May 12, 2019 – Fourth Sunday of Easter

I.  Call Your Mother!  Honoring the mother of your family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society cannot be crammed into one day. No physical item can repay your mother for all the love she’s sent your way, but Mother’s Day is still a good time to give Mom some token of your affection. Flowers, chocolates, dinner, gifts, and cards are all fine, but perhaps the best gift is some of your valuable time—the presence of yourself. We will pray for our living and deceased mothers, grandmothers, foster mothers, godmothers and those who have been like mothers to us at all our Masses this weekend.

II.  Evening Prayer, also called Vespers, is part of the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office. In the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church fulfills Jesus’ command to “pray always” (Luke 18:1; cf also 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Through this prayer, the people of God sanctify the day by continual praise of God and prayers of intercession for the needs of the world. Lay people are encouraged to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, especially Morning and Evening Prayer. Evening prayer gives thanks for the day just past and makes an evening sacrifice of praise to God (see Psalm 141:1).  At Saint Stephen Cathedral we invite you to pray Evening Prayer every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30pm in church. Please use the ramp door by the organ to enter.

III.  Ministry of Praise:  This ministry is intended for those who are no longer able to be as involved as they would like due to the challenges of aging or declining health. Of course, each of us is called to pray for our parish and its vitality; praying for the needs and sharing in the joys of the living Body of Christ is the role of the entire faith community, but some of us have more time than others. Volunteer “prayers” join a “chorus of people who are praying for their parish across the U.S.A. and around the world.” You will be commissioned by the parish priest, receive an olive wood cross and a prayer book, then spend time in regular prayer for a variety of intentions. 

IV.  UNBOUND:  I have extended an invitation to Fr. Frank Ruff, Glenmary, to visit the Cathedral on the weekend of May 18/19, 2019. Fr. Ruff will speak to you about the work being done by “Unbound” and how this provides a trustworthy way to actively participate in the Social Outreach of the Catholic Church and answer the Gospel call to serve the poor. Founded by lay Catholics, Unbound is an organization that has served more than 600,000 children, youth and elderly in 18 developing countries since 1981, empowering them to make more choices in their lives, live with dignity and reach their potential.

        Unbound’s unique sponsorship is highly personalized. It matches a child, youth or aging person at a project overseas with a sponsor in the U.S. who cares about  and encourages that person. With a monthly contribution, a sponsor helps to provide much needed nourishing food, medical and dental care, the chance for a child to go to school, livelihood programs for families and much more.  Please join me in welcoming Fr. Frank!

V.  We Honor Saint Isidore the Farmer (c. 1080-1130), not Saint Isidore of Seville, the Doctor of the Church whose memorial falls on April 4th. Isidore the Farmer was born in Madrid to poor parents who sent him to work for  landowner. He was very devout and married a like-minded woman, Maria, who also became a saint. Isidore attended daily Mass and was often late arriving at the fields, but he managed to get his work done none-theless. He shared the little he had with the poor. He is the patron saint of farmers and a model of faith for all of us. You are invited to celebrate the Feast of Saint Isidore this Wednesday, May 15th. Mass is celebrated at 7am and 12:05pm.