PARISH OFFICE – When visiting the office, you are asked to wear a mask for the safety of everyone. Thank you for your cooperation!
August 1, 2021, Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Bread of Life: During these next few weekends, with the exception of the 15th of August when the annual Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary will fall on a Sunday, we will be reading from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John at Mass which is often referred to as the Bread of Life Discourse. As we hear Jesus reveal that he is the Bread of Life and explain that it is necessary for any who wish to have life in him to partake of this bread, we are invited to renew our appreciation of the centrality of the Eucharist in our lives as Christians. One of the more difficult aspects of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic over the past year had been the limited access that many had to the celebration of the Eucharist, other than online, and the limited opportunity to receive this the sacrament of all sacraments among all of the seven. With these restrictions easing somewhat now, many are gradually returning to Mass either on weekends or on weekdays but some whose medical conditions make vaccination too risky or who are concerned about the breakthrough infections caused by the variants find that it is not yet prudent for them to be among large gatherings of people, for this reason, the Eucharist will continue to be offered on Sundays outside of Mass from 11:30 AM until 1:00 PM for the foreseeable future. We have also resumed our ministry to the homebound on a more limited basis and continue to allow family members who are comfortable coming out to receive communion to also bring it to spouses, parents, or neighbors who must still remain at home. The hope has been and still is that no one who desires it will be deprived of the Eucharist. The challenge though is that many among the baptized who should be receiving the Eucharist regularly are not doing so and it isn’t because their physical health prevents them from attending Mass or coming out for communion. The challenge to them comes from the Lord himself who says, “unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man you shall not have life within you.” Well, obviously no one is falling seriously ill and dying simply because they don’t receive communion each week. Yet the goal of our entire lives should be that we would not lose the gift of unending life promised to us at our baptism. Yet we as human beings have no control over eternal life whatsoever, as we are powerless to save ourselves from final death, therefore life beyond death is a gift of God. Through Christ, God has given us a simple means of nourishing our souls with his death-defying divine life by leaving us the gift of his own body as the Bread of life. Some presume they will earn eternal life because they live a good life, and maybe they will pass through death to life but not on their own merits but only through the mercy of God. Truly though this is not the mean by which Jesus died in order to reveal and to provide for us, so why depend on such a precarious presumption when it is salvation itself that is at stake? This question is even more valid in light of the truth that partaking in the Eucharist as the sure means to eternal life at least once each week is not so very difficult or complicated! Indeed out of the 168 hours we are given to live each week, God asks that only 1 hour be returned in worship as an offering of thanksgiving, yet even then, God is not outdone in generosity because he returns to us the bread and wine we offer him transformed into the body and blood of Christ as the pledge and source of unending life! So as we resume or continue our practice of faithfully assisting at the weekly celebration of the Eucharist and/or reception of communion, let us be loving and courageous enough to remind those around us who don’t practice their faith with any consistency that what they are ignoring, the Bread of Life that comes down from heaven, may not simply be a nicety for those who like to go to church, but rather a true necessity for all who are subject to death and don’t want that to be their ultimate end!
Raising the Roof (well, replacing anyway!): Many homeowners among us will know that we are presently in the midst of unusual times with shortages of workers to do building and repair projects and also shortages of building materials. So we are very grateful to our business manager, Bud Breault, and our Plant manager, Dwight Giddings, who after a diligent search among several contractors have been able to secure a fair and reasonable contract from Fraser Construction to begin the replacement of the roofs on the entire parish complex. The present shingles guaranteed for 15 years are now 32 years old, and so this is a project that truly cannot wait any longer. The base contract is for $245,540 with the likely possibility that more costs will be incurred depending on what is found as the present shingles are removed. The initial third of the entire cost of the replacement has come from the Building and Grounds Fund thanks to your generosity to the annual appeal in previous years, and it is hoped the remaining two thirds will be raised by this year’s appeal so as to prevent us from having to rely on, and consequently further diminish our parish savings. The whole project should take about 15 working days and will create some inconvenience in the process in terms of parking, etc., so the patience and cooperation of all are prayerfully requested!
July 25, 2021, Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
When to Call a Priest: As a priest, our job description is as I have stated before, to teach, to sanctify, and to shepherd God’s people under the authority of the Bishop and in his stead, particularly in parishes. This column is an attempt to honor the first duty, as is preaching at Masses and teaching Adult Education Classes when the situation allows. The sanctifying aspect of priestly ministry is carried out in the celebration of the sacraments, especially the celebration of the Eucharist, which is the Sacrament of all sacraments, but the others within the normal faculties granted to priests by their bishops include Baptism, Penance, Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, and Marriage. The shepherding function is one that is exercised both on an individual and community basis, with the aim of leading us all in the ways of the Gospel and the traditions and teachings of the church with the ultimate aim that we should all reach the kingdom of heaven. Yet it is all of what is involved here, that is, worshipping, being sanctified by the sacraments, and continually learning about the kingdom and its ways so as to spur us on in our own ongoing repentance and conversion that will help to get us to that final and eternal goal., So the Christian life is always “a package deal: and is not properly picking and choosing some parts of it in isolation. I say that because of my experience with requests for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick which sometimes seem based more on superstition than on solid faith and its regular practice. Indeed a number among us grew up with the notion of Extreme Unction or anointing at the very end of life, yet that this sacrament of healing the living rather than blessing the dying had devolved mainly to the latter by some accidents of history was corrected, and rightly so, by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Now the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is more properly understood as a sacrament to strengthen those who because they are experiencing afflictions of body and/or mind is in spiritual danger of losing faith and falling into discouragement and despair. Therefore, unless the affliction being suffered is acute and potentially mortal, such as a sudden heart attack or stroke, or perhaps serious injury by accident, this isn’t primarily a sacrament for those actively dying from fairly longstanding or chronic conditions. Rather the sacrament should be requested and received at different stages of illness, perhaps at diagnosis, or beginning of treatment including before surgery, and then when no further treatment would be effective and nature will be allowed to take its course, or a person enters hospice care. The sacrament might also be properly requested by those whose conditions are not immediately life-threatening, but chronic and capable of causing discouragement, including advancing significantly in age with all the consequent limitations that can come with it! . All this is to say that I am therefore often left asking why priests are often not called upon to anoint people until they are actively dying of an illness that may have been months or even years in duration? Not all that long ago when called upon to make such a visit I was told by the family member in charge of the person’s care that they wanted the person to be anointed soon, but not just yet as the sick person was still conscious! If the anointing of the sick is for the purpose of giving a person spiritual strength to bear with physical or mental afflictions without losing faith, then how can that sacrament truly help a person who has fallen into unconsciousness just before passing away? The other more and more common situation experienced is one where the call for the sacrament comes from those who are not new in this area but there is no record of them in the parish census, and nine times out of ten, after the inevitable passing of the person anointed no Catholic funeral are ever requested! Again, if a person is not fully practicing their faith while they were able to do so, will they be somehow guaranteed salvation because they were anointed with the Oil of the Sick? The ultimate answer to that question rests with God, not us, but it is not a bet worth making or a risk worth taking! Let us all try to make every effort to rightly understand the primary purpose and proper practice of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick; it is for those suffering afflictions of body or mind, chronically or acutely, yet serious enough so that this can be a potential cause of a spiritual crisis. Clearly then the potential for a crisis of faith due to an affliction may differ from person to person, not by the seriousness of the condition but the spiritual resources and faith life of the individual. So if you are aging and facing new limits, or chronically ill and undergoing new treatments or worsening of symptoms; If you are suffering depression or anxiety that is crippling; or struggling with addiction, these are all just caused to seek the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick with the aim of being spiritually strengthened by it, indeed truly healed but not necessarily t cured! When a person is in fact approaching the very end of an illness and thus their life, then let them receive the Eucharists as Viaticum – “food for the journey” and hear the prayers of commendation prayed for them and if the priest should be available, then let him come and impart a final blessing and absolution!
July 18, 2021, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Stewardship: It is encouraging to see the number attending Mass in-person increasing each week and the size of the congregation approaching what might have been seen before the pandemic began. Likewise, it is a relief to see the weekly collections increasing and moving toward the totals that were last seen in the summer of 2019. How have we survived? By the commitment of a core of very loyal parishioners who have faithfully contributed either online, by mail, or by dropping off their offerings to the office each week, those parishioners who tithed a portion of their stimulus checks, and by the efforts of Mary Daly and all who helped her reopen and staff the Thrift Shop! To these members and volunteers, the parish owes a deep debt of gratitude for helping to keep us afloat during a very challenging time. The parish had to also apply for two loans of some $91,000.00 each from the Paycheck Protection Plan offered by the U.S. Government in order to be sure that we could continue to pay our staff throughout the course of the pandemic when at first church attendance was prohibited and thereafter it was significantly limited. The good news is that the first loan has already been forgiven because the parish could demonstrate that the funds were used properly and for that reason the second loan is fated to be forgiven as well. It is costly to maintain the House of the Church which faces the same expenses that any homeowner must face but with the size of this parish complex and its grounds does so at an exponentially higher rate than even the largest of homes in this area. No doubt those who have not stopped giving to the parish even during the most unusual phases of this difficult time appreciate what it costs them to maintain their homes and run their households and so have continued their weekly or monthly support even when they could not be here. To those who have not been as faithful in their support of the parish over the past 15 months, we encourage you to resume your regular contributions as we enter a new fiscal year, one in which there will not likely be any further assistance from the government as things continue to return to normal. Perhaps as the pandemic wanes and we are all still here those who have not yet done so might more concretely express their gratitude to God by not only resuming the regular contributions made to support the church but consider increasing these as well.
The Vacation That Truly Vacates: The very essence of the word vacation suggests leaving the everyday responsibilities, obligations, and general busyness of life behind so as to be refreshed by a period of real rest. Yet many who vacation find themselves needing even more rest after their return because they simply exchanged their usual hectic pace for another with a different variety of nonstop activity. In the gospel passage we hear this Sunday, Jesus invites the apostles to come away with him and rest awhile. In doing so Jesus is acknowledging their need not only for a change of pace physically but mentally and spiritually as well. The contemporary world in which we live has lost its appreciation for the need for rest and so weekly observances of Sabbath and Sunday as days not to work or to shop have been greatly diminished over the past 50 years. Yet the need for rest on one day each week and at least one week each year is still quite essential to our physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Being more vigilant about how we observe Sunday as a weekly day of worship and rest void of unnecessary work or activity which while counter-cultural is a practice that could yield many blessings for us. Yet the yearly week of rest is not intended to be in Cancun or even here on Cape Cod, but rather in a place that is truly “away” in that it is in a place where we are disconnected nearly completely from all usual contacts and activities. This may not require us to go far, maybe only to Duxbury to Miramar, or to Gloucester to Eastern Point, or to Spencer to St. Joseph’s Abbey, or Wrentham to St. Mary’s Abbey. In these retreat houses and others like them, we are afforded the opportunity in the midst of quiet rest to make an annual journey inward to that place where God’s Spirit dwells within us and is trying to ever speak to us, yet in the normal daily affairs and busyness of life, the promptings of the Holy Spirit often get drowned out or overlooked! Retreats are true vacations – leaving everyone and everything behind for a week and spending that time in prayer, mediation, contemplation, Lectio Divina or Scriptural or spiritual reading. Retreats are required of clergy and religious, but they are not for them alone, all members of the church, once they have reached adulthood, are encouraged to make a retreat and annually if possible so as to pause long enough to reconnect with God as a source and center of our lives. Jesus often slipped away alone to be in spiritual communion with His Father and he encouraged his disciples to do so as well, surely he is calling all of us without exception to do the same! Try a real vacation, make a retreat! Those who would like assistance in pursuing this opportunity are welcome to contact Fr. Healey for further information.
Summer Raffle: Chances for our Annual Summer Raffle have been mailed to all registered households of the parish and are available at the entrances of the Church. The requested donation is $20 per ticket or 3 for $50. The proceeds of the raffle benefit the charitable works of the parish and its organizations including Catholic Women’s Club, Knights of Columbus, 50+ Club, Respect Life Ministry, and Walking with Purpose, and is a means for these organizations to raise some of the funds they need for their activities and charities without each trying to conduct a different fundraising activity at the doors of the church each weekend during the summer season. This parochial version of the “United Way” not only benefits these organizations but offers the opportunity to win a $5000 grand prize, a $2500 second prize, or a $1000 third prize along with several prizes of $250 and $100. So please take a chance or three, and perhaps take a book to sell to relatives and friends beyond the parish!
Floral offering: The flowers adorning the sanctuary this weekend are an offering of thanksgiving for 60 years of marriage being celebrated by Carl and Elizabeth Meredith. Let us join them in being grateful because in reaching this milestone they are surely fulfilling the call to bear witness to the unconditional, unending love of God, and thus are truly living and being the sacrament they have received. May the Lord’s many blessings continue to be with Carl and Elizabeth helping them to persevere with joy in this very special vocation of Christian marriage; Congratulations!
July 11, 2021, Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
For the Beauty of the Earth: The familiar hymn is always so relevant at this time of year as late Spring has officially yielded now to Summer and nature has returned to its flowering fullness. This then is a most appropriate time to highlight the hard work and dedication of CTK’s own “Garden Club” coordinated by Janet Trask whose work at planting, watering, and weeding the various beds and plant pots has truly beautified the parish property in so many ways! This is a most generous way to support the parish and it is a labor of love ( who likes to weed)) that deserves recognition! So let us all say a prayer of thanksgiving for Janet and her dedicated crew who are honoring God and blessing all of us with their green thumbs!
At this time too, we have ordered and are awaiting the installation of a small two-rail white fence to be placed where the hedges formerly stood in the front of the church. So many were pleased with the removal of the hedges that had become overgrown and thus obscured the view of the front of the church that it was decided not to replace them, but to place the fence there instead. However, as this is a year when labor is scarce for all the businesses on Cape Cod, we will have to patiently await the fence and some other improvements to the grounds as well.
Home Coming: After more than 6 years serving the priests and parishioners of St . John’s Parish in Pocasset, Deacon Brendan Brides is returning to Christ the King Parish where he is officially a parishioner and where he originally began his diaconal ministry. Deacon Brendan will be present at all Masses this weekend so as to become reacquainted with the parishioners, fellow deacons, and assisting priests here who will all undoubtedly welcome him most enthusiastically. Deacon Brendan takes his place along with Deacon Frank Fantasia, Deacon Bob Lemay, Deacon Dominic Messina, Deacon David Piece, and Deacon Peter Schutzler, in fulfilling the many facets of diaconal ministry which are so very helpful to the priests and so edifying to the people of our parish. “Welcome Home” Deacon Brendan, we pray you will be with us to stay!
Catholic Appeal: As of Monday, July 5th, 463 households of the parish have responded affirmatively and generously to Bishop da Cunha’s call for assistance in financially supporting the various apostolates, ministries, and agencies of the Diocese which carry out the pastoral, catechetical, ministerial, and charitable works of our local church which is the Diocese of Fall River. To date, $140, 654 has been pledged or contributed by members of Christ the King Parish, and that will not be the final total as some donations have been forwarded even after the unofficial close of the appeal on June 30th. As this already represents a $20,000 increase in support for the appeal above our total from last year, it is an indication that we as a parish are moving in the right direction as more households are participating in this diocesan wide effort to assure that the good works of the local church will not only continue but be able to expand and increase. May all who participated be blessed many times over for their generosity!
July 4, 2021, Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Holy Water: One of the customary sacramentals most valued by us as Catholics is that of Holy Water which we use to bless ourselves as a reminder that through the sacrament of baptism we have been blessed to become members of the Body of Christ. In this recent pandemic when taking precautionary steps to prevent the spread of this potentially lethal virus while at church, among those steps was to remove the Holy Water stoops in which many people would dip their fingers. Even now as precautions are relaxing that is one of them that probably is prudent to keep into the foreseeable future. So how to do so while still giving access to the use of Holy Water upon entering or exiting the Church? Through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. George Logan, we have been able to purchase Holy Water Fonts that can dispense the water individually much as do the devices that we use for hand sanitizer at the entrances. These fonts are properly dignified for this purpose in their distinctly ecclesiastical design yet as such they are costly. Additionally, a suitable cover needed for the main Baptismal Font to prevent its use by many as a source of Holy Water is being hand-fashioned by Lloyd’s Woodworking of Hudson, the same company that recently refinished the pews in St. Jude Chapel and created our narthex tables, poor boxes, and Hymn Boards; and this cover is also being paid for by the Logans. As with their recent and very significant contribution toward the purchase of a new truck for the food pantry, Logan’s generosity is for the primary purpose of helping the parish in whatever way possible, but it is also as a means of honoring and remembering their friend and our fellow parishioner, Mr. James Vaccaro, who passed away in March of 2020. So, as you admire the craftsmanship that created the new cover to the Baptismal Font or bless yourself with the Holy Water from the new fonts which will soon be installed, please say a prayer of gratitude for the generosity of George and Thalia Logan, which allows us to use this valued sacramental, or celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism which it represents, in a much more hygienic manner for the safety of all. Also, please offer a prayer for the repose of the soul of James Vaccaro, whose memory as a faithful parishioner and as a friend to them and many others George and Thalia Logan wish to perpetuate and to honor through these very generous gifts.
Land of Liberty, But Not Without Limits: This weekend we celebrate the birth of our nation with the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and take justifiable pride in the freedom enjoyed by the citizens of the democratic republic which eventually emerged from that proclamation issued on July 4, 1776. Yet in more recent history, the trend in our culture is to promote freedoms that we truly do not have the rightful privilege to exercise, that is if our right to liberty is ultimately rooted in the dignity with which each of us as human beings is endowed by our Creator as stated in that historic declaration. Indeed, while defining and claiming our rights then we must have the honesty and humility to recognize that we are creatures, and as such the extent of our liberty is rightly limited by God who fashioned us in his likeness but not as His equals. This truth should be self-evident no matter one’s creed so long as one is able to recognize the truth of the existence of a Supreme Being whom we call God who, unlike ourselves, is responsible for the very existence of the natural world as we find it. That is the crux of the matter, the natural world as we find it operates not by chaos but by and large in accord with an order that is observable and rightly attributed to the very essence of its Creator. So, then we see the present difficulty, because for human beings only two genders are truly natural, male and female, and part and parcel of our creaturely limits is that we are what we are in terms of gender from the very beginning of our existence in the womb. Gender traits and expectations are another matter and one subject not only to natural but also to cultural and social influences, thus there is clearly more valid fluidity in these from person to person and culture to culture yet what we are born to be in terms of gender is what we are in fact, and it is not within our rights to alter that. Yet in setting policy and enacting legislation the permissibility of an individual to declare their own gender apart from their biological reality is being asserted and those who challenge the legitimacy of this right are subject to censure as accounts in the news most recently attest. The most serious loss in all of this is truth itself which without reference to God and discernible in God’s laws loses its immutable essence and becomes changeable and so it is no longer really truth at all but mere momentary human opinion. Consequently, the freedom to recognize, declare and abide by truth is also in jeopardy and that is the most slippery of slopes on which our American culture seems to be presently sliding! Due compassion and every effort at sympathetic understanding should be shown to anyone struggling with gender confusion and proper professional assistance should be provided to them in order to help them to make a healthier adjustment to the reality of who they are by nature. Yet in this present matter, as in other moral issues as well, truth itself must be respected above all else, and the right of God-fearing people to live in accord with truth, both that observed in nature as well as that which they rightly believe to have been revealed by God, without fear of being punished for doing so, must be protected. If this freedom is not respected then the liberty we claim to enjoy in this nation is not true liberty at all but rather is a seriously distorted and thus incorrect notion of human freedom because it is rooted not in the immutable truths enshrined in natural and divine law, but infallible human knowledge which over the long run is often proved not to be reliable at all. Thus, on this Independence Day as we celebrate the autonomy and achievements of our nation may we also pray that as individuals and a people called Americans we will not distort the notion of true freedom or jeopardize its exercise in this land. This diminishment of true freedom is the great risk taken when we fail to acknowledge our ultimate dependence upon God or our accountability to his laws as found in nature and in the commandments. Indeed, as the founders of our nation acknowledged and stated, it is from the Creator who fashioned us that our fundamental human dignity is found and from which any rights we may have flowed; thus, the truth is that we are “free to be you and me” but only in so far as we fully understand and accept ourselves in harmony with the way we have actually been created by God.
June 27, 2021. Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Blessing of a New Truck : The Christ the King Food Pantry which operates each week is a ministry that is organized and managed for the parish by the members of the Christ the King Conference of St. Vincent de Paul. The Pantry helps many food insecure households in the greater Mashpee area nearly every Wednesday, with very few exceptions, all year round. Even during the pandemic, with adaptations that moved its operation largely outdoors, the pantry has been open and helping neighbors in need without fail thanks to the dedicated corps of volunteers who under the leadership of Dick Reilly serve the clients who frequent the pantry each week. A box truck regularly seen parked on the parish property is used to load, transport, and unload the large food order purchased from the Boston Food Bank which is distributed to the Falmouth Service Center and must be picked up and delivered to our parish hall each Tuesday morning. The box truck has been kept on the road in the past few years thanks to the great generosity of a parishioner, George Logan, who has arranged for, and funded, its increasingly more frequent and expensive repairs of late. Recently discovering that the frame of the truck was cracked, it became clear that for the sake of safety the time had now come to purchase a replacement . Scouted out by Deacon Frank Fantasia, who has a well-deserved reputation as a “best deal” vehicle locater and negotiator, the new truck, a 2020 Isuzu 14’ Box Truck has a lift gate which will greatly facilitate loading and unloading it with greater back sparing ease by the volunteers who do so faithfully every Tuesday morning. Gratitude is due to the Christ the King Conference of St. Vincent de Paul whose Board of Directors voted a generous donation to help purchase the new truck, the remainder of the cost of the truck plus the donation of a pallet jack has been provided through the great and continued charity of Mr. George Logan and his wife Thalia who have long and generously supported the work of the Christ the King Food Pantry . Let us all join these extremely generous benefactors in supporting the Christ the King Food Pantry in any way we possibly can to ensure the needs of those who turn to it for help continue to be met and that the volunteers who organize and staff the pantry have the supplies and equipment necessary to accomplish this work of mercy done in the name of our entire parish community.
Catholic Appeal: Thus far 339 households of the parish have contributed $108,842 to this annual appeal from Bishop Edgar Da Cunha to assist him in maintaining and expanding the various charitable, apostolic, pastoral, social and educational good works being carried out under his direction in the name of all the Catholic people of the Diocese of Fall River. The appeal concludes on June 30th, so if you have not yet done so, please respond before the opportunity to do so ends this coming Wednesday. As we make our contributions we can take pride in being part of something good that is much bigger than all of us as individuals and even larger than our local parishes. The appeal provides a means of concretely expressing our solidarity with our bishop appointed by the successor of St. Peter to shepherd the Diocese of Fall River which is the local expression of the universal Catholic Church. It is up to all of us to join with our bishop not only united in faith but also in charity as evidence that we are indeed the visible sign in this region of the church founded upon the apostles by Jesus Christ. So let us all be willing to play our part by contributing generously to this annual appeal to help assure that this is indeed the case.
Communion on Sundays: With the dispensation to miss Mass given in the height of the pandemic now lifted, many who were previously joining by live stream and coming to receive communion on Sunday afternoons have returned to the pews on weekends. However, it seems that there is still a need to provide some opportunity for those not yet able to return to worship among a larger crowd of people to receive this sacrament of all sacraments on Sundays. Beginning on this weekend, and until further notice, Holy Communion will be available immediately following the 10:30 Mass (approximately 11:30) until 1PM in the church. It is hoped that those who have not participated since the start of the pandemic will begin to return at least for the reception of communion in a simple manner in which risk of transmission of the virus is greatly reduced.
Installation as Lectors: On Tuesday evening, June 22nd, Richard Fish and David Laird, of Christ the King Parish, who are preparing for future ordination as Permanent Deacons were officially installed as Lectors by Bishop Edgar Da Cunha during a special Mass celebrated at the Holy Trinity Church in Fall River. The Office of Lector is one of three steps toward the reception of major orders both for those whose goal is to be Permanent Deacons and those who, with the additional final step of becoming Transitional Deacons, will move on to ordination as priests. Indeed, those who regularly read the first or second reading at Mass may be commonly referred to as Lectors, but technically they are Lay Readers, because only those officially installed as Lectors are actually eligible to use this title. Exercising their new office for the first time this weekend, David and Richard will serve as Lectors at the 10:30 AM Mass. Please continue to pray for Richard and David and all those who are presently preparing for, or discerning , ordination for the major orders of Deacon or Priest in the church, especially here in our own Diocese of Fall River.
June 20, 2021, Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
FATHER’s DAY WISHES: Prayerful best wishes for a day made happy by the sincere expressions of appreciation received from sons and daughters is extended to all fathers, grandfathers, god-fathers, step-fathers, adoptive fathers, and second fathers on this very special day dedicated to their honor.
FULLY INITIATED: Congratulations and a promise of continued prayer are due to those who are now completing their initiation into the Church by the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Bishop da Cunha was here on Sunday, June 13th, and will be here on this Sunday, June 20th to celebrate this special sacrament through which the Holy Spirit first received in Baptism is given in its fullness. It must be the hope and prayer of the entire community of faith that those who are now initiated will rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit to discern the particulars of the active role that they are being called to play in the church so as to do their part along with all the baptized and confirmed to build up the body of Christ in this time and place.
A special word of gratitude is extended to Mrs. Laird and the catechetical team who assisted her in preparing the candidates for Confirmation.
CATHOLIC APPEAL: Thanks are due to those who have already generously donated or pledged to the Annual Catholic Appeal, thus far 299 households of the parish have given $93,617.00 making that an average contribution of $313 which is certainly very generous per household amount. But Imagine though, if all 2100 registered households of Christ the King Parish pledged or gave $100, a sacrifice for some, but readily affordable for many, the total would be $210,000 which would significantly impact the Diocese’s ability, under the direction of Bishop da Cunha, to meet the needs for catechetical, spiritual, pastoral, social, and charitable services sought by many from the church in this region of Massachusetts. That is the kind of cooperation, with everyone doing their part, that should characterize the Body of Christ, working together to advance the Kingdom of God here and now. So, before the Catholic Appeal closes on June 30th, those who have not yet done so are urged to consider playing some part by doing whatever they can to support the corporal and spiritual works of mercy being carried out by the Diocese of Fall River in our name.
THE OBLIGATION TO ATTEND MASS HAS BEEN RESTORED: As the news arrives that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is being lifted as of this weekend by the Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts after having been in place since March 2020, the question may arise as to why the Church obliges us to attend Mass? The answer can perhaps be easily understood by remembering that the primary image of the Church is that of a mother, and what mother would not require her children to do what she knows to be in their best interest, especially as regards their health and education. Would a mother fit for that pivotal parental role ever permit her children not to eat? Would she leave their attendance at school up to them to decide and be content that they chose to participate on occasion but without any consistency? These answers are obviously NO, and so too is it with Mother Church who obliges us to do what is essential for our spiritual growth and our eternal salvation. The Eucharist is not a nicety to be received on occasion, it is rather a soul-nourishing necessity according to Jesus himself who said that He is the Bread of Life, and unless we partake of his body and blood we cannot have life within us (meaning the life that will endure even beyond death). It is in the Mass where we are most exposed to the Sacred Scriptures which contain the teachings that are the essential basis of our formation as authentic Christians and so their proclamation is not to be missed! In the day and age of over-exaggerated individual autonomy where the predominant attitude seems to be “no one can tell me what to do” there is likely to be a good degree of resentment if not some outright rebellion among some at being told by the Church that Mass is obligatory under penalty of sin! However, let us be wise enough to know that Mother Church is only trying to tell us what is right and best for not only our wellbeing in this world but most especially for the next!
COMMUNION OUTSIDE OF MASS: Since the opening of the Catholic Churches for Mass in late May of 2020, Communion has been available here at Christ the King on Sunday afternoons so as to allow those who were cautiously remaining at home and participation in Mass by Live-Stream the opportunity to receive the Eucharist in a manner that would be brief and therefore presumably safer than assembling with a larger group of people in the church. Even with the lifting of the dispensation from attending Mas, there are still those who have a valid reason to be extra cautious and so who do not yet feel comfortable returning to Mass As the number of those coming to receive Communion has been dwindling steadily of late and will probably continue to do so, the time of Communion being offered outside of Mass will be from 11:30AM to 1:00 PM beginning on next Sunday, June 27th.
June 13, 2021, Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Fullness of Charity: The Annual Catholic Appeal continues through to June 30th so the opportunity to participate this year will end in just a little over two weeks. To date, 247 households of our parish have pledged or contributed $78,877 to this annual request from Bishop da Cunha to all Catholics of the local church, which is the Diocese of Fall River, to do their part in supporting the pastoral, catechetical, educational, social, and charitable good works that are proper and indeed necessary for the Church to carry out. Certainly, an average per household gift of $319 is quite generous on the part of those who have contributed thus far, but the goal for our community of faith at Christ the King has to be participation by every household in our parish rather than a certain monetary amount. Why? Because, as pastor, my task is not to lead our parish to some pride of place in a list of all the parishes in the diocese, but ultimately it is to help shepherd us all to heaven! Part of doing that is encouraging you to give what you might not be all that well disposed to give; yet even as I do so, I am confident that this cause is quite worthy and our bishop who is the making the appeal merits our respect and cooperation. Indeed, there could be many seemingly acceptable reasons to excuse oneself from giving to the annual Catholic Appeal, perhaps that other charitable causes seem more compelling, or there’s a preference to give what you have to give to the parish rather than the diocese, but the only really weighty and acceptable excuse would be that you simply don’t have anything at all to spare. Whenever we pray the Second Eucharistic Prayer as we often do at Mass, we ask that we as a church, both as individuals and as a community, would by our participation in the Eucharist, be brought to the “fullness of charity”. That is a particularly important petition in the prayer because it is actually the ultimate requirement for citizenship in the promised kingdom that is to come. God is love and those who will dwell with Him for all eternity must be people of love or they will be quite out of place in God’s presence! Yet God’s love is not the feel-good sort of love that is the pervasive concept of love in our contemporary culture, rather, as revealed by Jesus Christ on the Cross, divine love is a sacrificial love characterized by giving without counting the cost for the ultimate good of all. To grow in this kind of love we have to exercise charity by stretching our hearts on a rather regular basis, and we do so by giving especially when there is no foreseeable personal benefit to ourselves. The Catholic Appeal is yet another opportunity for all of us to exercise that kind of charity and thus move closer to the “fullness of charity” for which we must all strive if our journey is toward God’s kingdom. So not only for the sake of those ministries and services of our local church which absolutely depend on these funds to carry out good works in our name as the Catholic people of the Diocese of Fall River but also for ourselves, who will not likely need these services but who in donating to support them, void of self-interest, are given the opportunity to move a step closer to the Kingdom of our God who is perfect love! So before the opportunity to do so ends on June 30th, I would fail in my task as a pastor if I did not urge every household without any exception to most seriously consider donating or pledging as generously as possible in light of your circumstances, to the annual Catholic Appeal.
The Fullness of the Holy Spirit: On this Sunday and next at special Masses scheduled at 12:30 PM Bishop da Cunha will be here at Christ the King to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to the candidates from our parish. Prayers for the candidates are requested as this is an important step in their journey of growth as disciples of Jesus Christ. It is in the sacrament of Confirmation that the gift of the Holy Spirit, first given at baptism, is received in full measure in order to help those who are confirmed to live their lives under the Spirits guidance and to take part in the mission of the church as full members empowered with the Spirit’s gifts. Certainly, those gifts of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, fortitude, right judgment, piety, and awe in the presence of God are much needed in a secular age where truth, justice, and right are often difficult to discern and pressure to accept and conform to what is immoral is indeed constant and often great. What is needed in our world today is the example of committed Christians who informed by faith and directed by the Holy Spirit can be light in the midst of much darkness in the world. So may all of us who are already confirmed pray in solidarity with those about to be newly confirmed that together we will all be people whose word, witness, and good works bring the light of the gospel into a culture ever-darkening by error and sin.
Don’t Forget to Get Engaged! Through Flocknote our parish is subscribed to WORD ON FIRE ENGAGE which allows all parishioners to have access to the many informational and inspirational offerings by Bishop Robert Barron, the contemporary equivalent to the late great Bishop Fulton J Sheehan. Certainly, in these days of so much misinformation, we are all in need of the wisdom of a teacher solidly grounded in our faith, so all are encouraged to take responsibility for their continuing religious and spiritual formation from the comfort and convenience of home in these unusual times by signing up for ENGAGE by texting CTKCAPECOD to 84576 or going to http://ctkcapecod.flocknote.com.
Bishop da Cunha and regional bishops to lift the Sunday and Holy Day Mass dispensation
Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., and regional Catholic bishops have together decided to inform the Catholic faithful that the dispensation of the Sunday and Holy Day Mass obligation will be lifted on Father’s Day, June 19-20. The bishops saw Father’s Day weekend as an appropriate time to encourage the Catholic faithful, especially families, to return to the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, the center of every Catholic life.
The obligation does not apply to those who are ill, recently exposed to COVID-19 or other communicable illnesses, those confined to their homes or other facilities for various reasons, and those who are not able to be vaccinated for specific reasons.
The full official release of the bishops’ statement will be posted on The Anchor website at anchornews.org and the diocesan website, fallriverdiocese.org.
June 6, 2021, The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ: One of the primary beliefs and practices which distinguishes the Catholic Church as truly holding to what is the fullness of the faith that comes to us from the Apostles is our consistent and unwavering belief in the Eucharist as truly being the body and blood of Christ. This is indeed what the Apostles taught, and what the earliest Christians believed and practiced as is clearly evidenced in the New Testament and in the writings of the early Fathers of the Church. It was not at issue when Eastern Christianity split from Western in the Great Schism of 1054,and so this belief in the real presence remains among the Orthodox churches as well but sadly it became controversial in the Reformation of the 16th Century when Calvin and others took Luther’s reforms to further extremes. So today one of the sad divisions among those who call themselves Christians particularly in the West is disagreement on one of the most ancient and central beliefs of the apostolic faith. Yet what is sadder still is that while the Catholic Church itself in its doctrine and practice has never wavered in its understanding of the Eucharist, surveys in more recent times reveal that some among those who say they are Catholics indicate that they view the Eucharist to be more symbolic of Christ’s presence rather than real. Perhaps they do not realize that in adhering to this misunderstanding rather than the original and enduring belief of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist they reveal themselves to be more Calvinist than Catholic! . Such a variation from what is orthodox belief may also explain why some who consider themselves Catholic can so easily absent themselves from participation in the celebration and reception of the Eucharist on Sundays (pandemic exceptions allowed) with seemingly little if any qualm of conscience about it whatsoever. Yet we only have to revisit the 6th Chapter of the Gospel of John and listen to the words of Jesus himself about the absolute necessity of receiving his very body and blood as our true food and drink and the means to sharing his resurrected life to appreciate that this undermining of the truth of the Holy Eucharist may not be without consequences. The indifference toward this most precious gift of the Eucharist is quite disheartening if not alarming especially to priests who are asked to lay down their lives in union with Christ in order to provide this sacrament of sacraments. On the other hand, what has been truly impressive to me as a priest is to witness the deep desire for Holy Communion expressed by many who were deprived of it during the shutdown from mid-March to late May of 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. It has been very inspiring to witness the love and appreciation of the Eucharist that has been very evident in the risks that so many were willing to take to their own wellbeing in order to come to Mass during the past year. It was equally inspiring to have on average 150 come out each Sunday afternoon to receive communion outside of Mass no matter the season or weather. This obvious love and great appreciation of the necessity of the Eucharist is the clearest sign that many are still quite attuned to the promptings of the Holy Spirt and imbued with the orthodox teachings they have received from their families of origin and the clergy, religious and laity who have catechized them; truly, much seed has fallen on good soil and is bearing fruit a hundredfold. May this annual Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ be yet another occasion that prompts us all to revisit the orthodox teaching on the Holy Eucharist. May the celebration of this solemnity help us, if necessary, to renew our understanding and appreciation of this most precious gift which is nothing less than the Lord Jesus himself, fully present to us as the Bread of Life who, if received with faith, will nourish us to life eternal which is a destination that we are incapable of reaching by our own efforts or merits!
Annual Catholic Appeal: Thus far, 220 households of the parish have contributed or pledged $71,837 to this very important annual request from our bishop to help him support and sustain the apostolates, ministries, and agencies through which so many good works of the local church, which is the Diocese of Fall River, are carried out. The Appeal will continue through June 30th; it is hoped that every household of the parish will concretely express our solidarity with Bishop da Cunha by contributing as generously as is possible to this annual request from him for our financial assistance.
Assignments: At this time, Matthew Laird, newly ordained a transitional Deacon, will begin an assignment in the parishes of Our Lady of Grace and St. John the Baptist in Westport assisting the pastor, Fr. Christopher Peschel. Seminarian, Christopher Hughes will begin an eight-week summer assignment assisting Fr. Riley Williams of St. Francis Parish in Acushnet. Please pray for Deacon Matt and Seminarian Chris that they will receive many blessings and be the cause of the same in these pastoral assignments that are so important in their preparation for the priesthood.