The Month of September 2020

My Friends,
          The following is from a homily given by Pope Emeritus Benedict on the occasion of an Episcopal Ordination celebrated on the feast of the three Archangels, September 29th.
“Dear Brothers and Sisters,
          “We are gathered together around the Lord's altar on an occasion both solemn and joyful: the Episcopal Ordination of six new Bishops.  We are celebrating this Episcopal Ordination on the Feast of the three Archangels who are mentioned by name in Scripture: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. What is an Angel? Sacred Scripture and the Church's tradition enable us to discern two aspects. On the one hand, the Angel is a creature who stands before God, oriented to God with his whole being. All three names of the Archangels end with the word ‘El’, which means ‘God’. God is inscribed in their names, in their nature. Their true nature is existing in his sight and for him. In this very way the second aspect that characterizes Angels is also explained: they are God's messengers. They bring God to men, they open heaven and thus open earth. The Angels speak to man of what constitutes his true being, of what in his life is so often concealed and buried. They bring him back to himself, touching him on God's behalf. In this sense, we human beings must also always return to being angels to one another - angels who turn people away from erroneous ways and direct them always, ever anew, to God.
          “We now look at the figures of the three Archangels. First of all there is Michael. We find him in Sacred Scripture above all in the Book of Daniel, in the Letter of the Apostle St Jude Thaddeus and in the Book of Revelation.
          “Two of this Archangel's roles become obvious in these texts. He defends the cause of God's oneness against the presumption of the dragon, the ‘ancient serpent’, as John calls it. The serpent's continuous effort is to make men believe that God must disappear so that they themselves may become important; that God impedes our freedom and, therefore, that we must rid ourselves of him.  Michael's other role, according to Scripture, is that of protector of the People of God.
          “We meet the Archangel Gabriel especially in the precious account of the annunciation to Mary of the Incarnation of God, as Luke tells it to us. Gabriel is the messenger of God's Incarnation. He knocks at Mary's door and, through him, God himself asks Mary for her ‘yes’ to the proposal to become the Mother of the Redeemer: of giving her human flesh to the eternal Word of God, to the Son of God.
          St Raphael is presented to us, above all in the Book of Tobit, as the Angel to whom is entrusted the task of healing. The Book of Tobit refers to two of the Archangel Raphael's emblematic tasks of healing. He heals the disturbed communion between a man and a woman. He heals their love. He drives out the demons who over and over again exhaust and destroy their love. He purifies the atmosphere between the two and gives them the ability to accept each other for ever. Secondly, the Book of Tobit speaks of the healing of sightless eyes. We all know how threatened we are today by blindness to God. How great is the danger that with all we know of material things and can do with them, we become blind to God's light. Healing this blindness through the message of faith and the witness of love is Raphael's service.”
Prayer Before Mass
          Come Holy Spirit and quiet my heart and my head, as I gather with my friends and neighbors to celebrate Mass. I am saint and sinner. Open my ears to Your words. Open my mouth in prayer and song. Open my eyes to see Your mystery in symbol and sign. Open my heart in love for You and my neighbor. Quiet the thoughts and distractions that will keep me from prayer. Strengthen me to take the Mass into my life this week. Amen.
“The Prayer Process”
          It is a good reference point for all who listen to that inner voice calling us to give time when we belong to God alone and when God knows that He has us all to Himself. Give the “The Prayer Process” a try, it might be just the right process for you.  It follows:
          1.  Gratitude:  Begin by thanking God in a personal dialogue for whatever you are most grateful today.  2.  Awareness: Revisit the times in the past 24 hours when you were and were not the-best-version-of-yourself.  Talk to God about these situations and what you learned from them.  3.  Significant Moments:  Identify something you experienced in the last 24 hours and explore what God might be trying to say to you through that event or person.  4.  Peace:  Ask God to forgive you for any wrong you have committed -- against yourself, another person, or Him -- and to fill you with a deep and abiding peace.  5.  Freedom:  Speak with God about how He is inviting you to change your life, so that you can experience the freedom to be the-best-version-of-yourself.  6.  Others:  Lift up to God anyone you feel called to pray for today, asking God to bless and guide them.  7.  End by praying, as Jesus taught us, the Our Father.
          Each year every pastor, by Church norms, is required to present to the Archbishop what is formally titled the “status animarum” of the parish.  Among other facets of this “state of the parish” are statistics detailing, simply, the numbers reflecting various aspects of parish life.  Numbers, of course, do not convey the whole picture of the life of a parish family.  They reflect one dimension of each of the 184 parishes in the eleven counties of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
          We have completed and submitted to Archbishop Carlson the “status animarum” for the parish family of the Pro Cathedral of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist.  With respect to “numbers” the following presents a snapshot of “us”!  As of 30 June 2020, there are 53 households in the parish with a total of 95 persons.  In the last fiscal year, from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, there were no infant Baptisms.  There were no First Communions or Confirmations.  During the last year there were two marriages celebrated at St. John’s.  And we offered here one Funeral Mass.
Heavenly Greeters
          From time to time people inquire about the images of the saintson either side of the center doors in the nave of the church.  Their positions make them heavenly greeters for all coming and going. 
          On the south side, the image is of St. Rita of Cascia who lived from 1377 – 1447 in Italy. Married and the mother of two sons, after they were raised and she had been widowed, St. Rita joined the convent, living out her life as an Augustinian nun.  For reasons no longer known, a special devotion to St. Rita developed in this parish. In its early days there were special observances here on May 22 which is her feast day. Because she lived a very difficult life she is known as the “saint of desperate situations”.
          The image on the north side is of St. Anthony of Padua who lived, also in Italy, from 1193 – 1231.  A Franciscan Friar, he was known for his preaching and service to the poor.  He is depicted holding the Bible and the child Jesus.  His feast is celebrated on June 13.  He is known as the “patron of the poor”.
In Brief
          We keep in prayer Don Barker, those ill with the Coronavirus and all in need of healing, as well as our homebound, that God give them strength, grace and peace.  We pray, too, that God keep a careful eye on their care-givers and loved-ones.
          We pray for Fr. Tom Cummings, SJ and Mary Louise Green, may they see God face to face now.

Monsignor Delaney