The Gregorian Mission: Compassion and Surrender

08-29-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Francisco Oñate-Vargas

Dear St. Mary’s family,

I am very happy to announce that this week Fr. Wilson is coming back to St. Mary’s after spending a 30-day intensive retreat in Florida. Please join me in welcoming Fr. Wilson. We can’t wait to hear about his experience during this time of prayer and reflection.

This is the 22nd Sunday in ordinary time and on Friday, we celebrate the memory of St. Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the church. Pope Saint Gregory I, also known as the Great, was the Pope of the Catholic Church between 590 and 604 AD. Gregory's family was very wealthy. Gregory was well educated and excelled in all his studies. He also became an expert in law.

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Confidence in God

08-29-2021Year of St. Joseph

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen: The fundamental disposition of St. Joseph’s soul was one of complete confidence and abandonment to God, which had its source in his faith.

“Complete confidence and abandonment to God.” This is difficult, especially in difficult and confusing times. How can we strengthen our faith and our trust in God in every situation?

The Just Man

08-22-2021Year of St. Joseph

Pope Pius XI: [St. Joseph] won for himself the title of “The Just Man,” and thus serves as a living model of that Christian justice which should reign in social life. (Matt 1:19)

To think about: One definition of justice is giving a person what is by right his. We usually hear “justice” in terms of “social justice” which focuses on the poor and disenfranchised. But we are called to be just in all parts of life, and, most importantly, in our relationship with God. We owe God our love and submission. The following dialogue occurs in the preface in the Mass. Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. Response: It is right and just. Priest: It is truly right and just, our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

That dialogue gives us much food for thought. How do we give God the honor he deserves? What does it mean to be just to our spouse, children, employer or employee? How can St. Joseph be a model of this for us?

The True Israelite

08-22-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Francisco Oñate-Vargas

Dear St. Mary’s family,

Fr. Wilson has been on retreat for about 3 weeks and the great news is that, in a just over a week he is returning home. We pray for his safe return and St. Mary’s family gladly welcomes him back.

We are on the 21st week in ordinary time and on Tuesday the church celebrates the feast of the apostle Saint Bartholomew.

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The Assumption, An Event of Love

08-15-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Francisco Oñate-Vargas

Dear St. Mary’s family,

Fr. Wilson is still on his 30-day intensive Ignatian retreat in Florida. Please continue to keep Fr. Wilson in your prayers. He is greatly missed.

This week, on Sunday, we have a special celebration: The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Assumption is the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life. This belief is part of the treasury of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of Anglicanism. The Assumption is referred as the Dormition of the Theotokos (Greek word meaning “God bearer”). Catholic Teaching and the Sense of the Faithful The Catholic Church teaches as dogma that the Virgin Mary “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” Pope Pius XII dogmatically defined this doctrine on November 1, 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, while exercising papal infallibility. The dogmatic declaration that the Assumption was part of the “deposit of faith” for all Catholics was just the formal declaration of what the faithful already believed and practiced.

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Beloved of God

08-15-2021Year of St. Joseph

St. Lawrence of Brindisi: As that former Joseph was the beloved of this father [Gen 37:2], so this Joseph is the beloved of God.

To think about: Like Joseph, we are all beloved of God. What does it mean, that each of us is the beloved of God? After they have their first child, often mothers and fathers will remark that they didn’t even imagine that they could love someone so much or that they would be willing to give so much to someone. God loves each of us infinitely more that that. Consider God’s love - what is our response?

Shadow of God

08-08-2021Year of St. Joseph

Fr. Frederick Faber: Fr. Faber called Joseph “the one chosen shadow of God upon earth” in the hymn O Blessed St. Joseph.

To think about: What an interesting phrase “the one chosen shadow of God.” Our shadow goes where we go (always staying right with us), is shaped like us, and does not draw attention to itself. What might Fr. Faber have been thinking of when he wrote that phrase? How is Joseph the shadow of God? How can we be shadows of God?

God Is With You Always...and So am I

08-08-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Francisco Oñate-Vargas

Dear St. Mary’s family,

Let’s continue to keep Fr. Wilson in our prayers for a fruitful and meaningful retreat.

We are on the 19th week in ordinary time. On Tuesday, the church celebrates the feast of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr. St. Lawrence was a deacon in the early Church, not a priest. The word deacon comes from the Greek word "diakonia," which means service. Deacons of the early Church often helped widows, orphans, the poor and the elderly. We are all called to be servants, so if there is someone elderly in your family try to do something nice for them today. If not, make a donation to the poor box, pay a visit to a local nursing home and cheer someone up and don't forget to pray for those who live in less developed countries.

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See You In September

08-01-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On Monday, I depart for the 30-day Ignatian retreat that I have been writing about. Due to the nature of the retreat — silent and intense — I will not be taking calls or answering email or texts for the duration of the retreat – August 2 through September 3. But I will not leave you orphans! You will be in the very capable hands of Fr. Francisco graciously assisted by Msgr. Willie. I am thankful to them since without them I would not be able to do this retreat. I am also extremely grateful to you, dear parishioners, because it is your generosity and support also that allows me to be away.

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United

08-01-2021Year of St. Joseph

St. Francis de Sales: “To be just is, indeed, to be perfectly united to the Divine Will, and to be always confirmed to it in all sort of events, whether prosperous or adverse. That St. Joseph was this, no one can doubt.”

To think about: Accepting God’s will in the trials and difficulties of life is hard. But we need to always remember that God is in charge.

Joy in the Eucharist

07-25-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We enjoyed having our summer seminarian, Pete O’Steen, with us. Please keep Pete and all of our seminarians in your prayers. Below my column, you will find a note to you from Pete.

Next Monday, August 2, I leave to begin the 30-day Ignatian retreat. It’s pretty intense. Our daily routine will consist of: Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, five prayer periods of at least one hour each, and a meeting with the retreat director for about thirty minutes. I might need a retreat after the retreat! Our retreat director is now not able to come to S.C., so, the four of us are going to him at a retreat center not too far from Tampa, Florida. I return the weekend of September 4/5.

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Models of Love & Service

07-25-2021Year of St. Joseph

Blessed Gabriele Allegra: “Fathers and mothers of families have in St. Joseph and St. Anne models of love and service to the Queen of Heaven.”

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Totally Yours

07-18-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This weekend, Pete O’Steen, our summer seminarian, finishes his time with us. It’s been a real pleasure to have Pete here at St. Mary’s. Please continue to pray for Pete as he enters his second year of major theology. Please also pray for all our seminarians and for more holy vocations to the priesthood.

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Graceful Stewards

07-18-2021Year of St. Joseph

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade: “The Eternal Father shares with St. Joseph the authority which he has over the Incarnate Word, just as God shared with Adam his authority over creatures.”

To think about: We all have authority over something. It might be over our children or workers in our job, or it might be “just” things such as your house or car. All these people and things have been given to each of us from the Lord to care for in His name; we are stewards. Do we care for those people under us and the things we own as God (who has the true authority) would want us to?

Arrivals and Departures

07-11-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We give a very warm “welcome back!” to Fr. Francisco, who has returned from his well-deserved vacation. Time away with faith, family, and friends is very important for everyone, priests included. As Fr. Francisco arrives home, our friend Msgr. Willie will be taking a few days away back in New York. We pray for safe travels for both!

This week, July 12-16, I will be away for a priests’ conference in West Virginia, sponsored by the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Participants will enjoy presentations from biblical greats such as Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. John Bergsma, and Dr. Ralph Martin.

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Model of Humility

07-11-2021Year of St. Joseph

Pope Blessed Paul VI: “St. Joseph is the model of those humble ones that Christianity raises up to great destinies.”

To think about: We all know people who seem unimportant to the world, but they made a big difference in our lives. Think about some of these people and how they helped you. All the people we meet every day – as well as everyone in our family, and ourselves – have great destinies. God has given each of us a mission. Think about the great things the “regular” people in your life have done, and remember those people in your prayers.

Workmen

07-04-2021Year of St. Joseph

Pope St. John Paul II: At the workbench where he plied his trade, together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of redemption.

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Summertime in the Parish

07-04-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Since Independence Day falls on Sunday this year, daily Mass for Monday, July 5, will be at its normal time of 5:30pm, preceded by confessions at 4:45pm.

Father Francisco continues his well-deserved vacation, visiting family and friends in Mexico. Please continue to pray that he has a relaxing time away. Father returns July 12.

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