This past Sunday, at the 9:30am Mass, twenty-one members of our parish family
received their First Holy Communion. We pray that this was the first of many Holy
Communions for these wonderful young people from our parish school and religious
education program. Let us also pray this weekend for mothers as we celebrate Mother’s Day on May 12th, thanking God and praying for all our moms, living and deceased. Let us also pray in thanksgiving to God for our new bishop, the Most Rev. Donald J. Hying, appointed by Pope Francis on April 25th as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Madison, to be installed June 25th. For all these intentions, let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to join us in our prayers. Mary, Mother of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Mother of the Eucharist, Mother of Mercy, pray for us. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. May Mary always intercede for us and keep us close to her Son, Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of the world.
This Sunday, in the prayers of the Mass and in the Gospel ( John 10:27-30), we read
about Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for His sheep. His sacrifice
gave life to His sheep and brought them back to the fold. His one sacrifice is made
present at every Mass, in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. In light of this celebration,
please read the following essay from Father Paul Mankowski, SJ:
The sacristy is the room adjoining the main space of the church in which the priest
vests himself for Mass. Often in a sacristy one sees a wall plaque or poster with this
message: “O Priest of God, celebrate this Mass as if it were your first Mass, as if it were your last Mass, as if it were your only Mass.” The words are helpful in pointing out that, if he’s not careful, a priest can grow inattentive to the significance of what takes place on the altar. Himself reminded of the true importance of the Eucharist, the priest is more likely to celebrate with the devoutness it deserves.
Yet the fact is that each member of the laity will also have a Last Mass. It may come
sooner, it may come later; but for each of us the day will arrive on which we will have
taken part in the Eucharist for the last time. So the admonition has a force beyond the
priest-celebrant. If we knew tomorrow’s Mass would be our last, would we do things
differently from usual? How would we prepare ourselves? How would we dress? How
carefully would we listen to the readings and prayers? With what attitude would we
approach the altar to receive Communion?
Most of us, perhaps, would pay attention to things we hadn’t noticed before, and many
of us would find that there is much more going on at Mass than we had realized. No
aspect of the liturgy is without its own purpose and meaning. The words, the colors, the bows and genuflections, the washing of hands and cleansing of vessels, the position of the hands in prayer, the elevations, the bells and even the silences all have a particular ritual significance.
And we might also pay more attention to ourselves, so as to shake off that spiritual
laziness to which all but the greatest saints occasionally fall victim. Can you remember anything about the Scriptures read at the last Mass you attended? If it were your Last Mass Ever, you would. “Stay awake,” says Jesus to each of us, “for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13). His first Eucharist was, and is, His only one.
With peace and prayers in Christ,