Commemorating the Winter Ember Days
Dec 3, 2018
In September I shared with parishioners my intention to observe the seasonal Ember Days as my own personal time of fasting and prayer in reparation for the clergy sexual abuse scandal. Ember Days are an ancient Christian practice of marking the change of each of the seasons with three days of fasting and prayer. This year the winter Ember Days are Wednesday, Friday and Saturday during the week after St. Lucy’s Day which is on December 13. So, this year the Ember Days are December 19, 21, 22.
Ember days have a rich history in the liturgical life of the Church. They date back to as early as the 4th Century. In the reforms after the Second Vatican Council the celebration of Ember Days put to the discretion of the local bishops and their observance is optional here in our country. Historically the Ember days are observed by fast and abstinence. The faithful are asked to limit consumption of meat to one regular meal on Wednesday and Saturday and to abstain completely from meat on Friday. They are also requested to fast by consuming one full meal and two smaller meals during the day for each of the Ember days.
As the Church continues to deal with the effects of the clergy abuse scandal, I intend to use the observance of the Ember Days as my personal time of prayer and fasting in reparation for the suffering of its victims and to ask the Holy Spirit to purging of the Church from the sins of abuse.
I recognize that it is my personal choice to observe the Ember days as days of fasting and prayer for the clergy abuse scandal but I would like to invite parishioners to do the same. I feel that as Jesus told his disciples really dreadful demons such as the abuse of children and other vulnerable people can only be driven out of our society with the help of fasting and prayer.
As a public way of marking the Ember days I would like to invite those parishioners who would like to join me in a Holy Hour on Friday, December 21, 2018, at 3:00 PM. The Holy Hour will include Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, some reflection on the Penitential Psalms and Benediction. I hope you will join us.
In February Pope Francis will be meeting with bishops from throughout the world to formulate a policy to prevent sexual abuse and hold those responsible for it accountable. This policy will be applicable for the Church throughout the world. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance for Pope Francis and those planning this meeting so that they will formulate a response that ends sexual abuse once and for all.
Financial Transparency Improvements
The Anchor, the Diocese of Fall River’s official newspaper, reported in its November 16, 2018, issue that the diocese has made great strides over the last year in regards to its financial transparency. Voice of the Faithful, a Catholic watchdog group rated the diocese as eight most improved in its reporting on financial matters. Voice of the Faithful believes that proper accountability in financial matters is a must in response to the sexual abuse scandal. It says that when dioceses are financially accountable it is much more difficult to hide transactions such as secret abuse settlements.
In the Anchor article Bishop da Cunha acknowledged that one of the reasons the Fall River Diocese showed such great improvement was that it was so low in the past. Last year saw the diocese complete the first comprehensive financial audit of its finances in its over 100-year history.
The Voice of the Faithful reviewed each diocese asking ten questions. Each question was given a rating of from 5 to 15 points. A perfect score was 60 points. This year’s score for the diocese was 43 compared to only 22 last year. Fall River lost points with regards to its explanation of the diocesan assessment and contact information regarding the business office. It also lost quite a few points with zero ratings on two questions. One was regarding whether parish financial guidelines are posted and whether detailed collection and counting procedures are posted. Kevin Kelley, vice chairman of the diocesan finance council pledged to continue to make improvements to accountability and hopefully get a perfect score.
With the help of the parish finance council I’ve been working to make Holy Redeemers finances as transparent as possible. The parish website www.holyredeemerchatham.org has last year’s financial statement posted on it. There is also a statement for the July-September quarter. We will be posting quarterly statements on a regular basis. The statements and other financial data can be accessed on the website by clicking on the “About Us” tab. On the drop-down menu click on Finance Committee. There are pictures and short biographies of the committee members there. On the sidebar you will see Parish Finance Committee Report. Click that tab and you have access to the reports along with some pictures showing how donations to our Annual Collection are being spent. If you have any questions regarding parish finances please don’t hesitate to ask a Finance Council Member of contact the Parish Office 508-945-0677.
Retired Religious Collection
This weekend the second collection will be for the Retired Religious Fund. Many parishioners tell me of the years of Catholic education they had the privilege of receiving in their youth and young adulthood. Many of their teachers were religious sisters, brothers and priests who received very modest salaries and are now retired and elderly. They need our support at the end of their lives. Please remembered the retired religious who were so helpful to so many and be generous to this weekend’s collection for retire sisters, brothers and priests.
Follow Us on Facebook
If you’re a social media devotee you can follow parish activities on our Facebook. More and more parishioners are accessing the page and also “Liking Us”. Why not do the same.
End of the Year Parish Donations
Many people need to take an end of the year distribution from a 401K, IRA or other such funds. It is often advantageous for tax purposes to make a charitable donation of some of these funds. If you find yourself in such a situation please consider a gift to Holy Redeemer Parish.
Knights of Columbus Donate to Parish
Thank you to Pope St. Paul VI Knights of Columbus Council who recently made an end of the year $2,000 charitable donation to Holy Redeemer Parish for Religious Education and charitable purposes. Pope Paul VI Council serves Holy Redeemer, Holy Trinity, Harwich and Our Lady of the Cape, Brewster. Their generosity is appreciated.
As part of our parish evangelization efforts the parish is sending a post card to invite everyone covered by the Chatham, S. Chatham, W. Chatham and N. Chatham Post Offices to Christmas Masses. Be on the lookout for the cards in you mail this week. Maybe share one with a person you would like to invite to Mass on the holy day.