August 30, 2020 – 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

I.  Solemnity of the Anniversary of the Dedication of a Church: The rhythm of our Church’s liturgical year assists 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 to gather 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—is December 26, and 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 liturgical 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 the weekend of September 6 as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Anniversary of the Dedication of our present church at 610 Locust Street, our third church building. Our scripture readings for September 5-6 will be Revelation 21:1–5a,  I Corinthians 3:9c– 11, 16–17, and Matthew 16:13-19. 

    In a few days, all registered parishioners should be receiving a mailing which includes some suggestions for celebrating our Dedication Anniversary SPIRITUALLY, in the domestic Church—in your home and family. Remember that families come in all sizes, whether a family of one or a family of many! The mailing is chocked-full of information and ideas; we hope you’ll enjoy it. Please join me in giving thanks for our beautiful Cathedral and for all the families who are members of our faith community.

II.  Hour of Prayer:  On the first Thursday of each month (the Thursday before First Friday), we offer you a special time of prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. In addition to your own personal intentions, let us dedicate this holy hour to: a smooth, safe beginning of a new academic year during this coronavirus time, and to remembering all our deceased loved ones, especially those buried from the Cathedral of Saint Stephen over the years.  There will be an opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confessions) in our Blessed Sacrament Chapel (located to the left of our altar, behind the tabernacle) from 4:30–5:30 p.m., followed by a Holy Hour (stay as long as time permits) for prayer and meditation. I invite you and your family to join us on Thursday, September 3, 5:30–6:30 p.m. for a time of quiet and silent prayer. 

III. World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on Tuesday, September 1, “will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which God has entrusted to our care, and to implore God’s help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.” (Pope Francis, August 6, 2015)

IV.  St. Teresa of Calcutta: though not celebrated in the general Roman Calendar or Liturgical Calendar proper, her earthly life came to an end on September 5, 1997. Sister Teresa made her Final Profession of Vows on May 24, 1937, becoming, as she said, the “spouse of Jesus” for “all eternity.” From that time on she was called Mother Teresa. After a short course with the Medical Mission Sisters in Patna, Mother Teresa returned to Calcutta and found temporary lodging with the Little Sisters of the Poor. On December 21, she went for the first time to the slums. She visited families, washed the sores of children, cared for an old man lying sick on the road, and nursed a woman dying of hunger and tuberculosis. She started each day with Eucharist, then went out to find and serve Jesus among “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.” After some months, she was joined, one by one, by her former students. Mother Teresa is a symbol of love and compassion. She said, “Holiness is not the luxury of the few, it is a simple duty for each one of us.” Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, Mother Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003. On September 4, 2016, Mother Teresa was canonized by Pope Francis. 

V. Every 5th Sunday, our parish takes up a special collection for our Saint Vincent de Paul Outreach Ministry to help the needy of our area. As you can imagine, the needs at this particular time in our history are great, and your generous response to this need has also been great. Thank you for your tender heart for those struggling. “As long as you did it for one of these least ones of Mine, you did it for Me” (Matthew 25: 31–46). You can choose to give by using WeShare online, or the envelope at he church entrances. If you would like to join our Vincent de Paul Outreach Ministry, contact our parish office (270–683-6525) or Larry Lyon, our fearless leader. 

VI.  Wednesday and Friday Morning Mass at 7:00 will be added to our Weekday Mass Schedule: As more people return to “Mass in person,” beginning in September, we will celebrate a 7:00 a.m. Mass on Wednesdays and Fridays, in addition to the 12:05 (noon) Mass Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. Mass on Saturday mornings. The weekend Mass schedule, for the time being, will remain at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, 8:00 a.m., and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.

A NOTE FROM FR. JERRY:  Over 150 of our parish families use WeShare for their church giving. WeShare is safe, convenient, and user friendly! Using WeShare for your recurring  contributions helps put the Lord first by encouraging us to give of our ‘first fruits;’ It also eliminates the need for writing checks or remembering to mail them or bring them to church.  All of our second collections (such as St. Vincent de Paul, Maintenance & Repairs, Backpack Ministry, annual diocesan collections, and more) are also available through WeShare. In the coming months, you may be receiving information about WeShare via email or postcard. If you already use WeShare, thank you! If not, I encourage you to consider using WeShare; I personally use it and highly recommend it! Most importantly, regardless of what method of giving you use, please know that your support of Saint Stephen Cathedral is deeply appreciated. I am humbled and inspired by your generosity! Lastly, be assured that LPi, parent company of WeShare, never shares any of our parishioner contact information with other companies or vendors.