From Father Steven - August 30
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Lately in my prayers and reflections, I noticed that there are many bad things happening all over the world. It seems almost as if things are going from bad to worse. Many injustices, cheating, hatred, Covid and other illnesses, and so on. Always praying for the world and interceding before God to "have mercy on us and on the whole world", I ask myself, WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP THIS SITUATION? Personally, there is very little that I can do. Mostly what I can do is to bring God's love to everyone I encounter and be a sign of God's fidelity to the people (...besides that if I am a priest today, indeed nothing is impossible for God.) It's true that you and I can do a lot of little things and if each one of us contributes like this, we will light the world on fire with God's love. However, we need ONE PERSON to help us and everyone else to bring this change in the world, namely, GOD!
I have read many times from different people living at different ages exhorting us to reach out to God. With every apparition of the Blessed Mother, and most visions of Jesus, the message is always the same. Let's entrust ourselves and the whole world under the care of God. For every problem that we have, God has already prepared graces to give us. BUT, GOD CANNOT FORCE ANYTHING ON US. We need to ask for what we need. Needless to say that we also need to ask for those in need and for the whole world. In other words, WE NEED TO PRAY. It seems to me that as Europe was faced with immediate danger back at the time of the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, or faced with the Black Plague in 1347, and many other occasions, we are also faced with many challenges in our world, from political divides to the pandemic. The answer is always to entrust everything to the Lord. That doesn't mean that he will remove all problems, but He will give us the strength to overcome every obstacle and difficulty. Some groups began praying the rosary every day. Others are doing 24 hours of Eucharistic Adoration, AND WHAT ARE WE DOING?
I'm sure that there are parishioners who pray the Rosary every day, participate (even remotely) in daily mass, spend time with the word of God, come to Church from time to time, and more. But I also observe that more often than not, that those are individual efforts. What if we were to do this together? I WOULD LIKE TO CALL THE WHOLE PARISH TO BE UNITED IN PRAYER FOR 48 HOURS. Let’s invite our friends and family to come together in the Eucharistic presence of Christ in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. As the opening prayer from last week said, “O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single purpose, grant your people to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, amid the uncertainties of this world, our hearts may be fixed where true gladness is found.” Let’s all be united under this same purpose, in order to find this true happiness.
Therefore we will have the ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT FROM 6:00p.m. on SUNDAY, September 6th, THROUGH 6:00p.m. TUESDAY September 8th . Only during our 7:30am daily Mass we will repose the Blessed Sacrament. This past week the Church remembered St. Monica, who spent her whole life praying for the conversion of her husband and her son. Following her example, let’s also pray for the conversion of the whole world.
Courage brothers and sisters! "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" (Philippians 4:13) PS.
We will be sanitizing the Church regularly during that time, masks will be required at all times, and hand sanitizer will be available at the main entrance.
From Father Steven - August 23
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Last week the Church remembered the memorial of St. Stephen, King of Hungary. In the Church calendar he is remembered on August 16th. In Hungary, his day is celebrated with great honor and is a national holiday. St. Stephen was a great Christian, King, and Father. He not only brought Christianity into Hungary, but he also lived out the virtues. Today, I would like to share with you a letter that he wrote to his son Emeric, who was going to succeed him as the next King of Hungary, but died tragically in a hunting accident before ascending to the throne. This letter is a beautiful example of a conversation between a parent and a child. Full of wisdom and love, St. Stephen helped his son to be holy. Indeed, St. Emeric was also proclaimed a saint and his feast day is the same day as his father. Here is a excerpt from “the Admonitions to His Son, Emeric”:
My dearest son, if you desire to honor the royal crown, I advise, I counsel, I urge you above all things to maintain the Catholic and apostolic faith with such diligence and care that you may be an example for all those placed under you by God and that all the clergy may rightly call you a man of true Christian profession. Failing to do this, you may be sure that you will not be called a Christian or a son of the Church. Indeed, in the royal palace after the faith itself, the Church holds second place, first propagated as she was by our head, Christ; then transplanted, firmly constituted and spread through the whole world by his members, the apostles and holy fathers. And though she always produced fresh offspring, nevertheless in certain places she is regarded as ancient.
However, dearest son, even now in our kingdom the Church is proclaimed as young and newly planted; and for that reason she needs more prudent and trustworthy guardians lest a benefit which the divine mercy bestowed on us undeservedly should be destroyed and annihilated through your idleness, indolence or neglect.
My beloved son, delight of my heart, hope of your posterity, I pray, I command, that at every time and in everything, strengthened by your devotion to me, you may show favor not only to relations and kin, or to the most eminent, be they leaders or rich men or neighbors or fellow-countrymen, but also to foreigners and to all who come to you. By fulfilling your duty in this way you will reach the highest state of happiness. Be merciful to all who are suffering violence, keeping always in your heart the example of the Lord who said: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. Be patient with everyone, not only with the powerful, but also with the weak.
Finally be strong lest prosperity lift you up too much or adversity cast you down. Be humble in this life, that God may raise you up in the next. Be truly moderate and do not punish or condemn anyone immoderately. Be gentle so that you may never oppose justice. Be honorable so that you may never voluntarily bring disgrace upon anyone. Be chaste so that you may avoid all the foulness of lust like the pangs of death.
All these virtues I have noted above make up the royal crown and without them no one is fit to rule here on earth or attain the heavenly kingdom.
From Father Steven - August 16th
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This weekend we celebrated the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. However, this event is not well known to us. Because it is such an important day for us, the Church has added this day as a Holyday of obligation, which means that everyone needs to celebrate this Solemnity. This year it fell on Saturday, so it loses the obligation of attending mass. Some people have questions about this celebration so I thought that it would helpful to clarify to everyone what we celebrate. Here is an article that I found online in Spanish that I translated: 1. You must know what a dogma means - A dogma is a truth of absolute, definitive, infallible, irrevocable and unquestionable faith revealed by God through the Bible or Sacred Tradition. After being proclaimed, it cannot be repealed or denied, neither by the Pope nor by conciliar decision. For a truth to become dogma, it must be proposed directly by the Catholic Church to the faithful as part of their faith and doctrine, through a solemn and infallible definition by the Supreme Magisterium of the Church. 2. "Assumption" does not mean the same as "Ascension" - According to the tradition and theology of the Catholic Church, the Assumption is the celebration of when the body and soul of the Virgin Mary were glorified and taken to Heaven at the end of her earthly life. It is not to be confused with the Ascension, which refers to Jesus Christ. It is said that the resurrection of the bodies will take place at the end of time, but in the case of the Virgin Mary this fact was anticipated by a singular privilege. This dogma is also celebrated by the Orthodox Church. 3. The dogma was proclaimed 170 years ago by Pius XII - Since 1849, various petitions for the Assumption of the Virgin to be declared a dogma of faith began to arrive at the Holy See. It was Pope Pius XII who, on November 1, 1950, published the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus that proclaims the dogma with these words: “After raising many and repeated prayers to God and invoking the light of the Spirit of Truth, to the glory of Almighty God, who gave the Virgin Mary his peculiar benevolence; for the honor of his Son, immortal King of the centuries and conqueror of sin and death; To increase the glory of the same august Mother and to the joy and joy of the whole Church, with the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and with our own, we pronounce, declare and define to be divinely revealed dogma, that The Immaculate Mother of God, always Virgin Mary, after completing the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory ”. 4. The Assumption of Mary is anticipation of our own resurrection - This part has a double objective: the happy departure of Mary from this life and the Assumption of her body into heaven. The answer to why it is important for Catholics is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which says in number 966: “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin constitutes a singular participation in the Resurrection of her Son and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians ”. The importance that the Assumption of the Virgin has for all of us is given in the relationship that it has between the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and our resurrection. The fact that Mary is in body and soul already glorified in Heaven is the anticipation of our own resurrection, since she is a human being like us. 5. The Virgin did not experience corruption in her body at the end of her earthly life - Scripture does not give details about the last years of Mary on earth from Pentecost to the Assumption, we only know that the Virgin was entrusted by Jesus to Saint John. When declaring the dogma of the Assumption of Mary, Pius XII did not want to decide if the Virgin died and was resurrected immediately, or if she went directly to heaven. Many theologians think that the Virgin died to be more like Jesus, but others maintain that the "Transit of Mary" or Dormition occurred, which has been celebrated in the East since the first centuries. In what both positions coincide is that the Virgin Mary, by a special privilege of God, did not experience the corruption of her body and was assumed into heaven, where she reigns alive and glorious, together with Jesus. Source:https://www.aciprensa.com/noticias/5-claves-para-entender-el-dogma-de-la-asuncion-de-la-virgenmaria-18599?noredirect=1#noredirect God Bless, Fr. Steven Aug
From Fr. Steven - August 9th
Dear Immaculate Conception Community,
Fr. Steven has graciously allowed our Immaculate Conception St. Vincent de Paul Conference to address all of you this week to tell you about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the works of the I.C. St. Vincent de Paul Conference, and to invite you to participate in our annual Friends of the Poor® Walk, which will be held as a “virtual” walk this year.
Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul leads women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are in need and suffering, in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a world-wide organization composed of women and men who seek their personal holiness through works of charity. Our mission statement describes the Society as “A network of friends, inspired by Gospel values, growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need.”
The current Immaculate Conception St. Vincent de Paul Conference was formed in 2016. We meet twice a month for prayer and spiritual reflection, and to deepen our commitment to the Christian calling to seek and find the forgotten, the suffering, or the deprived so that we may bring them the love of Jesus. Our goal is to grow in holiness through service to those in need. The Society offers tangible assistance regardless of religion or background. The intent is to provide both emergency relief and a path to self-sufficiency. During our last fiscal year, the I.C. St. Vincent de Paul Conference has:
Made more than 120 personal home visits to assess needs and offer support. Provided approximately $66,000 in direct help for nearly 200 individuals and families. 2/3 of the funds went towards rent, with the rest towards utility bills, food, medicine, medical supplies, and other needs. Referred people to, or personally contacted, local agencies such as Marlborough Community Cupboard, Marlborough Human Services, SMOC, Recovery Connection, MetroWest Legal Services, and Fresh Start Furniture Bank. Distributed Christmas toys and provided Christmas dinners.
We are immensely grateful for the ongoing support of our faithful parishioners and generous sponsors who help make all this possible. Our only annual fund-raising event is the Friends of the Poor Walk, and we invite you to join this year’s “virtual” walk.
The Friends of the Poor Walk is an event held across the country by St. Vincent de Paul Conferences. Immaculate Conception has held a Friends of the Poor Walk the past 3 years the last Saturday in September, commemorating the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul, along the Assabet River Rail Trail. I. C. St. Vincent de Paul joins with the St. Vincent de Paul Conference from St. Matthias for this special event to raise funds for those helped by both Marlborough conferences. Due to COVID-19, this year’s walk will be a virtual walk held throughout the month of September; each walker can complete a walk on their own. Each walker is asked to solicit donations from family, friends, and co-workers to help our neighbors in Marlborough. 100% of all donations help those in need in our community.
Will you support the Friends of the Poor Walk? It’s easy! Simply go to the website: www.icfopwalk.org - there you can either register to walk or donate. To register to walk, click the “Register to Walk” button and fill in the information requested. Don’t forget to include your t-shirt size as all walkers registered by August 21 will receive a Friends of the Poor Walk t-shirt! To make a donation, you can either donate to your favorite walker by searching for that person’s name (bottom right of the page) OR if you don’t have a favorite walker you can search for the walker, “Immaculate Conception SVDP”. If you choose to “Donate to the Event” your donation will be split between Immaculate Conception SVDP and St. Matthias SVDP. If you have any questions about the walk, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at email@example.com or leave a message on the I.C. St. Vincent de Paul phone, 978-763-0578, and someone will call you back.
Thank you for your support of Immaculate Conception St. Vincent de Paul!
Father Steven Clemence