I. Solemnity of the Anniversary of the Dedication of a Church: The rhythm of our Church’s liturgical year aids us in identifying the rhythm of our life with that of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus; that’s why Sunday is key for us together as a community of faith.
There are two solemnities which the Church encourages parish communities to celebrate: the patron feast of the parish–the feast of Saint Stephen, our patron, is December 26; The anniversary of the dedication of the church building–the church building we are using now is the third church of Saint Stephen and was dedicated September 6, 1926. Only to celebrate these two important events can a pastor interrupt the the cycle of Scripture readings to move these liturgical observances to Sunday, so that more people can participate.
That’s why we have chosen special Scripture readings for this weekend’s Masses as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Anniversary of the dedication of our Church building at 610 Locust Street.
II. Congratulations, Deacon Richard Murphy! After five years of formation with study, reflection, and prayer, Richard Murphy was ordained a permanent deacon Saturday morning, September 16th, at Holy Spirit Church in Bowling Green, in a class of sixteen deacons from every nook and cranny in our Diocese. Thank you, Richard, for responding to this call of the Holy Spirit to serve the People of God. Thanks also to Richard’s wife, Donna, for her support in this adventure of faith. Please read the insert on Permanent Deacons and their ministry of service.
III. Birthing a Bishop! Little did his parents, Dorothy Hayden and James Werner Medley, know that their son, William Francis, born on September 17, 1952, would be called to be a priest, and then a bishop! We are delighted that he listened and responded to that call. Happy Birthday, Bishop Medley!
Nearly ten years before, a son and father had parted ways when the business they shared went bankrupt. The son blamed the father. They did not speak to each other again.
Then the father became seriously ill. The mother called the son and told him he had better come soon. The son walked sheepishly into the hospital room. The father motioned his son to him and whispered: “Did you ever think you could do anything that would keep me from loving you?”
Resentment and anger are foul things, the first reading from Sirach tells us. Remember the last things. Stop hating. Live by the commandments. As Saint Paul writes to the Romans, we are to live for the Lord and die for the Lord.
Jesus’ parable in today’s Gospel reminds us of God’s compassion. The immense sin of humanity has been forgiven and stricken from the record. We are to forgive others in the same way.
“There is no higher dignity than to serve Christ.” Saint Ambrose, Father and Doctor of the Church