Dearly Beloved in Christ:
Last week we had our Parish Lenten Retreat/Mission. Our theme was “Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving as A Way of Life”. In his presentation, Fr. Orrin reminded us that prayer is about an encounter with God; Fr. Stephen encouraged us to fast not only from food but from whatever else that keeps us away from God, remembering that only God can truly satisfy us; and I urged us to daily strive to be merciful as our Heavenly Father is merciful!
Prayer, fasting and almsgiving belong together. In one of his sermons, St. Peter Chrysologus exhorts us thus: “Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others, you open God’s ear to yourself”. May our prayer, fasting and almsgiving become an intricate part of our Christian discipleship, amen!
This week we celebrate as a community our Parish St. Patrick’s Day Festival. St. Patrick was a unifier, a wonderful preacher of mercy and reconciliation, a great model for the Christian life and the principal patron of Ireland. Although St. Patrick’s Day now has a secular face, marked with leprechauns, shamrocks and green beer aplenty, we should always remember the important life lessons he impacts. Born toward the last quarter of the fourth century, he was captured and taken into slavery in Ireland. After his escape, he returned to his home country where he was ordained a priest. He would return to the land of his captors afterward and preach the Gospel to them, converting the whole nation through his missionary zeal.
How do we treat those who have wronged us? Do we wish them ill or seek revenge? Today let us imitate the example of St. Patrick. As we honor this great saint let us also ask for his intercession for our parish community. St. Paul in his Letter to the Ephesians reminds Christians that we are in a spiritual contest and so should daily put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil (see: Ephesians 6:10-17). St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer is one way to accomplish this; here is a portion of the prayer – Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie
down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through belief in the Threeness, Through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.
We had a successful St. Patrick’s Day Festival this year. So many people offered their time, talents and treasures toward its success. I am very grateful to all the different parish groups, the many individuals, local businesses, sponsors, volunteers and helpers whose generosity helped to ensure the successful hosting of this year’s celebration. May the Good Lord in His mercy richly reward you, amen!
I am pleased to announce the Grand Opening of a Pregnancy Help Center (PHC) here in Galveston on Monday, March 19th at 4:00PM. This is a faith-based center, guided by Christian principles on the dignity and sanctity of human life. As a Pro-life organization, PHC “never advises, refers or provides for abortion or abortifacients”. In their Statement of Belief, they also affirm that “each Christian has a divine obligation to protect the unborn child and to promote the sanctity of life”. If you are interested in learning more about this important ministry, please visit: www.pregnancyhelpcenter.org or if you would like to volunteer, see page 5 for information about their upcoming Volunteer Training on Saturday, March 24th.
Finally, please note that next Wednesday (March 21st), the Priests will be having their annual Lenten Day of Prayer at St. Mary’s Seminary all day. As a result, we will only have the 7:00 AM Mass on this day at St. Patrick. There will be no Noon Mass or Spanish Evening Mass on this day. However, we will have the usual Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament starting at noon, and Benediction at 5:30PM. Please keep us in your prayers and know that you will be in ours.
Relying on God’s grace, let us continue to work for a one Holy Family Parish, united in the joy of the Holy Spirit and in charity, as missionary disciples, amen!
In Christ’s love,
Fr. Jude Ekenedilichukwu Ezuma