Candles, A Martyr, and Committing Your Life to God,
Jan 27, 2019
It has been forty days since Christmas and so on Saturday the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. According to Luke’s gospel this is the day that Mary and Joseph brought the infant Jesus into the Temple for the first time. They came to the Temple to offer the humblest sacrifices, two turtledoves, with two purposes in mind. Mary came to be purified after giving birth to Jesus. Jesus was brought because as a first-born son, they needed to offer a sacrifice to redeem him as required by the Law. Luke’s gospel also tells us that two holy people, Simeone and Anna were the first to recognize Jesus’ greatness when he came into the Temple. They astonished Jesus’ parents when they both prophesied that Jesus would become someone very special to God.
Since February 2, holds such significance in regards to Jesus being committed to serve God. It was long celebrated as the day new candidates to the Religious Life were accepted into convents and monasteries. For many years it was a favorite day for ordinations to the priesthood too. In 1997, St. John Paul II instituted February 2, as World Day for Consecrated Life. Today pray for vocations to the consecrated life. Please pray for all those who have made commitments in the consecrated life, and be sure to thank them on their special day. May they continue to be inspired by Jesus Christ and respond generously to God's gift of their vocation.
Since it was at his Presentation that Jesus was first recognized as the light of the world. The Feast of the Presentation is often referred to as Candlemas Day. It is the day to bless candles for use throughout the year. We will be blessing candles at Masses today. Each family is welcome to take one candle home with them. It is a good pious practice to light the candle on birthdays, anniversaries of baptisms and marriages too. Some people like to light it during storms or other times when we might be anxious. Help yourself to a candle on your way out of Mass.
Finally, Sunday is the Feast of St. Blasé. Since he is the saint who is called upon to help protect us from aliments of the throat. The traditional throats blessing will be invoked at the end of Masses. Here is a little story about St. Blasé found online at the Franciscan Media website.
Saint Blaise’s Story
We know more about the devotion to Saint Blaise by Christians around the world than we know about the saint himself. His feast is observed as a holy day in some Eastern Churches. In 1222, the Council of Oxford prohibited servile labor in England on Blaise’s feast day. The Germans and Slavs hold him in special honor, and for decades many United States Catholics have sought the annual Saint Blaise blessing for their throats.
We know that Bishop Blaise was martyred in his episcopal city of Sebastea, Armenia, in 316. The legendary Acts of St. Blaise were written 400 years later. According to them Blaise was a good bishop, working hard to encourage the spiritual and physical health of his people. Although the Edict of Toleration (311), granting freedom of worship in the Roman Empire, was already five years old, persecution still raged in Armenia. Blaise was apparently forced to flee to the back country. There he lived as a hermit in solitude and prayer, but he made friends with the wild animals. One day a group of hunters seeking wild animals for the amphitheater stumbled upon Blaise’s cave. They were first surprised and then frightened. The bishop was kneeling in prayer surrounded by patiently waiting wolves, lions and bears.
The legend has it that as the hunters hauled Blaise off to prison, a mother came with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. At Blaise’s command the child was able to cough up the bone.
Agricolaus, governor of Cappadocia, tried to persuade Blaise to sacrifice to pagan idols. The first time Blaise refused, he was beaten. The next time he was suspended from a tree and his flesh torn with iron combs or rakes. Finally, he was beheaded.
Black and Indian Missions Collection This Weekend
Today the annual Collection for Black and Indian Missions will be taken up as a second collection. This collection dates all the way back to 1884 when it was first mandated by the III Plenary Council at Baltimore. The funds are distributed as grants to diocese throughout the United States supporting and strengthening evangelization programs among these two groups. Please be generous to this collection.
Parish Summer Fun-raiser
Tentative plans are underway for a parish summer fun-raiser to be held on Sunday, August 25, 2019. That is the Sunday closest to the anniversary of the first dedication of Holy Redeemer Church back in 1916. The Woman’s Club and Knights of Columbus are onboard. We plan to have music, food and a raffle as part of the event. It is meant to be an opportunity for parishioners to get together for fellowship and fun as the last days of the summer wind down. We will need quite a bit of help so come to the next planning meeting on Sunday, February 17, 2019, at 4PM in the parish center.
Two Retreat Experiences for Men
Diocese of Fall River Vocation Office Discernment Retreat Weekend
The Diocese of Fall River Vocation Office is hosting a discernment weekend for Men ages 18-45 at the Betania II Spiritual Life and Marian Center, 154 Summer St. Medway, MA from Friday February 22 to Sunday February 24. If interested, please contact Fr. Jack Schrader at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-695-6161.
“Everybody Dies-but not everyone Lives!”
The Diocese of Fall River Office of Faith Formation is offering a retreat for men at the Sacred Hearts Retreat Center 226 Great Neck Road, Wareham the weekend of February 8-10, 2019. The theme of the retreat is living strategies for a full live. Retreat leaders are Ernie Collamati & Deacon Bruce Bonneau. Space is limited to 25 reteatants and the cost is $165. To register call Deacon Bonneau at 508-678-2828 Ext. 13 or email: email@example.com.
Fall River Diocese Women & Men’s Conference
Reserve Saturday, March 9, 2019, so you can attend the 2019 Fall River Women and Men’s Conference to be held at Stonehill College, N. Easton. The theme of this year’s conference is Living in the Light of Hope. Conference presenters will include Bishop Robert Reed from the CatholicTV Network, Scripture scholar and author Dr. Mary Healy from Detroit’s Sacred Heart Seminary and Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann, author and host from Salt+Light Media of Canada. The day will conclude with Mass celebrated by Bishop Edgar da Cunha. A dozen parishioners attended last year’s conference. Some of them got their picture taken with Bishop da Cunha and ended up on the cover of his pastoral letter. The parish is planning to hire transportation again this year so you need not worry about driving. More information will be coming later in the month.
Wednesday Communion Services for Next Few Months
Fr. George Bellenoit, who covers daily Mass for Fr. Sullivan’s day off on Wednesdays, will be a “snowbird” for the months of February and March. In his absence Deacon Joe Mador will be conducting Communion Services on Wednesday.
A Southern Holiday for Fr. Sullivan Next Week
Fr. Sullivan will be on a week’s vacation at Hilton Head, SC next weekend. Fr. Tom Lopes, a retired priest of the diocese will be filling in for him. Please welcome Fr. Tom.