The Month of June 2018

My Friends,
“…the center and pattern of the life of the Church”
Our Holy Father Francis, recently, on the Feast of Corpus Christi --the Body and Blood of Christ -- celebrated Mass in Rome, followed by a mile-long Eucharistic Procession through the streets of Rome with thousands of people participating.  In his homily the Pope preached this about the meaning of the mystery of the Eucharist.  His words are provocative!

“Twice the Apostle Paul, writing to the community in Corinth, recalls this command of Jesus in his account of the institution of the Eucharist.  It is the oldest testimony we have to the words of Christ at the Last Supper.

“`Do this’.  That is, take bread, give thanks and break it; take the chalice, give thanks, and share it.  Jesus gives the command to repeat this action by which he instituted the memorial of his own Passover, and in so doing gives us his Body and his Blood.  This action reaches us today: it is the ‘doing’ of the Eucharist which always has Jesus as its subject, but which is made real through the hands, anointed by the Holy Spirit, of the priest.

“`Do this”.  Jesus on a previous occasion asked his disciples to ‘do’ what was so clear to him, in obedience to the will of the Father.  In the Gospel text this feast day, Jesus says to the disciples in front of the tired and hungry crowds: ‘Give them something to eat yourselves’.  Indeed, it is Jesus who blesses and breaks the loaves and provides sufficient food to satisfy the whole crowd, but it is the disciples who offer the five loaves and two fish.  Jesus wanted it this way: that, instead of sending the crowd away, the disciples would put at his disposal what little they had.  And there is another gesture: the pieces of bread, broken by the holy and venerable hands of Our Lord, pass into the poor hands of the disciples, who distribute these to the people.  This too is the disciples ‘doing’ with Jesus; with him they are able to ‘give them something to eat’.  Clearly this miracle was not intended merely to satisfy hunger for a day, but rather it signals what Christ wants to accomplish for the salvation of the whole human family, giving his own flesh and blood.  And yet this needs always to happen through those two small actions: offering the few loaves and fish which we have; receiving the bread broken by the hands of Jesus and giving it to all.

“Breaking: this is the other word explaining the meaning of those words: ‘Do this in remembrance of me’.  Jesus was broken; he is broken for us.  And he asks us to give ourselves, to break ourselves, as it were, for others.  This ‘breaking bread’ became the icon, the sign for recognizing Christ and Christians.  We think of Emmaus:  they knew him ‘in the breaking of the bread’.  We recall the first community of Jerusalem:  ‘They held steadfastly… to the breaking of the bread’.  From the outset it is the Eucharist which becomes the center and pattern of the life of the Church.  But we think also of all the saints – famous or anonymous – who have ‘broken’ themselves, their own life, in order to ‘give something to eat’ to their brothers and sisters.  How many mothers, how many fathers, together with the slices of bread they provide each day on the tables of their homes, have broken their hearts to let their children grow, and grow well!  How many Christians, as responsible citizens, have broken their own lives to defend the dignity of all, especially the poorest, the marginalized and those discriminated!  Where do they find the strength to do this?  It is in the Eucharist:  in the power of the Risen Lord’s love, who today too breaks bread for us and repeats: ‘Do this in remembrance of me’.

“May this celebration of the Eucharist, be a catalyst and an incentive for us to respond to Jesus’ command.  An action to commemorate him; an action to give food to the crowds of today; an act to break open our faith and our lives as a sign of Christ’s love for this city and for the whole world.”

Fathers Day
Thanks be to God for all whom, on June 17th, we celebrate on Father’s Day.  God give each of you best blessings!

We pray for fathers who have cooperated in the creation of life.  We pray for those, too, who live a kind of spiritual fatherhood, nurturing and encouraging life.  And we pray, with gratitude, for those who now see God face to face.  Finally we pray that there be healing and reconciliation and forgiveness in relationships that have been strained or broken.

“You Did It to Me”
The 2018 Annual Catholic Appeal in the Archdiocese of St. Louis is nearing its formal conclusion.  Each year, this is the one time I appeal for your generosity. I do so because your gift to the Appeal funds “people programs” that benefit one half million children & adults in our metropolitan community without regard to race or creed. The Appeal is inspired by the Gospel-words of Jesus: “whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters that you did to me”.

We have been challenged to meet this year, or surpass, our $41,650.00 gift of last year.  Last year, your generosity surpassed, by 172%, the “formula goal” set for us by the Appeal leadership!  We were first over goal among the South City Deanery parishes of the Archdiocese!

Our numbers are small, but your hearts are great.  The Appeal formally ended on Friday, June 1st. There is still a “grace period” during which gifts can still be contributed. As of today your gifts total just over $35,000 toward our $41,650 goal! We have, in my 16 years among you, never not met our goal!

Once Upon a Time
Many of you likely know that the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen, often cited as the most extraordinary preacher the Catholic Church in the United States has known, is a candidate for canonization as a saint.  You might not know, though, that Archbishop Sheen, a close personal friend of Monsignor Alfred Thomson, 12th pastor of the parish, preached twice in this church.

In 1947 Archbishop Sheen preached the homily at the Centennial Celebration of the establishment of the parish.  Then in 1951 he returned to preach at the Funeral Mass of his friend and pastor of this parish for 11 years, Monsignor Thomson.

The day might well come when we can say that, once upon a time, we have had, here, a saint among in our midst!

Monsignor Delaney