A Message from Father William

This Sunday, at an 11:30am Mass, 24 members of our parish family will receive their First Holy Communion (there are actually 26 children in our First Holy Communion class; one received his First Holy Communion earlier this year; another will receive her First Holy Communion later this year). We pray that this is 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 all our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, where Jesus Christ offered the first Holy Eucharist ever – worldwide, Catholic Christians will contribute to a second collection for them in all parishes (this would have occurred on Good Friday this year, but due to the pandemic, we did not have a public Good Friday Commemoration). For all of our intentions, let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to join us in our prayers, as we celebrated her birthday this past week, September 8th. Mary, Mother of our Savior, Mother of the Eucharist, Mother of Mercy, pray for us. As the saints eternally praise God in Heaven (Revelation 7; Colossians 1), and we join them in prayers, may Mary always intercede for us and keep us close to her Son, Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of the world.

This Sunday, as in every Mass, Jesus Christ makes present His one sacrifice, His Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension, in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. In light of this celebration, please read the following essay from Father Paul V. 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,
Fr. William Vernon