September 20, 2020, Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
COVID 19 Precautions: In this time of the pandemic, sacrifices must be made in order to preserve our own health and wellbeing and that of others; therefore masks must be worn in the congregation, and efforts to keep an adequate distance from others outside of one’s own household must be made. Allowing adequate space for social distancing, the present capacity of the church is about 125 people. Fortunately, but sadly at the same time, we have never exceeded that number at any one weekend Mass during the Summer season so have suspended the requirement that reservations be made to attend Mass in advance as we move into Fall. However, should the present situation with the pandemic continue until the end of this year, reservations will be asked in advance to attend the Masses of Christmas. At this time, only the volunteers who serve the weekly Food Pantry are permitted to meet in the Parish Hall, further direction from the Chancery Office has been requested as regards the meetings of parish groups and outside organizations in parish facilities. Your patience and understanding with all these precautionary measures are deeply appreciated.
Communion for Those Connecting by Live-Stream: Those refraining from mixing with larger groups of people and thus not attending Mass but connecting with its celebration thanks to the Live Stream are encouraged to come between 3 PM and 5 PM on Sunday afternoons to complete their Sunday worship by receiving the Eucharist in a manner that is simple and brief thus with a significant reduction of risk to one’s health in this time of the pandemic. In regard to those who are truly homebound by age or infirmity and who would not be able to come to the Church even briefly on Sunday afternoons, while at this time we cannot send a Special Minister of Holy Communion into your homes who is unrelated to you, a member of your household or a neighbor with whom you already have regular contact who is Catholic can be deputized to serve as a Special Minister of Holy Communion to bring the sacrament to you on Sundays during this pandemic. The parish must be informed in advance to deputize the minister and a pyx, which is a small container specifically for the purpose of carrying the Holy Eucharist outside of the Church will be needed; please call the parish office for further information and to arrange for this to happen.
Condolences: John Cox, the father of Mary Becker, the Administrative Assistant of Christ the King Parish, has passed away and a Funeral Mass for him has been celebrated on September 16th. Please keep John, as well as Mary and her immediate and extended family in your prayers at this time of loss and sorrow.
On Being Religious AND Spiritual: Could it be argued that there has ever been anyone else who has ever lived who was more spiritual than Jesus of Nazareth? As the one anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, as the Messiah, the Divine Son of God, Jesus is the most Spiritual person in human history. Yet if we look at the Gospels, we will often find Jesus in a synagogue on the Sabbath, and the Gospel of Luke in the 4th Chapter, in reporting the return of Jesus to his home town of Nazareth in reminds us that this was customary for Jesus. Indeed, it was not just an annual drop by visit for the Jewish High Holy Days but something Jesus did every week on the Sabbath, which means he went to Friday evening prayers, and then again on Saturday morning. From that same passage, we know that Jesus participated in the Sabbath service by reading one of the 7 readings from the Torah that were part of that Weekly Sabbath Prayer in the Synagogue. So, what the Gospels are clearly telling us is that Jesus was religious, that is, he regularly participated in the liturgical practice of the Jews and kept other religious customs in his daily life. So often today we hear people try to justify their lack of religious practice by saying they do not believe in organized religion and/or that they are Spiritual but not religious – like that’s somehow a better thing to be? Perhaps in an” I’m Ok you’re Ok” culture where the rightness or wrongness of little if anything is ever seriously examined or challenged, people can keep saying they are spiritual but not religious and get away with it but do they think this will impress the Synagogue on the Sabbath going Jesus, who will one day be their judge? They might try to justify themselves by saying organized religion is corrupt – but Jesus could answer back,” of course it is, it is run by imperfect human beings, but I tried to challenge and correct corruption when I saw it but that didn’t stop me from doing my part to honor my Heavenly Father by praying and studying with my fellow Jews on the Sabbath in the Synagogue each week! Indeed in the new covenant, we observe Sunday, the day of the Resurrection as the Day of the Lord and the one day of the week where all who are baptized are asked to obey not the suggestion, but in fact, the command of Jesus “DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME”. Truly he does not ask us to do anything complicated, and in the end, it seldom costs us more than an hour out of our week, but there is something about the Eucharist which we often don’t appreciate or perhaps even fully understand, but obviously t Jesus prescribes its celebration and reception because it is essential to our spiritual health. For that reason, Jesus expects us to celebrate it religiously, a least every Sunday, and under normal circumstances to partake of this sacrament as well. So, let us not condone the trend to artificially separate religious practice from spiritual growth, but rather realize that we must be religious if we wish to be truly spiritual and thus dare to challenge those who proclaim otherwise.
Know Anyone Who Could/Should Join Us as Catholics? Very often we know people who seem to remain on the fence as far as religion is concerned, and while they don’t ever return to their former denomination if they were once affiliated with one, or explore other options, still they have not taken the next step necessary to become fully Catholic, and with that, perhaps to unify their household in faith and practice as well. That is why we are encouraging all of our active parishioners to be evangelizers, not out on street corners, but in and among your own circles of family, neighbors, coworkers, and friends. If you know someone who is presently unaffiliated and unbaptized, or who may have been baptized but never fully catechized to receive Confirmation or the Eucharis, why not summon the courage to invite them to explore the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults? They can only say “ no thanks “, but those whom the Spirit is also calling will most likely say” yes”! Tony Agostinelli is the coordinator of this Adult Initiation process in our parish; we encourage you to reach out to him at email@example.com or 508-685-1545, for further information. If you prefer to speak with a priest or deacon first, then please contact the parish office at 508-477-7700.
FALL – Back to (Catholic) School: In this back to school time in unusual circumstances, we are encouraging all the adults in the parish to get back to school! Whether you are a product of Catholic School Education, or not, it is time to explore the faith enriching opportunities of the WORD ON FIRE website through ENGAGE, a service through which the whole parish of Christ the King is now subscribed to WORD ON FIRE. Bishop Robert Barron, the best of Catholic educators and evangelists in our day, is the host and often the teacher of the offerings available on this site, which is well worth visiting! So let us be adults about our faith, responsible for our own ongoing formation and so continue to build on the knowledge we received in our younger days, by taking advantage of the courses, seminars, homilies, and commentaries on WORD ON FIRE. Access to ENGAGE is through FLOCKNOTE a parish contact and information sharing program to which many of our parishioners have already subscribed by texting CTKCAPECOD to 84576 or going online to ctkcapecod.flocknote.com!
September 13, 2020, Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
No Reservations for Weekend Masses are required after Labor Day
reservations will be accepted for the Masses of Christmas
beginning on the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Back to “Catholic” School (For All of Us!) Thanks to a generous donation the nearly $2000 annual cost to subscribe the entire parish to WORD ON FIRE ENGAGE has been covered and so that will allow access for all parishioners to the many fine homilies, commentaries, courses, and programs recorded by Bishop Robert Barron, the preeminent and most reliable evangelist in the United States Catholic Church at this time. Several sites claiming to be Catholic on the internet are too laden with extreme biases to one side or the other, but primarily to the right, so as to make them very poor choices for information about the Church, its faith, and proper practice. This includes websites that are not worthy of our attention if we wish to have an authentically Catholic outlook because no one can be against the Pope or the decisions of the Second Vatican Council and say they are truly Catholic. Opposing these is truly a sin against the Holy Spirit because it is an outright denial that the Spirit is at work in the deliberations and decisions of a major Church Council ( the largest in history) and the validly conducted election of the successor of St. Peter. Therefore, when one finds such content on various “Catholic” sites these are best avoided lest they become near occasions of what Jesus himself declared to be the most unforgivable of sins! On the other hand, good content such as that found on the WORD ON FIRE WEBSITE is educational and edifying and worth our time as all of us should never quite be entirely satisfied with what we presently know in terms of our religion, but seek to know as much as possible especially about the scriptures and sacraments. Bishop Barron’s award-winning 10-part series CATHOLICISM is truly a must-see basic program for all adult Catholics who wish to understand the beauty and wisdom of our faith as is also his series on THE MASS. A series titled PIVOTAL PLAYERS which examines the lives of some of the saints and other prominent Catholics is also very inspirational, and the most recent series on THE SACRAMENTS is eye-opening and a needed update on what most of us learned in our younger days as we prepared to receive them. So because ongoing formation as adults is an essential responsibility of every Catholic, and the parish is unlikely to be able to hold in-person scripture or other studies in the foreseeable future, our access to ENGAGE will assist each of us as parishioners and the parish as a whole to be about this important work which fosters deeper development in faith through further knowledge of relevant subjects. Best of all is that what is being taught is being done so by one of the best and most reliably orthodox teachers in the church today. Access to ENGAGE is through FLOCKNOTE a parish contact and information sharing program to which many of our parishioners have already subscribed by texting CTKCAPECOD to 84576 or going online to ctkcapecod.flocknote.com!
Thank You 50 Plus Club Members: Two additional Hymn Boards created especially for Christ the King Parish by Lloyd’s Woodworking of Hudson were recently installed on the pillars in the central nave of the Church. These were certainly needed as the two already placed on the pillars in the wings are at a substantial distance for many of us whose long-distance vison perhaps isn’t quite as accurate as it once might have been. Therefore, the donation of these helps to our aging eyes seems so appropriate in that it is coming from the members of the 50 Plus Club to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude for their generosity! Now we wait for the happy day when this pandemic is finally controlled or defeated so that we can go back to consulting the numbers displayed on the Hymn Boards in order to use our beautiful Missals to help foster our full participation in the Mass and our congregational singing!
Stewardship: I often wonder how many other pastors are as blessed as I am to be able almost continually to have to thank the members of the parish for their amazing generosity! This week we received the final total of donations to the annual Catholic Appeal which provides the funds to assist Bishop da Cunha in operating so many apostolates, ministries, and agencies throughout the Diocese of Fall River. 446 households of Christ the King Parish, 53 of them for the first time, donated a total of $119, 925 to the Appeal which is $6,548 more than last year! I am extremely grateful for this level of support and rightly assume that Bishop da Cunha is as well! It is also amazing that during this time of pandemic when it is not possible to hold our annual Golf Tournament this week, that parishioners and businesses have already donated $12, 645 to the causes which benefit from the proceeds of the annual Tournament. These causes are the charitable works of the parish to relieve the hardships of the local poor as carried out by the Knights of Columbus and the St. Vincent de Paul Society and which are supported by the Matthew 25 Fund. Finally, at this time when the numbers of people coming out to Mass during a pandemic is only a fraction of the usual number who attend Mass regularly and with a clear lack of influx of usual summer visitors this season such that sale of raffle chances would not have been all that significant even if these had been able to be sold after Masses, it is truly amazing that our final raffle sales total of over $43,000 would have topped any of the totals of previous years! After awarding $11,000 in prizes and paying our printing and mailing costs we may have cleared nearly $29,000 to share with the parish organizations who are the primary beneficiaries of this annual summer raffle. After doing a more accurate accounting a full report will be published but all signs now point to a great success even during an unusual summer season when I honestly wondered at the beginning if we would even be able to make enough to pay out the promised prizes; thank you to all who participated and helped create this most generous surprise! Admittedly, I fear I may now be becoming a bit spoiled and thus have high expectations for the success of our grand annual collection THE WE ARE FAMILY CAMPAIGN, yet this recent experience suggests that when that campaign ends in late November, I will not be disappointed! Thanks to all who love their parish enough to sacrifice as necessary to support it and its charities and organizations so very generously!
September 6, 2020, Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
A day of rest and thus a Happy Labor Day is wished to all among us who are working. Prayers are requested on this holiday especially for those who would like to be working but who find themselves at present to be under or unemployed. In the midst of these unusual circumstances we can perhaps appreciate anew the importance of work that is meaningful and adequately compensated because work such as that contributes greatly to human dignity, thus, may all who seek it find it!
Thank You: Gratitude is due to all who have participated in our annual Summer Raffle! Chances for the $5000 grand prize and $6000 in additional prizes may be purchased up to 11:45 AM in the parish office on this Sunday morning. Winning tickets will be drawn at 12 noon and the drawing may be viewed on our parish Facebook Page, Christ the King Parish, or by visiting Facebook.com/CTKCapeCod
No Reservations Required: As the Summer vacation season unofficially closes this weekend and with it the uncertainty as to the number of people desiring to attend Masses here on Saturday evening and Sunday, we will not be requiring reservations for Masses going forward with the exception of the Masses for the celebration of Christmas. While the reservation requirement will no longer be in force the others regarding hand sanitizing, mask-wearing, and maintaining safe distancing must remain in place for the foreseeable future to help keep all of us safe while attending Church; again, your patience and your cooperation with these precautionary measures are deeply appreciated!
The Bookend Feasts of the Month of Mary: This coming week the Church remembers the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8th and then one week later, on September 15th, will honor Mary under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows. Thus, the month of Mary in the liturgical year which began on the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th followed one week later with the celebration of the Queenship of Mary will conclude after the observance of these final two bookend feasts.
Triumph of the Holy Cross: Christians throughout the world will observe the Solemnity of the Exaltation / Triumph of the Holy Cross on September 14th. The historical roots of this feast go back to the dedication of the original Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on September 14, 335 A.D. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is indeed the most important of all shrines in the world to the traditional Christians of the Apostolic Churches which include all those that fall under the umbrella of the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was constructed by the Emperor Constantine to house the abandoned rock quarry called Golgotha where the crucifixion of Jesus occurred as well as an adjoining garden in which tombs had been excavated out of the soft rock and thus where the body of Jesus was hastily buried. As the Church which encloses the sites of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Sepulcher is the place where the redemption of the world was accomplished and as such, there is no comparison to any other church or place in the entire world in terms of holiness This feast also reminds us that in 326A.D. it was Helena, the mother of Constantine, who is credited with identifying these sites as lying under two temples and a forum that had been built over them by the Emperor Hadrian in 125 A.D, and after ordering excavations there found the tomb of Christ intact as well as the remnants of the Cross on which he died at the bottom of the rock quarry. So as this feast focuses our attention on Jerusalem, we are asked to remember the clergy and the faithful Christians who still reside in the Holy Land as the living stones who tend to the shrines associated with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and who keep the faith alive in this important but rather difficult place in the world. When we hear “Palestinian” we are conditioned to think Arab, and therefore Moslem but often forget that some among them are Christians who are descended from the original Christians of that Holy Land or those who came to it during the Byzantine era or during the Crusades. Each year on Good Friday we are asked to show our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the faith who sacrifice much to remain in the Holy Land to tend to the places of importance to us and to keep the faith alive there so as not to turn it into a mere museum. We will show that solidarity by contributing generously to the Good Friday Collection. As churches were shut down on this past Good Friday, Pope Francis has moved the collection to next Sunday, September 13th, the eve of the Solemnity of the Triumph of the Holy Cross, as an appropriate time to show our generosity to the faithful of the Holy Land. While the pandemic has been hard for many of us it is especially so for the Christians there whose livelihoods are often connected with pilgrimages that have ceased since late February and which do not show any sign of resuming in the near future. The Franciscans who have been sent by the Roman Pontiffs as stewards of the Holy Land and its shrines for over 800 years now try to provide affordable housing, employment, education, and medical services to assist the local Christians to stay in the Holy Land, but they depend on our support through this annual collection to do so. So please use the envelope you may have received, or simply create one that says “Holy Land” on it and include it with your weekly contribution next weekend and let us give whatever encouragement we may to our fellow believers in the land made especially holy because it became home to the Word made flesh!
August 30, 2020, Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
A Month to Honor Mary in the Liturgical Year: The image of the Blessed Virgin Mary had been placed the sanctuary for the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th but is remaining there through September 15th to remind us that this is a special month in which to remember and honor Mary. The 30 days are bracketed by two feasts at the beginning and two at the end therefore referred to as the “bookend feasts”; The Queenship of Mary follows a week after the Assumption on August 22nd, then on the 8th of September the Birth of Mary will be celebrated , and the month will conclude with the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15th.
Summer Raffle – One week remains until the drawing of the $5000.00 Grand Prize in our Annual Summer Raffle, along with a total of $6000 in additional prizes. The Raffle is to benefit out parish organizations by raising some “startup “ money for good works during the Fall, Winter, and Spring. As the pandemic is presently preventing large gatherings the organizations are in even greater need now than in years past and so your support of the raffle is greatly appreciated, Chances are $20 each or 3 for $50 so please remember to get the completed ticket stubs in to the parish office before next Sunday when the drawing will take place immediately following the 10:30 AM Sunday Mass.
Renovating the St. Jude Chapel: One of the projects on our ‘to do” list has been the necessary updates to the St. Jude Chapel. The Chapel has already received a new crucifix in its sanctuary, largely been repainted and a sound system and Live Streaming equipment have been recently installed in it. At this time the old confessional that had become a closet is being removed to create an alcove that matches the one that houses the permanent nativity set and which will serve as suitable place to house the original baptismal font which found its way into the Chapel when the main church was renovated. The alcove will also have cabinets in the style of the woodwork and furnishings of the Chapel for any necessary storage. The old pews, with the same problems as those that had to be replaced in the Church are being taken out, having the pressed wood seats replaced with hardwood, the kneelers repaired and recovered, and made more comfortable with new removable seat cushions. While the pews are out for repair, new flooring will be installed in the entrance and the nave, and the sanctuary carpet which had been water damaged will be replaced. The funds that are being used to start this project include $40,000 in donations given for this specific purpose, and it is hoped that the WE ARE FAMILY CAMPAIGN, our annual collection, will raise the $28,000 that remains to complete these projects. Many long-time parishioners are very familiar with this beloved St. Jude Chapel that once stood in Cotuit, but which was moved here under the direction of Monsignor Tosti when Christ the King Church was built over 30 years ago. The Chapel is the usual place for First Friday Adoration and Benediction, and many parishioners request smaller weddings, funerals, or baptisms to take place there. Some of our more recent members have reported never having had cause to visit St .Jude’s ; once the renovations are complete it is hoped that a subsiding pandemic will permit a proper celebration of the completed renovations, and with that, a renewed appreciation of, and greater familiarity with, this beautiful Chapel that has been worth preserving as a significant part of Catholic history in this region of Cape Cod.
August 23, 2020, Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Who Are We? Identity is a major focus in the contemporary culture in which we are presently living. People speak of ethnic and racial identity, gender identity, sexual preference identity, and in these present days especially political identity. There are some identity labels that apply to us by nature and are not changeable if we accept the truth of our limitations as creatures, though obviously not all do accept being defined by the Creator. Other identities are legitimately more fluid, like those based on education, class, career, employment, as well as regional, national, denominational, and political affiliations. Yet who are we in the midst of the varied labels we may apply to ourselves or those that others may try to apply to us? There is one very fundamental identity that truly transcends all other labels by which we may be identified, even those that are ours by nature, and that is the identity we receive at our baptism of being the beloved children of God. Indeed, in being baptized we became new creations in Christ, and, as St Paul reminds us, in Christ there is no gentile or Jew, slave or free, woman or man. but only children equally beloved by God. According to Church teaching, we are indelibly marked with this identity at baptism and it is something that cannot be changed or erased. What true freedom there is to be found in this truth, because therefore we are not boxed into any corner so as to be limited by worldly labels, but liberated to live as God our Creator calls us to live in accord with his plan and after the example of Christ His Son. As the beloved children of God, we are already citizens of another kingdom which is within but largely beyond the limits of this world. It will be important to be mindful of this truth especially in this election year when political parties will want us to declare ourselves as one of their own. Yet, the truth is that if we identify ourselves as citizens of the Kingdom of God more than of this world, then we can appreciate that we don’t readily fit completely under any particular political party’s tent nor can we fully ascribe to any one party’s platform. Therefore, each of us will have to struggle a bit in our decisions should we go to vote in September or November because no candidate or party is going to truly represent all that we believe in and cherish as children of God and disciples of His Son. Thus, let us as the baptized never find ourselves arguing with one another over politics, because each of us must do what we do in accord with our own conscience all the while accepting that however we vote in a pluralistic society in the end it is an inherently flawed choice because there is no “Kingdom of God” party or candidate who will fully represent all of our beliefs and values. Rather, let us accept that we may have our differences in that regard and respect them, focusing instead on the unity that is to be found among us when our primary identity is always the common one we share as the baptized believers in Jesus Christ!
We Are Family Campaign: Soon a mailing will be reaching the households of the parish asking your generosity in supporting our grand annual collection familiar to us as the We are Family Campaign This collection is taken up each year to assist the parish with larger capital projects and improvements which will be explained in the letter that accompanies this mailing. Apologies are in order in that this year the collection follows so soon after the annual Catholic Appeal of the Diocese which was delayed a month because of the present pandemic. The good news of the We Are Family Campaign is that while this collection starts in late Summer it continues through the Fall until Thanksgiving (or beyond) so that each household may choose the most opportune time to be as generous as possible. Surely in these times, there is not a lot of explaining necessary as to why the funds are needed by the parish, so in advance, we wish to advise you of the impending the arrival of the material for this collection and to thank you for your kind consideration of how and when over the course of the next few months you may be best able to support it.
August 16, 2020, Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Pandemic Adjustments: Reservations are not required for weekday Masses and will not be required for weekend Masses beginning after Labor Day. Hand sanitizing, mask-wearing in the congregation, and appropriate social distancing is still very much necessary at this time if we are to remain open for worship and stay as safe as possible during it. Communion is available every Sunday afternoon from 3 PM to 5 PM in the Church for those who are not yet comfortable coming out to Mass on the weekend. Confessions are being offered each Saturday from 2:45 to 3:30 PM in the Reconciliation Room at the back of the church which has been adapted with a plexiglass screen that permits both anonymous and face to face confessions while maintaining a safe environment; confessions are always available by appointment at other times in the parish office. As hospitals and rehabilitation facilities vary in their policies regarding clergy visits in these present circumstances, those facing a planned upcoming hospitalization are asked to consider requesting to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of Sick in advance of being admitted. Let us all continue to pray that a safe and effective vaccine or remedy will soon be found which will alleviate our justifiable fears of this virus and permit us to resume life as we knew it before its appearance.
Annual Summer Raffle: The drawing of the grand prize of $5000 and an additional $6000 in prizes will take place on Sunday of Labor Day Weekend immediately following the 10:30 AM Mass. As pandemic precautions will not permit us to gather a crowd for the drawing, we will attempt to broadcast it either by Live-Stream or on Facebook. Extra books of chances are available at the entrances of the church. As our usual sales of chances after Masses can’t take place this year under these present circumstances, and the number of summer visitors is small, it would be much appreciated if parishioners will promote the Raffle among relatives, friends, and neighbors who may not be members of the parish, or in attendance, at this time The purpose of the Raffle is to raise funds to be distributed to our parish organizations as seed money for their activities in the year ahead and we are hopeful that we will be able to do that this year as in the past two years.
Return to the Seminary: We have been very blessed with the presence and assistance of Christopher Hughes who has been back at the parish since the shut down of the immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange, New Jersey in mid -March. As of the moment, the Seminary is planning to reopen for the Fall Semester and is summoning all the seminarians to return by this Tuesday, August 18th. So, it is time to say, “thank you” and “goodbye for now” to Chris and awaits his return on Thanksgiving. Please keep praying for Chris and Matt Laird, also a native of Christ the King Parish studying in Boston at St John Seminary, as they continue theological studies, spiritual formation and their discernment of a life of sacrifice and service to the Church in the Diocese of Fall River as future parish priests.
The Ultimate Destiny of the Human Body: On this weekend we have celebrated the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15th). The belief that because she is the Theotokos or “ God-bearer”, that Mary’s own body could not have been subject to corruption is very ancient but only rather recently declared as an unchangeable truth (dogma) in western Christianity (1954). While we speak of Mary’s Assumption our brothers and sisters in eastern churches would be more likely to emphasize the “Dormition of Mary”, that is, her falling asleep, only to be reawakened in heaven by God. No matter the differences of how we may speak of this belief, what we are saying in common is that Mary already dwells, body and soul, in heaven. Yet what the Church says of Mary, it also says of all the members of the body of Christ, reminding us of that great truth that on the last day we are destined to rise again and our bodies are to be reunited with our souls to live in that glorified state first revealed in Christ’s own resurrection, the fullness of redemption, which Mary is already privileged to enjoy. This truth is reiterated every time we recite the Apostles Creed and we declare that we believe in the resurrection of the body, not just Christ’s body, but our own bodies as well. This ancient and orthodox Christian belief is often not well understood or perhaps easily forgotten in our day. This is evidenced when we read in obituaries or hear said in eulogies the belief that the deceased have become angels. Angels were created by God as disembodied spirits, therefore they never had a body and they never will have one, we, on the other hand, are created as embodied spirits, and although our spirits leave our bodies at death, they are destined to be reunited with them on the last day. We will never become angels and angels will never become human as we are distinctly different aspects of God’s creation. The truth of the destiny of the human body has many implications for the respect that is due to the human body but one way that respects commonly risks being eroded is in some increasingly popular practices surrounding cremation. Originally, the Church forbid cremation because it was widely practiced only by those who denied the truth of the resurrection of the body, in particular, those who were atheists. In more recent times the Church has changed its stance and permitted cremation, emphasizing that it is acceptable primarily as the final disposition of the body after the proper funeral rites have been celebrated with the body of the deceased present. Yet for pastoral reasons, the Church will even permit the funeral rites to be celebrated with the cremains present if cremation must take place before these rites can be scheduled, but yet again, this is permitted, but not preferred. What is becoming increasingly problematic is not cremation itself, nor rites with cremains rather than the body present, but the disposition of the cremains, if at all after a funeral has been celebrated. Human remains, whether as the body or cremains, is due great respect from Christians, who recognize these as remains of what in life was a temple of the Holy Spirit, and as such these remains should be properly interred or entombed. What is not acceptable is to scatter ashes on land or in water, or to keep them on a mantle at home. Human remains of Christians should never be divided up among family members as if a mere souvenir or turned into jewelry as is becoming increasingly popular and is even promoted by some funeral establishments. As we recall Mary’s being assumed body and soul into heaven, and as we recite the Apostles Creed, let us deepen our appreciation of the respect that is due to the human body even when deceased or even if it has already been reduced to ashes; therefore let us not encourage or participate in anything that would undermine its eternal destiny and value.
August 9, 2020, Nineteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time
Summer Holy Day: On August 15th we celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Because Mary’s feast falls on Saturday this year the obligation to attend Mass normally associated with this annual celebration is lifted. Still it is a feast, in fact the patronal feast of our Diocese, and a holy day, just not one of obligation this year. To allow all who, wish to honor Mary on this day when we celebrate her glorious assumption into heaven, there will be a Mass celebrated at 8:30AM this coming Saturday and all are encouraged to attend. According to a long standing pious tradition there is a “cure” in the waters on this particular holy day, so those who wish to trust it validity are reminded to take a dip in the ocean while saying a prayer for good or improved health through Mary’s intercession!
Mass Reservations Not Necessary after Labor Day: Given the now limited capacity of the Church given the restrictions on seating to permit social distancing, we had established a policy and system of taking reservations for Masses so as not to risk exceeding the safe capacity of the Church with the attendance at any one Mass. This was a prudent approach especially during what is the normally the summer vacation season when it is impossible to predict how many people may be at Masses. Thus far this summer we have not exceeded the any safe limits and so it is not anticipated that this would be the case beyond Labor Day except perhaps at Christmas. So, beginning with Masses on the weekend of September 12th and 13th reservations will no longer be necessary for the Sunday Masses which of course include the Vigil Mass at 4PM on Saturday. Those who wish to attend a Mass that is likely to be less crowded are asked to remember that the 7AM Mass which will conclude on Sunday of Labor Day weekend and the 5:30 PM on Sunday evening which is celebrated year round are good options. Reservations have not been required to attend daily Mass.
Live Streaming and Receiving: All who understandably are still reluctant to risk being among a group of people in an enclosed space for any length of time until there is a vaccine for this virus are reminded that Holy Communion is offered each Sunday in a manner that is simple, relatively risk free and as brief as each communicant might prefer. As while the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains lifted, this doesn’t negate the truth of the centrality and essential place of the Eucharist in the lives of the Christian faithful. Thus, all who are able are encouraged to come to receive during these two hours each Sunday afternoon.
A Note of Thanks: While letters will go out from the Bishop’s office saying the same, gratitude is owed to all who responded to the invitation to support the apostolates, ministries, agencies and charities of the local church which is the Diocese of Fall River by donating or pledging to the Annual Catholic Appeal. While the final tallies are not yet completed, donations from the members of the faith community of Christ the King have kept pace with those of last year which is amazing given the current circumstances during this pandemic . Yet , obviously for many, the pandemic while a threat to physical health, has not diminished the spiritual gifts especially the goodness and generosity of those who found themselves in a position to give, and did so. May God who is never outdone in generosity bless you many times over for what you have been willing to sacrifice for the good of the church and the people served by its catechetical, pastoral, social and charitable programs.
FACE Volunteer to Participate in the First New Balance
Falmouth Road Race At-Home Edition!
Cassandra Robin is not new to FACE, she has been volunteering since her primary school years and is the daughter of long-time FACE Event Coordinator, Jane Robin.
This summer, Cassandra will be a part of an unprecedented experience that brings together people from around the world to participate in the spirit of the New Balance Falmouth Road Race which has been a Cape Cod tradition for the past 47 years. Shares Cassandra, “I’m excited to participate in the very first New Balance Falmouth Road Race At-Home Edition!” This will take place in August. Cassandra’s participation helps to not only support future Falmouth Road Races, but also ensures that she is able to give back to a local area non-profit during this time of need.
Cassandra would like to invite you to support her charity of choice, FACE, which is close to her heart. The non-profit organization, FACE-Foundation to Advance Catholic Education, provides critical scholarship support to children in need of financial assistance to attend Catholic schools of the Diocese of Fall River.
Cassandra attended Catholic school from kindergarten through grade eight, she is a FACE volunteer, and assists as a ministry leader at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Pocasset. Cassandra’s hope is to give back to students and their families in need so they, too, can receive a Catholic education especially during these challenging times.
To donate, please make a check payable to FACE: mailing address: FACE, 450 Highland Avenue, Fall River, MA 02720 or visit https://www.face-dfr.org/donate/
August 2, 2020, Eighteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time
What are we to do? As a pandemic descended upon us in March and suddenly caused a disruption in our routines and plans throughout the Spring, we had hopes that it would have come under control by Summer. However, as cases spike in many around the world and in our own nation and a resurgence here is not beyond possible, those hopes for a return to normal by summer have not yet been realized. So, the question must come as to how we as people of faith are to face this situation? Throughout the past two thousand years, plagues have at times been part of the Christian experience and a model of the way to approach these perils as people of faith were set early on in our existence. As plaque spread across the Roman Empire in the Second Century A.D., while pagans who predominated in that era fled from the areas most afflicted by disease and death, in contrast, Christians remained to care for the sick and to bury the dead with dignity. Rather than demonstrating fear and the priority of self-preservation as did most pagans, the Christians, while not reckless in their exposure, still set a very clear example of compassion and selfless service that left a lasting impression and was the cause to inspire many conversions. Before the professionalization and institutionalization of medical care such as we see in our contemporary age, the sick were in their homes, and so their care was left to family members or neighbors. Yet in cases where family members had already succumbed or neighbors were not around, Christians selflessly stepped in to provide food, care, and medicine ( such as it was understood in those days) to people in need. Indeed, in our day we must give credit to all medical personnel who put themselves at risk to care for Covid19 and other infected patients, they are demonstrating selfless compassion of which we must take note and also practice when the opportunity to do so presents itself. While these professional personnel does provide the bulk of health care in specialized settings today, we as Christians must still be concerned for our neighbors who may be in need of errands run for them, or food prepared for them, most especially if they are isolated and infirm, or at great risk due to their age or vulnerability should they go out to stores. While our neighbors may not be ill due to the pandemic, the loneliness imposed by the isolation necessary in this situation is itself an unseen plague that affects many quite adversely. Alleviating the loneliness and isolation of others is something that we could make our special concern by trying to let people know they are not forgotten perhaps by a call, a card, a text, or email. As a community of faith, we attempt to keep everyone connected to us by live-streaming our services into the homes of those who should not go out, and so we are grateful to all who have so generously supported that effort and enable us to continue to do so. Special recognition is due especially to those from our parish who faithfully organize and staff our weekly Food Pantry and who put themselves at some risk to assure that those whose resources are strained in these challenging times have their needs for food met. Continuing the early example of our ancestors in the faith, we too must be focused on the common good more than our own self concerns, and we do that by making the sacrifices necessary, though not always easy, to protect others by taking the precautions prescribed by experts in infection control. Handwashing, social distancing, and mask-wearing in public should be seen as distinctly pro-life practices which we as Christians should promote and observe, embracing them as we should in the spirit of taking up the cross to bring life to others! We must challenge those who see these precautions and restrictions as infringements on their personal liberty because personal liberty must always take second place to the common good especially in a pandemic as first modeled for us by Christians over 1700 years ago. Above all, as this pandemic continues on unabated and we could rightfully become quite weary of it and the unwelcome changes it has brought to our lives; as Christians we must face it with hope, trusting that God can and will write straight with crooked lines, and, if we allow Him, will use even this trying situation for our ultimate good. So, what are we to do if this pandemic drags on? What we must always do as followers of Christ in every circumstance of life, which is to nourish our faith by word and sacrament, practice our love in good works for others, and persevere in hope through prayer!
Many Thanks: The Annual Catholic Appeal has come to its conclusion and gratitude is due to all who responded with generosity to that call. By your sacrifices made to support the apostolates, ministries, and agencies of the Church throughout the Diocese of Fall River you have assured that Catholic chaplains will continue to be available in our hospitals; the homeless of Hyannis will find shelter; the recently released from incarceration will have the best new start; that women and children threatened by violence in their homes will find safe shelter in the Cities of Fall River and New Bedford, newcomers will be welcomed and assisted to learn a new language; that youth, those preparing for marriage, adults preparing for confirmation, will be catechized; that men preparing for service as deacons or priests will be properly educated, that summer camp, scouting and other youth programs will continue and so much more! While doing this for others, and the greater good of the local church that is the Diocese of Fall River, you have demonstrated faith in action proven through your support of the good works we must carry out as the Catholic people of Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, and the Islands. May God, who is never outdone in generosity bless you in turn for your charity!
Summer Raffle: Our summer raffle is an annual effort to raise funds for the activities of various organizations that we are blessed to have in our community of faith including; the Knights of Columbus, St. Vincent de Paul, the Catholic Women’s Club, 50+ Club, Catholic Scouting, The Respect Life Committee, and Walking with Purpose. With the present situation in these challenging times we cannot count on the participation of many summer visitors, nor will we be able to offer chances at the entrances of the church, so your support of the raffle is perhaps more needed this summer than ever before. Therefore, we encourage you to take a chance or more for cash prizes which total $11,000, and ask your relatives, neighbors, and friends, especially those not of our parish, to do so as well to assure the success of this essential annual fundraising effort.