Week of 11/25/2018
Pope Pius XI wrote in 1925: “If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society… This evil spirit… has not come into being in one day; it has long lurked beneath the surface. The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, which right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God’s religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart.” Wow!
This quote comes from a papal encyclical that established Christ the King as a feast day. The above quote is fascinating because not only does it describe the times he faced, but also is prophetic about today. Why did Pius XI do this? He sought to counteract the rising secularism and disdain for God with awareness that God is King!
With emphasis on Christ as King, we see a profound awareness of the need for man to awaken to how he treats his Creator. A king demands reverence, which comes from the Latin word “reverentia” which means respect, fear, and awe. When we consider the God we have, who enters human flesh, dies a horrific death on the cross to save us, we can only tremble in awesome gratitude at the incredible love of God.
Hence, we should intensify reverent actions at Mass which compel the body to remind the soul of the awesome mystery, presence and stunning beauty we encounter. The presence of God in the Eucharist trumps any human presence in the world; yet people still get giddy over celebrities or politicians. To show God that He is the King and reigns freely within us, let’s teach our children to genuflect before entering the pew, that God deserves an action of reverence that reminds us of His awesome presence in the Tabernacle. Let us pray the prayers of the Mass with conscious focus on the meanings of each word; this rewards us with greater love. At the end of Mass, to take a moment of quiet prayer, or to leave the church in quiet, is a beautiful act of reverence as well as respectful to those who are staying to pray. The more reverence we have, the more we shape ourselves and others to greater love of God.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we especially give thanks to the incredible generous people who give so much each year on behalf of our parish. Our annual Thanksgiving parish food drive brings much food to the ever-hard-working Sr. Theresa Tremblay in Bridgeport who distributes the food to so many needy who regularly come to her, as well as another food drive that brings a great deal to through several parishes in Bridgeport. Just last Saturday we had our 5th annual Thanksgiving dinner for the homebound in our parish, serving nearly 20 people with a homecooked Turkey dinner and trimmings, special thanks to John and Jodi Angiolillo for organizing and a team of 20+ volunteers! Also, our CCD program and school collected tremendous amounts of food for parishes in Bridgeport as well! Thanks to our DRE Joanne Durkin and our beloved school! Our 8th graders raised over 4,000 dollars for their trip to DC with an excellent dinner and great fellowship last Saturday. And, our reenergized youth group organized our CCD students to contribute almost a thousand Boxes of Joy to the Poor in the 3rd world, led by our confirmation director Karen Lannigan! Many thanks to all for bringing Christ’s love through personal hospitality!
God love you,
Fr. Brian Gannon