January 30, 2022 Column Father De Celles

“Pilgrim to the Heavenly City.” AsI announced last week, I encourage you all to attend a very special event at St. Raymond’s this Friday, February 4 at 7pm. “Pilgrim to the Heavenly City: Walking with Saint Raymond to God through Sacraments, Music, and Sacred Art.”

Catholic artist Henry Wingate will begin our evening with a presentation on our two murals, which he painted, of Saint Raymond and Our Lady of Ransom, also addressing the role that Sacred Art plays in the life and worship of the Church in general. After that, there will be a short concert by local Catholic professional musicians performing selections from the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, a book of pilgrimage songs used during St. Raymond’s life in his native Catalan in southwestern Spain. The event is open to the public, and I encourage you to bring your family and friends.

Much thanks to Fr. Rich Miserendino, chairman of the culture and arts subcommittee of the Diocesan 50th Jubilee Committee, for coordinating and bringing this to us.

Reverence in the Church. I don’t usually allow “talks” to be given in the church, much less “concerts, because the church is a place of worship and reverence should be maintained as much as possible. But I make an exception in certain exceptional cases (e.g., Cardinal Burke’s talk a few years ago). In this case, I have made one of these exceptions, since this event is so directly related to the interior of the church and worship. But as I have done in the past, during the event I will transfer the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle to a temporary altar and tabernacle set up in the “Family Room,” which will be otherwise closed except for prayer. Even so, I am sure that everyone will respect the sacredness of the church itself and conduct themselves with proper reverence at all times.

Extraordinary Form Mass Moved to Thursday. Considering various options, this Friday was the best time to schedule “Pilgrim to the Heavenly City.” Unfortunately, this time/date conflicts with our regular First Friday Extraordinary Form Mass. I apologize for any inconvenience this creates, and I don’t want this to be understood as a sign of my lack of commitment to the EFM—it’s just the way things worked out best. But, I have decided, for this one time, to transfer the EFM to this Thursday, February 3, at 7pm. If you know anyone who regularly plans to attend the First Friday EFM, especially the non-parishioners, please let them know of the change.

Kudos to the Bishop. Following up on the Governor’s Executive Order 2, allowing parents to make decisions on whether their child wears a mask in school, Bishop Burbidge has agreed that this will apply to our Catholic schools as well. While I generally try to stay out of the arguments over Covid policies, I do believe that, all things considered, the liberty interests of individuals should generally be respected. I especially believe the parental rights in this matter must be respected, especially considering the negative effects of masking children.

Presentation of the Lord: Candlemas. This Wednesday, February 2, is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus, recalling the presentation of the Baby Jesus in the Temple 40 days after his birth, as prescribed by the Law of Moses. The feast is also called “Candlemas,” because historically it was the day priests would bless the beeswax and candles for use in the Church, symbolizing the prayer of Simeon (the Nunc Dimittis) that Jesus would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” If you wish your own candles to be blessed bring them with you to the 8:30 Mass and I will bless them at the beginning of Mass, along with the candles we will be using in the church.

            Traditionally, this is considered the last of the Christmas feasts, for obvious reasons. So, perhaps one last time we can say, “Merry Christmas.”

Blessing of Throats. This Thursday, February 3, is the Feast of St. Blaise—the day we bless throats. St. Blaise was Bishop of Sebaste (Turkey) and was martyred about A.D. 316. Legend has it that when the Bishop was imprisoned for his Catholic faith, a poor woman brought him candles to light his dark cell. In that same prison, he miraculously cured a boy who was choking to death from a fishbone lodged in his throat. Thus, the custom arose of using candles and invoking the Saint to bless throats against all sorts of ailments.

The blessing will be given at the end of the 6:30am and 8:30am Masses, and then the blessing will be given without Mass at 5:00pm and 6:30pm. Because of fears of COVID the priest will give the blessing in two ways: first to all the people present at once (so you need not approach him) and then individually using the candles at your throat(s).

First Confessions. Please keep our second graders in your prayers this week as they prepare to receive the Sacrament of Penance for the first time next Saturday morning, February 5. Pray that the little ones are not too nervous, make good confessions, accept God’s grace and develop a true love for this sacrament.

Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. Last week was “Word of God” Sunday and in my homily I quoted from the Second Vatican Council’s (“Vatican II”) Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, commonly called “Dei Verbum” (“The Word of God.”). To be a true Catholic is to believe that Divine Revelation comes to us through two co-equal fonts: Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. This is a critical excerpt from Dei Verbum, 10:

Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 2, 42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort. (7)

But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, (8) has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, (9) whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.

It is clear, therefore, that Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God’s most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.”

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles