Solemnity of the Ascension Of The Lord
Pre-script: The column below was substantially completed late Tuesday evening, May 17. Early Wednesday morning, my father Dan De Celles, died at the age of 91. I originally ended the column requesting prayers for him in his last illness. I now ask for prayers for the repose of soul. He was a good man, a dedicated husband and father, and above all a very devout Catholic. I am confident that he is on his way to heaven, but he would be the first to recognize his sins and beg you to pray for him in Purgatory. Réquiem ætérnam dona ei, Dómine, et lux perpétua lúceat ei. Requiéscat in pace. Amen. FDC
Holy Trinity Sunday. Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, celebrating the most sublime mystery of our faith: that God is One, in three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a “mystery” in that it is something that we know only because God has revealed it to us, and it is something we cannot fully understand because its divine nature is so far above our human intelligence and experience. This does not mean it is irrational or imagined—I don’t understand how the world was created, it’s a mystery. But it happened, and it is clearly rational and not imagined.
I say it’s “sublime” because it reveals something amazingly wonderful about God: that He is a personal communion of three persons sharing one life and one love. Hence, St. John wrote, “God is love,” and Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “for God, life is love.” So that at the heart of God’s essence, His being, is this eternal, total, complete, mutual self-gift between the three Divine Persons in love, that is at the center of their absolute unity.
And I say “most” sublime because it is really the beginning of all meaning in life and the end to which all life is directed: living in the love of God. We are created in the image of this amazing Trinitarian love in order to share in it, both on earth (by loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and loving each other, beginning in the family) and in heaven. What a glorious Feast.
Modified Weekday Mass Schedule. For the last 6 years I have tried to provide ample access to the Mass and Confession, even as the number of priests in our parish has declined from four to two. With two priests this is particularly difficult since Canon Law normally allows a priest to say only one Mass a day during the weekdays (the consensus is that repeatedly offering multiple Masses can lead to spiritual problems for the priest, including a lax attitude toward the celebration of Mass).
Considering all this, and the fact that it is increasingly difficult to get priests to fill in for us when one of us is unavailable (vacation, retreat, illness, etc.) I have decided that it may sometimes be necessary (e.g., when a priest is out of town) to adopt a modified weekday Mass schedule. That is:
One Morning Mass per day:
— 8am Mass on Monday, Wednesday and Friday;
— 6:30am Mass on Tuesday and Thursday;
Evening Masses (no change):
— 7pm Mass on Wednesday;
— 7pm EF Mass on 1st and 3rd Fridays.
We will try to avoid using this schedule unless it is truly necessary. Moreover, we will try to announce the Modified Schedule in the bulletin and in the pulpit announcements on the two Sundays before the week in question.
Also, on the rare occasions when we follow this Modified Schedule we will still honor all the Mass intentions for the cancelled public Masses: they will be listed in the bulletin and offered on the day requested in a “private Mass” either by the priest who is gone from the parish or some other priest.
I’m sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. Pray for vocations to the priesthood.
New Plant Manager. I want to welcome Tom Browne to our parish staff as our new Plant Manager. Tom is a very talented individual, and comes to us with a background in engineering and contract management, with some experience in construction. And he’s a really nice guy. I am very happy to have Tom joining us and look forward to working with him. I am sure he will be a great addition to the parish.
Welcome Back College Students and Grads. It’s been great to see all the familiar faces coming home from college for the summer in the last few weeks. I hope you will all have productive and restful summers—either working, studying, or vacationing. I also hope to see you all at Mass and in the confessional! Also, I extend a special “congratulations” to all the new college graduates in our midst. I pray that your futures will be bright and successful, and that you continue to be close to the Lord and follow His will for your lives—that is where your true happiness lies. God bless you.
Eucharistic Procession. Next Sunday, May 29, immediately after the 12:15 Mass, we will have our annual Corpus Christi Eucharistic Procession. Processing with the Eucharist outside of the church building while singing the Lord’s praises is an ancient practice dating back at least to the early 12th century. By bringing the Eucharist outside of the church building and walking and singing through the streets (or, as we do here, the parking lot) with the Blessed Sacrament, believers give public witness to their faith in Jesus Christ in general, and in His Real Presence in the Eucharist in particular. Moreover, such processions remind us that having received Christ in Communion at Mass we are sent out with Him in us, to bring Him to the world we live in—the streets, the houses, the businesses, and, yes, the parking lots. Please join us in this ancient and eloquent witness to our faith in and love of our Eucharistic Lord.
Ordination. This last Wednesday, May 18, I celebrated the 20th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. Every day, I thank the Good Lord for this great gift. Consider the poem written by the great Dominican priest, Fr. Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire, OP, “The Priest”:
To live in the midst of the world // without wishing its pleasures; // To be a member of each family, // yet belonging to none; // To share all suffering; // to penetrate all secrets; // To heal all wounds; // to go from men to God // and offer Him their prayers; // To return from God to men // to bring pardon and hope; // To have a heart of fire for Charity, // and a heart of bronze for Chastity // To teach and to pardon, // console and bless always. // My God, what a life; // and it is yours, // O priest of Jesus Christ.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles