That there are two focuses of prayer? According to Saint John Damascene, “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” The first focus is the raising up of our heart and mind to God. Here we focus on and think about God, a truly meditative form or prayer. We put ourselves in the presence of God, acknowledging God’s presence, and the simple fact that without God we are nothing, for God is the creator. The second focus is the requesting of good things from God, and this comes in the form of petition and asking. This can be for ourselves or for others, known as intercessory prayer or intercessions. We must never underestimate the power of prayer!
This is our faith. This is what we believe!
That Christ, whole and entire, body, blood, soul and divinity, is present in each of the species of bread and wine? Due to this undisputable fact, we can receive either the Holy Eucharist or the Precious Blood by itself, and know with certainty that we have received His body and blood, the whole and entire Christ. The Catechism reaffirms this by stating that ‘since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharist
grace’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, article #1390). By the virtue of the sacrament and the virtue of concomitance (the virtue that unites the body and blood, and likewise the blood to the body, for they can never be separated), the living Christ is present in each species. We, the faithful, that receive this beautiful sacrament often and regularly, should never feel deprived when only one species is distributed, for we are receiving the whole Christ.
This is our faith, this is what we believe!
That the Feast of Corpus Christi, also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, celebrates the real presence of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the elements of the Eucharist? This is powerful for us as Catholics! While the host still has the appearance of bread, we believe that it truly is the body of Jesus Christ, and that while the wine still has the appearance of wine, we believe that it is the blood of Christ. This is all made possible through the eyes of faith, by the power of the Holy Spirit. This feast was proposed by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church to Pope Urban IV, in order to create a feast focused solely on the Holy Eucharist, emphasizing the joy of the Eucharist being the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. It is with joy that we begin to gather once again as a
community of believers, for something has been missing from our lives these past three plus months – the real presence of Christ, welcomed into our hearts and soul through Holy Communion.
This is our faith; this is what we believe!
That the only thing that distinguishes the Three Person of the Trinity is the “relation of origin?” The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 255 highlights for us that: the Father is related to the Son; the Son is related to the Father; and the Holy Spirit is related to both. This is the only means of distinction, for we believe in 3 persons in 1 God. Trinity Sunday is a wonderful reminder for us of the love that is shared among the 3 persons of the Trinity and how we, as daughters and sons of God, are drawn in to share in this love. This is by far one of the greatest mysteries of our faith, one that we will never fully understand in this life. Yet one day, when we are in the presence of our God and Saviour in heaven, we will be able to embrace this magnificent mystery.
This is our faith, this is what we believe!
That Pentecost is the “fiftieth” day at the end of the seven weeks following Passover? At the first Pentecost after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was manifested, given and communicated as a divine Person to the Church, fulfilling the pascal mystery of Christ according to his promise (Catechism of the Catholic Church - CCC). Annually the Church celebrates the memory of the Pentecost event as the beginning of the new “age of the Church,” when Christ lives and acts in and with his Church (CCC, 1076). We receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit at our Confirmation. Do you remember your Confirmation? The Bishop who confirmed you? This is / was a beautiful day for us when we received these gifts – gifts that are to be used by us each and every day. When you are in need of knowledge, courage, understanding and so on, simply pray “Come, Holy Spirit!” We are crying out to God – the third person of the Trinity for help. Be prepared to be amazed! This is our faith!
That the prayer Hail Mary is known in Latin as the Ave Maria. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that the first part of the prayer praises God for the gifts he gave to Mary as Mother of the Redeemer; the second part seeks her maternal intercession for the members of the Body of Christ, the Church,
of which she is the Mother. Hail Mary, or Rejoice, Mary, the greeting of the angel Gabriel opens this prayer. It is God himself who, through his angel as intermediary, greet Mary. Our prayer dares to take up this greeting to Mary with the regard God had for the lowliness of his humble servant and to exult in the joy he finds in her (CCC, 2676). It is so important that we take are prayers and petitions to our Blessed Mother, Mary. She is a powerful intercessor who intercedes on our behalf to her son, Jesus. Whether it be one Hail
Mary or the entire rosary, embrace this prayer as we abandon ourselves to the will of God as we unite our prayers together with her: “Thy will be done.”
Mary, pray for us!
That the origin of Mother's Day goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans? However the roots of Mother's Day can also be traced back in the United Kingdom where a Mothering Sunday was celebrated before it reached Canada. The day is meant as a day to thank all Mothers. To thank them for the gift of life, their love, their support, and for, quite simply, being a
Mother. Our faith also teaches us that we are still united to our Mothers who have gone before us to be with God. It is through prayer that we can communicate with our Mothers, all those that have gone before us, and our
God. We can also seek comfort knowing, again through faith, that our Mothers are united to us, for they too are praying for us here on earth while we continue our earthly journey. By praying to our Mothers in heaven, and to the
Virgin Mother Mary, they take all of our prayers to the feet the Jesus, who takes them to our loving God. We can also seek comfort in our faith with the knowledge that when our journey on earth ends, we will be reunited with
them in heaven, where they are very much alive. On this Mother’s Day, let us give thanks for the precious gift of our Mothers, and may God bless each of them abundantly, today and always.
That Confirmation strengthens the work of the Holy Spirit begun in Baptism? While the majority of us received this sacrament many years ago, it is always good to remind ourselves of the significance of this beautiful sacrament. If you are like me, I appreciate the spiritual significance of it now more than at the time it was conferred upon me, likely because I have grown in my faith. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism by a special outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which seal or “confirm” the baptized in union with Christ and equip them for active participation in the worship and apostolic life of the Church. Through the anointing with oil, the “sacred chrism”, Confirmation confers a seal upon the recipient. Why a seal? A seal is a symbol of a person, a sign of personal ownership. This seal marks our total belonging to Christ. So what does all this mean? Confirmation assists us to conform more closely to Christ. It calls the person to accept a sense of mission to be sent out to the world to be a living, vital witness to the teachings of Jesus, our Lord. Let us pray for all of our Confirmation candidates and for each of us as the body of Christ. May we be reminded of our call to mission, and to embrace it with passion and zeal as the hands and feet of Christ here on earth!
That all Christians can aspire to become saints? We are all called and can aspire to become saints, that is, persons in heaven (officially canonized or not), who lived lives of great charity and heroic virtues and who are worthy of imitation. On April 27th 2014, Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II were officially canonized. So, what are the three steps to sainthood? A candidate becomes “Venerable,” then “Blessed” and then “Saint.” Venerable is the title given to a deceased person recognized formally by the pope as having lived heroic virtues. To be beatified and recognized as a Blessed, one miracle acquired through the candidate’s intercession is required in addition to recognition of heroic virtue or martyrdom. Canonization requires a second miracle after beatification, though a pope may waive these requirements. A miracle is not required prior to a martyr’s beatification, but one is required before canonization. Spend some time exploring the saints. You will find that they walked this earth just like you and I, on a journey to become closer to God, with ups and downs along the way. Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II, pray for us!
My dear friends in Christ,
As we continue to navigate through COVID-19 with Christ as our guide, it is hard to believe that it has been six weeks since our last public weekend masses here at St. Julia. I pray that while this time has been filled with challenges, we have been able to reflect upon the blessed moments that God continues to grace us with.
Moment by moment. That is so very key. Whenever we experience a change in our life, the loss of a friend or loved one, or perhaps the loss of a dream, people will ask how are you doing? If you are like me, you give the generic response of “good.” There are good days and bad days. I was once told it really is moment by moment. There are good moments, and not so good moments. But gradually, over time, we pray that there are more good moments. Those good moments guide us on the road to recovery. That really is the road that we are on at this moment – together – as we navigate through COVID-19. The guiding light through all of this, and all challenging times, is that Christ is our guide. Through the power of prayer and keeping ourselves rooted in our faith, we can get through these difficult times together. Just as Christ has navigated us through past difficulties and challenges, moment by moment, prayer by prayer, when in the moment nothing made sense, somehow, we made it through. That was only by the grace of God. And God will see us through this moment in time as well.
As we continue through these most unprecedented times for many of us, may we do so together, united in prayer, with Christ as our guide. Amen.
God bless and stay safe,
From Our Pastor