifts, our Coat Drive, Toys for Tots, and online shopping with Star of Bethlehem Olive Wood Gifts. These are all important ways of reaching out and sharing the gifts God has blessed us with. I am happy that our holiday giving programs will continue, but with a different safer look. Our Holiday Outreach Guide is being finalized and will be available online on Sunday, November 22nd.
I mentioned in last week’s “Mid-Week from the Pastor’s Corner” that we would not be offering our November Mass of the Anointing of the Sick. Four years ago we began the custom of celebrating a Mass during which the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was provided on a Saturday in November and a Saturday in Lent. Anyone who was struggling with a physical, mental or spiritual illness could request to be anointed. As many of the people who attended that Mass are in the “high risk” category for the coronavirus, we have decided that in the interests of safety not to hold a community celebration of that Sacrament this year. If anyone desires to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, please call the parish office, and we will arrange a time for you to be anointed.
We have completed our proposed schedule of Masses for Christmas and New Year’s Day. Since that plan includes Masses in the Ministry Center, we have submitted our Ministry Center procedures and seating plan to the Diocese for approval to celebrate Masses there during this time of the pandemic. Once we receive that approval, we will publish our holiday Mass schedule on our website. All Masses will require reservations, facemasks, and social distancing. Many of our holiday Masses will be livestreamed for those who are unable to join us in person. We want to include as many people as possible in our community prayer during the coming Christmas holy days.
Please note our shift in Masses beginning the first Sunday in December. Our Sunday Spanish Mass will return to its original time of 11:30am and the 1:00pm Mass will be celebrated in English. All other Mass times remain the same.
Please see our weekly digital bulletin posted on the parish website
We try to use as many social media vehicles as possible to keep everyone up-to-date with all that is happening here. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Fr. Jim Murphy