In last Sunday's homily, I mentioned the Church's efforts to renew itself in the post-pandemic world. Pope Francis and the Vatican are preparing for a Synod in 2023 on the topic "For A Synodal Church: communion, participation, and mission." US bishops are preparing a letter on the subject of the Eucharist, and our bishop, Bishop da Cunha is about to release a pastoral letter, Journeying Together: with Jesus on the Path of Faith and Hope.
In concurrence with the US bishop's emphasis on enriching Catholic understanding of the Eucharist as a means for renewal, Bishop da Cunha outlines several mission steps he encourages Catholics to undertake to initiate rejuvenation in our local Church.
Of primary importance is attendance at weekend Mass. While many people, because of COVID, are still reluctant to be part of a large crowd, hopefully, the latest surge due to the Delta variant is dissipating. Vaccination rates in Massachusetts are high, and infection rates are lower than in many parts of the country. So, more people should begin to feel comfortable attending Mass in person.
At the pandemic's start, I related to parishioners the Church teaching that making a Spiritual Communion when extraordinary circumstances prevent us from receiving the Eucharist in person was acceptable. Still receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in person at Mass is the standard we need to fulfill. Bishop da Cunha has lifted the dispensation from Mass attendance. So prayerfully consider if you should return to church in person soon.
During the summer, when the Sunday Gospel readings came from John's Gospel's Bread of Life Discourse, in my homilies, I explained that most Catholics misunderstand the Church's teachings on the Eucharist. In the post-pandemic period, all Catholics need to renew their understanding of our Catholic belief in Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist. It is not a mere sign or symbol of the presence of Christ but his real Body and Blood. In his letter, Bishop da Cunha encourages Catholics to reflect on the meaning of the Eucharist in their lives. Then share it with others, especially those who have drifted away from Mass attendance.
Next, the bishop encourages everyone to take some time in regular adoration of the Eucharist daily or weekly. As I was discerning a vocation to the priesthood, I spent a few minutes in prayer before the Eucharist every lunch hour. It greatly strengthened my appreciation for the Blessed Sacrament and helped me decide to become a priest. It is time I feel greatly strengthened my bond with Jesus.
Make plans to set aside some time in Eucharistic Adoration. It can start as simple as coming to Sunday Mass a few minutes early. Use the time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle. The church is open daily from 7 AM-3 PM. Stop by to offer a few minutes in prayer during the day. On the first Friday of each month, after the 8 AM Daily Mass, Deacon Joe Mador leads First Friday Devotions and a holy hour. If there is enough response, I would like to hold an hour of Eucharistic Devotion every Friday after Mass.
When the Church has faced difficult challenges in its history, it has prayed to Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Jesus has always responded with extraordinary graces for those who pray to him in the Eucharist. Our day is no different. Today pray to Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. He will respond to our needs in these days of renewal and rebuilding of our post-pandemic Church.
Respect Life Kick-Off Conference
The Family and Respect Life Office plans an October Respect Life Month Kick-Off Conference for Saturday, October 9, 2021, from 8:30 AM-1:30 PM at St. Julie Billiart Church, 494 Slocum Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747. The day will begin with Mass, Morning Refreshments, Feature Talks, Q&A Panel Discussion, ending with a light lunch. There is a $5 entrance fee collected at the door. Please RSVP to the Family and Respect Life Office @ www.FamilyRespectLife.org or phone (508)669-7966 by October 5, 2021.
Holy Redeemer Parish is also looking for a parishioner to serve as a parish liaison to the Family and Respect Life Office. If you would like to volunteer, please call Fr. Sullivan at the Parish Office (508)-945-0677.
Please also save the date of Sunday, October 3, 2021. Bishop Edgar da Cunha will be the celebrant of the Annual Pro-life Month Mass at 10:30 AM at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Fall River. The Mass is in collaboration with the Knights of Columbus of the diocese.
Holy Cross Retreat House Reopens
The Holy Cross Retreat House in N. Easton will reopen in September after a pandemic-caused hiatus. The retreat house hosts Matt Talbot Retreats for those recovering from addiction and Cursillos for men and women seeking a closer encounter with Jesus Christ in a small Christian community settling. For more information about these retreats, visit their website: www.retreathouse.org or call them at (508) 238-5051.
LaSalette Apparition Anniversary
Today, the Missionaries of Our Lady of LaSallette celebrate the 150th anniversary of Our Lady's appearance at LaSalette, France. Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Vatican Apostolic Nuncio, will preside at a 12:10 PM Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady of LasSalette Shrine, 947 Park Street, Attleboro, MA. Pray for our neighbors at Our Lady of the Cape Parish and their priest as they celebrate this landmark faith.
Bereavement Ministry Plans New Series
"We do not grieve as those who have no hope."
The Holy Redeemer Bereavement Ministry holds its next series of support group sessions, "Journey from Grief to Hope," in the Parish Center beginning Tuesday, October 5, from 10:00 AM-11:30 AM. Sessions will be held for six weeks. The death of a loved one is an intense and painful experience for most people. Having the proper support makes all the difference, and here at Holy Redeemer, we want to make the difference by reaching out and helping members and families through their grief.
Participants will follow CDC COVID guidelines for social distancing and mask-wearing.
Attendees, RSVP to Marilyn Whelden at email@example.com or call 508-776-6795.
Knights of Columbus Blood Drive
Knights of Columbus Council 7312, in coordination with Cape Cod Healthcare, is sponsoring a blood drive on Friday, September 24, from 10 AM-4 PM at Holy Trinity Church, Rte. 28, W. Harwich. Appointments are required and can be made online at www.capecodhealth.org/give-blood.