Dear Brothers and Sisters,
There were a lot of things that happened this week that I would like to share with you. We had a meeting with the parish council, and the new members of the school commission who came together to help us turn the school around. We have about 20 potential students who visited the school and are in the process of enrolling in our school. We also had the Brazilian Festival which was a great success. These things are extremely important and next week I will share the progress with you. Here is something else that I would like to share with you.
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.Everything began in the region of Liege in Belgium back in the 1200’s. Liege had a monastery that had a great devotion to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Indeed, the city became known as the Eucharistic Cenacle. At that time, a young nun, Saint Juliana, had a vision of a Splendid full Moon with a dark spot. It represented the splendor presence of the Church on earth, but it was lacking a liturgical feast when the faithful could contemplate the Holy Eucharist. After many years that she kept the secret vision to herself, she finally revealed it to the local bishop. After some hesitation, he finally agreed to create this feast in his diocese and soon it spread all over the world. Eventually, in 1264, this feast became official in the whole Church.
My intention of sharing the origin of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, as it is also known, is to highlight the importance of vocations. When speaking about Vocations, Cardinal Sean always says that “it’s everyone’s business.” Without the vocation to the religious life of St. Juliana, we would never have this Feast that we celebrate today. Without our priests, we would not have the gift of the Eucharist either. Therefore, it is imperative that all of us promote vocations to religious life and priesthood. Parents, grandparents and friends often ask younger and older children what their aspirations are growing up. At that conversation, we all should suggest the vocation to serve Christ! Holy matrimony is without a doubt also a beautiful vocation that also needs attention. But we barely see young women and young men becoming nuns and priests. Besides promoting vocations among family members and acquaintances, we must also pray for them. Out of 1.3 billion baptized Catholics in the world, there are 414,582 priests (36,580 in the US) 51,535 professed men religious (3,897 in the US) and 648,910 religious sisters (44,117 in the US). [These numbers are from 2017 provided by CARA]. These numbers together mean that we have 1 priest for close to 3,100 people (which would be close to one priest serving IC and St. Michael’s in Hudson alone). In chapter 9 of the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus sees his people “distressed and scattered,” he says “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Let us pray for men and women, that they may hear God’s calling to a life of Holiness serving Him by “losing” lives, so that others may gain Christ.
Father Steven Clemence