Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“Jesus said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’” – St. John 19:27
Saint Mary’s parish is your home, regardless of where you came from. Join your family as we celebrate our unity at our annual Parish Picnic, today, Sunday, May 5. (Please note that there is no 12:30pm or 5:00pm Mass on May 5 so that we can celebrate as a family.) At the end of the 11:00am bilingual Mass, we will make our annual Procession in honor of our Blessed Mother, Help of Christians, down Park Avenue and back to the church, where we will crown the statue of Mary to the left of the altar. This year the procession will include flags representing the heritage of all our parishioners and how the Church brings us together as one great witness. As we honor our Blessed Mother, let us learn through her help and intercession to incorporate her total and constant “Yes” to God’s will in our daily lives.
Afterward the procession and crowning, have fun! We’ll have great food, wonderful music, games, face painting, jump castles, and more!
So, why walk in a procession? With the cultural heritage of the United States being basically Calvinist, many people are uncomfortable with such a public display of faith. While that may be an earthly, non-religious sentiment, it is certainly not Catholic. We are actually commanded by Jesus to be public: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15; see also Matt 28:19-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8; and many other references). Far from “imposing our faith” on other people, it is an action meant to inspire. In our Jewish heritage, the Ark of the Covenant was carried in procession with music and even dancing (see 2 Samuel 6). Jesus entered in procession into Jerusalem. God Himself entered our world not in a merely spiritual sense, but in flesh and blood – specifically the Body and Blood of Jesus, which we are most privileged to receive every Sunday, even every day. The Incarnation of God the Son (literally, taking on flesh), has transformed our world. God acts to inspire and strengthen our faith through our human senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.
As I have mentioned many times, I realize that am a little biased in this respect. It was the visual and tactile Sign of the Cross that I saw from a fifth-grade boy that first inspired my interest in the Catholic faith. You never know the impact you might have on someone for the good. Again, it is absolutely true that we should never pray to be seen; but it’s ok to be seen praying.
Congratulations are in order to the fifty young men and women who received the holy Sacrament of Confirmation on 29 April, and the forty-three boys and girls who received their First Holy Communion on 4 May. Our First Communicants will be our special guests for our May Procession!
Let us pray for each other,