April 12, 2021 Column Father De Celles

Pray for Father Jerry Daly. As I informed you in an email on Easter Sunday, Fr. Daly is back in the hospital. He is in ICU with a gravely life-threatening infection, and I ask for your continued prayers. Pray especially to St. Raymond, Our Lady of Ransom, and my dear friend St. Mary Magdalene. But please DO NOT try to visit Father: the hospital does not normally allow any visitors, but has made exceptions for brief visits by 3 close priest-friends. I’m afraid that if more people try to visit they will not allow even these priests to visit. So no attempted visits, but lots of prayers!

Blessed and Happy Easter! I hope you all had a blessed and happy Easter day, and I pray that the joy of Easter has been sustained in you throughout this week, and will continue through the rest of the Easter Season.

            I’d like to thank so many of you who worked so hard to give our parish such a special Lent and Triduum this year. First of all, I give thanks to Our Lord Jesus for his great love for us, poured out on the Cross and made glorious in the Resurrection. I also give thanks to all of you took part in all the Lenten and Triduum events and liturgies in the parish, either in person or through livestream, or through my podcasts. It was great to have “full” houses (considering capacity limits) for ALL the Triduum and Easter liturgies.

            In particular I want to single out the Altar Servers, especially those who served Stations of the Cross and the three great liturgies of the Triduum. I purposefully assigned fewer servers than in the past, but still enough to provide us with a well-served liturgies. Thanks especially to Lewis Bliss who did an outstanding job as Master of Ceremonies.

I also want to recognize the hard work of Elisabeth Turco, our Music Director, and our parish cantors. With our choir on sabbatical this year, Elisabeth organized our cantors, all professionals, into a schola of 6 to provide beautiful music, especially for the Triduum and Easter. They were amazing.

            Thanks also to the folks who decorated the church, especially Julie Mullen and her flower committee. Thanks also to Nena Brennen and her family, for taking care of the sanctuary and sacristy. Thanks to all the lectors, headed by Phil Betwy. Also, thanks to the ushers, headed by Patrick O’Brien, who did an extraordinary job this year, and to the volunteers who served as porters and counters. Thanks also to our cleaning crew for keeping us sanitized. Special thanks to the parish staff for all their good work, requiring particular flexibility this year.

And congratulations to our RCIA folks. We baptized and confirmed two adults, welcomed into full communion and confirmed four former Protestants, and confirmed five adult Catholics. Congratulations and welcome to them all, and let us commit to keep them in our prayers. Also, thanks to Bob and Bev Ward for their dedication in teaching them so thoroughly and faithfully week after week for the last months.

Divine Mercy Sunday. This Second Sunday in the Octave of Easter is also known as “Divine Mercy Sunday,” established as such in 2000 by Pope St. John Paul II, in recognition of the mercy that flows to all mankind from the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection. The Pope was inspired by the claims of St. Faustina Kowalska that Jesus Himself had requested this during His private apparitions to her during the 1930s. The Lord reportedly also told St. Faustina: “I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened.”

                        Although private apparitions/revelations such as this need not be believed by Catholics, this one, as with many others, has been recognized by the Church as “worthy of belief” (i.e., it is consistent with the Catholic faith). Moreover, the Church which has established a plenary indulgence for this Sunday: “…granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”).” You may go to confession “within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act.” For a brief explanation of indulgences, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1471ff.]

Easter Continues. Of course, the Season of Easter continues until Pentecost Sunday, May 23. This extended liturgical season reminds us of the ongoing importance of the Resurrection to all of us throughout the year: Christ has truly risen, and lives today in our midst, may we always live as if we believe that!

Triduum Sacrilege. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that there were several incidents around the world involving police trying to shut down or interfere with Christian services or liturgies during the Triduum. One took place at Christ the King Catholic Church in South London, when Metropolitan Police officers entered the sanctuary during the liturgy of the Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday and announced:

“You are not allowed to meet inside with this many people under law. At this moment in time you need to go home…Failure to comply…. ultimately could lead to you being fined £200 or, if you fail to give your details, to you being arrested…It’s Good Friday and I appreciate you would like to worship, but it is unlawful.”

            Well, no it was NOT unlawful. But it is unlawful—a gross violation of the basic right to worship—for the government to enter into the actual sanctuary, the holy of holies of a Catholic church, during a Catholic Liturgy and just take over.

            I know our local cops would never do such a thing—they are our friends and neighbors, patriots and heroes, and we love them. And if one of their superiors ever gave them such an order I know they would defy it. But on the very remote chance the government found someone to try something like this at St. Raymond’s, they’d better be prepared to forcibly remove me in handcuffs if they think I’d ever let them desecrate our church or defile our religious liberty like this.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles