PARISH OFFICE – Due to the concerns with the pandemic and concern with rising cases, our Parish Office will be closed. There will be someone in the office to answer calls and address any business that needs to be attended to. Thank you for your understanding.
April 18, 2021, Third Sunday of Easter
Choose THE CHOSEN: The original gospels were not written as biographies of Jesus as much as they were presented as collections of his basic and most essential teachings imparted by his words and actions which would need to be shared with prospective converts to the Christian movement. Composed in the last third of the First Century, this was the time during which the original apostles and the first generation of disciples, the evangelists, and teachers of “the Way” as it was then called, were disappearing from the Christian communities either having been martyred or having lived out their natural life spans. Thus, Mark, Matthew, and Luke, and the Gospel of John were written to preserve what is of the greatest importance for followers of Jesus to know and understand but these can leave us wanting to know more about him. Into this void came the gnostic gospels of the second and third century which while filling out some further details of the Lord’s life and teaching, but often rather creatively composed, thus these were not found acceptable to be part of the canon of Sacred Scripture when that question was finally settled in the 4th Century. In our contemporary era, the creation of films about the life of Jesus seems a response to that same desire on the part of many to know something more about him or to understand him in the context of his time in history. Many such films are off the mark as these restrict their content to only that which is found in the pages of the gospel, which results in rather flat dialogue and a one-dimensional Jesus. On the other hand, some go to the other extreme and take too many speculative liberties with his life beyond the outline of its chronology as presented in the gospels or of his teachings. Now along comes THE CHOSEN not a film but a series with one season of 7 episodes completed already and a second season just now starting with the first episode released on Easter Sunday. The focus of the series which is predicted to last seven seasons is the life and ministry of Jesus. While the principal writer and producer are an evangelical Christian, yet the script is produced with the input of a Catholic priest and a Messianic Jew, and some of the scenes are shot on a set of the city of Jerusalem created by the Mormons to depict it as it looked in the time of Jesus, so it is, in the end, a thoroughly ecumenical effort. Playing Jesus, and quite convincingly so, is Jonathan Roumie, a man of Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic background, who is himself a man of deep Christian faith who appreciates the awesome privilege and responsibility he has in being awarded this important role. The scenery is not at all inconsistent with what one would actually find in the Holy Land, and especially impressive is that the Sea of Galilee presented as the large lake that it is rather than the ocean that it is not. The appearance of the characters is probably more on target with reality than with most previous depictions by Hollywood, especially in regard to their ages and life circumstances. The dialogue among the characters is not limited to the biblical, but the words of the scripture are cleverly woven into what comes across as natural and for the most part convincingly real conversations. Thus far, the series accomplishes what any depiction of the life and ministry of Jesus needs to portray, and that is how the divine and human meet in this person of Jesus of Nazareth such that others would be attracted to him and enjoy being in his company such that they would have been willing to completely abandon their former ways of life in order to follow him. The series is also so far successful in giving insight as to why Jesus was in his own day, as he is even to this day, either believed or not believed, accepted or rejected, loved, or hated, with few if any taking the neutral middle ground in regard to him. THE CHOSEN with one season completed, and a second season now just starting, is worth choosing! This is concretely demonstrated by the large audience it is attracting and the fact that it is completely crowdfunded and as such breaking records in the financial support it is receiving in order to keep developing and filming. Most importantly, it seems to do the best job yet of presenting Jesus as close to what he probably was really like, and makes him someone very real, who, not in any saccharine way, is kind, compassionate, patient, forgiving, and loving, and thus as someone whom we would be anxious to meet face to face one day! The first season of THE CHOSEN is available on YouTube and in other settings, and the second season currently requires that you download the app for free to your phone, (and then perhaps, if necessary, have a grandchild show you how to get it to play on your smart TV!)
Sunday Go to Mass Masks: The masks embroidered with a gold crown for Christ the King are available in three sizes-small, medium, and large, and in the liturgical colors of (off) white, green, red, and purple and black and made of a washable fabric. There are order forms at the entrances to the church for the masks which are of very high quality and all created and sown by Jeanne Giddings. The masks cost $15 each and a portion of the proceeds is being donated to the parish.
Easter Duty /Sunday Afternoon Communion: In the 13th Century the church had to institute “The Easter Duty” because at the time piety of unworthiness had received widespread acceptance throughout the church such that people were not going to communion at all, only gazing at the consecrated host when elevated by the priest after the consecration. Consequently, the church made a law that it was necessary for the baptized to receive communion at least once a year and as people would not have thought to go to communion without going to confession and receiving absolution that also became a part of the Easter Duty in practice. In recent years there wasn’t such an emphasis on Easter Duty because people were going to communion on a fairly regular basis. However, since the pandemic shut down the churches over a year ago and reopening them has been with great caution for fear of the spread of the coronavirus in larger gatherings, it is possible that some have not been to communion for over a year. Thus, all are reminded that each Sunday afternoon, presently from 3 PM to 5 PM, communion is distributed to those who out of caution are still not comfortable gathering in a group for Mass. If there are those who have remained home during this pandemic and not received the Eucharist, they are encouraged to come on Sunday Afternoon to receive communion on one of these Sundays of Easter which will continue until the Feast of Pentecost on May 23rd.
April 11th, 2021, SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
What Did They See? As we read the account of the discovery by Mary of Magdala, Peter, and John of the empty tomb of Christ in the early morning of the first day of the week, we must ask what it is they saw that made them believe. According to St. John’s Gospel, the Beloved Disciple was one of the first to believe in the resurrection when he saw the burial cloths on the bench and the cloth that had covered Christ’s face and the head rolled up and in another place within the tomb. Why would the burial cloths lead to this disciple’s leap of faith that Jesus was now risen dispelling his original and most reasonable suspicion that the Lord’s body had been stolen? It is this question that should haunt us and cause us to wonder if the disciples could see what we can now see on occasion when the Shroud of Turin is on display from time to time as is the Sudarium of Oviedo each year for a week in September? While anything that had contact with a corpse would be considered unkosher to observant Jewish people in the first century, especially burial cloths that had already covered a dead body and a sudarium ( handkerchief) that had been soaked with blood, sweat, and pleural effusion as it covered Christ’s face and head after his death on the cross and while his body was being carried to the tomb. Yet what if the principal burial cloth and its bands were lying completely flat on the bench as if the body once inside these had simply dematerialized so that the cloth was strangely undisturbed? This would probably have raised curiosity sufficient to overcome any concerns about touching the cloths and so on further examination a unique image was likely discovered on the cloth that led to the Beloved Disciple’s belief that Christ has risen. Scientific tests may continue to be taken on these two relics, the Shroud, and the Sudarium, but thus far we know with certainty that the AB blood common to that of the Palestinian people which is found on the Sudarium also matches the blood on the Shroud. The stains on the Sudarium corresponded exactly with the position of the wounds to the head of the man of the Shroud such that while one cloth contains an image and the other does not, it is reasonable to conclude that these two cloths likely correspond to the same corpse. While the history of the Shroud although thought on account of its distinctive weave to have originated in the 1st century is only traceable with certainty to the 14th century, the Sudarium is able to be traced to its exit from Palestine in the 7th Century at the time of the Arab Moslem conquest of the Holy Land. The Sudarium moved further and further north in Spain as the Moslems conquered more and more of the Iberian Peninsula and so it ended up in Oviedo, a city in the North of Spain, where it remains today and can be seen each year from September 14th to September 21st. Indeed, while skeptics will never be satisfied with any proof, these two relics associated with Christ, can still speak as convincingly of His resurrection to us today as these did on the first Easter morning to the original disciples. Recommended to all for their viewing is the presentation by Rev. Robert Spitzer S.J. on the Shroud of Turin which is available on YouTube entitled: A Remarkable Relic of the Resurrection- The Shroud of Turin and New Scientific Evidence.
Many Thanks to all who participated in the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum and Easter: Sincere gratitude is expressed to all our clergy, ministers, lectors, servers, and ministers who took active roles in the Triduum liturgies and all who, along with the parish staff, assisted behind the scenes. A special thanks to all who came out to participate in person and to our ushers who worked extra hard to find seats for everyone while keeping them as distanced and as safe as possible as we gathered in larger numbers than we have seen over the past year to celebrate these the holiest days of our year as Christians. A special thanks to all who contributed to the cost of the flowers that so beautifully decorate the sanctuary and the team from Country Garden who arranged them and to Janet Trask and her assistants who will try to keep them watered and alive as long into the 50 days of Easter as possible. A special thanks is also extended to Tony Agostinelli, Stella Citrano and those who assisted them with the RCIA process in this parish as they prepared Crystal Cameron, Shawn Cameron, Jessica Linnell and John Vavrick to profess the Catholic faith and to be confirmed in it as they were received into full communion with the Church at the Easter Vigil.
Sunday Afternoon Communion now from 3-5 PM: As the present pandemic continues there remains a need to offer the opportunity for those joining in Sunday worship through Live-Stream to receive the Eucharist in a manner that does not require them to be among a congregation for any length of time. For that reason, we will continue to offer Holy Communion outside of Mass on Sunday afternoons. As we are moving into the season when there will be First Communions and Weddings on Sunday afternoons in the church, the time frame for this distribution will move back to 3 PM to 5 PM beginning this weekend and continuing if need be until the time change in the Fall. If those coming out for Communion have others at home or neighbors who would like to receive Communion but who are still reluctant or unable to come to the church even on Sunday afternoons then they may request a pyx (the proper vessel in which to transport the Eucharist) and be deputized to bring the Blessed Sacrament to other family members or neighbors through to the end of this pandemic when the parish will be able to resume our usual program of pastoral ministry to the sick and homebound.
Would You Consider a One-Time Tithe? : Many are now receiving stimulus checks and not all may find this extra money as necessary to their wellbeing as well as some others. If you find yourself in the fortunate position of not needing all you are receiving would you consider giving 10% to the Parish? Many members have not yet returned to the pews on weekends, yet many are still faithfully contributing online, by mail, or dropping their envelope off and that is helping tremendously. However, the reality is that the absence of parishioners and visitors in the church over the past year has caused the parish to lose over $30,000 in the collection compared with the previous year. The Parish would be grateful to receive a tithe of $140.00 of your stimulus check to help fill this deficit if you find yourself in a position where you are truly able to spare it and may find that a way to concretely show gratitude to God for your blessings.! Your careful consideration of this request is greatly appreciated!
April 4, 2021 – Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection
The Season of Easter – The 7 Weeks of 7 Days – The Week of Weeks: Beginning this Sunday, the Sunday of the Resurrection, we observe Easter for 49 Days and conclude our celebration on the 50th Day with the Feast of Pentecost. This is the celebration of the great mystery of our redemption, and it cannot be set aside after only a day, but rather, will rightfully continue for seven weeks of seven days and culminate with our remembrance of the coming of the Holy Spirit to the empower the original disciples with the gifts needed to carry out the mission entrusted to them by Jesus of announcing the salvation won by his suffering, death, and resurrection. So, the Alleluias that disappeared for 40 days of Lent and 2 of the 3 days of the Sacred Triduum are back now to be sung throughout the 50 days of Easter! So, let us say to one another as do our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters: Christ is Risen! And receive back the response: Truly He has Risen!
Congratulations! We congratulate and welcome into full communion with the Catholic Church those candidates who have been preparing throughout the past months with our RCIA Team directed by Tony Agostinelli and who were formally received and confirmed during the celebration of the Vigil of Easter: Shawn Cameron, Crystal Cameron, Jessica Linnell, and John Vavrik.
Please keep the recently received in your prayers and if the opportunity arises, please personally welcome them and offer them any further assistance they may need as they continue to learn what it means to be full and active members of the community of faith.
Unlikely Early Believers and Evangelists: Archaeology always has some surprises to reveal to us and one of the more recent is evidence of church-like sites most likely used by members of the Roman Army stationed in Palestine in which it seems they were worshipping Jesus! By the crosses and other inscriptions on the walls of a cave found in the Judean Desert near Jericho in what was an otherwise uninhabited area in the first century except for a Roman Army Camp that was nearby until about 70AD, archaeologists see evidence that suggests some members of the army that ironically was charged with defending the Roman State Religion had actually put their faith in Jesus! Yet as we look back at the Passion Narratives in the Synoptic Gospels there is a rather consistent report that the Roman Centurion charged with overseeing the crucifixion of Jesus was convinced by something about the manner of Jesus’ death or the phenomenon that accompanied it to declare: “Truly this man was the Son of God!” The soldiers serving in and around Jerusalem were probably quite aware of the reports of Christ’s resurrection and so, likely being mercenaries recruited from Syria and other lands of the Middle East rather than purely Romans, they became part of the Jesus movement at its outset. That belief in Jesus took root among soldiers in the Roman Army serving in Palestine seems to be confirmed by the discovery of the ruins of a chapel built by the mid-second century close to the Roman Army Camp near Megiddo in Central Israel which contains inscriptions specifically honoring Jesus Christ and gives credit for the donation of a mosaic floor to a Roman Centurion. Additional evidence that belief in Jesus had spread rather widely among soldiers in the Roman Army is provided by the discovery of SATOR Squares as far away as the frontier in Britain which seem to be able to be traced back to as early as the second century. The SATOR Square as pictured below was not a game but rather a secret way to communicate faith in Jesus which was likely found inscribed on amphora which contained wine that was used in Christian worship. The square is composed of words both down and across which when the letters are unscrambled and put in the form of a cross spells PATER NOSTER, the Latin words for OUR FATHER – with two A’s and two O’s leftover seemingly to recall the words of the Book of Revelation in which Jesus claims to be Alpha and Omega, the beginning, and the end! So, it seems that it wasn’t just apostles and disciples in the rather tight-knit community of believers in Jerusalem who received the faith, kept the faith, and spread the faith, but also Roman Soldiers who secretly, but steadily, helped the spread of the Christian faith to even the furthest frontiers of the Empire even at considerable risk to themselves. May their example of sharing the faith even in a world hostile to it, inspire us to have the courage to keep doing the same.
Sunday Afternoon Communion, 3-5 PM: As the present pandemic continues there remains a need to offer the opportunity for those joining in Sunday worship through Live-Stream to receive the Eucharist in a manner that does not require them to be among a congregation for any length of time. For that reason, we will continue to offer Holy Communion outside of Mass on Sunday afternoons. As we are moving into the season when there will be First Communions and Weddings on Sunday afternoons in the church, the time frame for this distribution will move back to 3PM to 5PM beginning next weekend and continuing if need be until the time change in the Fall. If those coming out for Communion have others at home or neighbors who would like to receive Communion but who are still reluctant or unable to come to the church even on Sunday afternoons then they may request a pyx (the proper vessel in which to transport the Eucharist) and be deputized to bring the Blessed Sacrament to other family members or neighbors through to the end of this pandemic when the parish will be able to resume our usual program of pastoral ministry to the sick and homebound.
A BLESSED EASTER DAY AND SEASON TO ALL !
Sunday, March 28, 2021, Palm Sunday
Countdown to the Celebration of the Paschal Triduum: As of sunset on this Sunday night, Palm Sunday, we will have completed 36 of the 40 days of Lent with only 4 remaining bringing us to the official end of Lent at sunset on April 1st. As Lent ends then The Three Days, the Sacred Triduum, the shortest but holiest chapter in the year for Christians begins with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.
Sacrament of Reconciliation: Monday, March 29th – 1:30 t0 3:30 PM: Many began the Season of Lent appropriately by making a sacramental confession and accepting with great zeal 40 Lenten days of deeper prayer, greater self-denial, and increased charity for the poor as their penance. Yet usually only a few are ever able to pat themselves on the back for maintaining that zeal and thus some will probably want to confess their lackluster observance of Lent! This is the great lesson of Lent as it helps to remind us that intending to do well doesn’t mean we end up doing well and if we had to save ourselves most of us would be in serious trouble because, if we are honest, we simply can’t. This is one way in which the disciplines of Lent usually reveal to us our weaknesses and our failings and thus can really help to humble our sinful pride! So once again, an extra opportunity will be available for those who wish to make a sacramental confession and accept as their penance the grateful commemoration of God’s gift of a Savior who is obviously so desperately needed! That grateful remembrance will be fulfilled by faithfully celebrating with the whole church the liturgy that is the Sacred Triduum in which we give thanks and praise to God for Jesus Christ who went even to a most torturous death on a cross in order to save us; the most innocent one of all willingly suffering the punishment due to the guilty!
Holy Week???: The week ahead of us will unfold like any other in the year, Monday following Sunday, etc., but this week should be the week of all weeks in the year for those who believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, The Son of God, by whose passion, death, and resurrection we have been saved from final death. There is a sacred obligation from which any who are able to are not lightly excused to make this week holy by having as its primary focus the recollection of events that occurred in Jerusalem during the last week of the earthly life of Jesus. What else could be of more importance? Yet many will live this week no differently than any other week of the year in regard to their habits of daily living and their indulgence in entertainments for distraction. We should not follow that path even if many others do, but rather we should make our annual spiritual pilgrimage to Jerusalem and we will best accomplish that by making two important Biblical texts the central focus of our week. The Passion according to St. Mark with which we begin this week by hearing it read aloud in church on this Palm Sunday should be our first focus, and the second would be the Passion according to St. John which is the account read each year on Good Friday. Far better if we are able to be present with the assembly of believers either in person or by live stream to experience the proclamation of these accounts, but even beyond those public proclamations, we should revisit these Passion Narratives on our own at home. The price Jesus paid for our redemption was indeed steep, and the accounts of how he paid it deserve our prayerful contemplation in order to bring us to an even deeper appreciation of how he suffered and with that a deeper sense of gratitude. The primary liturgical commemoration of the saving events which are celebrated as the Sacred Triduum begins at sunset on this Thursday evening and ends at sunset on Easter Sunday. These Three Days are supposed to be the holiest days of the entire year for Christians, centering around the one liturgy that solemnly begins in the evening of Holy Thursday and doesn’t conclude until the dismissal at the end of the Easter Vigil on Saturday night. It is this liturgy that brings us from the supper table to the cross and leaves us standing at the entrance of the empty tomb proclaiming Christ is risen, He is truly risen! This annual liturgical remembrance or “anamnesis” of the Passover of the Lord from suffering and death to resurrection which takes place in the Paschal Triduum can function as the winnowing fan referred to in the gospels for it can readily separate the authentically faithful from those whose faith in Christ lacks the depth necessary to make the commitment to him which his great and saving sacrifice surely merits. Indeed, who could say with any sincerity that they truly believe in Jesus as Lord and Redeemer and yet think that anything else but the solemn annual commemoration of his passion, death, and resurrection could possibly claim priority in their lives this week? Jesus is the Christ; as the Christ, He is Lord; as Crucified and Risen Lord, Jesus is our Redeemer; He has done what He has done and what we do over the next week will not change that, but it could change us! Indeed, what we make of this coming week by how we live can end up revealing who and what we really are – His disciples or not, holy or not! Indeed, it is actually in our power to make this week authentically holy by living it differently, so let us make the right choice and encourage others to join us in doing the same!
Lenten Almsgiving: The self-denial to be practiced during the 40 days of Lent has a practical purpose which is to save money that we would have spent on ourselves so that we will have something more to share with the poor for their relief. As is our custom at Christ the King, we designate three charitable causes to be the beneficiaries of our Lenten alms: the Matthew 25 Account which funds our Parish Food Pantry; Catholic Relief Services which is the Charitable Agency of the Catholics of the United States providing disaster relief around the world; and the El Tablon Project of Food for the Poor by which our parish has provided homes, fruit trees, and farm animals to improve the lives of the poor in this village of Guatemala. A plain envelope marked ALMSGIVING can be directed to these three charities, but if you wish to specify one or two of the charities as the beneficiary of your alms then name that charity on the front of the envelope and your contribution will be given only to that particular agency rather than split evenly among all three. Traditionally alms for the poor are collected at the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, as they will be this year, but as not all will be able to participate in person, then Alms may be dropped off or mailed to the parish office over the next week.
What might we owe in alms for the poor as Lent comes to an end? It depends on what we sacrificed as penance during these 40 days! If a favorite wine or liquor was given up, then what is the cost of a bottle of it and how many might we have consumed over the past 40 days? If dinners out were given up, an average dinner with appetizer/salad, main course, and dessert at Bobby Byrnes or 99 is about $25 to $30, if at a fine dining establishment at least $45 or more. If meals out would regularly include a cocktail and/or a glass or two of wine then the value of that should be added in, and the number of these meals forgone counted to assess the amount of alms to give. The same can be calculated for meat or sweets or chocolates. Those who say they didn’t give anything up would not be off the hook as owing anything- but actually should give twice the amount of what they really should have denied themselves! So Lenten alms are supposed to hurt at least a little; it is not a time to put a couple of dollars in an envelope and think that before God that would somehow represent 40 days of Lenten self-denial!
Communion and Palms: Those still joining us for Mass from home are as always encouraged to come to the church between 1 PM and 3 PM to receive Holy Communion. This weekend blessed palm fronds will also be available at the Church entrances to be taken home with you as you exit the church. Communion will also be available on Easter Sunday from 1 PM to 3 PM and will revert to the hours of 3 PM to 5 PM beginning on Sunday, April 11th.
Special Sunday Go-to- Mass Masks: The masks embroidered with the CTK Crown as worn by Fr. Healey will be available for sale for $15 each with part of the profit going to benefit the parish. Jean Giddings is the talented seamstress and embroiderer who creates these adjustable masks which are available in a size appropriate for children, as well as small, medium, and large suitable for teenagers, young adults, and adults. The material used is a hand-washable poly-cotton and comes in an off-white appropriate for the Easter Season and then green for Ordinary Time but are also possible to be made in the liturgical colors of purple, red, and black upon request. As the new normal will most likely include the use of masks in public gatherings like worship for the foreseeable future, why not have a special Sunday Mask for church?
Orders will be filled by clicking and completing the printable form and returning it to the parish office with payment.
Sunday, March 21, 2021 Fifth Sunday of Lent
Countdown to the Paschal Triduum: As of sunset on this Sunday, March 21st we will have completed 29 of the 40 days of Lent with 11 remaining, bringing us to sunset on the 1st of April, and the beginning of the celebration of the Paschal Triduum which opens with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. As we move closer to the celebration of the Lord’s Passover from death to life, the three holiest days of the Christian Year, let us intensify our preparation so that being purified by our penance and self-denial, we may truly die to our self-concern and sin in order that we might rise to newness of life with Christ at Easter.
Passiontide: Not just a few among us can remember the days when on the Sunday two weeks before Easter we would enter the church only to see all the statues, crucifixes, and other sacred images hidden behind purple veils; a custom during what was then known as Passiontide. With the liturgical changes of the Second Vatican Council, two Passion Sundays were amalgamated into one leaving us with Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion as the beginning of the final week before Easter more commonly known as Holy Week. Yet some vestige of this two-week focus on the Passion of Christ before Easter remains in that beginning on this the Fifth Sunday of Lent the Church prescribes the use of one of the preface prayers of the Passion thus transitioning away from those preface prayers used during the first four weeks of Lent, and now focusing our thanksgiving on the saving events that we will soon celebrate during Holy Week and the Easter Triduum. So, while from this Sunday forward it may no longer officially be Passiontide, still we are reminded that it is time to redouble our efforts to embrace the traditional penitential disciplines so as to end Lent well and to make sure our calendars are clear so as to observe Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum with the great solemnity and care that these days require.
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (March 28th) On next Sunday we will open the annual week we call “Holy” with the celebration of Palm Sunday and the reading of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Mark. Palms will be blessed at Masses and be available in baskets at the entrances of the Church. To comply with precautions in place during the present pandemic, you are asked to please take the palm at the end of Mass and bring it home with you.
Sunday Afternoon Communion: Continuing through Easter Sunday, Communion will be available outside of Mass on Sundays from 1-3 PM for those still remaining at home and joining with us in worship through Live Stream. Beginning with the Second Sunday of Easter, April 11th, the distribution of Holy Communion outside of Mass will return to the hours of 3 PM to 5 PM each Sunday until further notice or the clocks change in November.
Fully Vaccinated and Anxious to Get Busy Again? If you are feeling a bit safer now that you have been fully vaccinated and are looking for somewhere to go and something to do, why not consider taking a shift at our parish Thrift Shop? Help is always wanted and very much needed at this busy shop on Route 28 in Cotuit. Why not stop by and see Mary Daly or one of our volunteers and find out how you too can get involved in this important fundraising ministry that helps the parish and its charities but also binds the volunteers together in a good work that naturally fosters good friendships.
Would You Consider a One-Time Tithe? : Many will soon be receiving stimulus checks and not all may find this extra money as necessary to their wellbeing as will some others. If you find yourself in the fortunate position of not needing all you are receiving would you consider giving 10% to the Parish? Many members have not yet returned to the pews on weekends, yet many are still faithfully contributing online, by mail, or dropping their envelope off and that is helping tremendously. However, the reality is that the absence of parishioners and visitors in church over the past year has caused the parish to lose over $30,000 in the collection compared with the previous year. The Parish would be grateful to receive a tithe of $140.00 of your stimulus check to help fill this deficit if you find yourself in a position where you are truly able to spare it and may find that a way to concretely show gratitude to God for your blessings.! Thanks for considering it!
Sunday, March 14, 2021, Fourth Sunday of Lent
Countdown to the Celebration of the Annual Paschal Triduum: As of sunset on this Sunday evening, March 14th, we will have completed 22 of the 40 days of Lent, a penitential season that will conclude at sunset on April 1st with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. There are 18 days remaining of this annual time of religious renewal in which we are encouraged to pray, to fast, and thus to accumulate monetary resources from our self-denial which may be given as alms to the poor through the Annual Holy Thursday collection. As Lent is now just over half over, let us not give up but rather renew our zeal to live it well!
Lead us not into temptation/ Do not let us fall into temptation: However, it is that we might prefer to translate the last line of the Lord’s Prayer, it is speaking to us of temptation which last week we established is always the work of the Evil One and not that of God. Yet while we are vulnerable to all sorts of temptations what is the one from which we would most need to be delivered? It is not the everyday garden variety of temptation such as being tempted to eat the chocolate we gave up for Lent – for that would be a loss of resolve and maybe a gain of a pound or two only; something from which we could surely recover. Rather, the temptation that we need to be delivered from is the one that could cost us our lives in the only Kingdom destined to endure – and that that is the temptation to despair and give up on God! The world, and thus our lives within it, is not trouble-free! This is probably clearer to all after what is now a year of a global pandemic with all its restrictions, shutdowns, and unwelcome changes not the least of which is the number of people who had become seriously ill by the novel coronavirus and most especially the number of people who have died. This has been a year of isolation, increased anxieties, economic insecurities and hardships, and widespread suffering. Such a situation can create a serious crisis of faith in which some fall into a dangerous pessimism that leads them to give up hope and give up on God. Surely such situations have happened before throughout history – in the midst of wars with all the injustice, destruction, and death that these bring. Surely this suffering describes the situation commonly experienced by our earliest ancestors in the Christian faith for whom persecution if not martyrdom was often their fate. When in the 21st Chapter of Luke – the evangelist begins to present the warnings of Jesus to his followers about their possible sufferings in a world hostile to them on account of him, and a world destined to see much trouble before its inevitable end, the disciples are advised that it is by patient endurance they will preserve their lives or depending on how it is translated – not lose their souls. This then is what really matters in the end, that we not let the disturbing events in the world around us, and especially those that impact us personally, cause us to lose faith and thus hope. In the midst of the horrors of a concentration camp where so many were cruelly incarcerated during the Second World War was found scrawled on a cellar wall a poem anonymously written by one of the prisoners contained the line “I believe in God, even when He is silent”. That is clear evidence of the triumph of faith over the more than understandable temptation to despair in the midst of a most trying situation. So, each time we pray the Lord’s prayer let us be aware of the enormity of the temptation from which we are asking to be delivered and trust that if we ask often enough, (three times each day) our prayer will surely be answered should that day of distress ever come for us!
Feasts of Beloved Patrons and Protectors: During the coming week, the Church celebrates two saints who are beloved by ethnic and other groups. St. Patrick ( March 17th ) is the original evangelizer and thus patron of Ireland, and St. Joseph, the husband of Mary, ( March 19th) is the patron of the Universal Church and especially patron of foster parents, carpenters, and workers in general. Conveniently these feasts come in the midst of Lent and so offer an invitation to those who are fasting to punctuate that fast with a feast! Whether it is Irish Soda Bread as well as Corned Beef and Cabbage that will be on the table on Wednesday or a Zeppole on Friday, both saints deserve our recognition and honor on these special days. In honor of St. Joseph and in recognition of this special year dedicated to him, there are prayer pamphlets available at the entrances of the church for your use at home through December 8th, 2021; the pamphlets are provided through a gift made in memory of the late Rita Creagh.
Mass in honor of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary – in the Year of St. Joseph Friday, March 19th at 7 PM in the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fall River. This Mass celebrated by Bishop da Cunha is available for the faithful of the Diocese to participate in via video streaming through Facebook. To connect with this Mass, visit the Cathedral’s Facebook Page at fb.com/3CFFallRiver.
Diocesan Women and Men’s Lenten Conference: Saturday, March 20th, 1 PM to 5 PM:
This year’s conference is going virtual! It will be offered online with a program that will feature popular contemporary Christian music composed and sung by ValLimar Jansen. The conference will include presentations and conclude with a Q&A Session with Bishop da Cunha and end with a Mass to be celebrated by the bishop at 4 PM. Visit fallriverdiocese.org for further details and a link to register (without cost) in order to participate.
Virtual Tour of El Tablon – March 26th- 2:00 PM
Join us on a Zoom virtual mission trip to Guatemala including El Tablon and other sites where Food for The Poor, Caritas, and Catholic charities are working to see what your almsgiving has and will accomplish!
You must download the Zoom app on your smartphone or Zoom software on your computer which is free. Make sure that your camera and speakers are in working order.
Enter the Meeting ID: 839 8651 1915 and Passcode: 534420 when prompted.
You can also scan the QR Code below with your smartphone which will take you directly to the virtual trip (remember to download the Zoom app first).
If you don’t have a smartphone or computer with video and speakers, you can call into the trip at 929-436-2866 or 301-715-8592
USCCB Statement Regarding the Ethical Acceptability of Covid 19 Vaccines: “Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines raised concerns because an abortion -derived cell line was used for testing them, but not in their production. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, was developed, tested, and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines raising additional moral concerns. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (in Rome) has judged that “when ethically irreproachable Covid -19 vaccines are not available, it is morally acceptable to receive Covid -19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.” However, if one can choose among equally safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen. Therefore, if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.
March 7, 2021, Third Sunday of Lent
COUNTDOWN TO THE CELEBRATION OF THE PASCHAL TRIDUUM: As of sunset on this Sunday, March 7th, we will have completed 15 days of the 40 days of Lent with 25 remaining until the end of Lent which officially concludes at sunset on Holy Thursday, April 1st. How are we praying more frequently and deeply? How are we fasting and practicing self-denial with greater discipline? How well have we saved money by forgoing the indulgences and entertainments that we might usually allow ourselves in order to be able to share the resources we didn’t spend on ourselves with the poor by charitable almsgiving?
DAILY MASS: Monday through Friday, and First Saturday at 8:30 AM, also 5:30 PM in the St. Jude Chapel on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT: Fridays of Lent in St. Jude Chapel for one hour in-person in St. Jude Chapel, and then again at 3 PM for one hour before the Stations.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS/BENEDICTION – Fridays at 4 PM in St. Jude Chapel.
CONFESSIONS: Saturdays from 2:45 PM to 3:30 PM (last penitent at 3:25), and Fridays following the Stations of the Cross from 4:30 PM to 5:30 –( Last penitent at 5:25)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT AND PRAYER: In the Fall of 2019 before the onset of the Pandemic there was no small controversy after the bishops of Italy, asked for, and received from Pope Francis, permission to improve the translation of the final line of the Lord’s Prayer. Instead of the equivalent in English, Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, the updated Liturgical books for the Dioceses of Italy will now read, do not let us to fall into temptation, but deliver us from Evil. Opponents of the Pope, and sadly, they are not all that few in the church, seized upon this as an opportunity to criticize Francis for overstepping his authority saying he has no right, even as Pope, to change what the Lord himself had said. Yet, while some of those protesting the change may indeed be ignorant of the quite legitimate question that has persisted across the ages as to what Jesus did in fact actually say, or rather how to say in other languages what Jesus actually meant when he spoke in Aramaic, there are others, clerics especially, who if they paid attention during even the most basic scripture classes in seminary would have to know better! Aramaic is not a Romance language and it certainly doesn’t translate word for word exactly into languages based upon Latin such as those languages spoken in much of Western Europe. The Gospels were not written in either Aramaic or Hebrew which are the languages that Jesus actually spoke, but rather in Greek which was the universal language in the world during the last third of the First Century when the gospels were written down. The actual Greek words at the end of the Lord’s Prayer which have been traditionally translated into English as Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil are not as precise as some would want to believe them to be and can quite legitimately be translated as they have been for years in Spanish liturgical books and more recently in French, as do not let us fall into temptation, and when all is said and done, as Pope Francis pointed out, this is a much better theology and thus a necessarily better reflection of what Jesus had to mean in the original Aramaic – as God does not lead us into temptation, but strengthens us from becoming vulnerable to it; from Genesis on it is clear that the tempting of human beings away from God’s commands is primarily the work of the Evil One! So, while there is no change yet requested for the Liturgical book in English, it is not beyond possible or even probable that this could take place. Should it take place let us be prepared for it with knowledge much more than with mere personal piety or custom, we might do so if from time to time when in our own personal prayer we are saying The Lord’s Prayer we improve the translation of the final line by substituting -do not let us fall into temptation, but deliver us from evil ( or “the Evil one” which is also a valid interpretation of the Biblical Greek) , and see how right this may come to feel, and eventually be accustomed to how it would sound if our Liturgical Books were ever to be updated with this change. (Next week – what is the temptation of all temptations that we want Divine help so as not to ever fall into it? Hint – it isn’t merely the temptation to eat that chocolate which we said we were going to give up for Lent! )
THE YEAR OF ST. JOSEPH: Pope Francis declared and inaugurated a YEAR OF ST JOSEPH on December 8, 2020. The clergy, religious, and faithful of the Diocese are encouraged to partake of various opportunities for prayer and formation during this special year, including the 33day Consecration to St. Joseph which will begin on March 30th and conclude on May 1st, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker.
• Mass for the Solemnity of St. Joseph – Friday, March 19th, at 7 PM – Cathedral Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, Fall River, Massachusetts:
Bishop Da Cunha will celebrate this Mass on the occasion of the principal annual feast day in honor of St Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To register to attend this Mass in person you may visit https://www.eventbrite.copm/e/feast-of- st-joseph-mass-with-bishop-da-cunha-tickets-140854253865 . Because seating is limited in the Cathedral due to pandemic restrictions, please consider viewing this special Mass via Live-Stream by visiting the Facebook page of the Cathedral at fb.com/3CFFallRiver.