Happy 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. The pictures and video are from last week. Today I watched the New England Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills!
Last Sunday before heading to Lawrence, I went for a hike in the Lowell/Dracut Sate Forest with Father Christopher Wallace.
Henry David Thoreau said, “An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” Our walk was in the afternoon, so it was at least a blessing for the rest of the day.
Walks are good for the day–Sunday Mass is a blessing for the whole week!
After the hike we met up with Father Eric Cadin and went to Lawrence for some cultural events.
First, we went to the Three Saints Festival. Cardinal Seán celebrated Mass there earlier in the day. Check out Cardinal Seán’s blog for his reflections and some great photos! Below is the Cardinal’s history of the saints:
The festival is named for three ancient martyrs during the persecutions of Christians in 3rd century Imperial Rome, Sts. Alfio, Filadelfo and Cirino.
The three were brothers from a noble Christian family in southern Italy. During the persecution, the three refused to renounce their faith but, because they were nobles the emperor didn’t kill them straight away but tried different methods to persuade them. Eventually, he lost patience and sent them to the governor of Sicily in the city of Lentini to be tortured. Along the way, they passed through Trecastagni, the village where many people in Lawrence have roots. Even under the governor’s torture the three refused to apostatize and they were eventually martyred. St. Alfio, the oldest and most outspoken, had his tongue torn out; St. Filadelfo was burned on a grill and St. Cirino was boiled in oil.
These three martyrs have had a very large impact on the religious life of the people of Sicily. In Trecastagni, the celebration has been observed for more than 500 years. It has been 90 years that they been observing the feast in Lawrence.
Also, be sure to peruse Cardinal Seán’s pastoral letter, “Jesus’ Eager Desire: Our Participation in the Sunday Mass.”
It is good for us to celebrate the memory of the saints because their example tells us how to live the Christian life. More important than their example, however, is their intercession for us from heaven. We should all have favorite saints that we turn to when we need help.
Above is a “phone video,” which is my first (shaky) upload to YouTube.
Second, we went to Saint Anthony of the Desert Maronite Church for their Mahrajan. The Mahrajan is a celebration of their Lebanese culture and Maronite Catholic faith. The Maronite Rite is one of the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church. While we were there, they referred to us as “Latin priests” because we are a part of the Roman or Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. I am thankful to the pastor there, Monsignor Peter Azar, for his hospitality.
Finally, we ended the evening with a visit to the Blessed Sacrament at Saint Mary of the Assumption Church. There is nothing more beautiful for us to lay eyes upon than the Sacred Host–either at Mass or at adoration.
The Sunday Rest requires two activities: worship and recreation. Worship takes place anytime the Church’s liturgy is celebrated. The principle expression of this is the Sunday Eucharist. Our participation at Mass is not passive. We need to fully, actively, and consciously participate in the Sunday Mass. A good way to do this is to review and pray with the readings and prayers of the Mass before hearing them at Mass.
The second activity implicit in the Sunday Rest is recreation. This requires rest from servile labor. Recreation comes in many forms. The key is that both our souls and bodies should be re-created. Whatever activities one enjoys (afternoon siestas included!), he or she should leave with more energy to undertake the tasks of the week.
The first precept of the Church as stated in #2042 the Catechism of the Catholic Church reads: “You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.” This respects man’s need to worship God as well as his need to periodically rest from labor. People miss the mark when they make Sunday a total day of leisure without a thought of worshiping God. I think people always worship regardless of whether or not they attend any sort of worship service–it just so happens that when we don’t make time for the God of heaven and earth, we end up worshipping various sorts of false gods or idles of our own making. Redemption only comes from the Trinitarian God, anything else leaves us unredeemed and unhappy.
See you at Mass next Sunday!