The Month of August 2022

My Friends,

Amazement before the Paschal Mystery…

On 29 June 2022 our Holy Father Francis offered a probing reflection on the meaning and mystery of our celebration of the Eucharist. The reflection takes its title “I have desired…” from the Lord’s words, as St. Luke records them, at the Last Supper; “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” In some parts the reflection is almost poetic. Its images are vivid. I encourage your reflective reading of just these words:

“If there were lacking our astonishment at the fact that the paschal mystery is rendered present in the concreteness of sacramental signs, we would truly risk being impermeable to the ocean of grace that floods every celebration. The encounter with God is not the fruit of an individual interior searching for Him, but it is an event given. We can encounter God through the new fact of the Incarnation that reaches in the Last Supper the extreme point of his desiring to be consumed by us.

“When I speak of astonishment at the paschal mystery, I do not at all intend to refer to what at times seems to me to be meant by the vague expression ‘sense of mystery’. Sometimes this is among the presumed chief accusations against the liturgical reform. It is said that the sense of mystery has been removed from the celebration. The astonishment or wonder of which I speak is not some sort of being overcome in the face of an obscure reality or a mysterious rite. It is, on the contrary, marveling at the fact that the salvific plan of God has been revealed in the paschal deed of Jesus, and the power of this paschal deed continues to reach us in the celebration of the ‘mysteries’, of the sacraments. It is still true that the fullness of revelation has, in respect to our human finitude, an abundance that transcends us and will find its fulfilment at the end of time when the Lord will return. But if the astonishment is of the right kind, then there is no risk that the otherness of God’s presence will not be perceived, even within the closeness that the Incarnation intends. Beauty, just like truth, always engenders wonder, and when these are referred to the mystery of God, they lead to adoration.

“Knowledge of the mystery of Christ, the decisive question for our lives, does not consist in a mental assimilation of some idea but in real existential engagement with his person. Liturgy is not about ‘knowledge,’ Liturgy is about praise, about rendering thanks for the Passover of the Son whose power reaches our lives. The celebration concerns the reality of our being docile to the action of the Spirit who operates through it until Christ be formed in us. The full extent of our formation is our conformation to Christ. It does not have to do with an abstract mental process, but with becoming Him. This is the purpose for which the Spirit is given, whose action is always and only to confect the Body of Christ. It is that way with the Eucharistic bread, and with every one of the baptized called to become always more and more that which was received as a gift in Baptism; namely, being a member of the Body of Christ. Pope St. Leo the Great writes, ‘Our participation in the Body and Blood of Christ has no other end than to make us become that which we eat.’”

All Things New

As the All Things New pastoral planning process for the future of the Archdiocese of St. Louis continues, pastors of our 179 parishes, and the Key Parish Leaders in each, have received the results of the Disciple Maker Index survey. About 60% of Catholics in the Archdiocese completed the DMI. Nearly 100% of our parish family did so! These results are detailed and consider both the strengths we count and the challenges that are ours. Our Key Parish Leaders, Dan O’Brien, John McGuire, Nettie Moore, Phil Heslin and Sandy Morris have studied these

with me in detail. Soon a summary of these will be available to you. Along with it, you will be invited, also, to suggest priorities for evangelization and social outreach.

In mid-August, the Archdiocesan leadership will present to the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, and to the priests of the Archdiocese, a first draft of parish and school models for each planning region. There are to be several possible configurations for each area of the Archdiocese. There will be an opportunity for feedback on the possibilities under consideration. Then in late-September these will be presented to our Key Parish Leaders. Their feedback, too, will be considered.

Following on this, our Archdiocesan leadership will take all of this feedback input and use it to revise the possible plans. Then in October and November the draft plans will be presented at listening sessions for the planning areas in each part the Archdiocese. These will again show – this time to everyone who wishes to participate – the various revised plans being considered, in each planning area, for parishes and schools. At the listening sessions participants will be invited to offer feedback about the possibilities.

We are in planning area three. It is comprised of these parishes: the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, the Old Cathedral, St. Cronan, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Mary of Victories, Sts. Peter and Paul, St. Joseph – Croatian, St. Francis de Sales, St. Wenceslaus, St. Cecilia, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Pius V, Resurrection of Our Lord, St. John the Baptist, St. Stephen Protomartyr, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Margaret of Scotland.

With all the feedback from these listening sessions in hand, the Archdiocesan leadership will then use the winter of 2022-2023 to discern, revise, and refine the plan. It will then be presented to Archbishop Rozanski. On 28 May 2023, Pentecost Sunday, he will publish the final plan. During the following summer, then, we will begin the implementation of the plan.

From the outset prayer for wisdom and right judgement in the All Things New planning process has been the bedrock of this initiative. Continue to join your prayers with those of all in the archdiocese that God inspire All Things New so that the Church of St. Louis will be vibrant and vital now and always!

“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. These are only a few of the people programs made possible by the Appeal.

At present our gifts total $24,063.00 toward a challenge goal of $26,050. Gifts have come from almost 60% of our parish family. Last year our gifts totaled $26,048, given by 67% of our parish family. We have two first time donors toward the assigned goal of three.

As the 2022 Appeal nears its conclusion, I encourage any of you who have not yet made a gift to do so. I ask simply 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. All those who benefit from your generosity will be most grateful!

In Brief

The feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, on August 15th, falls this year on a Monday. For that reason it is not a Holyday of Obligation. Masses will be celebrated on the feast at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, the Old Cathedral and St. Francis Xavier (College) Church. Times are listed on their website.

During these Covid pandemic times, in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the option of receiving Holy Communion from the chalice has been suspended. Some weeks ago Archbishop Rozanski suggested to pastors that, at their discretion, this option could now be restored. At this time when Covid diagnoses, especially of the BA 5 variant, in the metro area are on an uptick, and out of a continuing abundance of caution for the good health of all here, it has seemed to me still too early to do so. Hopefully the day will not be long in coming when we can confidently resume the practice.

Our church parking lot has been leased to S&H Parking, one the major downtown parking vendors, for special event and some limited monthly parking for many years. St. Louis Blues hockey games and concerts at the Enterprise Center and Stifel Opera House are some of these events. The monthly income from this arrangement is a reliable source of our operating revenue. The lease is currently being renegotiated taking into account the completion of the new soccer stadium just west of us, and the additional special event parking which will be possible. I am grateful to the staff our Archdiocesan Office of Building and Real Estate Office for coordinating this.

We keep in prayer Murry Velasco and Lubertha Bartee, and all the sick and homebound that God keep a careful eye on them.

          Monsignor Delaney