From Father Steven - March 19, 2023
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
This week I would like to give you an update on some of our seminarians.
Last week I was present at the ceremony presided by Cardinal Sean at the seminary in which four seminarians (Vincenzo Caruso, Rafael Milla, Luis Alberto Piceno, Mateus Martins) were accepted as official candidates to become priests. The technical term is that they were admitted (Admissio) as candidates (Candidacy) to the Holy Orders. The rite was centered on a dialogue between the Cardinal and those four seminarians, who confirmed their willingness to complete their preparation to the priesthood, as a response to the Lord’s call, to spiritual formation in order to become faithful ministers of Christ and of his body which is the Church. The Cardinal then welcomed their intention, blessing them so that they may persevere in their vocation, and, united to Christ the High Priest, become authentic apostles of the Gospel. Below is their picture. You may recognize Rafael and Mateus as our seminarians assigned to our parish.
Other great news is that Gabriel Hanley (the tall, lean seminarian who sings very well) will be ordained transitional deacon on the morning of May 13th at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. This would be the last step before the ordination as a priest. During his final year of formation, Gabriel will focus on pastoral and liturgical preparation as he will have a weekend assigned, besides continuing his studies in the seminary. If you have never seen an ordination, or if you have never been at the cathedral, this would be a great opportunity for everyone.
Some of you may have heard, that the Redemptoris Seminary will be hosting their 11th Gala Dinner on April 30th. This year the honorees will be Cardinal Sean and Jack Bassick. It’s a large event with many friends from the seminary that is being reassumed after COVID. If someone is interested, you may call the parish office or visit their website (www.rmsboston.org/galadinner). If someone does purchase tickets, please let us know so that we can try to sit everyone from IC together.
From Father Steven - March 12, 2023
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
On these next Sundays, those who are preparing to be baptized on Easter, called the Elect, will have some special rites during Mass called Scrutinies. I would like to explain a bit what these rites are. Part of the text was taken from an article from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
In the Rite of Christian Initiation, the Scrutinies that take place at Mass on the third, fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent are intended to help the Elect to “uncover then heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful in the hearts of the elect” and “to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong and good.” (RCIA, 141) They are about the overwhelming grace of God in Christ, who helps us overcome our sinfulness. In other words, the Scrutinies are God’s way of taking a close, loving look at the Elect. God does not scrutinize us (or baptismal candidates) in order to find everything that’s wrong with them, but to celebrate all that is beautiful and good and true in them. Practically speaking, there will be some prayers and imposition of hands over the Elect. One of those prayers are exorcisms. They are not fearful moments of driving out demons (like Hollywood), but grace-filled encounters with the Spirit’s healing touch.
Up to this point in their formation, the Elect have been instructed about the mystery of sin and everyone’s longing to be delivered from sin’s present and future consequences. They have been encouraged to identify the evils, temptations and falsehoods from which they need to be released so that they can live freely for the Kingdom of God. These falsehoods include some of today’s most powerful forces, like materialism, consumerism, sexism, racism, idolatry, malevolence, selfishness, prejudices, addictions, just to name a few. These are the cultural “demons” that can destroy our lives if we let them.
Having done this examination, an exorcism is prayed over the Elect. Through these prayers, falsehoods, blindness and the spirit of evil are renounced so that the individual might be liberated by grace from any obstacles that remain before celebrating the Sacraments of Initiation. The exorcism prayers conclude with a petition that the Elect may be strengthened to continue on their way to the waters of baptism.
One special significance of the Scrutinies is that the readings for Mass on the Sundays these rites are celebrated are taken from Lectionary Cycle A, regardless of which Cycle is currently being read. This is so the Elect may be filled with Christ the Redeemer, who is living water (John 4; Gospel of the Samaritan woman at the well; first scrutiny), the light of the world (John 9; Gospel of the man born blind; second scrutiny), and the resurrection and the life (John 11; Gospel of the raising of Lazarus; third scrutiny). These passages help to teach the Elect about God and the power of baptism. They can also be said to be the transformation that God wants to do in them, namely, bring them from sin to repentance, from thirst to satisfaction; from illness to health; from darkness to light; from death to new life. Jesus encounters three people in these Gospels, and they are changed forever.
But if you have already been baptized and are at a Mass with a Scrutiny, please join in praying for the Elect. And listen to the words of the intercessions and the prayers, and reflect on their meaning for your life, too. Just because you and I are already baptized does not mean we no longer need Jesus to search us and behold us! Let the Scrutinies call you to the living waters, to the light, to new life. Let them call you to a closer walk with Christ.
From Father Steven - March 5, 2023
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
On this Second Sunday of Lent, we are presented with Mount Tabor, where the Transfiguration of Our Lord takes place. On the first reading, we hear Abram (Abraham) being invited by God to leave his house in order to start a journey with the Lord. During this time of Lent we are all called to (re)start/continue our Divine journey as well. This journey we know leads us to experience a transfiguration like Jesus. This transformation is not about being a better person or correcting the mistakes in life, but rather to be like Christ. It means that God wants us to experience His glory, which is manifested in the resurrection of the dead. This Gospel is placed on the second week of Lent to help us to be focused on our goal during this time, namely, Easter. It is on Easter where we have the possibility to experience the resurrection of Christ. However, every time we are forgiven in the sacrament of the reconciliation we experience this same resurrection. From the death of sin, we pass over to life with God. Also, when we are reconciled with each other whether a spouse, siblings, children. As Abraham was invited to leave behind the security and the comfort to follow the call of the Lord, we are all called to discern what He is inviting us to do.
On a similar note, we have people here in the parish who have recently started their journey with the Lord. These brothers and sisters are preparing themselves to become Catholics this Easter. They all will be baptized, receive first communion and be confirmed. Last week they all were welcomed by the Cardinal to the Church at the Cathedral along with everyone else who will be baptized on Easter. Therefore, with great joy, I would like to present them to you and ask for your prayers to them. They are: Nina, Kirby, Andrea, Jackie, Tayla, Anabella, Ana Carolina, Samuel, Isabelly, Matheus, Milena, Luiza, Soffi, Sofia, Gabriel, Stephany, Sofia Martins, Ruan, Lucas, and Rhoger. Each week there will be different rituals at the 9am, 11am, and 1pm Mass as part of their preparations. Feel free to join us!
Father Steven Clemence