The Month of June 2024

My Friends,

 “…full of awe and mystery”
            Father Michael Rennier is a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  He is a convert to Roman Catholicism and had previously been an Anglican priest. He is married and is the father of six children.  Father Rennier is a respected author and effective preacher.  He writes a column for the St. Louis Review.  His reflection here on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is timely as we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi:
            “In a vision statement for the archdiocese, one quote stands out: ‘Pope Paul VI said it best: The world does not merely need teachers but witnesses.’
            “I frequently write about ‘growing up Catholic,’ by which I refer to the journey of discovery we’re all on to mature faith. As an adult convert, this has meant learning to actively engage with Catholic devotions and culture. It’s amazing how, over the years, the real, lived practice of the faith has deepened my love for Christ. It may be something as simple as learning about St. Nicholas and putting out shoes on his feast day, making Catholic friends who authentically embody their faith and have become examples to me, or shifting the way I experience the annual calendar to a cycle of feasts and fasts. All of these cultural and devotional practices, the faith incarnate in real people, have been a witness to me. They’re a signal fire, a beacon leading home to the heart of God.
            “We’re embodied creatures. The intellect is fed by the senses, so it’s important that we not only hear the faith but see, touch, taste and feel it. This is the theme of my book, ‘The Forgotten Language, How Recovering the Poetics of the Mass Will Change Our Lives.’  Our testimony to God’s creative love is to make our souls as beautiful as possible. By doing this, every aspect of our lives, everything we care about, is gathered into the greater story of God’s love.
            “Christian pilgrimage is a seeking out, a heroic adventure to discover the source of beauty and goodness and love. We desire knowledge of our beloved God. Knowledge of the faith isn’t only intellectual, as if it’s nothing more than an abstract idea. Yes, it’s vital to begin with correct knowledge, understanding the Scriptures and Catechism of the Catholic Church (and building that knowledge constantly), but we must put flesh to that knowledge.
            “Most of all, what drew me to Catholicism was the holy sacrifice of the Mass. This is where any discussion of the value of our personal witness begins. Evangelization begins with a beautiful, reverent Mass, unapologetic about the treasures of the Catholic liturgical tradition. The Mass isn’t a lecture; it’s adoration of the living God, a participation in Christ’s perfect sacrifice to our Father. We turn to our Father together and look to Him as one people. There is no greater display of the faith than this corporate action, full of awe and mystery.
            “When I was not Catholic, I searched places like the cathedral. I didn’t understand Catholicism, but simply by the reverent beauty of the Mass, I intuited that it was a sacred and transformative encounter with God. This encounter is what draws converts. It’s what drew me. I knelt before sacred beauty in wonder and awe and knew, just knew, that even if I didn’t know when or how, before I died, I was going to be Catholic.”
Deepening Faith
            Our St. John’s Faith Enrichment Group regularly meets on the first Sunday of the month, in the church hall, following the 10:00 o’clock Mass.  The group that gathers reflects the diversity of our members.
            The group was the genius of Dina Hyde and Phil & Cece Heslin. In conversation among themselves they expressed a desire to explore the riches of the Catholic faith.  They approached me about a way to do this.  That is how the Faith Enrichment Group was born. Dina has served as the convener of the group since its inception.
            Recently Dina, and her husband David, have decided to relocate to Carbondale, in Southern Illinois, where their daughter is pursuing a doctoral degree at the university there. God go with them and prosper their new beginning. I have asked Jeff McGee, now, to take on the convener role.
            The video series Catholicism by Bishop Robert Barron is the springboard for conversation on faith matters. Sessions so far have sparked engaging reflections by participants.  The next Faith  Enrichment Group meeting is Sunday, June 2nd following the 10:00 Mass.  The conversation usually lasts about one hour.  Light refreshments are served.  All are welcome.
June Tenth
            In the Archdiocese of St. Louis June 10th is notable.  It is a date related to three of the Archbishops of St. Louis.
            Cardinal Joseph Ritter, the fourth Archbishop of St. Louis, died suddenly on 10 June 1967, just weeks after celebrating the golden jubilee of his ordination as a priest. Cardinal Ritter is remembered for his landmark directive integrating the Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of St. Louis before the Supreme Court of the United States mandated the same for public schools in its landmark Brown v Board of Education decision.  Closer to home for us, it was Cardinal Ritter who oversaw the historic 1960 renovation and restoration of the Pro Cathedral of St. John, Apostle & Evangelist. His coat of arms is one of the three that appear in the ceiling of the church above the main aisle.
            More recently, Archbishop Robert Carlson was installed as ninth Archbishop of St. Louis on 10 June 2009.  Archbishop Carlson presided in 2010 at the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the 4 November 1860 dedication of the Pro Cathedral Church.
            Most recently, on 10 June 2020, Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski was installed as tenth Archbishop of St. Louis.  In 2022, Archbishop Rozanski presided at the demisemiseptcentennial celebration of the 1847 founding of St. John’s.
“You did it for me”
            Each year the Archdiocesan Annual Catholic Appeal funds people programs that serve over one half million children, women and men in our metropolitan community.  People of all faiths, and of no faith, benefit.  The homeless are provided shelter.  The hungry receive nutritious meals.  Women and children at-risk are afforded safe-haven and necessary care.  Senior citizens receive a continuum of needed services.  Disadvantaged children and teens are educated.  Those are only a few of the people programs made possible by the Appeal.
            By now you should have received a letter from Archbishop Rozanski, along with a pledge card, asking your generous support for the 2024 Annual Catholic Appeal.  You should have received a letter from me, too, with specific participation details for our Pro-Cathedral family.
            There are two goals set for us and for all by the Archdiocesan Appeal leadership.  One is calculated according to a standard formula. Our formula goal is $6,933.  The other goal is a challenge to meet the total of our gifts to the 2023 Annual Catholic Appeal last year.  Our challenge goal is $26,625.  In my almost twenty-two years among you, we have never not reached goal.  As of 24 May 2024, our gifts total $18,625.
            Please return your pledge card, with your gift, in the envelope that was enclosed with the Archbishop’s mailing. The last date for gifts is Friday, August 16, 2024.  If you have misplaced the pledge card from Archbishop Rozanski, please contact the rectory.  We will be happy to provide a replacement card with a postage paid return envelope to you.  As the Appeal nears its conclusion, we will send a follow-up reminder to those who might have forgotten, or not yet had chance to respond with a gift to the Appeal.
            For the Annual Catholic Appeal each year I ask that you be as generous to God, and the works of God, as God has been generous to you.  Your gift, then, will be the right one.  I am grateful.  Archbishop Rozanski is grateful.  All those who benefit from your generosity are most grateful.
In Brief
            We welcome Christopher Elliott to the Pro-Cathedral family.  Thanks be to God who builds us up!
            On Saturday, June 15th, parishioners Will O’Shea and Eva Schuller will celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage here.  God bless the new beginning they begin and make them to be a blessing in the lives of others.
            We keep in prayer Margaret Czapla, Jeannie Mouser, Madeline Burns and all the sick and homebound, together with their care givers and loved ones.  We pray for Joyce Sullivan, a long time pillar of this parish family and for Frank Huml, father of Dina Hyde that they see God now face to face.  We pray also for all deceased members of our St. John’s Pro-Cathedral family that they see God face to face now, and their families and friends experience grace & peace.

Monsignor Delaney