Today is the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. It is also World Marriage Day. World Marriage Day is an observance sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, associated with the Catholic Marriage Encounter movement and observed on the second Sunday of February each year. Its purpose is declared to be as follows: "World Marriage Day honors husband and wife as the foundation of the family, the basic unit of society. It salutes the beauty of their faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in daily married life.” Today (Sunday evening), Bishop Cistone will be presiding at the 5:30 pm Eucharist at Saint Brigid of Kildare Church in Midland. Those celebrating a significant anniversary will be recognized. Today, throughout the Church, we acknowledge all married couples and express our appreciation to them for their vocation within the Church. We pray for their continued fidelity to one another as they reflect to all of us God’s self-giving love in their lives.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is with James and John and goes to the house of Simon (Peter) and Andrew. While there, he cures Simon’s mother-in-law. This is one of the rare instances when Jesus performs a cure in a private setting. He is not among the crowds as we often hear, but he is ministering to a family. However, by evening the crowds are bringing to the door of the house all who are ill or possessed by demons. Jesus cures them, and then departs for a deserted place by early morning. As we reflect upon this Gospel further, let us ask ourselves in what ways we are in need of healing from Jesus. Where will we find him – perhaps in the very midst of our own homes?
This weekend Father Jim presents Part II of the Teaching Mass. Please note, that once again he has provided us with some supplemental materials in today’s bulletin. There are two inserts entitled: Believe, Celebrate, Live the Eucharist. The first is subtitled The Liturgy of the Eucharist and the second is subtitled The Communion Rite. There is a third insert subtitled Sending which will be included in next week’s bulletin.
There is a new addition to the baptismal font: a copper bowl which has replaced the plastic bowl that previously held the blessed water. A number of parishioners on different occasions had expressed a concern that the baptismal water, even though clear, looked cloudy through the plastic bowl that held the water. (Even though it was cleaned and replaced a few times, it never seemed to help the situation). The question was raised as to how we could enhance the dignity of the font. It was suggested that the Art & Environment Committee of the Worship Commission come up with some suggestions. One of the committee members noted that Saint Matthew Church had a copper bowl that might work well with the font. So, last week it was brought here and we discovered that it fits very nicely into the font, and complements both the colors in the marble of the font and the brass of the paschal candle stand. Therefore, the plastic bowl has been replaced by the copper bowl from Saint Matthew Church.
If you have not yet signed up to help with making paczki or taking part in the preparations for the Paczki Sale, please highly consider doing so. Call the Parish Office this week if you have not made a commitment and find that you are able to offer any time, even if only a couple of hours. We need many hands to make this project a success. It is a very profitable fundraiser for the parish. Anyone who works may designate the proceeds for the time they work to go directly to the parish, or to supplement the budgets of the Worship Commission, the Christian Service Commission, the Education Commission, or the Rosary Altar Society.
Next Sunday, February 15, my mom will celebrate her 89th birthday. Our family has reserved a small dining room at the Nursing Home that afternoon beginning at 2:00 pm so that we can have a special celebration with her. So, I will be heading to Woodhaven after the 9:30 am Mass next Sunday in order to spend time with my mom (and my family) on her birthday.
Lent begins a week from Wednesday. Our Ash Wednesday liturgies at Saint John Paul II Parish are: 8:30 AM Mass at the Saint Josaphat Church Site and 7:00 PM Mass at the Saint Matthew Church Site.
This Lent we will have many opportunities for spiritual enrichment not only within our parish but also within the Vicariate. We are partnering with the Vicariate in two areas: A Six Week Lenten Series called A Pilgrimage of Prayer on the Wednesdays of Lent in which we will share a soup supper and celebrate a different prayer form at a different church each week. In early December, a group of pastors and pastoral administrators met with Father Ron Wagner to coordinate efforts and plan this pilgrimage of prayer. This is some of what he has to say about it. “One of the things I worked on before I went away was a Lenten series on PRAYER. I was able to have four other parishes join me in this effort. It’s called “A Pilgrimage of Prayer”, where we will travel to six different churches to experience six different types of prayer. On that journey during the Wednesdays of Lent, we will be fed by a soup supper and then experience Centering Prayer, Contemplative Prayer, Scriptural Prayer, Meditative Prayer, Liturgical Prayer and finally Devotional Prayer. Our Catholic Church has a vast storehouse of ways to approach God in prayer. While most of the ways of prayer that you’ll experience on the pilgrimage will be familiar to you, some may surprise you. There is an ancient notion of pilgrimage that will be important for us to invoke. People used to walk to sacred places in search of experiences of God. They often found that what was happening to them on the journey was as important as what they found at the destinations. I hope that will be the same experience for us.”
The second way in which we are partnering this Lenten Season is by celebrating the Communal Rite of Penance in four different Church locations in our Vicariate. We just finalized those dates this past week at a meeting with the pastoral leadership of seven parishes in our Vicariate. You will be receiving a flyer with all the Lenten Prayer and Spiritual Enrichment Opportunities by next Sunday. I am sure you will find something any day of the week which may meet your spiritual needs.
Don’t forget to pick up your Little Black books after Mass today. The reflections begin next Sunday (the Sunday before Lent). There will also be Little Purple booklets available for the children of the parish.
Have a blessed week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ