Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
August 10th marked eight years since I came to St. Mary’s as your pastor. When I arrived, I was immediately impressed by the warmth and devotion of the faithful here. The loving support that you have shown me personally over the past few weeks has only increased my admiration for the good people of this parish. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all who have expressed their prayers and support. I could not be more grateful. It’s time now to get back into the mission. Saint Mary’s is a large parish with many wonderful ministries and opportunities to deepen our faith in Jesus Christ. Let’s dive back into the mission with renewed dedication and enthusiasm for what Christ has called us to do – to learn how to be a saint. So, let’s do it…
Don’t forget this Thursday, August 15, is a beloved Holy Day of Obligation, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Masses will be Aug. 14 (Vigil) at 5:30pm in the church and 7:00pm (Spanish) in Old St. Mary’s; the Aug. 15 at 7:00am in Old St. Mary’s; and 12:00pm & 5:30pm in the church.
This is the most ancient feast dedicated to the Virgin Mary. We even share the same date with the Eastern Orthodox Churches, which shows just how old this feast is. In the Assumption, we celebrate the goodness of Christ to Mary, whom He took to heaven, body and soul, at the end of the course of her earthly/biological life. This prefigures our own resurrection at the end of all things when all of God’s saints will receive a glorified body, just as Jesus did at the Resurrection. Saint Paul reminds us of this: “He will change our lowly body to conform with His glorified body by the power that enables Him also to bring all things into subjection to Himself” (Philippians 3:21). Having been immaculately conceived, it follows that Mary would not suffer the corruption of the grave, which is a consequence of sin (cf. Gen. 3:17, 19).
“By contemplating Mary in heavenly glory, we understand that the earth is not the definitive homeland for us either, and that if we live with our gaze fixed on eternal goods, we will one day share in this same glory, and the earth will become more beautiful. Consequently, we must not lose our serenity and peace even amid the thousands of daily difficulties.” (Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, August 16, 2006)
Very soon our weekly religious education – CCD – will begin its new year. As always, we depend on selfless volunteers who are willing to dedicate their time and talent to teaching our wonderful faith to the next generation. We have need for teachers for grades 1, 5, and possibly 5K. Also, there are varying levels of commitment that might work for you: Weekly teachers, class sharing, teacher aide, occasional helpers, etc. Please contact Mary Ellen Jackson at 803-642-2676 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
As always, stand firm in faith, and let us pray for each other.
Yours in our Lord and our Lady,