November 22, 2020 SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING – PATRONAL FEAST OF OUR PARISH
Now Thank We All Our God: On this Tuesday evening at 7 PM we will hold our annual Mass of Thanksgiving during which we will unfurl a banner to reveal the various blessings that the young people of our religious education program and other parishioners are listing and counting this Thanksgiving. All parishioners are invited to join us in person or via Live Stream in order to participate in this annual Mass of Thanksgiving. Those attending the Mass are encouraged to contribute gift cards in advance to the
“Fill- a Bag “ effort conducted by the CTK Food Pantry, or, if coming to the Mass in person on Tuesday evening, to bring a supermarket gift card to be placed in the baskets at the entrances to the Church; it is not possible at this time to collect actual grocery items as had been customary. Mass will again be offered on Thanksgiving Day at 8:30 AM and gift cards to local supermarkets for the benefit of those in need will also be welcome. All are wished an especially safe, but happy Thanksgiving Day made so by contemplating and then expressing gratitude for God’s countless many gifts; especially gifts that can’t be bought, like life itself, family, and friends that are very precious and still ours to enjoy even under changed circumstances in this time of the pandemic.
Fill A Bag: The donated gift card total so far is $8,475.00 enough to help 346 families this year at Thanksgiving. Thanks to all the many very generous and caring parishioners for helping to make this happen.
Giving A Gift to Our Family of Faith: The annual WE ARE FAMILY CAMPAIGN continues at this time and reminder letters are being sent out asking all households who have not yet done so to consider giving a special annual gift to the parish, especially under the present circumstances of the pandemic and the reduced weekly attendance at Mass that is a consequence of it. So far 328 households have contributed $80, 585 which represents an average gift of $245 per household, but a significant number of donations were much larger than that, and the tremendous generosity of those donors is greatly appreciated. Yet 328 households is only 15% of the registered households of the parish and so it is only fair to ask all who rely on the existence of this parish to be as generous as their means would allow in doing their part for the maintenance and improvement of the parish’s buildings and grounds. At this time the renovation of the St. Jude Chapel at a cost of $68,000 is nearing its completion and in addition to the extensive tree and landscaping work that will commence shortly, we are now facing the cost of installing an awning to protect our pantry workers during winter at a cost of $24,000. $5000 of the cost of this quite substantial awning has already been covered by a generous gift from the CTK Conference of St. Vincent de Paul but the remainder will have to come from our parish buildings and grounds account which is funded largely by the proceeds of the annual collection. So, the needs are real and they are great, and therefore all who call Christ the King Parish their spiritual home are asked to make a contribution to the annual WE ARE FAMILY CAMPAIGN before the end of the calendar year.
Keeping Christ(mas) in Christmas: With holiday jingles filling the airwaves even before Thanksgiving is over, and ads about Black Friday bargains bombarding us daily, the annual commercial and cultural “Holiday Season” is clearly beginning. While some of it cannot be escaped, still we as traditional Christians who observe the liturgical seasons in accord with a unique calendar are challenged not to start the celebration of Christmas before it really begins. Christmas will begin on the evening of December 24th with the first vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, but Christmas won’t be over on the evening of December 25th, or even January 1st, but rather will continue through to January 12th concluding on that day with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Christmas is the season that revisits not just the divine birth at Bethlehem, but all the early manifestations right up to and including his baptism at about age 30 , that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Word Made Flesh, the Christ of God, sent as Savior. If we start observing Christmas according to cultural and commercial redefinitions right after Thanksgiving then we are likely to be quite tired of it by the 25th of December, and worse, we will have missed the Season of Advent altogether! Advent is not merely a preparation for Christmas, but for the Second Coming of Christ in glory, which is the focus of this penitential season right up until December 17th, when the Church’s emphasis then shifts to the immediate preparation for the celebration of the First Coming of Christ at Christmas. So, let us keep the decorations in storage until the 17th of December, and refrain from lighting Christmas trees and lights, playing carols, or having Christmas gatherings until the 24th of December and beyond. Once Christmas Eve arrives we can begin the observance of the authentic season of Christmas and have 19 days to celebrate it fully while others whose approach to Christmas is much more cultural than religious will likely be putting their trees out on the curb and bringing their observances to an end.
MASSES FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD
(The opening of the Octave and Season of Christmas)
December 24th 2:00PM, 4:00PM, 6:00PM
December 25th, 8:30 AM and 11:30 AM
Accepted by the parish office online, by phone, or email –
beginning November 30th
November 15, 2020, Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mass of Remembrance: On next Sunday at the 10:30 AM Mass we will prayerfully remember all of those parishioners who have died between November 1st of 2019 through October 31st of 2020. This is an appropriate annual custom to be observed in November, the Month of Remembrance of All the Faithful Departed. Again, our participation in this Mass is a wonderful expression of who we are as the Church of God, because while we are presently members of the Church on earth, we are joining the Church already in Heaven, the saints, to pray for our fellow baptized believers who have died so that they too will be numbered among the saints in God’s Kingdom. This is an act of charity on our part, but even more so, a way of “paying it forward” rightly relying on the hope that as we do for others now, so will they do for us when it is our inevitable turn to be listed among the faithful departed. So whether you are personally acquainted with those listed in the Book of Remembrance or not, it doesn’t matter, what we need to realize is that this is our way of helping our brothers and sisters in Christ because we are all in this effort together, the effort to end up where we truly belong, which is in the eternal presence of God. So please lend your prayers for the souls of our more recently departed parishioners by participating in this annual Mass of Remembrance either by attending in person or through Live Stream.
Thanksgiving Mass: Without yet knowing the full extent to which this holiday will be different this year, we do know that it really can’t be the same in the midst of a presently accelerating pandemic. One custom that we are trying to preserve as much as possible is our annual Thanksgiving Mass held at 7 PM on the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving so as to be able to have the participation of those who will be traveling or busy in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. In the past we have had the students from our religious education program write on a large banner many of the things for which they are grateful, and the banner was unfurled and its contents shared at the Mass; that will not be possible this year. Religious Education students and all parishioners who wish to do so can add their thoughts on why they have cause to be grateful by recording them on a video that will be played at the Mass; specific instructions on how to do this will be sent via FLOCKNOTE. It will also not be possible to ask parishioners to bring nonperishable food items up to the altar during the offertory procession but would encourage supermarket gift cards for pantry clients given in advance to the Fill A Bag Campaign. Supermarket gift cards or donations to Mathew 25 may also be brought to the Mass by those attending in person and placed in baskets provided at the entrances of the church which will be brought to the sanctuary at the Preparation Rite. It is not permitted, as in the past, to bless and distribute bread for use at the Thanksgiving meal in this time of the pandemic. So, even with these limits, all are encouraged to bring grateful hearts to Mass either in person or by live stream at 7:OO PM on Tuesday evening, November 24th, or at 8:30 AM on Thursday morning, November 26th, to direct our thanks to God, the one to whom our gratitude is ultimately due!
Winter Cannot Stop Charity: As reported before, the volunteers who organize and staff the weekly Food Pantry, many of them parishioners and many among them members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, have continued throughout this pandemic to carry out their important weekly work for those in the wider community who are in need of food for themselves and their families. For reasons of everyone’s health and safety in this pandemic, those who rely on the pantry for help cannot be allowed lowed to enter the building and so groceries have to be delivered to them outside while they remain in their vehicles. To protect our volunteers from the cold of December, January, and February, an awning with zippered openings and side panels has been ordered which with the help of two milk house heaters should help to alleviate some of the challenges that the winter chill may present to the pantry workers. The rather extensive awning will cost the parish $24,000, and gratitude is extended to the CTK Conference of St. Vincent de Paul for contributing $5000 to help alleviate the parish of this expense. The remainder of the cost must be covered by the parish Building and Grounds Account which is funded mainly by the annual WE ARE FAMILY CAMPAIGN and other donations. Any who wish to contribute to the $19,000 remaining cost of the awning are encouraged to do so by giving to the CTK B & G account and noting “Awning” in the memo line. Your generosity to the parish, especially in these unusual circumstances, is greatly appreciated.
Masses at Christmas: Bishop Da Cunha, recognizing the importance of family and religious customs among Catholic people at Christmas, and concerned about large gatherings in this time of the pandemic, is allowing the parishes of the Diocese of Fall River to begin the celebration of Christmas with Mass at 2:00 PM on Christmas Eve. As at this time people are encouraged to be in their homes by 10 PM, the schedule of Masses at Christ the King Parish on Christmas Eve will be at 2:00 PM, 4:00 PM, and 6:00 PM. Reservations are asked in advance so that we may prevent the potential problem of overcrowding at any of the Christmas Masses during this pandemic which could only jeopardize the health and safety of those in attendance. On Christmas Day Masses will be held at 8:30 AM and 11:30 AM. As Masses on Christmas Day, especially the earliest are traditionally not well attended, it is suggested that this option be considered especially by those not traveling or entertaining company on Christmas morning; advanced reservations are also being asked for the Masses of Christmas Day. If reservations reveal Masses to be filled, an additional Mass will be added on Christmas morning at 10:00 AM. Because Christmas in the Church’s tradition is not only a day but an entire season, and the day is not only a day but an Octave of eight days, the Bishop reminds all Catholics, especially those most vulnerable during this pandemic that participating in Mass during the Octave is also participating in a Christmas Mass, and may be the safest option for those most at risk at this time. The Octave of Christmas extends beyond the 25th of December and includes all the days up to and including January 1st when it concludes with the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. Let us all be grateful to Bishop da Cunha for his concern for the safety of us all at this challenging time and for the flexibility he is allowing in the celebration of Christmas in order to protect us. An online reservation system for the Christmas Masses of December 24th and 25th will be operational beginning on Monday, November 30th, reservations made by phone will begin to be taken on that day as well during regular office hours.
November 1, 2020, Solemnity of All Saints
The Month of Remembrance: It is traditional for Catholics to focus in a special way on the faithful who have died and to prayerfully remember them during the month of November from November 2nd until Thanksgiving Day. As the secular world focuses on the final harvest of produce gathered into barns before winter, we remember the ultimate final harvest which will be God’s gathering of all who have kept faith into his kingdom. Each week a daily Mass will be devoted to all the faithful departed, most especially those whose names are kept on the altar, and we display the names of those of our parish who have died since last November in the Book of Remembrance which is placed at the baptismal font before the paschal candle. The location of the Book of Remembrance serves to remind us of the purpose of baptism which is to incorporate us into the body of Christ not only for time but for all eternity. On Sunday, November 22nd at the 10:30 AM Mass the names of the deceased of our parish who have died between November 1st 2019, and October 31st, 2020 will be read aloud and so commended to God’s care by our prayers. As the parish only has a record of the names of the deceased whose funerals were held at Christ the King Church, any parishioners whose funerals were held elsewhere since November 1st of 2019 can also be included in this remembrance if their names are given to the parish office at this time.
Welcome Deacon Peter: Deacon Peter Schutzler has been assigned by Bishop da Cunha to assist here at Christ the King Church effective October 21st. Deacon Peter with his wife, Kathryn (“Kate”), recently relocated to Mashpee from Pennsylvania as with the beginning of the present academic year he started serving as the principal of The Holy Family-Holy Name School in New Bedford. Deacon Peter was formed as a deacon candidate and ordained a permanent deacon in 2015 for the Diocese of Allentown where he also assisted in the Office of the Permanent Diaconate. Following active duty in the U.S, Coast Guard from 1984 to 1988, Deacon Peter earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education at Pennsylvania State University, and then a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology with a specialty in Marriage and Family Counseling at Chestnut Hill College. In his career in education Deacon Peter has held various teaching and administrative positions in both public and Catholic Schools, most recently serving as principal at St Theresa School in Hellertown Pennsylvania before accepting the principal‘s position in New Bedford. Deacon Peter is the father of two young adult daughters, Magdalena and Hannah.
We are happy to welcome Deacon Peter and his wife Kate among us and look forward to the blessings we will surely gain from his ministry here just as we have been greatly blessed by the deacons who have served us in the past and Deacons Frank Fantasia, Bob Lemay, David Pierce, and Dominic Messina who continue to serve Christ the King Parish at present.
Jesus Is Not on The Ballot: If Jesus of Nazareth were on the ballot in the upcoming presidential election then Catholic clergy would be at fault if they did not specifically encourage you to cast your vote for him, but that not being the case, you are free, after careful deliberation, to vote for whomever you believe will do the best job for this nation without fear of committing a sin for doing so! Many moral issues today are also highly politicized and from a religious perspective, Catholic clergy are free to speak about these issues and explain the Church’s teaching on them, even from the pulpit, and should be able to do so without being accused of being political by parishioners! However, beyond making statements on such issues from a moral and religious point of view, the clergy are strictly forbidden from endorsing or disparaging any particular political party’s candidate in an election year and if they do so, it would be proper to ignore them or even to report this impropriety to their bishop or religious superior. In the Diocese of Fall River, all clergy were recently invited to a seminar on the use of social media in which they were specifically told by Bishop da Cunha to refrain from any political endorsements in this election year. In a pluralistic society, unless Jesus is running for office, we cannot otherwise expect any candidate or any political party‘s platform to approach all issues from an authentically Christian perspective, thus there are flaws in each platform and the candidate that represents that party. Unless we are voting for a candidate with the deliberate intention of supporting their platform because of some issue on which it contradicts church teaching, then we do not incur sin by voting! Unfortunately, this has to be spelled out because some Catholic clergy have overstepped their proper role of late and through the widespread communication of social media endorsed one candidate while declaring that it would be seriously sinful for Catholics to vote for the other. One would have to take a course on material and formal cooperation in evil to learn why this is not the case and that is not possible to provide in the space available in a parish bulletin. The most important message that can be given is to encourage all Catholics to look at all the issues that should be of importance to us as disciples of Jesus Christ and to evaluate which candidate is more likely to align with us on the majority of those and then to exercise the great privilege of citizenship in a democracy by casting our ballot. In reality, from a strictly Catholic point of view, given the candidates and their platforms, noses will have to held as we cast that ballot no matter which of the candidates we should choose to support!
October 25, 2020, Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October-Pro-Life Month: The major issues in regard to the means by which God’s great gift of life is disrespected and its sanctity disregarded are abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia, however, being authentically pro-life requires consistency not only in opposing those big issues but in our approach to many other matters although perhaps seemingly less weighty in the opinion of many. Certainly, a concern for the environment is also of great importance in that the natural world is God’s gift and the way in which not only human life but all life is sustained. Can we discern the incongruity of having a pro-life bumper sticker on our car but returnable bottles in our trash rather than set aside for recycling? We must believe that even the seemingly small acts we carry out to protect the environment are not insignificant and thus worth the consistent effort not only for practical reasons but as well a religious and moral one as well because we are the stewards of God’s creation.
We are also called to be good stewards of our own lives and those of other people, so being pro-life requires us to care for our health and to take care not to endanger the health or well being of others. Thus, as people who are pro-life, we need to make healthy eating and the need for exercise seriously. We might also try to be vigilant in our use of alcohol or other substances, even medicines, that consumed in excess could harm us, or render us impaired should we get behind the wheel of a car. As stewards of our own lives and those of others in this time of the pandemic, it is also incongruent to claim to be pro-life but then attend gatherings without a mask or disregarding guidelines for safe social distancing.
Not only our actions but our attitudes need to conform in ways that truly promote, protect, and defend all life. We might take care than to examine our opinions on the extent of second amendment rights because while our constitution does include the right to bear arms, yet defending the possession of military assault weapons by civilians hardly seems to be in accord with pro-life principles, especially as we have too frequently witnessed the dire consequences of their use in civilian hands.
Regarding ourselves with true humility as not being better than any other person in the eyes of God is where pro-life attitudes regarding people of other races, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, orientations, abilities or disabilities must always begin. If we are thoroughly pro-life it will be evident in our basic attitude of compassion toward others, especially those in any difficulty, which is often wrongly considered a weakness when in truth it is a great strength and an essential quality of anyone who wishes to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. The God who gives life is the God of love for all his children, and no preference for one person or groups of persons more than another. As people called to be thoroughly pro-life we must take great care to avoid any discrimination in which we would allow ourselves to regard some lives as being of greater value than others thus meriting our efforts to protect, defend and assist them while judging others as somehow less so. While present cultural clashes and current politics may make it controversial to say, still, if we are truly pro-life we must always defend the enduring truth that from womb to tomb all human lives without any exception whatsoever truly matter and are worth our efforts to respect and protect them, and even our charity to help to improve them !
On the Job in Sun, Rain, Wind, and Snow: This is an apt description not only of mail carriers but also of Christ the King Food Pantry Volunteers! Indeed, every Wednesday morning when those needing assistance with the most basic of necessities, which is food on the table, arrive, the volunteers, many of them Vincentians, are ready to serve them. With the present pandemic the Food Pantry Volunteers take the necessary precaution of serving those in need by asking them to remain in their vehicles while the volunteers place the required number of grocery bags in their trunks. Of course, this means that many of the Food Pantry Volunteers are spending much of their Wednesday mornings outdoors and while that has been more comfortable in the good weather, it is anticipated that this will have to continue even as the chill of late Fall and the cold of Winter inevitably set in. One means proposed to give some protection to the Food Pantry Volunteers in inclement weather and relief from the cold is to install an awning with sides from the back main entrance of the parish center down the sidewalk to the curb. At this time estimates for the installation of such an awning are being gathered to see if it is feasible and an update will be provided should the cost be determined to be reasonable the plan potentially effective. In the meantime, let us all be very grateful to and supportive of those dedicated Food Pantry Volunteers who are carrying out this important work of charity in the name of our parish to relieve those who are in need.
The Month of the Holy Souls: As November is on its way, parishioners are reminded that this is the month during which we traditionally focus our prayers on the souls of the deceased faithful who have departed this world but have not yet arrived in the next. Perhaps needing our assistance, we pray for them personally and sacrifice to make donations to the works of the church and charity in their honor as a means of helping them advance toward God’s kingdom. All Souls Envelopes are included in the envelopes mailed to those using the budget system and are also available upon request from the parish office as these cannot be placed out on the tables in the Narthex during this pandemic. All Envelopes received will be placed on the altar so that those listed on them will benefit from the merits of the Masses offered each week during November for the Souls in Purgatory and the gift offered in remembrance of them.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month: As October is also a month dedicated to raising awareness on the problem of abuse and violence in the home, all the faithful are encouraged to learn what the Church is saying on this troubling issue. Catholic teaching about domestic abuse is explained in “When I Call for Help.” which is available in English and Spanish at https://www.usccb.org/topics/marriage-and-familylife-ministries/when-i-call-help-pastoral-responsedomestic-violence.
October 11, 2020, Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
PRO-LIFE MONTH: As each year in October we are invited to contemplate the dignity of all human life and pray that it be respected and protected from conception to natural death, it is an appropriate time to examine the imminent threats to the sanctity of life in our world today. Sadly, a move to Legalize Physician-Assisted Suicide is being promoted in Spain at this very time. Taking of one’s own life is a suicide, yet once again to disguise the moral unacceptability of this reality, those who wish to legalize what they consider to be death with dignity would prefer to have this referred to as Physician-Assisted Dying. Those who advocate for this right explain that it allows people who are terminally ill to maintain autonomy over the time and manner of their deaths by having a lethal dose of medication, not administered by a physician, but prescribed to them by one for their own use at a time of their own choosing. Yet, the key argument against assisted suicide for people of faith is that there are some things over which human beings rightly do not have any legitimate authority, and that is especially true in matters of life and death. God is the author and giver of all life; therefore, God alone may determine when life begins and when it ends. As Catholics whose Church thinks most deeply and thoroughly about such matters, we do not believe in the necessity of prolonging life by technological means when to do so is futile because a cure is not possible. Yet letting nature take its course, even when that means inevitable death, is morally quite different from actively hastening one’s own death by taking a lethal dose of medication; the former respects God as the only one with dominion over life and death, the latter illegitimately claims that privilege for human beings. When we start to step down a slippery moral slope as regards jurisdiction over life and death it is not surprising how quickly we can reach the bottom! This is true of Physician-Assisted Suicide which when legal quickly sees “the right to die” evolve into the “duty to die” for all who are vulnerable like frail elders, the disabled, and the gravely ill. Indeed, unproductive life, dependent life, life with pain, and suffering is deemed not worth living and pressure however subtle is applied to those so afflicted to end their misery, and not become a burden! With Physician-Assisted Suicide legal in the Netherlands for over three decades now, it is not such a well-kept secret that a significant number of vulnerable people have “ been put out of their misery” without ever asking to be because of the next logical step after allowing Physician-Assisted Dying is active Euthanasia! The antidote to this morally unacceptable choice is adequate pain management and compassionate care. It is not that people who are not clinically depressed really want to die, it is more likely that they don’t want to suffer alone or unnecessarily, nor feel that they are a burden and their dignity is diminished when they can no longer fully care for themselves. Surrounding people with compassion and ensuring that they receive adequate care in the last chapter of their lives is the most Christian and life-affirming approach to the issues that give rise to the quite mistaken but perceived need for assisted dying when such compassion and care are missing. So let us pray at this time that the people of Spain will vote to affirm life right through to its natural end and that ongoing efforts to legalize assisted suicide in our own nation will thus be discouraged as well!
As the Pandemic Continues Unabated: It is somewhat surprising that what appeared and was declared a pandemic in mid-March has waxed and waned yet is still very much with us and seemingly on the upswing again at this time. This is something which most of us would probably not have predicted over six months ago, and yet it is so! While it is good that the doors of the Church have been allowed to be open since the end of May, still we must be very cautious not to have an outbreak of infection with this virus attributable to our gathering together in goodly number for worship. We ask then that you take every reasonable precaution when coming to Mass by wearing your mask fully so that it covers your nose and mouth, that you sanitize your hands upon entering the church before being seated, and that you observe reasonable practices of social distancing while present in the Church as well as outside its doors before or after Mass. The Church has been organized to facilitate the distancing that is required and that is why every other pew is reserved so as to remain empty, the open pews have been measured and marked at 6-foot intervals, and the rails on those pews on which we rest our hands when kneeling have all been covered with a not very visible, but none the less real, and hopefully effective antimicrobial tape. It is for this reason that we ask your patience and understanding to accept direction from the ushers as to where to sit as all pews occupied during Mass must be sanitized afterward even with the presence of the protective tape. We would all wish things to be as usual, and while we are making whatever efforts we can to make Mass feel as normal as possible, still things can not yet really be the same, so we ask your cooperation with the ushers, and in assisting us with sanitizing the Church after Mass if you are able to stay and help.
A parish is centered around the celebration of the Eucharist, but its life does not stop there, and it is in the areas of faith formation and community life that the pandemic is causing the most interruption in our parish life. At this time, it is still not feasible to reopen the remainder of the parish plant, including the classrooms, the conference room, parish hall, and library to general traffic and meetings. Those groups who can meet, including our religious education program, are gathering “online” and we thank them for their efforts to do so. So not knowing what we will be doing some six months from now, let us acknowledge our frustrations and disappointments that parish life is not yet back to normal, and pray for the patience and perseverance in good health which we will need until it is!
Celebration and Repentance: On this Holiday Weekend we traditionally honor Christopher Columbus who 528 years ago landed in what for him and his fellow Europeans was a new world, and what for the people already living here was an old one. The meeting of civilizations was not without its difficulties and the injustices resulting are to be regretted and repented, but that a whole world was opened up thereafter to our own forebears who came here to find freedom from oppression, and opportunity to prosper, must be cause for our personal gratitude. Christopher Columbus and the crew who set out with him at great risk to themselves should be given the credit that they are due for their courage and determination in the face of great uncertainty and so do not deserve the desecration of the monuments which have been set up to honor their accomplishments. Truly, shouldn’t such monuments to the discovery and consequent conquest of the Americas by Europeans also remind us of the truth that there is often an underside to many human endeavors no matter how otherwise laudable? In looking at a statue of Columbus can we acknowledge that exploration and discovery, praiseworthy enterprises in themselves, can also be tainted by sins of greed and aggression? Perhaps then these statues might also cause us to pause and to examine our own motives and to look at the not always so bright side of some of our own otherwise noble endeavors? So, on this Columbus Day, let us not hesitate to celebrate the amazing achievements of this remarkable navigator and his associates, and recognize what is undeniably the greatest consequence of the arrival of Columbus which is the spread of the Christian faith to yet another hemisphere. However, at the same time let us be moved to regret and repent man’s inhumanity to man so often an ugly thread in the fabric of so many human affairs in which cultures inevitably clash, and so vow to make every effort to challenge that where it is still happening now and thus help to prevent it going forward!
October 4, 2020, Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
OCTOBER IS PRO-LIFE MONTH: The Pro-Life Month of October arrives just as a practicing Catholic has become the nominee for the vacant position of Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. It might not be surprising then that we have already begun to hear, and will probably continue to do so, that orthodox Catholic thinking, especially on issues of life, is not in keeping with contemporary American thinking, and thus some will feel quite strongly that being authentically Catholic may be reason enough to be disqualified from holding such a high position. Yet an interesting analysis of surveys regarding how Americans truly feel about the legality and practice of abortion was recently presented on the site of the Catholic League by its president, William Donahue. Mr. Donahue is well qualified to do such an analysis as someone professionally trained as a sociologist at the graduate level, yet not surprisingly, he is often unfairly discredited by those who do not like his defense of all things Catholic. As Mr. Donahue points out, surveys on abortion can be rather misleading as these seldom do more than scratch the surface as to what people really think. For reasons of cost most surveys ask Americans only the very basic question of whether or not they think that abortion should be legal and results consistently reveal that a majority do agree that it should be so and remain that way, but that is where consistent support for abortion by any majority ends. More in-depth surveys reveal that 75% of Americans say that abortion should be limited to at most the first trimester of pregnancy. When considering this subject the reasons justifying an abortion and the point in the pregnancy at which it is sought are issues that truly matter to the majority of Americans, such that in the end, only about 13% agree that terminating a pregnancy should be permitted without question during all nine months. Ironically, this extreme position held by a clear minority is enshrined in the present national policy and is often portrayed by some politicians as one that is not ever to be questioned or challenged! While as Catholics we are called to a more absolute and consistent defense of life for those not yet born than perhaps the majority would take, yet our moral revulsion at the thought of abortion is really not as different from the thinking of most Americans as some are prone to portray it to be. Thus, the truth is that in regard to “a woman’s right to choose” Catholic thinking is actually more consistent with overall American thinking than is that of some of the vocal detractors of the present candidate proposed to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Indeed, more complete, and thus reliable surveys reveal that the majority of Americans believe that the right to choose an abortion should not be without reasonable restrictions and the absoluteness of that right has to diminish as the pregnancy advances.
LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD FOR LIFE: Please call the Joint Committee on Judiciary of the Massachusetts State Legislature to let then know you oppose the expansion of abortion rights in our State which would be granted by the ROE LEGISLATION in H3320 and S1209 including removing any requirements for minors to obtain consent before an abortion, or that lifesaving efforts be administered to infants surviving an attempted abortion, or that late-term abortion only be performed in hospitals and allowing abortion on demand for all 9 months of pregnancy.
The legislature has extended its session until January 5th, 2021; every call will help to prevent the passage of these bills which would remove all reasonable restrictions presently in place on abortions in Massachusetts.
WE ARE FAMILY ANNUAL CAMPAIGN: So far 280 households have pledged or donated $99, 950 to our annual collection thus the average donation has been over $350, but not a few have been substantially more than that. Gratitude on behalf of all the parish is due to all the donors thus far for their generosity in supporting this important annual effort to raise funds to provide for the larger maintenance and improvement projects for our parish which would include the renovation of the St. Jude Chapel that is presently underway. The funds that are collected through this campaign are not placed in the general accounts used for operations but kept in a special account solely for use in the upkeep of our buildings and grounds. Some of the projects still on our “to-do “ list include replacing the roofs, repairing the sprinkler systems, updating the HVAC systems, fixing the rank of trumpets to the organ, and renewing the landscaping around the front of the Church. All such projects must be prioritized as to urgency and cost and then addressed as the funds are available. So, the households that have not yet pledged or donated are asked to consider doing so before the Campaign ends in late November so that we might check some additional items off of our list as completed!
BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS: Sunday, October 4th, 12 noon, before the statue of St. Francis of Assisi on the lawn to the right of the front entrance to the Rectory; Please keep dogs on leashes and cats in travel cages.
KEEPING CONNECTIONS: Stay connected with the parish and also take advantage of the variety of adult formation opportunities available through WORD ON FIRE by subscribing to FLOCKNOTE by texting CTKCAPECOD to 84576 or going online to ctkcapecod.flocknote.com!
September 27, 2020, Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
ONE OF THE BEST KNOWN AND BELOVED OF SAINTS: Giovanni di Pietro di Bernadone, nicknamed “Francesco” probably because he was half-French through his mother, was born about 1181 in Assisi, a town in what was then the Duchy of Spoleto but which today is considered to be in the region of Umbria in Italy. The son of a wealthy cloth merchant in Assisi, Francesco had a privileged upbringing, in fact, he could be considered spoiled and rightly called rebellious as a youth. Destined to follow his father as a textile merchant, Francesco had his own ideas of becoming a Knight, and so outfitted quite finely in armor at his father’s expense, he went off to fight in a war with the neighboring city-state of Perugia as a young man. Fortunately for Francesco, he ended up being captured, rather than slaughtered, on the battlefield, and was then imprisoned and held for ransom. Francesco was ransomed and released after a year in a dank prison but returned to Assisi in an altered and quite depleted mental and physical state. It was during his recovery from this setback that he began to have visions of a supernatural nature and his conversion to a radical living of the gospels began. Francesco would wander the countryside and visit decaying sanctuaries such as that of the ruined Church of San Damiano, where contemplating the ancient crucifix there, Francesco heard the voice of Jesus ask him to rebuild his church Thereafter, embracing radical poverty and simplify of life, Francis went about preaching and gathering followers who would become the Friars Minor, and with the Poor Ladies and the laity who associated themselves with Francesco and his new movement the three orders of what came to be known as the Franciscans were established. Francesco’s love for God and all creation are well known and so he is the patron saint of ecologists and our present pontiff, Pope Francis, has written an encyclical entitled “Laudate Si “ in his honor. This phrase is taken from the first line of the Canticle of the Creatures composed by Francesco and so it is an appropriate beginning to a letter to all of us from our present Pope which addresses what must be our proper concern as Christians to protect the natural environment. Francesco so radically lived the life of Christ in accord with the gospels that he is the first saint known to have received the Stigmata – the wounds of Christ, and so only two years after his death at the not so advanced age of 44, Francesco was canonized a saint by his friend and protector Pope Gregory.
TRANSITUS OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI: St. Francis died on Saturday evening, October 3, 1226, at the Porziuncola, a plot of land with humble huts and a small chapel in the valley of Spoleto below the walled hill town of Assisi which is the “small potion” given to Francis and his early followers by the Benedictines who owned that land. Today this little portion is housed entirely within the Basilica Church of St. Mary of the Angels, As this coming Saturday is October 3rd, you are invited to stay after the 4 PM Mass to participate in the simple ceremony commemorating the death of St. Francis known as the “Transitus” i.e., the “crossing over.” This is a service familiar to all Franciscans of the First, Second, and Third Orders but not so well known beyond those circles unless one has participated in a pilgrimage to Assisi. So, let us remember the passing over to the kingdom of God of one of history’s most famous and beloved saints next Saturday following the 4 PM Mass.
BLESSING OF ANIMALS: As next Sunday, October 4th, is the traditional Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, lover of all God’s creatures, the traditional Blessing of the Animals will take place at noon on the front lawn of the Rectory in front of the statue of St. Francis.
SHARING OUR FAITH: One of the sacred duties that we have as baptized believers in Jesus Christ is not to keep our faith to ourselves but to share it with others, especially those not affiliated with any denomination or religion. At this time, we will be beginning the process we call the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA, and are looking to invite those who may be searching to come to explore the possibility of faith in Jesus Christ lived out in the context of the fullest expression of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, which even with all its imperfections is the Church of Rome, Shepherded by the successor of St. Peter. So please invite those you know who may presently be unaffiliated or not completely initiated through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, or the Eucharist to come and consider the possibility of becoming on with us in our faith and practice as Catholic Christians. Please contact Tony Agostinelli, Coordinator of the RCIA Process in our parish for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-685-1545, or call the parish office to speak to a priest or deacon about it.
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 vision 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 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 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.