This coming week, the Church celebrates two feasts that have popular devotions associated with them. On Wednesday, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This commemorates the day on which the baby Jesus was presented in the Temple according to Jewish law, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to make the appropriate sacrifice, to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord (Luke 2).
The Church blesses candles on this day (hence the older name Candlemas Day). This custom takes its meaning from the words Simeon speaks to the young couple Joseph and Mary when he refers to Jesus as a light for revelation to the Gentiles. Only 40 days after his birth, Jesus is already recognized as the Light of the World. In the days when the faithful would carry candles in procession through the streets on this day, it symbolized the recognition that we are challenged to bring the Light of Christ to the world.
On Thursday, the Church celebrates the Memorial of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr. Little is known for certain about the life of St. Blaise, but it is believed that he was a physician and bishop. The story is that he asked God to cure a child who was choking to death on a fish bone and the child’s life was saved. Thus, St. Blaise is the patron saint of healthy throats. In keeping with this custom, throats will be blessed at the end of our two morning Masses on Thursday.
Blessed candles and the blessing of throats are considered “sacramentals,” literally “little sacraments.” Like the sacraments, they are signs of God’s grace. They remind us of God’s healing power and mercy. We have many such sacramentals in the Catholic Church. While they are important indications of God’s goodness, we need to avoid the temptation to cross the line into superstition.
For example, a woman told me that she wants to get her throat blessed because last year she did not and she got sick. She thinks that not getting her throat blessed is the reason for her getting the flu. Of course, that is an improper way of thinking about a blessing. Some people believe that if they keep a candle burning in their house, God will protect them. While a burning candle or wearing a medal or displaying a statue can remind us of God’s presence, it does not provide “extra protection” over and above the grace God generously bestows on us.
We need to keep a balanced perspective in our use of sacramentals. They are excellent ways to promote our trust in God’s mercy and protection, but they are not amulets. The object or words are instruments of God’s power. But the power belongs to God.
The Catholic Church is facing unprecedented challenges the world over. Many have stopped practicing their faith. Countries, communities and families are divided. The pandemic has had a devastating impact. In this crucial moment, the Church is forging a pathway to profound renewal.
The Church is holding a consultation, or synod, inviting participants to encounter one another, listen to each other’s experiences, and discover together what God is calling the Church to do in these times. The insights that come from this consultation will be used to renew our parishes, schools and the diocese itself by strengthening a church culture that listens to its faithful, makes them co-responsible for the life of the church and reflects their wisdom.
How Can I Participate?
The consultation will take place through small listening groups of six to eight people. The focus will be on listening and sharing. Facilitators will make sure that every person gets a chance to speak. The input from these sessions will be collated and sent in a report to the diocese. Parishes across the diocese will host these groups in March. As our parish plans take shape, the dates for the listening sessions will be announced. You will be asked to participate in just one listening session. Everyone is encouraged to participate.
Feast of the Presentation of
This coming Wednesday, February 2, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. The attached article which is taken from the Directory of Popular Piety, explains a bit about the origin and historical development of the feast, as well as some of the customs that may surround it.
Once again this weekend, we will celebrate the 11:00 am Mass (English) and 1:00 pm Mass (Spanish) outside on the covered court of the school. The other five Masses will be in the church. There will be an additional (9:00 am Mass outside for Catholic Schools Week. There will be some singing at our Masses.
Face masks are required at all Masses and any indoor gathering at St. Patrick’s until at least February 15, 2022.
If you are feeling ill or believe you may have Covid-like symptoms, please stay at home. We continue to livestream Masses for every day of the week. These Masses are automatically recorded and available on the parish YouTube channel.
Misas del 29 al 30 de enero
Una vez más este fin de semana, celebraremos tanto la Misa de las 11:00 am (inglés) y la Misa de la 1:00 pm (español) en el patio de la escuela. Las otras cinco misas serán en la iglesia. Habrá algunos cantos en nuestras Misas.
Se requieren cubrebocas en todas las Misas y en cualquier reunión bajo techo en St. Patricio hasta al menos el 15 de febrero de 2022.
Si se siente enfermo o cree que puede tener síntomas similares a los de Covid, quédese en casa. Seguimos transmitiendo misas en vivo todos los días de la semana. Estas misas se graban automáticamente y están disponibles en el canal de YouTube de la parroquia.
Can You Donate a Van?
Our parish van has reached a point at which it is costing a lot of money for repairs. We use it to transport many things around the parish. It is not used for passenger transportation. We think it is time to look for another used van to replace it. Do you know of a utility van that is looking for a new home? Would you or someone you know like to donate a used van to the parish? We would provide you with a letter that could be used to declare a charitable donation on your tax return. Please call Jim Nye or Maria Gonzalez at the parish office if you can help.
Showers of Blessings
Beautiful handmade quilts (lap size) are being sold after Mass on February 12 & 13. Sales benefits two important programs: Showers of Blessings, which provides showers, haircuts, and clothing for the homeless in our community, and Feeding All God’s Children, which provides meals for those in need. The cost is $30 per quilt. Cash and checks accepted.
Church Needs to Stand with Expectant Mothers
The Catholic Church and its people stand ready not only to help expectant mothers bring their pregnancies to term but to assist women who have had abortions, said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Here is a summary of the Archbishop’s homily provided by Catholic News Service.
This upbeat and joyful song was written by Scott Underwood. Here it is sung by the STB choir whose members are from the music ministry of St. John the Baptist Catholic Parish in Newburgh, IN. They have their own YouTube channel and have recorded a number of songs from their homes during the pandemic.
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"Catholic Trivia”... not because they are trivial but because these might be things that not everyone knows. Test your knowledge by reading the five questions, remember your answers (or jot them down), then click the link below to find the answers.
What does the Church mean by Divine Revelation?
There is one source of divine revelation: God. But Vatican II said that there are two “fonts” or “channels” of God’s revelation. What are they?
Who translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin when that was the ordinary language of the people?
What is the meaning of adding a few drops of water to the wine in the chalice during the Preparation of the Gifts at Mass?
What do we call the effort to bring about unity among Christian churches?
If you have other members of your family or your friends who would like to be on our email list, just let me know or write to Mary McLain at firstname.lastname@example.org We will be pleased to add them.
This Sunday we read from the Gospel of Luke, continuing immediately from last week's Gospel. Recall that in last Sunday's Gospel, Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah and announced that this Scripture was now fulfilled. In today's Gospel, we learn that the people of Nazareth are impressed by Jesus' words, and yet they seem surprised. They still think of Jesus as merely Joseph's son. They do not expect such words from someone they believe that they know.
This Gospel is about who Jesus is and who people believe him to be. The story of Jesus' preaching and rejection at Nazareth is found in each of the Synoptic Gospels. In Luke's Gospel, this incident is told in a way that foretells Jesus' passion and death and helps explain the inclusion of the Gentiles in the promise of salvation. In Luke's Gospel this incident appears at the beginning of Jesus' ministry; in Matthew and Mark, this event is placed considerably later, after Jesus has preached and taught elsewhere. Only Luke identifies the content of Jesus' teaching in any detail, telling us that Jesus read from the book of the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue. In Mark and Matthew's Gospels, Jesus teaches in the synagogue in Nazareth, and the townspeople take offense because Jesus is only the son of a carpenter. They reject his authority to teach them. In Matthew and Mark, it is only after Jesus is rejected that he observes times when Israel has rejected prophets.
In Luke's Gospel, the people are surprised but not immediately offended by Jesus' words in the synagogue. It is the words that follow his reading from the prophet Isaiah that seem to offend them. Jesus challenges and provokes the people of Nazareth by referring to examples in which Israel rejected the prophets. He also challenges them to respond to his message, the message of a prophet, in a way that is different from their ancestors. This call for a new response leads to his rejection.
It is helpful to consider the historical context of Luke's Gospel. Luke has witnessed the acceptance of the gospel message among many Gentiles. He endeavors to explain why the Good News of Jesus has not been as well-received by his Jewish contemporaries. Luke's report interprets the cause of Jesus' rejection at Nazareth in the context of this later Christian history. Just as the people at Nazareth did not welcome the Good News that Jesus announced, so too many among the people of Israel will not accept the preaching of the gospel.
After Jesus' words of challenge, Luke reports that there was a movement to kill Jesus by throwing him over a cliff. This differs from the reports found in Mark and Matthew's Gospels, where Jesus is said to be unable to perform miracles in Nazareth because of the people's lack of faith. Luke says that Jesus walks away from the crowd that intended to kill him; it is not yet his time. The animosity of the people of Nazareth prefigures and prepares the reader of Luke's Gospel for the cross. Luke wants all to understand that it is through his death on the cross that Jesus offers God's salvation to all.
"The Greatest of These is Love" is a beautiful song based on 1 Corinthians 13 where St. Paul the Apostle says, "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." With words and music by Tina English, and arranged by Jay Rouse, this is a fitting song for this weekend when we hear the words in our second reading.
Catholic Schools Week Mass
Our parish celebration of Catholic Schools Week will begin with a Mass at 9:00 am on Sunday, January 30. This Mass will be celebrated on the covered court of the school and is open to all parishioners and visitors. It is open not only to school families but to the entire parish. Come and celebrate the gifts of our young people as our school students proclaim the readings, lead us in prayer and provide the music.
This is an opportunity to support our parish school and pray for those who have worked so hard in these difficult times to maintain the excellence for which St. Pat’s is famous. You are also invited to join the Open House which goes until 11:00 am. Come and take a look at our school.
Note: On January 30, there will also be the regular 9:00 am Mass in the church.
Father Greg Boyle’s Latest Book
Many people are familiar with the Homeboy Industries of Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ. Here is a review of his latest book.
“El amor es comprensivo, el amor es servicial y no tiene envidia; el amor no es presumido ni se envanece; no es grosero ni egoísta; no se irrita ni guarda rencor; no se alegra con la injusticia, sino que goza con la verdad. El amor disculpa sin límites, confía sin límites, espera sin límites, soporta sin límites. El amor dura por siempre”. Terminamos el mes de enero, celebrando el 4º domingo de tiempo ordinario. San Pablo nos da estas lindas palabras que escribió en su primera carta a los corintios, hablando de lo más importante de todo, el amor. Les invito que no dejemos pasar la oportunidad de tomar un tiempo de reflexión, y mirarnos hacia dentro, y preguntarnos, “¿Cómo estamos viviendo esta descripción del amor?”. Es fácil amar a otros que miran y celebran la vida igualita que nosotros. Pero ¿qué tan difícil es amar a otras personas que son diferentes a nosotros? ¿Esas personas que nos cuestionan o que nos retan? No tenemos que mirar muy lejos, iniciemos en nuestra familia, ¿demostramos este tipo de amor con nuestra pareja o nuestros hijos/as, u otro miembro de la familia? De todo lo que sabemos o podemos hacer, San Pablo nos dice que “si no lo hacemos con amor, de nada sirve”. Amar a Dios, amar al que está a mi lado, y amarme a mí, porque soy hijo/a de Dios, es lo que se espera de nosotros.
Por favor escuchen a los enlaces proveídos, espero que les ayude en su meditación.