Nineteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time
This Week: Mass in the Parish Hall. As I wrote back in May, the lighting situation in the church leaves much to be desired, and will involve an expensive investment to fix in the long term. But the short term fix is relatively easy: we simply “change the light bulbs” in the ceiling. While many churches can do this procedure using a “lift” (a heavy machine with a long arm like a crane) to reach up to the ceiling, our floor is not reinforced well-enough to bear the heavy weight of the lifts that are large enough to reach our unusually high ceiling. This means we have to use lots of scaffolding to reach the lights, which can only be done, for safety reasons, when the church is otherwise closed. So this week, from Monday, August 10 through Friday, August 14, the church will be closed and all Masses, confessions and Adoration/Exposition, as well as the tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament, will be moved to the Parish Hall. No other events will be conducted in the Parish Hall, although the CCD office will remain open. The church will reopen and Masses will resume as normal on Saturday morning, August 15. Thank you for your patience.
Assumption of Mary. This coming Saturday, August 15 is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Normally this is a Holy Day of Obligation, but since it falls on Saturday this year the obligation to attend Mass is suspended (according the often confusing rules of the U.S. Bishops)—you don’t have to go to Mass this Saturday.
But since most the rest of the Catholic world is going to Mass on Saturday and since this is one of the greatest feasts of the year, I, as your pastor, strongly encourage you to go to Mass on Saturday. To this end, I have added an extra Mass at noon on Saturday.
Now, to add to the confusion, the way liturgical law works, since the Assumption is such an important feast day—a “Solemnity”—all the Masses this Saturday will celebrate the Assumption, including the evening “Vigil” Masses for Sunday. Which means, if you go to the 5pm or 7pm Mass on Saturday evening you will find yourself celebrating the Mass of the Assumption, but you will also be fulfilling your obligation for going to Mass on Sunday.
Now, some of you may think, “I’ll go to Mass on Saturday evening and kill two birds with one stone (so to speak)—keeping Mary’s feast and fulfilling my Sunday obligation.” There’s nothing wrong with that, but I would remind you there is also nothing wrong (in fact, there is something very good) with going to 2 Masses on 2 days in a row. Why not go to 9am or noon Mass (or 5pm or 7pm) on Saturday AND Mass on Sunday?
The Solemnity of the Assumption is a great feast day we should all celebrate. First it recalls the day in history when, as Pope Pius XII infallibly declared in his 1950 Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus: “the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” This, of course, is a great day in the life of our Blessed Mother so we rightly celebrate it as such. But it is also a great day for the life of the Church and for each Christian. Because, as we pray, “where she has gone, we hope to follow.” Our Lord Jesus has given to His Mother the heavenly rewards of her faith and love on earth, rewards that we hope to share in when we die.
But it’s important to remember that this feast is not just about Mary going to heaven: it is about her having her body with her in heaven, just as Jesus has His Body in heaven. This reminds us that at the end of time all the souls who go to heaven after death (including by way of the cleansing of Purgatory) will be reunited with their glorified bodies in the Resurrection of the Dead.
This, in turn, reminds us that all of us are created to live bodily in heaven, that we are not souls imprisoned in bodies, nor are we souls using an outward shell (the body) that we can manipulate or abuse as we choose without affecting or damaging our souls. Our body is part of us, that part that communicates to others. And so what we do with our bodies expresses us and who we are. This is important in these days when so many people seem to think the body means nothing—you can abuse it with drugs or deviant sex, or you can even mutilate it with senseless surgeries. The Assumption reminds us, no! The human body—ours and everyone else’s—has a fundamental dignity. It is US. It is, in some fundamental sense, created in the image of God. And it is destined for the glory of heaven.
So let’s celebrate the Assumption this year, giving glory to God through our devotion to His Mother Mary, giving Him thanks for the gift and dignity of the human body, and expressing our hope in the Resurrection of the Body!
Summer Vacation. I hope your summer is going well and you’re getting some rest. I normally enjoy getting away for a week or so for summer vacation, but, like many of you, this summer I haven’t been able to fit it. So instead of taking a whole week or so off at once I’m taking an extra day or two off every week in August. Please excuse me if this causes any inconveniences or delays in getting hold of me. But in the long run it’s best for all of us if I get a little R & R this summer.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles