Just before the beginning of Mass the Faithful are invited to pray the Vocation Prayer together. I am not sure who or when it started but it is a beautiful reminder that it is up to us to not only pray for vocations to the priesthood and Religious Life but, we must also ask a young person to consider a vocation.
I was reading an article on vocations and one of the main points offered by a bishop was the need for individuals, families, parishes, and dioceses to rely on God’s grace. But there were some practical things as well. Vocations come from families who are devout. Families who consider their relationship with God most important. The spirituality of the parents becomes the seed bed of vocations. Another aspect is the Mass. Is it done with reverence? Does it have a transcendence quality or is the Mass just about us? The bishop said that the “Sacred Liturgy is supposed to put us in contact with the transcendent God.” The Mass should lift our hearts and minds towards the glory of Heaven. Flowing from the Mass is Eucharistic Adoration. This is another factor in promoting vocations. In the presence of our Eucharistic Lord, in the silence, we hear the Lord speak to us and inviting us to a vocation of love.
Thankfully, I believe here at St. Mary’s and St. Patrick’s we are doing many of the things that encourages vocations. Can we do better? Oh yes, I think so. While we continue to improve in these and other areas we accept God’s grace daily. If we are to continue as a Eucharistic Church we need vocations to the priesthood. If we are to be a church of service to the poor we need men and women in religious life.
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT have I considered a Vocation in service of the Church? Have I ever asked a young person to be a priest or a nun? Do I experience transcendence quality at Mass?
In last week’s column I referred to the formal name of St. Mary’s parish as St. Mary Mediatrix of all Grace. What does the word Mediatrix mean? It is someone who co-operates with a mediator.
The Second Vatican Council affirmed that we believe Jesus Christ is the one mediator between God and the human family. His mediation is unique in its divine and human perfection so as to allow others to share in this one source of mediation to the Father. His mother, Mary, uniquely shares in the one mediation of Christ in distributing to the people of God the gifts of eternal salvation obtained from the cross. Lumen Gentium 62
Mary’s role as mother and intercessor is found in the New Testament. At the Annunciation, Mary says yes to the invitation to be the mother of the one mediator, Jesus the Christ. She is the God-bearer mediating Jesus Christ to the world. As mother she brought into the world the Uncreated Grace from which flows every other grace. Lk 1:38 At the Visitation Mary is a living tabernacle bringing the pre-born Jesus to Elizabeth and her pre-born child, John the Baptist, who is filled with the Holy Spirit and leaps for joy in the womb. Lk 1:41 At the Wedding Feast of Cana, Jesus the mediator reveals his glory and begins his ministry as the one mediator because of Mary’s intersession. As Mediatrix, Mary places herself between her son and those in need because of her role as mother. Jn. 2:1 Mary’s role is clearly established at the foot of the Cross. She is given to us by the one mediator as our Mother in the order of Grace. In entrusting Mary to beloved disciple and beloved disciple to Mary, Christ establishes Mary’s new spiritual and universal mediatrix in the order of Grace. Jn.19:26
The one mediator grants to his mother the role of mediatrix of the graces of redemption because she has uniquely shared in his work of redemption. The gift of eternal redemption comes from Calvary and redeeming work of the Savior, the one mediator Jesus Christ. His mother Mary has been given the role by God to bring the gifts of eternal salvation as Mediatrix. Christ is the fountain of Salvation and Mary is the conduit from which the graces flow.
Blessings, Father Dooley
I hope that parishioners have noticed a few new items purchased for St. Patrick’s and St. Mary’s. At St. Patrick’s a set of parish vestments have arrived. Remember the Gold and Red Chasuble at Christmas. They were purchased from a store in Roma, Italy. I was told that the same style was brought for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI when he retired to a small monastery at the Vatican. There is also a different set of vestment on order for St. Mary’s.
Of course folks noticed the new Nativity set at St. Mary’s. The Parish Council also decided on a new five foot statue the Blessed Virgin Mary to be placed on the new pedestal in the courtyard. I thought it appropriate for it to be Our Lady of Fatima during the centennial year. I look forward to seeing the area surrounding it filled with roses. Then with the approval of St. Mary’s Parish and Finance Councils, we have used a generous gift from the Josephine Leslie to purchase a five foot crucifix for the sanctuary. It is more of a modern representation called “Mary Under the Cross.”It has the Virgin Mary catching the blood of Christ in a Chalice. I believe it represents the full name of the parish, “St. Mary Mediatrix of all Grace.” Our Risen Christ in the sanctuary will be placed in the entryway on the west wall commanding us to “go out and teach all nations” and when a casket is placed there before a funeral we will be reminded of Christ’s words “I am the resurrection and the life.”
I am very thankful for the generosity which parishioners have shown to both parishes and I hope that these changes will not only bring beauty to these Houses of God but will also elevated our hearts to heaven. Blessings, Father Dooley
Why is the Christ Child so minimally clothed in the Nativity Scenes? There could been any number of reasons. First, it could be just an artistic representation of the vulnerability that God has placed himself in. God is now exposed to the world in a unique way, as an infant, needing Mary and Joseph’s protection. Second, it could be a reminder that the new Adam, Jesus Christ, came into the world with no sin and therefore is naked without shame like Adam and Eve were unclothed before the fall. This new Adam has come to restore humanities original innocents. Third, it could be just the makers of the Nativity Scene’s artistic license and there is no deeper meaning to be found.
Remember that the Scriptures talk about swaddling clothes which were long, narrow bands of cloth used to wrap around the new born infant. These bands were used to bind the child for protection, keep them feeling safe, and limiting the child’s movement. Perhaps if we think about the swaddling bands as an image of the sin which binds and limits humanity we can think that the Babe of Bethlehem has come to undo those bands and set humanity free from sin. Then, to depict him with little or no swaddling clothes, is an expression that Jesus has come to set us free from sin.
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT What is my relationship to the Christ Child? Do I see how the Nativity of Jesus leads to the Cross? How can I accept the beautiful gift of salvation that Jesus brings? Do I desire to be set free from sin by the savior?
It is almost time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary. Have you ever wondered why we believe that Jesus is the Son of God? It seems rather improbable that the second person of the Blessed Trinity, the Son, would come to be one with us.
If we look at the Sacred Scriptures we see that everything that is said about God the Father we can say about God the Son. When Jesus spoke about things He did it was with great authority, not like the scribes. He even revealed the unity He shared with the Father “The Father and I are one.” Jn. 10:30. He also revealed that He existed eternally when He Spoke, “… I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” Jn. 8:58. Yes, Jesus is the Son of God, the savior of the World.
We are celebrating more than just a birth, we are rejoicing in the fact that God has united us to Himself. By Jesus coming in the flesh we are lifted up and become adopted children of our Daddy God. God calls us to an intimate love. God desires that we come to share fully in the love of the Blessed Trinity, now through our worship and forever in the life to come. Just as the incarnation of the Son took place in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, so too at every Mass this incarnation is revealed in the mystery of the Eucharist. Christ is born on the altar and offers to become one with us in our receiving of Holy Communion. This is the promise to be united now and forever with God.
It does seem improbable that God would stoop down to our level, but He did. This is how much the Father loves us. By assuming our nature in the person of the Son, God lifted us up to be one with Him now in the sacrament of the Church and for all eternity. This is the reason to have hope, that God loves us and wants to share in the happiness of Heaven.
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT What do I believe about Jesus as the Son of God? Am I living a faith filled life so to be united to God now and for all eternity? How does Jesus change my life?
See this week’s bulletin for the free access code!
A question that has come up as we enter into the cold and flu season, “Why do we all drink from the same cup? Isn’t anyone concerned with disease….” Yes the bishops and the liturgists are concerned about this issue. In receiving the Sacrament of the Eucharist to drink from a common chalice is a sign of our unity in Christ and a fuller expression of the sacrament, the body and the blood of Christ. Yet, if there seems to be a particularly strong virus strain the church may suspend the use of the chalice or cup to the faithful in the pews as a precaution.
As far as the transmission of some virus or bacteria by means of the communion cup, the Center for Disease Control studied the issue and determined that between the alcohol content of the wine (11%), the exposure to air between people receiving, and the proper wiping of the rim of the cup along with turning the cup a quarter turn between people receiving, the likelihood of transmission was pretty minimal. In fact, the most likely way that germs could be transmitted is from the top of the pew which people touch without thinking about it. I think it is important for individuals who might have a cough or cold to refrain from receiving the precious blood from the cup.
One receives the full Christ if one receives just the Host. There is no requirement that we all must receive from the cup. It should be a common courtesy to pass by the cup if one is not feeling well. We have been receiving the Precious Blood from a common cup or chalice since the late 70’s and in that time there has been no outbreak of disease that I have ever heard of.
Blessings, Father Dooley