I. Resurrection Brings Possibilities: the mystery of the Resurrection is not just a tenet of our faith, it IS our faith. Resurrection is our hope, our promise, and our assurance. Easter expands into a season (7 days of 7 weeks—the perfect number—plus 1) which lasts a full 50 days overflowing into Pentecost. This is our longest liturgical season. The celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the most significant moment in the Church calendar. Bring on the “Alleluias” and the “Glory to God!” Am I an instrument of hope?
II. First Holy Communion: it’s always a significant day in the life of any parish. It is a concrete reminder of the centrality of Eucharist individually and as a community. Eucharist is the “source and summit” of sacramental life and can lead to true holiness. Parents, thank you for the tremendous influence you have on your children in their formation in faith. I daresay, your example of prayer and parish involvement speaks volumes to your child.
Hopefully, your child is prepared for his/her first Communion, but also for the second, and third, and fiftieth, and hundredth Communion. Sunday Mass in the parish is central to our spiritual growth. We welcome visitors as well as parishioners to our First Communion Celebration at the 11:00am Mass on April 28th!
III. WELCOME BACK: Would you like to reconnect with the Catholic Church? Or connect more deeply to our faith community? Do you know someone in this position? Why not invite a neighbor, or friend? Come with them. No matter how long you have been away and no matter the reason, we invite you to consider renewing your relationship with the Catholic Church now. We miss you and we would like to welcome you home. Join us for an evening designed to help people return to the regular reception of the sacraments: Monday, May 6th, at 6:00 p.m. in the Media Center (enter through the back door of the parish office from the rear parking lot). For more information, contact Rick Rhodes, 270/683-6525, or [email protected], Fr. Sinoj or Fr. Jerry.
IV. Divine Mercy Sunday: initiated by Pope John Paul II on May 5, 2000 and affirmed by Pope Francis, the second Sunday of Easter, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus over death over sin, darkness and death, is Divine Mercy Sunday, also known as the Feast of Divine Mercy or St. Thomas Sunday. In a revelation to Saint Faustina in the 1930s in Poland, Jesus revealed the need to evangelize others to the endless mercy which God offers us, to those active in the Church, but also to those who are disconnected from the practice of their faith.
Our Scripture readings this weekend are layered with in revelation and instruction. They are lavish in praise and thanksgiving specifically for the gift of mercy that brings us to salvation. Each reading leads us to become less conscious of ourselves, and more conscious of God’s mercy, collectively and individually. The messages of God’s merciful redemption through Jesus, and Jesus’ subsequent instruction to serve, is as alive and relevant now as it was in the early days of the apostles.
For Daviess County Churches and beyond, there will be a special Divine Mercy Celebration at Blessed Mother Church (601 East 23rd St.), 1:30-4:00PM with Fr. Thomas (Jacob) Petri, O.P., originally from Madisonville, KY speaking. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available. Open the flood-gates of mercy!
V. Mary Crowning: Traditionally, May is a month of honoring Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God, Mother of our Church. It’s a wonderful time to meditate on and pray the mysteries of the rosary, a scriptural devotion which has survived the test of time. Why not pray the rosary as a family! You may also join people after the 7:00 a.m. daily Mass to pray the rosary. Why not keep a flower, or a bouquet of flowers, before a statue of Mary in your home during this month! We thank our Cathedral Rosary Makers for providing rosaries and a pamphlet on How to Pray the Rosary at the doors of church. We have developed the tradition of Mary Crowning on the first Sunday of May after the 9:00am Mass, before coffee, juice, donuts, fruit, H2O, and connecting with parishioners at our monthly Welcome Sunday in the Community Center ! Mary, Queen of peace, pray for us!
VI. High School Seniors: our parish is proud of you! We would like to honor you on Saturday, May 11th, at the 5:00 p.m. Mass. Please bring your cap and gown. There will be a small reception with cake afterward in our Community Center.
VII. To Doubt or To Believe? Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Many of us identify with Thomas the doubter even though Thomas proclaimed one of the most awesome declarations of faith, “My Lord, and my God!” Why is that? Doubting can call us to a deeper level of faith, stretching us to trust more deeply in the Lord, beckoning us to mature as a disciple. Your life and mine is to bear witness to our faith, by what we say, but more importantly by what we do. How can we ‘prove’ to others that Christ is risen from the dead? How can we can help a modern doubter, like Thomas, come to know Christ? Today’s passage, John 20:19–31, affirms that people come to believe in the risen Christ through their experience of the believing community, through people like us. Reflection questions: How does my life reflect the risen Christ? What and who help me grow in my role as a witness of the Resurrection? How do I enrich the community of faith to which I belong?
VIII. Joyful Gratitude Galore! There is always a danger in thanking individuals; at the risk of leaving someone out, I must express gratitude to those who have made our Holy Week services outstanding this year: thanks to the Choir and Cantors under the guidance of James Wells, Director of Music, for Donna Murphy who directs our RCIA, for all of our Liturgical Ministers: hospitality ministers, servers, lectors, sacristans, Art & Environment parishioners, Eucharistic Ministers, parishioners who made the Holy Saturday reception happen (those who served and those who brought food); Bern Tooley and her sister Loretta, who decorated our Community Center, and anyone else whom I have omitted (you get double thanks and your reward will be great in heaven!). Kathryn Wimsatt and Kelsey Rhodes, who organized, planned/worked for the post-Chrism Mass reception and lunch to honor priests on Holy Thursday as well as the Reception after the Easter Vigil. Thank you to all of their helpers for these three big events. Special thanks to seminarian, Corey Bruns, whose presence as Master of Ceremonies and “jack of all trades” during Holy Week was felt in a very positive way. And to so many other “behind the scenes” servants, a hearty THANK YOU!
IX. Vacation Back to India: Fr. Sinoj Pynadath HGN, will be leaving on Monday, April 29, to travel to India to visit with his family and religious congregation of the Heralds of the Good News. Fr. Sinoj has the wonderful opportunity to make his retreat with a Holy Land pilgrimage at the end of his vacation, which means he will return to Owensboro on June 2. We wish him a safe and joyful trip and thank him for his ministry here at Saint Stephen Cathedral and Blessed Sacrament Chapel (he oversees and coordinates visits to the sick, shut-in, hospitalized, home bound, and those in Nursing Homes, and serves as Chaplain for our Youth Ministry and Chaplain to our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry Outreach Volunteers, and more). Godspeed!