Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. On this feast of the Ascension, we remember that Christ’s ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly domain (Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 665). This feast reminds us that like the first disciples, we are not to dally “looking up at the sky,” but are to get busy proclaiming the glory of God’s kingdom by the witness of our lives.
Next weekend we will celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost. The early Christian community knew that Jesus and the life-giving Spirit were with them. That conviction sustained and empowered them to deal with unimaginable challenges. We are given the same presence, peace, and forgiveness when we come together, and we are called today to pass that on to others. What signs of this presence do we experience? How do we express it to others?
I hope that a good number of you took the time to begin the annual novena to the Holy Spirit last Friday, the day after the traditional celebration of the Ascension. We need the presence of the Holy Spirit more now than ever! With all of the difficulties that Christians are facing throughout the world, especially many issues here in the Catholic Church, we need to have the Spirit leading us! If you want to start today and go a couple of days beyond Pentecost, please do so. Simply pray “Come, Holy Spirit,” and be assured that He is listening to us all!
Welcome to Rev. Mr. Dane Westhoff, our transitional deacon, to be ordained next May, God willing, as a priest in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. After preaching at ALL the Masses this weekend, I’m sure that he will want to take a break! However, I’m quite sure that he will dive “headlong” into all the activities of the parish while here.
As our parishioners received last Saturday in an e-mail blast, newly ordained Fr Stephen Schumacher, will be joining us as Associate Pastor, for the summer, on July 2. I mentioned this in the blast last Saturday, but most of this is from the May 20-26, 2019 issue of the Saint Louis Review. Father is 29 and the son of Julie and Joel Schumacher of Webster Groves. He has three brothers, Frank, Keith, and Kurt, and a sister, Claire. His home parish is Mary, Queen of Peace. He attended MQP Grade School, Saint Louis University High School, then Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, with double majors in Chemical Engineering and Physics. Following that he spent a year on the faculty at DeSmet Jesuit High
School, as a member of the Jesuit Alumni Service Corps, and then entered Cardinal Glennon College for Philosophy Studies. Completing those in 2015 he was sent to Rome to live at the Pontifical North American College, while a student at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He received a bachelor’s in Sacred Theology in the Spring of 2018 and this past year (and next) will be studying for a Licentiate in Biblical Theology, also at the “Greg.” Again, he won’t be joining us until July 2, and will be leaving us sometime in mid-September to return to Rome, but I hope that you will welcome him and make him “feel at home,” while being a good and holy priest.
The Farewell for Father Mike Donald will be on Sunday, June 23rd, following the 11:30 A.M. Mass. His assignment at Saint Joseph Parish, Clayton, begins on Tuesday, June 25th. I hope that you will be with us to thank him for his twelve years of service here as Senior Associate Pastor, especially during the time of Msgr. Doerhoff’s death, and the service of Msgr. Brennell, Father Evans, and myself here as Pastor.
Parish Carnival: There is a lot of information elsewhere but it will be this coming weekend, Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8. We hope that you come on up, spend some time with fellow parishioners (and visitors!), and enjoy yourselves. We can only pray for good weather and the opportunity to grow as a Community of Faith. There will be a Mass ½ hour after the clean up is completed, somewhere around 10:30 P.M. While primarily for the workers, it is (of course) available for all. Please see the fourth page for more information.
There will NOT be scheduled confessions Saturday, June 7, nor will there be a 5:00 P.M. Mass Saturday, June 8th.
The Holy Spirit: On May 9, 1897, Pope Leo XIII issued DIVINUM ILLUD MUNUS, an Encyclical about the Holy Spirit. It was in this Encyclical that he decreed that every parish should have a novena in honor of the Holy Spirit beginning on the day after the Ascension and ending on the day before the Feast of Pentecost. st. Near the end of the Encyclical Pope Leo wrote: … we ought to pray to and invoke the Holy Spirit, for each one of us greatly needs His protection and His help. The more a man is deficient in wisdom, weak in strength, borne down with trouble, prone to sin, so ought he the more to fly to Him who is the never-ceasing fount of light, strength, consolation, and holiness.
And chiefly that first requisite of man, the forgiveness of sins, must be sought for from Him: “It is the special character of the Holy Ghost that He is the Gift of the Father and the Son. Now the remission of all sins is given by the Holy Ghost as by the Gift of God” (St Thomas Aquinas, Summ. Th. 3a, q. iii., a. 8, ad 3m). Concerning this Spirit the words of the Liturgy are very explicit: “For He is the remission of all sins” ([the former] Roman Missal, Tuesday after Pentecost). How He should be invoked is clearly taught by the Church, who addresses Him in hum- ble supplication, calling upon Him by the sweetest of names: “Come, Father of the poor! Come, Giver of gifts!
Come, Light of our hearts! O, best of Consolers, sweet Guest of the soul, our refreshment!” (Hymn, Veni Sancte Spiritus, the sequence for Pentecost). She earnestly implores Him to wash, heal, water our minds and hearts, and to give to us who trust in Him “the merit of virtue, the acquirement of salvation, and joy everlasting.” Nor can it be in any way doubted that He will listen to such prayer, since we read the words written by His own inspiration: “The Spirit Himself asks for us with unspeakable groanings” (Roman 8:26). Lastly, we ought confidently and con- tinually to beg of Him to illuminate us daily more and more with His light and inflame us with His charity: for, thus inspired with faith and love, we may press onward earnestly towards our eternal reward, since He “is the pledge of our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:14).
I put this here so that we might all reflect on the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the opportunity that we have, as we approach Pentecost this year, to seek His guidance in all the activities in which we are involved. “COME, HOLY SPIRIT.” (If you are interested in the entire document, and it isn’t that long, you can find the encyclical at the Vatican Website, on Pope Leo XIII’s webpage: http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en.html
Faithfully yours in our Risen and Ascended Lord,
Fr Joe Weber