I. Grandparents’ Day: The wonderful vocation of being a grandparent is highlighted this Sunday, September 13th. Grandparents’ Day, which was proclaimed a national holiday on August 3, 1978 by President Jimmy Carter, actually originated through the efforts of one very dedicated woman, Marian McQuade. The Church celebrates Grandparents’ Day on the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne (July 26), parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and, of course, grandparents of Jesus. How grandparents can serve and influence their grandchildren: Do my grandchildren see me as a person of faith? Will they grow up associating a crucifix or other symbols of faith with me? Do I tell my grandchildren stories of hope and faith from my past? What story of faith do I still need to tell them? Do I celebrate holidays in a purely secular way, or do my grandchildren see my faith and hope reflected in the way we celebrate Christmas and Easter? Am I working to cultivate my ultimate hope by sharing my faith with others who can encourage me to believe more fully and more deeply? (Susan M. Erschen, “Guide to God for Grandparents”). Grandparents, you have the opportunity to have a tremendous influence on the development of faith of your “grand” children!
II. The Cross That Transforms: The heart of Christianity is that the Cross leads to Resurrection. On Monday, September 14th, the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, we proclaim the Good News that God transforms suffering and death into new life. Our God is a God of victory who reigns victorious, even over the evil of death. We rejoice in the mystery of the Cross, which brings about our freedom and salvation. Do I carry my cross gracefully? Do I allow Jesus to assist me in carrying my cross? You are invited to our 12:05pm Mass on the 14th.
III. Holy Land Collection: This Sunday we are asking for support of and solidarity with the Holy Land. Why this weekend? Isn’t this collection usually in Lent? Yes, it is; however, we were “closed” during Holy Week and this collection is usually taken up on Good Friday. This Monday is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (cf above in #2), which is celebrated with great solemnity in Jerusalem. The Cross still characterizes and accompanies the journey of the small Christian community that lives in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East. It is even more vital this year as COVID-19 has devastated the tourism industry, which is the livelihood for the shrines and churches that struggle annually with upkeep. You may send in a check (made payable to Saint Stephen Cathedral with “Holy Land” in the memo) or you may give on-line through WeShare. Envelopes are available at the church entrances. Please give if you are able.
IV. Our Lady of Sorrows: God’s holy people (Psalm 100), though possessing differing ecclesial functions and charisms, are rooted in one and the same Spirit (I Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31a). Pierced with a sword of sorrow (John 19:25-27 or Luke 2:33-35), Mary stood by the cross of her Son who “learned obedience from what he suffered.” By the 14th century, the sorrows of Mary numbered seven: the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, the flight into Egypt, Jesus being lost in Jerusalem, the meeting of Mary and Jesus on the way to Calvary, the crucifixion, the taking down of Jesus’ body from the cross, and His burial. We remember Our Lady of Sorrows on Tuesday, September 15. Mass at 12:05pm (livestreamed). For more information, visit: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/our-lady-of-sorrows/
V. Come and See! Join us on Sunday, September 20th at 6:00 p.m. for a Holy Hour, which will include Adoration, music, and an opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. All are welcome!
VI. Catholic Fundamentals in a Non-Defensive Way: Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), Bishop and Doctor of the Church, was an astute scholar with a knack for diplomatically responding to the controversies of his day in a welcoming, non-defensive, systematic way. As a priest embroiled in the Protestant Reformation, he sensitively communicated through word and writing, the Catholic perspective, especially regarding the relationship between Church and state. A devotee of Francis of Assisi, he demonstrated heroic virtue by praying for his opponents, living simply, and embracing spiritual discipline. You are invited to celebrate this great man and his commitment to the Church during a very difficult age in our history this Thursday, September 17. Mass is 12:05pm and livestreamed.
VII. International Day of Peace: “Peace Day” is observed around the world each year on September 21. Established in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace. In a world riddled with hate, discrimination, war, and disrespect, we need to choose to be agents of forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing. I invite you to join me in a day of FASTING and PRAYER on Monday, September 21 as we pray for peace and civility in our world, beginning with ourselves. For more information, visit https://internationaldayofpeace.org/