My Dear Parishioners,
Today is Pentecost, when we celebrate the Holy Spirit coming upon the disciples of Jesus, as He promised, to guide them and be with them until the end of time. The Holy Spirit is technically identified as a “Procession” from the Father and Son. This means that the Spirit was not created but rather proceeds from the love of Father and Son. It is a fine example of how divine love is dynamic and fruitful. It is so strong that it bursts forth with another person of the Holy Trinity. Today is also identified as the birthday of the church.
On Monday, the church will celebrate a rather recent Obligatory Memorial of Mary, the Mother of the Church. The title of Mother of the Church has been bestowed on the Blessed Virgin Mary because she gave birth to Christ, the Head of the Church, and became Mother of the redeemed before her Son gave up his spirit on the Cross. Pope Saint Paul VI solemnly confirmed the same title in an address given to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council on November 21, 1964 and established that “by this sweetest of names the whole Christian people should henceforth give still greater honor to the Mother of God.” The Catholic News Service reported on their website, “The new feast day, which will be celebrated annually the day after Pentecost, was announced in a March 3 (2018) decree by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. The decree said the pope approved the celebration because he thought it might “encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety.” I believe that it is fitting and appropriate since we identify Pentecost as the birth of the church, that we honor Mary as the mother of the church on the day following its birth.
This Monday we also celebrate Memorial Day. Our honoring of Mary, the Mother of the Church in no way is meant to lessen the significance of honoring the memory of those who served our country. The website www.usmemorialday.org says that it is a day of remembrance for those who died serving our country. Originally called Decoration Day, it was first established as a way to honor those who died in the Civil War. The date May 30, 1868 was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. After World War I, the holiday was designated as a day to honor Americans who died in any war. Later the date was changed to the last Monday in May.
I know that traditionally this is the “unofficial start” of the summer season, but let’s not forget the reason for the holiday. Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn 15:13). He not only said it, He did it. We are grateful for the service and sacrifice of all those who died serving our great country. Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine on them. May the Souls of all the Faithful Departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in Peace. Amen.
May God Bless you,