Dear Parish Family,
Have you ever had the experience of listening to the radio, a song is playing and you are immediately transported to another place and time. Or maybe, a smell or spoken phrase conjures memories long forgotten. In reading this week’s Gospel from John 9:1-41, the story of the man born blind, I was carried back in time to Alejandro Cabral Hospital in San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic.
Several years ago I had an opportunity as an ophthalmic operating room nurse to volunteer in a medical mission during Lent. Vision Health International was invited by the Diocese of Orlando to see and treat as many patients in a one week period as safely possible. The patients came from many communities as far away as Haiti - on donkey or walking, some alone and some with their entire family. Most had pre-registered tickets for admission to treatment, but some came without tickets in the hope of still seeing a doctor. A few patients believed that their vision loss was due to their sin, or God’s judgment on the sins of their family - resulting in blindness, disfigurement or vision loss.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man name Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary". The angel told her that she found favor with God and that she would conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus. He would be called the Son of the Most High...(Lk. 1:26) This Gospel will be read on Tuesday March 25th, the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. On this day Mary gave her "yes to become the Mother of Our Savior. All throughout the Old Testament history the Israelites waited for the Messiah to come. There was great rejoicing in heaven at the moment Mary gave her fiat. There will be great rejoicing this Tuesday as we gather to celebrate at St. Magdalen de Pazzi Church.
Last Saturday there was a retreat for 137 second graders and their parents. Five presentations were made throughout the morning. One presentation was The Wedding Feast at Cana. As the scripture was read the story was acted out by some of the youth in our parish. St. Luke tells us in his Gospel that Mary was present at that wedding and noticed that the wine was running out. In those days, to have something like this happen was a great embarrassment for the bride and groom. Mary was the one who noticed what had happened and went to Jesus saying simply, "They have no wine". Jesus knew it wasn't time for Him to reveal who He was. However, Mary said to the servants, "Do whatever He tells you". We know that after the jugs were filled with water, Jesus performed His first miracle by changing the water into wine. It was through Mary's intercession. Jesus heard her request.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
Throughout the year, the Catholic Church makes certain changes to the Mass to reflect the liturgical season. Next to the change in the color of the priest's vestments and altar cloth, the absence of the Gloria and Alleluia during Lent is probably the most obvious.
Have you ever wondered exactly why we don't sing these two Mass Propers during Lent? These changes in our ritual throughout the year can be viewed as moving up and down a sliding scale of 'magnificence' so that it will be clear even to the youngest child, what's really important in the full spectrum of what the Church believes.
The Resurrection of Jesus is the number one mystery Christians celebrate, so it's enhanced with three days of intense liturgy (the Triduum), a full week of solemn commemoration (Holy Week), preceded by 40 days of penitential preparation (the season of Lent). Along with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to get ready for Easter, the church also fasts from singing the GLORIA and ALLELUIA.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
As I began my announcements at the end of Mass last week, I said " I have some great news!" I paused. Then I said "Lent starts this week!" There was some soft laughter and some sighs through the Church. But I was serious. I think the Church is serious, because Jesus is serious. Conversion is the only thing that is not boring, rote or ever goes out of fashion. That is to say our ongoing need to recognize our God's central place in our lives is never ever done. The good news is Jesus knows we aren't finished yet. You and I are given another chance this Lent to go deeper, to be more true and authentic in our relationships with Him and others.
The first week of Lent we always meet the dramatic Gospel reading of Christ being led into the desert where he is tempted. The ultimate temptation is his obedience to the Father. Satan wants him to abandon trust in God's love and plan. He remains faithful to His call to be a human being and not resort to divine power to avoid the excesses of the human condition; power, pleasure, prestige. Every year we need this time to refocus and discover how we have allowed something other than obedience to God take over our lives. We can easily allow mediocrity to creep in and even fully abandon our call to discipleship.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family,
These words were used in the 1960's in a very popular show about outer space to describe the journey of that spacecraft and crew. Today I use them to describe our journey, the one that starts this coming Wednesday – our journey of the Season of Lent, 2014.
Lent is a time to seek out who we are, and who we should be, as followers of Jesus Christ. It is an opportunity given to us by our Church to spend time thinking about our lives, and to see if we need to change things within our lives, within our hearts, and within our families. To seek out new life within.
Although we all may have been through many Seasons of Lent in our lives, no two are ever the same. We are different people each Lenten season, with different situations, different priorities, different schedules, etc. No one has ever been through the Season of Lent in 2014 and so our journey this Lent is like no other. It is an opportunity for each of us to boldly, and courageously, and prayerfully go where no one has gone before.READ MORE