Today is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. This feast did not exist for the first three and a half centuries of Christianity. The chronology of dating it 40 days after Easter originated with the scripture passage from the Acts of the Apostles (the only place in scripture “40 days” is mentioned). The Church traditionally celebrated Ascension “Thursday” because of that. When celebrated on a Thursday, it is a holy day of obligation. The Gospels differ in their accounts as to the “time line.” In Luke, the Ascension appears to have taken place earlier, as early as Easter Day. The original ending of Mark’s Gospel did not include the account of the Ascension at all, but it can be inferred from the conclusion of Matthew’s Gospel. Today we hear the longer (added) ending to Mark’s Gospel which mentions the Ascension, Jesus being taken up to heaven and seated at the right hand of God. Jesus commissions his disciples, and gives them instructions concerning their mission. They are to proclaim the Gospel to every creature. They are told that whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. That commission was not only for the disciples but for every one of us who follow Jesus today. Evangelization is key to what it means to be Church. Without evangelization going on in our parishes, they will not survive. We need to ask ourselves how we at Saint John Paul II Parish can share in the mission of Jesus, the work of making disciples.
Welcome, Father Richard! This weekend Father Richard Jozwiak and Father Jim Bessert are exchanging places so that Father Jim will be free to do a “Teaching Mass” at Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in Vassar. Father Richard is the sacramental minister in Vassar. I know that many of you know him and will extend to him a most warm welcome.
As of this Monday, May 18, Morning Prayer will begin at 8:30 AM per request of those who gather for the rosary. There was a lengthy time gap for those praying the rosary who wished to remain for Morning Prayer. So, as of this Monday, Morning Prayer will begin at 8:30 AM. (at the main parish church) as do all other morning liturgies throughout the week. Please join us for Morning Prayer on Mondays if you are able.
Evening Prayer with the Worship Commission will take place at 6:30 PM this Tuesday, May 19 at the Saint John the Baptist Church site. You are invited to join us. Tuesday Evening Masses will resume on May 26. Evening Mass will be celebrated on the following Tuesdays of June: June 2, 9, and 16th. We will celebrate Evening Prayer again on June 23. There will be no evening liturgy on Tuesday, June 30. All are invited to attend the second annual Freedom Mass at Holy Family Church in Saginaw that evening (June 30) at 6:30 PM.
Don’t forget to submit your Pastoral Council Nominations for Selection. Nominations are due by Wednesday, May 20. There was a misprint on the date in last week’s bulletin. Please see the nomination form in today’s bulletin if you wish to submit a parishioner’s name. All those whose names are submitted will receive a phone call to see if they are willing to accept nomination.
On Sunday, June 7, we will be honoring our parish graduates. The graduates h to be part of the Entrance Procession and some of them will be taking part in the various liturgical ministries. They and their families have received invitations to attend breakfast especially prepared for them after the 9:30 AM Mass.
As I mentioned last week, please consider wearing red next Sunday to help create a festive atmosphere for Pentecost.
Blessings on these final Easter days!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ