Click to read this week’s bulletin: 3 October 2021
Changes since the bulletin was printed: daily Mass will be at St Rafka Maronite Church at 12n on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. We hope to return to our own Church on Friday, 8 October at 12n for EF Mass. Also, the Children’s Holy Hour has been canceled
29 September: Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel & Raphael, Archangels. This feast, also known as “Michaelmas,” was a Holy Day of Obligation until the 18th century. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.” Archangels are one of the nine choirs of angels listed in the Bible. (In ascending order, the choirs or classes are: Angels, Archangels, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Dominations, Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim.) St. Michael’s name means “Who is like unto God?” and he is known as the Prince of the heavenly host. St. Michael’s task is doing battle against Satan and all his evil followers. His name appears in Scripture four times. He is usually depicted as a mighty warrior and is known as a champion of justice; the guardian of the Church; the protector and defender the friends of God. We invoke St. Michael for help in the fight against evil and to rescue souls from Satan, especially at the hour of death. St. Gabriel’s name means “God is my strength” and he appears as a messenger in the Bible three times (to the prophet Daniel; to Zachariah announcing the birth of John the Baptist; and to Mary at the Annunciation). St. Gabriel’s famous greeting to Mary at the Annunciation was Hail Mary, full of grace. St. Raphael’s name means “God has healed.” Knowledge of St. Raphael comes from the book of Tobit. His mission as healer and fellow traveler with Tobias has caused him to be invoked for journeys and at critical moments in life. Tradition also holds that Raphael is the angel that stirred the waters at the healing pool in Bethesda. Another angelic feast is celebrated this week on 2 October: Feast of the Guardian Angels. “From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and protection. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 336) St. Bernard wrote “…the angels are here; they are at your side, they are with you, present on your behalf. They are here to protect you and to serve you.” God has given each of us the incredible gift of a guardian angel – they will protect us and help us attain eternal salvation. “For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11)
Ideas for celebrating this feast day at home:
- Memorize the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Pray it daily for protection from evil!
- In honor of St. Gabriel, Learn theAngelus. Traditionally, it is prayed at 6 and 12 o’clock
- Make recipes related to Michaelmas. Michael Bannock bread is traditionally served with roasted goose and carrots. Roasted chicken or Cornish hens work, too! (Easiest option is picking up a hot rotisserie chicken from the store!) Other ideas: angel food cake, devil’s food cake, angel hair pasta, or deviled eggs. For extra fun, poke cocktail swords (or little toy swords from play action figures) into your food! Decorate with white as symbolic of the angels.
- Do you have any angel-shaped Christmas cookie cutters? Use them to trace and color angels to decorate. OR, bake up some sugar cookies in angelic shapes.
- Folklore says Michaelmas is the last day that blackberries can be picked and eaten because when St. Michael expelled the devil from heaven, he fell from the skies and landed in a prickly blackberry bush. Satan cursed the fruit, stamped and spat on it, making it unfit for eating. So, on this feast day: enjoy blackberry wine or buy fresh blackberries to put on oatmeal, bake some into a pie or cobbler (recipe idea here), or top an angel food cake with blackberries.
- Saint Michael is the patron saint of police officers. This is the perfect day to stop by your local police station with thanks and treats. Tell them that it’s their feast day so you brought some food for feasting and you are praying for them.
- Don’t forget to memorize the Prayer to your Guardian Angel on October 2!
Click to read this week’s bulletin: 26 September 2021
- Note that daily Mass is at St Rafka Maronite Church on a different schedule presented on our calendar page.
- Note that the choir is currently not practicing due to COVID-19 concerns. It is expected they’ll resume 6/7 October.
23 September: Feast of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. Saint Pio is better known as “Padre Pio”. He was born Francesco Forgione in 1887, one of seven children in a simple peasant family. His growing up years were marked by daily Mass, family rosary, and acts of penance. He decided at a young age to dedicate his life to God. He joined the Capuchin Franciscan Friars at 15 years old. He was ordained a priest in 1910 and took the name Pio, a modern Italian form of “Pius,” in honor of Pope St. Pius V. He was assigned to the Friary in San Giovanni Rotondo in central Italy, where he lived the rest of his life. Padre Pio suffered from illnesses and health problems. He also experienced religious ecstasy and attacks from the devil (friars would report strange noises coming from his cell). He was reportedly able to bi-locate, levitate, and heal by touch. In 1918, while praying before a cross, Padre Pio received the painful Stigmata – the five wounds of Christ’s passion. He was the first stigmatized priest in Church history. The Stigmata would remain with him for 50 years. Many doctors looked at his wounds with no explanation. They openly bled with no drop in blood pressure. Doctors estimated that he lost a cup of blood every day. The wounds were deep, but free of inflammation and swelling. During World War I, Padre Pio served in the military and offered his own personal suffering for an end to war. In 1956 he founded the House for the Relief of Suffering, a hospital that serves 60,000 a year. Against his wishes, Padre Pio’s reputation for holiness and miracles began to attract crowds. Millions of people attended his Masses. He received letters from believers all over the world who asked for his saintly counsel and spiritual guidance. Countless were attracted to his confessional, where he would hear confessions for up to 16 hours a day. People waited as much as two weeks to have him hear their confession. Yet despite such notoriety, he would often say, “I only want to be a poor friar who prays.” His life was marked by long hours of prayer and sacrifice. He had a deep union with God, a burning love for the Holy Eucharist, and a fervent devotion to Our Blessed Mother. Worn out by years of intense suffering and constant apostolic activity, Padre Pio was called to his heavenly reward on September 23, 1968. He was canonized by Pope St. John Paul II in 2002. Today, his tomb is the most visited shrine in Europe, surpassing even Fatima and Lourdes.
Famous quotes from Padre Pio: “Today’s society does not pray. That is why it is falling apart.” – “Prayer is the best weapon we possess, the key that opens the heart of God.” – “Pray, hope and don’t worry. Worry is useless. Our Merciful Lord will listen to your prayer.”
Ideas for celebrating this feast day at home:
- Pray, hope and “donut” worry! Enjoy donuts as a feast day treat and remember this wise advice. Write out Padre Pio’s quote and put it on your wall as a daily reminder.
- Today’s menu should include Italian foods in honor of this Italian-born saint (pasta, risotto, pizza, etc). For dessert, make “Stigmata krispie treats”: use a hand-shaped cookie cutter (or your hand as a guide!) to cut out rice krispie treats. Put a dab of red icing in the center of the hand to look like a Stigmata.
- Padre Pio loved to hear confessions: his feast day is a great reminder for us! Put it on your calendar and make a commitment to go to confession.
- Watch a free video on FORMED about Saint Padre Pio: link here.
- Family prayer time: Padre Pio said “Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.” Today, kneel together as a family and pray. Make this a part of your daily routine. Padre Pio’s own family was known for praying a rosary together– try to add this to your family life, too!
(sources: catholicculture.org, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina by Capuchin Franciscan Friars, ncregister.com)
Read this week’s bulletin: 19 September 2021