Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our summer marches on. People have been enjoying well-deserved vacations. We’ve enjoyed many visitors to Aiken and to St. Mary’s in particular. It’s hard to believe that in about a month, school will begin yet another new year. “Tempus fugit” my grandmother’s clock said – “Time flies.” It is good to take a pause and remind ourselves of the value and sacredness of time itself. This time is given to us as an invaluable gift. Let us learn to use it ever more wisely with the help of God’s grace from the gifts of His divine life within us – the Sacraments – to bring faith, hope, and love to our families, to our friends, to visitors and guests, and within ourselves. Time is precious and, except in movies alone, our experience of it marches one way only. Never wish time away – it never comes back. We must use each moment as a precious gift and value each soul as the priceless treasure he or she is.
Of course, one way to sanctify time is to join in the ancient practice of the Liturgy of the Hours. We are blessed at St. Mary’s to have this regularly on Mondays and Wednesdays, currently at 7:30 and 11:30am. (See the bulletin for the normal schedule, which resumes September 4.)
This Friday, July 26, please join us for Solemn Vespers (sung Evening Prayer) at 6:30pm in Old St. Mary’s. With this special celebration of the entire Aiken Deanery, we will commence our part in the bicentennial celebrations of the Diocese of Charleston. Two hundred years of proclaiming the Gospel as a diocese is a good start. Come and let’s pray for our future as a people focused on Jesus Christ and His saving message for all.
Many people have asked about the possibility of donating flowers for the altar. Currently, we have only had flowers for special feasts and celebrations. We’ve decided to do like many parishes and offer to allow parishioners to donate flowers in memory or in honor of loved ones or for personal, special occasions. See the bulletin for more details.
Very soon through a generous grant from Catholic Extension, our parish will welcome two religious sisters from the Order Hermanas del Corazón de Jesús Sacramentado – Sisters of the Sacramental Heart of Jesus. They will primarily minister to our Latino community. A third sister will be with them and will minister at Our Lady of Peace in North Augusta. They will live at the convent in between our parishes, situated at Our Lady of the Valley in Gloverville. We are blessed beyond measure to receive this grant and are excited to welcome these sisters. The grant covers nearly all costs with the remainder more than covered by fundraising by St. Mary’s Hispanic community. The idea behind the grant is that during the five years, these sisters will not only support the parish and form leaders, but they will be learning English, taking other courses, and refining their skills to take back to their country. Please pray for these sisters as they prepare to arrive.
And let us always pray for each other!