1st Sunday of Advent

 

Dear Friends,

Today we begin Advent – our yearly pilgrimage through the events of our history of salvation starting with the preparation for the birthday celebration of Jesus and ending with the reflection on his glorious “second coming” as a judge at the end of the world. Advent means coming. We are invited to meditate on Jesus’ first coming in history as a baby in Bethlehem, his daily coming into our lives in mystery through the Sacraments, through the Bible, and through the worshipping community and finally, his Second Coming at the end of the world to reward the just and to punish the wicked. We see the traditional signs of Advent in our Church: violet vestments, violet altar linens, the Advent wreath, etc. These signs remind us that we have to prepare for the rebirth of Jesus in our hearts and lives, enabling him to radiate his love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness in and around us.

With the Thanksgiving/post-Thanksgiving rush, Advent immerses us further into the busiest season of the year. “A mad rush,” “no time,” “too many things to be done,” and “I’m not ready yet,” are some of the frequent expressions of the inability to cope with this season. In this mad rush, we lose something very precious: living and enjoying the present moment. Fr Richard Rohr, a contemporary spiritual master, writes that faith and spirituality begin with “seeing.” It is not about earning or achieving but about “paying attention”: paying attention to the presence of God in every joy and sorrow, in every pain and trauma, and in every victory and setback before us. Advent calls us to “watch,” to be “alert” to the presence of God in the love of family and friends and to find the true meaning and purpose of our lives in moments of compassion, forgiveness, and generosity.

Theologian Henri Nouwen, In A Spirituality of Waiting: Being Alert to God’s Presence in Our Lives, suggests that we focus on the ‘waiting people’ in the scriptures of this season. “If you really think about Zechariah and about Mary and about Elizabeth, you realize that they were living with a promise that nurtured them, that fed them, that made them able to stay where they are so that it could grow so that it could develop.” The waiting person, says Henri, is someone who is “very present to the moment, who believes that this moment is THE moment.”

Living in the present! Focusing on the moment! That is a tall order for most of us as our culture does not value waiting or silence.  We are constantly reminded that we need to fill our days with activity and noise, with more things than we need or can handle.  We fill our days and nights with ‘doing’ rather than ‘being.’ Hence, the challenge for us all is to slow down and be present in the moment, even while we know we need to plan and do a myriad of things.

The Advent wreath we light is not only for the Church but also for families. Many families set up an Advent wreath at home. If you don’t have one, why not get one this year and start a family tradition? This bulletin has a nice short prayer service that you can pray as a family when you light the candle each week. It will help your family to live the spirit of Advent expressed in slowing down, waiting in patience, and prayer.

Happy Advent!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

 

Dear Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, Thanksgiving Thursday is at the door! We are entering a festive season. With the unusual temperature variations this month, Thanksgiving brings lots of joy and fun with good family fellowship. The spirit of giving and sharing is around us. Beginning Thanksgiving Day, November 24th, you will see our St. Matthias Giving Tree project with traditional as well as online methods of giving to the needy. Our St. Vincent de Paul Society and our Youth group SMYLE Youth group have already collected food for the Franklin Food Bank.

In the rush for consumerism soon after Thanksgiving Day, (with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc), it is heartening to see how “Giving Tuesday” – a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration – is becoming more popular. Giving Tuesday celebrates the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Last year our School and the Parish, had two separate but ambitious goals for Giving Tuesday. The Church promoted the “Spiritual Tech Connect” campaign for updating our media capability and reached half the goal. We will continue Part Two of the same goal so that we can complete that project this year and enhance the worship experience with the help of the media. The goal of our School is also to continue the modernization of student furniture and common spaces as well as to expand our new reading and writing programs to the upper grades. See page 7 for more details.

When we recognize that God is the one who has been blessing us and preserving us in this life, our thanksgiving should be directed primarily to this loving God. So why not begin the Thanksgiving Day with the Holy Eucharist? Most welcome to join our 8 am Mass this Thursday and then we will feel the touch of God as we get busy into the hectic pace of Thanksgiving activities. Here’s a nice prayer we all can use for Thanksgiving:

“We thank and praise You, our Heavenly Father, for establishing and preserving our nation in freedom, for giving us a rich land in which to dwell, and for providing us with an abundance of the fruits of the earth. In order that we might live in peace and be good stewards of all that You provide, grant us Your grace to recognize Your gifts and to live as good citizens. We thank You for Your great love in sending Your Son Jesus to be our Savior, and in calling us out of our rebellion into fellowship with Him. We give You thanks that You have done this apart from any worthiness in us.

Forgive us for those times when we grew complacent and took Your gifts for granted. You are the source of all good, and we thank you for the simple things that bring us joy. We thank you not only for the good times, but also for those times of uncertainty and anxiety because they have deepened our faith in you. Thank you for bringing good out of what we considered as tragedies in our lives. Bless the food that we are sharing. May we have a good time with all. Renew our spirits and fill our hearts with your peace and joy so that we will live in true fellowship with everyone in our families and in our communities, and share with those in need. We surrender our prayers of thanksgiving and all our needs, desires and dreams into your hands through the prayer Jesus taught us, Our Father …. “

 

A blessed time of Thanksgiving to you with your family and all your dear ones.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

 

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

The Four Last Things or Five

The month of November ushers in many changes in nature and in the church. The leaves have changed to bright reds, oranges, browns and yellow. Soon all those leaves will drop and as Shakespeare said the trees will become like “Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang”. All nature seems to die or at least fall asleep.

In the church November begins with the celebration of All Saints and All Souls, reminding us of our destiny and of what has traditionally been called ‘ The Four Last Things ‘, death, judgment, heaven, and hell. And for good measure the fifth is Purgatory. The scripture readings the church gives us in this season for our liturgy have a constant reminder about these important things. There is a sense of urgency about remembering them. The 32nd and 33rd Sundays of the year especially emphasize death and resurrection. The prophet Malachi gets our attention when he writes, “Lo the day is coming blazing like an oven, when all the proud and evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the Lord of Hosts. But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays. ”Malachi 3:19. Death is certain for every person. We are reminded to live with this awareness.

The teaching of the church about the Last Things is spelled out clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. On the subject of judgment, we read “Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven -through a purification or immediately, or immediate and everlasting damnation. ”(CCC 1022)

Regarding heaven we read, “Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live forever with Christ. They are like God forever, for they ‘see him as he is’, face to face” (CCC 1023)

Today there are some who question whether the church still teaches about Purgatory and perhaps even some who question the existence of Hell. Here is what the Catechism teaches “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation, but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (CCC 1031)

The fourth Last Thing is Hell and again the Catechism does not mince words: “We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves ……to die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him forever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called ‘Hell’. (CCC 1033)

Death, judgment, heaven and hell and purgatory are all real. The church reminds us in the liturgy during November not to become complacent. As we watch the ‘death ‘of nature all around us and end the liturgical year November 20th with the celebration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, we hear the call to be awake and vigilant at all times so that we are always ready for the coming of the Day of the Lord and the Four Last Things.

Msgr. Brennan

32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

This Friday, November 11, is Veterans Day – an occasion to remind ourselves of the importance to honor all those who have risked life, limb, and mind for their country because freedom isn’t free. While joining the rest of the nation in commemorating this day typically with military-themed ceremonies, we bring all of these heroes and heroines in prayer to God at all the Masses next weekend.

Last Sunday evening, we had a special Mass in memory of all those who passed away this year. We had about 75 names that were read out. A small candle was lit for each of them. Family members brought pictures of their beloved departed and you can see them on the back walls of the church. We acknowledge the sadness of their no longer being physically amongst us, and yet take hope and trust as our faith teaches. At every funeral Mass I love to use the Preface I where it says: “Indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.” St. Paul warns us that we must not be ignorant concerning the dead, nor sorrowful, “even as others who have no hope … For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven … and the dead who are in Christ shall rise.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

On All Souls Day, November 2, we prayed for all the departed souls. We know that the whole month of November is traditionally a time in which the Catholic community remembers those who have died. It is related to the fact that the end of November is the end of the Liturgical Year with a new year starting the First Sunday of Advent – the four-week period of preparation before Christmas.

The mention of Christmas reminds us how fast the time passes. In the liturgical calendar the first Sunday of Advent this year is on November 27 – earlier than usual! If you find that time is moving too quickly, and you’d like to slow it down a bit, I find the only way is to follow the method that Jesus is asking us in the beatitudes. He begins each beatitude with “Blessed are you…….” and not “Blessed you will be….” I believe Jesus was very intentional in directing us to be in the present moment. Probably you have heard this saying repeated to us: “Yesterday is history tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that’s why we call it the present!” We have only the present moment at hand and how we deal with it will determine not only our joy and sadness but also the pace of our life. Once we live in the moment, we will be able to take one thing at a time, one day at time. No wonder Jesus included “Give us this day our daily bread” in the only prayer he taught us to pray!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Dear Friends,

We are entering the month of November that reminds us so much about death and life after death. This evening we are having a special Memorial Mass for family and friends of those who passed away this year. Having it on a Sunday makes it easier for people to attend. Tomorrow, Monday, is Halloween. Tuesday is All Saints Feast. Wednesday is All Souls Remembrance Day.

For us Catholics, Halloween, All Saints Day, All Souls Day and the whole of November are opportunities with two goals: first, to really think about, cherish and remember our loved ones who are departed from earth; and second, to reflect on our own mortality and the meaning of death as a gateway to the next world. That’s why this evening we will have a special Mass to remember our departed ones. Bringing their photos to church will help us remember them as a community. The candles lit in their memory will help us surrender them to God who has welcomed them into heaven. Offering prayers help us to thank God for the blessing of their lives in which we too shared. These will also remind us about the reality of death – a topic we rather not think about!

This season of Fall offers us a pageantry for our senses with the vibrantly colored leaves; but the falling leaves remind us of the completion of the cycle of life – a living metaphor for death that will happen to all of us. Bible often calls it with a very pleasant term ‘sleep’ and even Jesus used that term regarding his friend Lazarus who actually had died. See John 11:11-14. St. Paul spoke about those who are alive and those who are asleep (referring to the dead) in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. Yes we don’t need to be afraid of death because Jesus conquered death through his resurrection. It is a guarantee for us to think of death as a passage to the life of eternity, to join the “communion of saints” a doctrine that reminds us of rejoining with our dear departed ones who are with God.

We have three Masses on Tuesday, the feast of All Saints: 8 am, 12:10 pm and 7:30 pm. Please try to attend one of these because this feast is a happy reminder to us of the many saints who lived with and before us, making our lives meaningful. There is also a 9 am Mass for the School, (the Grandfriends Mass). This feast of All Saints also reminds us of our own call to holiness. No wonder, St Paul was fond of calling his parishioners “saints” as in 2 Corinthians 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia.” Coming together and celebrating our own God-given goodness of serving God in the People of God of our community is truly a sign of who we are – saints!

Happy Feast to you all saints!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

Please note: This Friday is First Friday, and so our 8 am Mass is followed by Holy Hour, Sacred Heart devotions and Benediction. Most welcome to join.

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Dear Friends,

Over one billion Catholics all over the world observe today as World Mission Sunday. This annual observance was instituted in 1926 by a Papal decree issued by Pope Pius XI. Every year since then, the universal Church has dedicated the month of October to reflection on and prayer for the missions. On World Mission Sunday, Catholics gather to celebrate the Eucharist and to contribute to a collection for the work of evangelization around the world. This annual celebration gives us a chance to reflect on the importance of mission work for the life of the Church. It reminds us that we are one with the Church around the world and that we are all committed to carrying on the mission of Christ, however different our situations may be. Pope Francis, in his message for 2022 World Mission Sunday, reflected on the words of Jesus: “You shall be my witnesses”, “to the ends of the earth” and “you shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit.” The Pope said, “When it comes to Christian witness, the observation of Saint Paul VI remains ever valid: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 41). For this reason, the testimony of an authentic Christian life is fundamental for the transmission of the faith. On the other hand, the task of proclaiming Christ’s person and the message is equally necessary.” It is good to read the whole message at https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/missions/documents/20220106-giornata-missionaria.html

The mission of Jesus is not limited to the care of our souls but also of the mind and the body. Christianity is for holistic salvation as we focus on the health of each person’s mind, body and soul. While we do care for the body and soul, it is easy to neglect our mind. Mental health is a matter of great importance and we see the pervasive nature of mental illness around us. We don’t need statistics to prove it as we ourselves are witnesses to a multitude of problems associated with mental illness amongst and around us: depression, anxiety, personality disorders, eating disorders, psychotic disorders, PTSD, etc. That is why it is very commendable that our Parish Vocations Committee has taken the initiative, in collaboration with our NeXt Level youth ministry, to organize a free three part zoom series of seminars titled “Healthy Minds, Healthy Futures.”

These sessions are intended for parents, grandparents, teachers, catechists and all those who are concerned about our youth. The topics will certainly catch your attention and interest:

  • October 26, 8 pm: The anxious depressed Child/Adolescent.
  • November 2, 8 pm: How the Parental Relationship with God is Formative of the Child’s Spiritual Life.
  • November 9, 8 pm: Risk Factors for Addictive Behaviors in Children/Adolescents

The presentations are by experts in this field and so I would request you not only to attend, but also spread the word and invite others to join this zoom session from the comfort of your home. For more info, see the flyer posted on our website, in our bulletin, and elsewhere on social media. We all long for mental health for ourselves and for all those who are near and dear to us as well as for our communities. Let us benefit from this timely offering.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Dear Friends,

The theme for this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation. At the Saturday 1 pm Mass this weekend, we highlight the Hispanic presence in our parish with a bilingual Mass presided by Rev. Ron Machado, Pastor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Perth Amboy. You may have read the first part of an article, in our bulletin last week, on Hispanic presence and history in the USA. Today in the second part of that article, I have focused on the Hispanic contribution to the US Catholicism. You can read it on page 6 in the bulletin.

Nationally, the Hispanic presence is transforming parish life. According to evangelization statistics: Hispanic Catholics are about 40 percent of the approximately 78 million Catholics in the country; Hispanics account for 71 percent of the growth of the Catholic population in the United States since 1960; and 60 percent of Catholics under the age of 18 are Hispanic. Hispanics are a major force in the ongoing evolution of the U.S. Catholic parish from the ethnic enclave to the shared or multicultural congregation.

Though we, here at St. Matthias, may not experience such a transformation, there are some parishes in our Diocese and in our neighborhood, with strong Hispanic presence.

Our Diocesan Office of Hispanic Evangelization and Pastoral Ministry promotes the participation and integration of Hispanics in the life of the Church. This is accomplished by training lay leaders, providing pastoral assistance to parishes, and responding to the pastoral needs of Hispanics where needed. You may remember that Bishop James F. Checchio ordained 15 men to the permanent diaconate on May 14 this year at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi. That was the first-ever fully Spanish-speaking class of diaconate candidates to be ordained for service in the Diocese of Metuchen.

Last year’s Annual Hispanic Heritage Mass at the Diocesan level, at our Cathedral Church of St. Francis in Metuchen, was attended by  more than 15 priests and 700 parishioners from our 24 Hispanic parishes. Although there is an obvious large Hispanic/Latino presence in parts of the diocese such as Perth Amboy and New Brunswick, there are several parishes in more rural areas that have a significant Hispanic/Latino community. A highlight of that Mass was a procession of Marian images. One by one, as their countries of origin were announced, men and women in ethnic costume strode forward, holding aloft a picture of the Blessed Mother unique to their Central or South American country. They lined the communion rail proudly, displaying the differently hued manifestations of the Blessed Mother.

One of the points you will read about the Hispanics in this bulletin is that the Hispanics have the largest percentage of lay Catholics in faith formation and pastoral leadership programs. How wonderful if more of our parishioners were to take note of that! I have a great desire to see a good number of our parishioners attending the Annual Catechetical Conference that the Diocese is organizing on 29th of this month. Can you spare that Saturday to attend this faith formation Conference at the Pastoral Center in Piscataway? See article on page 8 for details. So no cost to you. Remember, even the apostles had to ask Jesus, “Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:5). We are no exception!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Dear Friends,

Our church pew refurbishing should be completed in another week. It had to be slowed down as we needed to make the church available for funerals, School prayer service etc. Thank you to the many who expressed their joy at the pleasing sight of the rows of pews already refurbished.

Today we begin the Interpreted Masses for the deaf. I am very grateful to Msgr. Joe Curry who helped coordinate these signed Masses in four churches once a month as follows:
o First Sunday – St. Peter’s, New Brunswick, 12:00pm
o Second Sunday – St Matthias, Somerset, 10:00am
o Third Sunday – Immaculate Conception, Spotswood, 11:00 am
o Fourth Sunday – Mary Mother of God, Hillsborough, 10:30 am
Kindly spread the word to those you know will benefit.

Did you know that October is a month for many national observances? Here’s just a sampling out of so many:
–          Adopt a Shelter Dog Month to promote the adoption of dogs from local shelters.
–          Antidepressant Death Awareness Month to remember those who have been injured or killed as a result of antidepressant use and to work to prevent such tragedies.
–          National Church Library Month to shine a light on the periodicals, books, and resources available to our parishioners to continue their faith formation beyond the Sunday sermon.
–          National Eat Better, Eat Together Month to encourage families to gather and enjoy their main meals together for better health of mind, soul and body.
–          Emotional Wellness Month to take stock of our stress levels and to use resources to lower them.

There are also many cultural heritage observances in October such as the Filipino American History Month, German American Heritage Month and the Italian-American Heritage Month. We also have the Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 10. The Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) is one such observance that we here at St. Matthias celebrate. (See an article on page 6 in this bulletin). Next Saturday 5 pm Mass will be celebrated as a bilingual Mass.

Every culture has its own beautiful heritage and meaningful practices. It will be nice if parishioners from the different cultural/ethnic backgrounds could send me a brief description about their cultural/religious heritage, our whole parish could benefit reading it in our bulletin.

From a Catholic perspective, the month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. Two weeks ago, Msgr. Brennan had written a meaningful column on Holy Rosary. Today, as the church and the world face many crises, the healing we need must be accompanied by prayer. The rosary has proved to be a powerful weapon for fighting the evils that have engulfed the church and the world in the past, and it has been the cradle for healing. Our Altar Rosary Society continue their efforts to promote this devotion. Do you pray the Rosary? If not, will you give it a try?

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Dear Friends,

What should be the first project/s to implement in our effort to renovate our Church? The result of the Parish Survey (which was published in the bulletin on September 4), showed that the top priorities are refurbishing pews and bathrooms, followed by deep cleaning, new floors, narthex and stained glass windows. Even before the survey, I had heard from many of you that the pews needed immediate attention and so arrangements were made for pew repairs. You can see that work is going on. I’m sure we all will gladly put up with the temporary inconvenience.

The Committee for the 60th Anniversary Fundraising conducted a consultation with the Ministry Heads of our parish and suggested that the right time for this fundraising for doing many of the proposed projects would be from January 2023. That is very understandable as we know of the demands made on all of us with the Christmas Tree sponsoring, Giving Tuesday, Raffle, Christmas contributions, etc. I am always in admiration of the sacrifices our parishioners are willing to make for the greater good of this wonderful community of St. Matthias.

We are in October, the Respect Life Month. We are a pro-life Church. Today, the pro-life people of Somerset County will again participate in the Annual National Life Chain, to give peaceful, prayerful witness to the sanctity of human life. It will be in Somerville, along Somerset St. and mountain Ave., from 2 – 3:30 pm. All are welcome to join our Pro-Life Ministry team to make Life Chain 2022 another memorable and blessed event.

We know that the Bible teaches that life is a gift from God, and, hence, we respect it from womb to tomb. But, where in the Bible do we see explicit support for this? The term “with child” (in reference to pregnant women) occurs twenty-six times in the Bible. The term “with fetus” never occurs. The Bible never uses anything less than human terms to describe the unborn (Exodus 21:22-23). In Luke (1:36 and 41), we are told that Elizabeth conceived a “son” and that the “babe” leaped in her womb. God does not say that a “fetus” leaped in her womb! Elizabeth greets Mary (in her early pregnancy) as “my Lord’s mother.” If God allows a child to be conceived, then God obviously has a plan for unborn children (Jer. 1:5; Lk. 1:13-17; Gen. 4:25; Jud. 13:3-5), and so to abort an unborn child is to stop a plan of God: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you… Psalm 139: 13: You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works!” Thus, based on the word of God, the Church teaches that an unborn child, from the moment of its conception in his or her mother’s womb, is precious because he or she carries an immortal soul.

Such Biblical insights are important. What about biblical understanding about other aspects of our life? The best way is the small groups that we are starting from next week. Pope St. John Paul II said, “Small Christian Communities are a tremendous source of bringing more life into our life and into a Parish.” Last Sunday you heard the testimonies of those who were in small groups. Why not be enriched the same way? For sign up info, please see page 8 of our bulletin.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

A Message from Msgr. Brennan:

October, The Month of the Holy Rosary

Next Saturday is October first, the beginning of the Month of the Holy Rosary. And October seventh is the day the church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. As we begin this month I make a special appeal to all families and individuals to make an attempt to pray the rosary daily during this month or if that seems too much perhaps once or twice a week. Rediscover the power and peace this prayer can bring to your life and to your family.

This October marks the 20th anniversary of pope Saint John Paul 11’s apostolic letter on the rosary entitled Rosarium Virginis Mariae. (RVM)  In the introduction the pope describes the rosary as follows; “Simple yet profound, it still remains at the dawn of this third millennium. A prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness”. Though clearly Marian in character, the rosary is at heart a Christocentric prayer. All of the 20 mysteries of the rosary are clearly scripture based and Christ centered, from the Annunciation to the birth of Christ, to the Transfiguration, Crucifixion and Resurrection. The letter proclaims, “With the rosary the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of His love”. Pope John Paul acknowledges, “The rosary is my favorite prayer. A marvelous prayer!  Marvelous in its simplicity and its depth “

For some time now the rosary has been devalued by some and has not been taught to children as in the past. In my home growing up the family rosary was prayed every day, no exception and still is prayed today. Pope John Paul asserts that praying the rosary enables us to enter more deeply into the celebration of the Eucharist and the great mysteries of our redemption.  “The rosary belongs among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation “(RVM #5)

The rosary is proposed as a prayer for peace and the family.” At the start of the millennium which began with the terrifying attacks of 11 September 2001, a millennium which witnesses every day in numerous parts of the world fresh scenes of bloodshed and violence, to rediscover the rosary means to immerse oneself in contemplation of the mystery of Christ who “is our peace”, since he made “the two of us one, and broke down the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14)   . Consequently, one cannot recite the rosary without feeling caught up in a clear commitment to advancing peace”. On several occasions in recent months Pope Francis ha appealed to Catholics to pray the rosary for peace in Ukraine.

Speaking of the family the letter reads  “ A similar need for commitment and prayer arises in relation to another  critical contemporary issue; the family, the primary cell of society , increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological  and practical  planes, so as to make us fear for the future of  this fundamental and indispensable institution and , with it , for the future of  society as a whole “ (RVM # 6). Since the pope wrote these words the disintegration and pressures on the family has greatly increased.

On October 7th 2020, the feast of the Holy Rosary, Pope Francis invited all Catholics to pray the rosary daily and to carry a rosary beads in their pockets. In part he said “I invite everyone to rediscover, especially during this month of October, the beauty of the prayer of the rosary, which has nourished the faith of the Christian people through the centuries”.

Consider praying the rosary this October as a regular part of your daily prayer. If you are not familiar with how to pray the rosary you will find a prayer card entitled How to pray the Rosary on the bookshelves in church.  Please take only one and share with other members of your family. Happy Month of the Holy Rosary and may your praying this powerful prayer bring you many divine blessings.

Msgr. Brennan