The Month of July 2024

Space Sanctified
            Bishop Ronald Gilmore is the retired bishop of Dodge City in Kansas.  He is known to be an insightful and inspiring writer on all that is good and holy.  He writes this about seeing “with the yes of our eyes”…
            “Place and Time: they are the water to the fish, and the air to the man. Where and When: they are a kind of atmosphere in which we ‘live, and move, and have our being.’
            “The Church thinks we need to do something with them, to bless them in some way, to make them holy. In doing that, she thinks, we set free some of that mysterious energy within them.
            “When I think of natural space, I commonly think of three directions: I think of up, I think of down, and I think of one thing beside another. These three things (these three where’s) tell me that in space there is order: that fearsome chaos does not cement me in place, and hold me here where I am. I can have a way of life, can move about from place to place, and build buildings, and change buildings when I want, and live in them.
            “When I think of divine and supernatural space, I find this same order yet again, but it is bathed in more mystery, this time.
            “Our Churches used to be built along the east to west direction of the sun’s course. They faced the east, the rising of the sun, and its rays ran right through them. They were built to hold his first rays and his last rays. ‘His?’ What the sun is for the natural world, Christ is for the supernatural world. For this reason, the course of the natural sun, the symbol of Christ, governed all sacred architecture and determined all its forms and arrangements. At every line and at every point, Eternal Life was in view.
            “For the reading of the Gospel, when I was a boy, the missal was moved from the right side of the altar to the left. Because the altar always faced the east, the missal was moved toward the north, therefore. As a matter of history, this was the very track of the original divine message: it spread slowly to the north from the Mediterranean region where it was born, and a subtle memory of that fact was always alive then in our churches.
            “The deeper symbolism here is that the south is ‘the’ region of light, the living divine illumination, even as the north was the dark and the cold. The Word of God, the Light of the World, gives body to the light, and shines upon the darkness and presses hard upon it, to make itself ‘comprehended.’ East to west, south to north.
            “The third direction is from the above to the down, from the below to the up. When he is preparing the Holy Sacrifice, the priest lifts up first the bread on the paten, and then the wine in the chalice. He lifts them ‘up’ because God is above all: he is the Most High. From ‘out of the depths,’ the priest lifts them up, and hands and eyes also, to the holy hills.
            “When he consecrates the objects to be blessed, the priest lifts them up to the consecrating God. Creation and blessing come down from above, from the Holy One on High. This third direction is the property of both soul and God: desire, prayer, sacrifice, they all ascend upward from below; grace, the granting of prayer, the sacraments, they all descend downward from above.
            “Those who worship face the rising sun, and turn their gaze on Christ, whom it symbolizes. The divine light streams westward into the heart of each believer. West to east is the soul’s orientation; east to west is the rising and the moving of God.
            “From the north the darkness looks toward the south and the light of the divine word; and from the fiery heart of the south the divine word streams north upon the darkness with its light and its warmth.
            “From beneath, out of the depths to the throne of God, the soul sends up her yearnings, prayers and sacrifices; from above, God’s response in grace, blessing, and sacrament spills down from on high.
            “In these ways, our Where becomes holy … for those with eyes to see.” 
…this far by faith
            The Diocese of St. Louis was formally established on July 18, 1826, by Pope Leo XII.  At that time the single Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas was thus divided to create the Diocese of New Orleans and the Diocese of Saint Louis. Bishop Joseph Rosati, C.M. was appointed Apostolic Administrator of both Dioceses until a new bishop could be installed in New Orleans. Due to the slow pace of news and mail travel, he did not learn of his new responsibility until November of that year.  Bishop Rosati, then, was not named Bishop of St. Louis until March 20, 1827. In 1843 Peter Richard Kenrick was named the second Bishop of St. Louis  
            On July 20, 1847, the Diocese of St. Louis was elevated to an Archdiocese by Pope Pius IX and Bishop Kenrick became the first Archbishop of St. Louis. He served for forty-eight years until 1895.  It was Archbishop Kenrick who founded the parish of St. John, Apostle & Evangelist, and for some twenty years in the late 1800’s used the church as his Pro-Cathedral.
            Archbishop Kenrick was succeeded by Archbishop John Kain. Poor health shortened his service which ended in 1903 with his death.
            In 1903 a young Bishop John Joseph Glennon of Kansas City was named third Archbishop of St. Louis and served for forty-three years.  It was during his service that the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis was built. In 1946 he was named a Cardinal by Pope Pius IX.  Enroute back to St. Louis from that ceremony in Rome Cardinal Glennon died while visiting his native Ireland.  
            In 1946 the young Archbishop of Indianapolis, Joseph Ritter was named to St. Louis.  He became the second Cardinal Archbishop of St. Louis in 1961, and died in 1967 just months shy of his seventy-fifth birthday. It was during his service that, in 1960, this Pro-Cathedral Church was renovated and restored.
            Cardinal Ritter was succeeded in 1968 by Cardinal John Carberry.  At the age of seventy-five he retired and was succeeded by Archbishop John May in 1980.  After his resignation in 1992, Archbishop Justin Rigali succeeded until his nomination, in 2003, as Archbishop of Philadelphia.  Archbishop Raymond Burke then became eighth Archbishop of St. Louis.  Following his appointment as an official in the Vatican, Archbishop Robert Carlson, in 2009, became ninth Archbishop of St. Louis.  After his seventy-fifth birthday in 2020 he was succeeded, as tenth Archbishop of St. Louis by Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski.
            As we celebrate the 198th anniversary of the founding of this local Church, it is an occasion for thanksgiving for grace abounding here.  The hymn refrain is apt, “We have come this far by faith…” So it is. So forward we move into the future that God has planned for us. 
“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.   
            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 28 June 2024, our gifts total $22,030. 
            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.  
            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. 
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 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, July 7th following the 10:00 Mass.  The conversation usually lasts about one hour.  Light refreshments are served.  All are welcome. 
In Brief
            On Saturday, June 15th, parishioners Will O’Shea and Eva Schuller celebrated 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 and all the sick and homebound, together with their care givers and loved ones.  
            We pray for long-time & faithful parishioners Joyce Sullivan and Madeline Burns, and 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