The Month of January 2020

 

My Friends,

Apostolic Journey to America: St. Louis, 27 January 1999

          Twenty-one years ago, we had a saint among us, St. Pope John Paul.  Below is his homily from that visit, not as a moment to reminisce, but rather as an opportunity to read and reflect upon his words.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

          “In the Incarnation, God fully reveals himself in the Son who came into the world.  Our faith is not simply the result of our searching for God. In Jesus Christ, it is God who comes in person to speak to us and to show us the way to himself.

          “The Incarnation also reveals the truth about man. In Jesus Christ, the Father has spoken the definitive word about our true destiny and the meaning of human history. ‘In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an expiation for our sins’. The Apostle is speaking of the love that inspired the Son to become man and to dwell among us. Through Jesus Christ we know how much the Father loves us. In Jesus Christ, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, each one of us can share in the love that is the life of the Blessed Trinity.

          “St. John goes on: ‘Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God’. Through faith in the Son of God made man, we abide in the very heart of God: ‘God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him’. These words open to us the mystery of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: the love and compassion of Jesus is the door through which the eternal love of the Father is poured out on the world.

          “Once we know the love that is in the Heart of Christ, we know that every individual, every family, every people on the face of the earth can place their trust in that Heart. From Old Testament times, the core of salvation history is God’s unfailing love and election, and our human answer to that love. Our faith is our response to God’s love and election.

          “Three hundred years have passed since December 8, 1698, when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered for the first time in what is now the City of St. Louis. It was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and Father Montigny, Father Davion and Father St. Cosme set up a stone altar on the banks of the Mississippi River and offered Mass. These three centuries have been a history of God's love poured out in this part of the United States, and a history of generous response to that love.

          “In this Archdiocese, the commandment of love has called forth an endless series of activities for which – today – we give thanks to our heavenly Father. St. Louis has been the Gateway to the West, but it has also been the gateway of great Christian witness and evangelical service. In fidelity to Christ's command to evangelize, the first pastor of this local Church, Bishop Joseph Rosati promoted outstanding missionary activity from the beginning. In fact, today we can count forty-six different Dioceses in the area which Bishop Rosati served.

          “In this area, numerous Religious Congregations of men and women have labored for the Gospel with exemplary dedication, generation after generation. Here can be found the American roots of the evangelizing efforts of the Legion of Mary and other associations of the lay apostolate. The work of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, made possible by the generous support of the people of this Archdiocese, is a real sharing in the Church’s response to Christ’s command to evangelize. From St. Louis, Cardinal Ritter sent the first priests to Latin America in 1956, giving practical expression to the exchange of gifts which should always be a part of the communion between the Churches.

          “Here, by the grace of God, charitable activities of every kind have been a vibrant part of Catholic life. The St. Vincent de Paul Society has had a privileged place in the Archdiocese from the beginning. Catholic Charities have for years performed exceptional work in the name of Jesus Christ. Outstanding Catholic health care services have shown the human face of the loving and compassionate Christ.

          “Catholic schools have proven to be of priceless value to generations of children, teaching them to know, love and serve God, and preparing them to take their place with responsibility in the community. Parents, teachers, pastors, administrators and entire parishes have sacrificed enormously to maintain the essential character of Catholic education as an authentic ministry of the Church and an evangelical service to the young. The goals of the Strategic Pastoral Plan of the Archdiocese – evangelization, conversion, stewardship, Catholic education, service to those in need – have a long tradition here.

          “Today, American Catholics are seriously challenged to know and cherish this immense heritage of holiness and service. Out of that heritage you must draw inspiration and strength for the new evangelization so urgently needed. In the holiness and service of St. Louis’s own St. Philippine Duchesne, and of countless faithful priests, religious and laity since the Church’s earliest days in this area, Catholic life has appeared in all its rich and varied splendor. Nothing less is asked of you today.

          “As the new evangelization unfolds, it must include a special emphasis on the family and the renewal of Christian marriage. In their primary mission of communicating love to each other, of being co-creators with God of human life, and of transmitting the love of God to their children, parents must know that they are fully supported by the Church and by society. The new evangelization must bring a fuller appreciation of the family as the primary and most vital foundation of society.  As the family goes, so goes the nation!

          “The new evangelization must also bring out the truth that ‘the Gospel of God's love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel’. As believers, how can we fail to see that abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are a terrible rejection of God’s gift of life and love? And as believers, how can we fail to feel the duty to surround the sick and those in distress with the warmth of our affection and the support that will help them always to embrace life?

          “The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life in every situation. A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.

          “The Gospel of God's love, which we are celebrating today, finds its highest expression in the Eucharist. In the Mass and in Eucharistic Adoration we meet the merciful love of God that passes through the Heart of Jesus Christ. In the name of Jesus, the Good Shepherd I wish to make an appeal – an appeal to Catholics throughout the United States and wherever my voice or words may reach – especially to those who for one reason or another are separated from the practice of their faith. Christ is seeking you out and inviting you back to the community of faith. Is this not the moment for you to experience the joy of returning to the Father’s house? In some cases there may still be obstacles to Eucharistic participation; in some cases there may be memories to be healed; in all cases there is the assurance of God's love and mercy.

          “Mary, Mother of Mercy, teach the people of St. Louis and of the United States to say yes to your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ!  Amen.”

Litany for the New Year

          What follows is the suggestion of one spiritual writer for a “Litany for the New Year”.  The prayer, I think, has the potential to be a catalyst for living in grace and peace each day in the new year of Our Lord 2020.

          The simple phrase, “I pray” can be repeated after each of the invocations.  They follow:  “For the grace to live in the present moment…  For the ability to recognize divine providence in what appears to be coincidence…  For the resolution to live by faith in the pursuit of happiness…  For the strength to honor all promises and commitments…  For a right use of time…  For wisdom to set proper priorities and schedules…  For thankfulness when offered a second chance…  For the will not to procrastinate…  For the insight to make new plans well and to follow them through faithfully…  For constancy in consecrating time to God each day…  For the discipline not to waste time…   For the courage to have hope in facing the future…  For freedom from rushing and from frantic activity…  For the grace to savor the gift of time…  That God will be the Lord of my mornings and of my nights…  For blessings on all new beginnings…”  Amen!

Heartfelt Thanks

          Now that the Christmas Season is concluded, one final time, I want to express a thank you and a thanks be to God for all who planned, coordinated, practiced, prepared or participated – in any way – in our celebration of the Birthday of Life and the Dawn of our salvation in Christ! The church was beautifully simple but elegant in the decorations. The Christmas Liturgies were prayerful and an experience of fitting worship. The Liturgical Music was exhilarating! The generous service of all who contributed in ways and roles behind the scenes was inspiring.

          Thank you also for your prayers and notes of encouragement that I have received during my absence.  Be assured that daily I pray for you and yours.

In Brief

          Yearend contribution statements will be mailed, as usual, to all households of record during the month of January. They will be mailed to the current address on file in the parish office. If you have had a change of address, but have not informed us, please do so by email at: Parish154@archstl.org or on the parish office voicemail at 314-421-3467.

Faithfully,
Monsignor Delaney