My Dear Parishioners,
Happy Catholic Schools Week! Thank you to Mr. D’Andrea, our principal, and all of his teachers, staff, and volunteers. Thank you also to our parishioners. Without your support of Catholic education, we could not fulfill this part of our mission as church. Our school is a real blessing to our families. It is a true community where we are, “Focused on Faith and Learning.” We continue to celebrate that SJR was named a National Blue Ribbon School of excellence. This is quite an accomplishment. Our Mission Statement reads: St. Joseph/St. Robert School (SJR), with Jesus as our foundation and inspiration, prepares students to live fully His message of love, courage, and compassion. Our philosophy of academic rigor and relevance prepares our students to be contributing members of the Church and the global community. All are invited to check out the good things happening at our school by coming to our Open House, Sunday, Jan. 26th from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Last Saturday, when the roads were rather icy, the church and rectory lost electrical power around 5:00 p.m. (Some have reported that a car accident took out a power line, but I do not know.) We waited in the dark, in church till 5:30 p.m., but because the power was still off, we had to cancel Mass. It would simply have been too dangerous to celebrate the vigil in the dark. I apologize to anyone who was inconvenienced. The power was eventually restored by 6:40 p.m. Now that we are experiencing challenging weather, it is especially important to be considerate of others when parking. If parking in the nearest lot, please park end to end, and do not prevent others from joining us by blocking the exterior lanes. The few minutes you save assuring a speedy exit ends up frustrating numerous people and taking away from their Sunday celebration.
Pope Francis has designated this Sunday as, Word of God Sunday. I found the following from Vatican News on the website, www.vatican.va.
Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, Motu proprio “Aperuit illis”, published on 30 September, establishes that “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God”. The timing of the document is significant: 30 September is the Feast of Saint Jerome, the man who translated most of the Bible into Latin, and who famously said: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”. This year also marks 1600 years since his death.
The title of the document, “Aperuit illis”, is equally important. They are its opening words, taken from St Luke’s Gospel, where the Evangelist describes how the Risen Jesus appeared to His disciples, and how “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”. Recalling the importance given by the Second Vatican Council to rediscovering Sacred Scripture for the life of the Church, Pope Francis says he wrote this Apostolic Letter in response to requests from the
faithful around the world to celebrate the Sunday of the Word of God.
In the Motu proprio (literally, “of his own initiative”), Pope Francis declares that “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God”. This is more than a temporal coincidence, he explains: the celebration has “ecumenical value, since the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity”.
Pope Francis invites local communities to find ways to “mark this Sunday with a certain solemnity”. He suggest that the sacred text be enthroned “in order to focus the attention of the assembly on the normative value of God’s Word”. In highlighting the proclamation of the Word of the Lord, it would be appropriate “to emphasize in the homily the honour that it is due”, writes the Pope. “Pastors can also find ways of giving a Bible, or one of its books, to the entire assembly as a way of showing the importance of learning how to read, appreciate and pray daily with Sacred Scripture”.
The Bible is not meant for a privileged few, continues Pope Francis. It belongs “to those called to hear its message and to recognize themselves in its words”. The Bible cannot be monopolized or restricted to select groups either, he writes, because it is “the book of the Lord’s people, who, in listening to it, move from dispersion and division towards unity”. You can read the rest of the article, or the Pope’s letter on the website. You can also go to http://www.odwphiladelphia.org/home-page/news/ for more information.
May God Bless You,