The Month of April 2022

My Friends,

The grace to be amazed

          Reflecting on the mystery of our redemption in Christ as we celebrate it during Holy Week, Pope Francis encourages us to be amazed at the wondrous love of God for us in Jesus Christ.  These are the words of our Holy Father:

          “Let us ask for the grace to be amazed. A Christian life without amazement becomes drab and dreary.  How can we talk about the joy of meeting Jesus, unless we are daily astonished and amazed by his love, which brings us forgiveness and the possibility of a new beginning?  When faith no longer experiences amazement, it grows dull: it becomes blind to the wonders of grace; it can no longer taste the Bread of life and hear the Word; it can no longer perceive the beauty of our brothers and sisters and the gift of creation. It has no other course than to take refuge in legalisms, in clericalisms and in all these things that Jesus condemns in chapter 23 of the Gospel of Matthew.

          “During Holy Week, let us lift our eyes to the cross, in order to receive the grace of amazement. As St. Francis of Assisi contemplated the crucified Lord, he was amazed that his friars did not weep. What about us? Can we still be moved by God’s love? Have we lost the ability to be amazed by him? Why?

          “Let us start over from amazement. Let us gaze upon Jesus on the cross and say to him: ‘Lord, how much you love me! How precious I am to you!’ Let us be amazed by Jesus so that we can start living again, for the grandeur of life lies not in possessions and promotions, but in realizing that we are loved.”

The Great Week

          Hopefully the weeks of Lent have been good for you, and your fasting, prayer and works of mercy are fixing your focus on all that really matters here and hereafter!  It is not too early, now, to look forward to the culmination of this great season of grace, Holy Week / Triduum / Easter, when we celebrate the mystery of our redemption in Christ. 

          In those blessed days we don't just reenact the events of the dying and rising of Jesus Christ.  In the dynamism of the Holy Spirit we are drawn into that saving mystery transforming us to be still more Alive in Christ.  The schedule for our celebration of Holy Week / Triduum / Easter is on page three of this parish bulletin.  It is available online and on the parish website, as well..

          As the days of these pandemic times wane, and we can resume a semblance of life in the before-times, during the days of the Great Week, hopefully we can again pray together in person.  Please God!

Nearly one hundred percent!

          The All Things New strategic pastoral planning process of the Archdiocese of St. Louis continues.  I have written and spoken about it for several weeks now.  Every parish in the Archdiocese is participating.  Everybody is encouraged to have a voice.  The endpoint of the process is to best configure the Church of St. Louis for mission and ministry, in the name of Jesus Christ, through the year 2050.  The strategic planning process is, in part, a response to fewer numbers of priests in the Archdiocese as the largest ordination classes of the 1970's and 1980's reach retirement age.  There are far fewer numbers of young priests available to succeed us.  The process, too, is a response to the changing demographics of the Archdiocese. Significantly fewer numbers of people live in the city and inner ring of St. Louis County, while areas like St. Charles County and Jefferson County experience exponential growth.  Archbishop Rozanki has, from the outset, emphasized that prayer for wisdom and insight is the vital underpinning for the process.  So may it be.

          One important way that you are invited to participate in All Things New is through the Disciple Maker Index survey available to all in the Archdiocese.  It will gather information about parish life that will be important in determining the way forward.  It takes about 15 minutes to complete.  Thanks to all of you in our parish family who have so far completed the survey.  As of today the report to me from the Archdiocese indicates that we have nearly 100% participation!  Fifty two online surveys have been completed!  The norm of participation that the leadership of the Archdiocese hopes to realize is something under 50%!  The parish family of the Pro Cathedral of St. John, Apostle & Evangelist, yet again, does not disappoint. 

          The deadline for completing the survey is April 4, 2022.  If you have not yet done so, please complete the Disciple Maker Index soon!  If you prefer a paper copy rather than the online version of the survey do not hesitate to request one.  They are available after Masses each week or by mail.  The link for St. John's parishioners to complete the survey online is:

https://portal.catholicleaders.org/d/y3ak63

          Know of my gratitude for your participation in All Things New, and for all that each of you does for the good of us all!

Extraordinary generosity

          For a number of years our parish family has been the beneficiary of the extraordinary generosity of an anonymous benefactor.  She is not a parishioner.  She simply has a great appreciation for the Pro Cathedral and its mission and ministry. Recently we received the gift for this year.  It is in the amount of $40,000.00. 

          This extraordinary generosity each year contributes significantly to our financial stability.  Because of it we have supported our mission and ministry without drawing on our reserve funds.

           I have expressed our gratitude to the benefactor for so generously including us as a recipient of her generosity.  Join me in offering a prayer of thanksgiving for her goodness.

“Silence…”

          It is well known that Pope Francis has an intense devotion to St. Joseph.  On his office desk there is a beautiful porcelain image of the foster-father of Jesus.  The Holy Father speaks, too, of a similar image on the nightstand beside his bed. The Holy Father has a fondness for the image of the foster father of Jesus as a man of silence.  The Pope encourages us, too, to cultivate that blessed capacity.  He offers this prayer:

          “Saint Joseph, man of silence, you who in the Gospel did not utter a single word, teach us to fast from vain words, to rediscover the value of words that edify, encourage, console and support. Be close to those who suffer from words that hurt, like slander and backbiting, and help us always to match words with deeds. Amen.”

The venerable patrimony of the Archdiocese

          In the late 1800’s, Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick, second Bishop / first Archbishop of St. Louis, became dissatisfied with the original St. Louis Cathedral located on the riverfront. The neighborhood had become disreputable. The building was not suitable. The new Cathedral on Lindell Boulevard was still a dream. The Archbishop designated St. John’s as the pro-cathedral of the Archdiocese. His home was across from the front plaza, on what was then 16th Street.          While it served as Archbishop Kenrick’s Cathedral Church, four priests were consecrated bishops here. The first was Father John Hogan in 1868, to be Bishop of Kansas City. Then in 1872, Father Patrick Ryan, the pastor of St. John’s, was consecrated and became Archbishop of Philadelphia. Father Thomas Bonacum was consecrated in 1887 to be Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1888, Father John Hennessy was consecrated and sent to serve as Bishop of Wichita.

          That those sacred and solemn celebrations took place in St. John’s are yet another reason that the church is part of the venerable patrimony of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Here grace has been abounding. So may it be for a long time to come.

                                                                                                    In Brief

          After her passing on 22 March 2022, we pray for Carol Touchette that she sees God now face to face. Carol and Tom are long time pillars of this parish family.  They were among the first people I met when I began my service here almost twenty years ago.  For many years Carol coordinated the decoration of the church for Christmas and Easter.  Tom has long and faithfully chaired our participation in the Archdiocesan Annual Catholic Appeal.

          We will celebrate a Memorial Mass for Carol here on Easter Saturday, 23 April 2022 at 11:00 AM.  Beforehand there will be a time for visitation with Tom and family.  God give them grace and peace.

          We pray, too, for Margaret Shea, sister of Mers Clifford, that she now rests in peace in the company of God’s holy ones.

          Monsignor Delaney