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.
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
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!
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Recently on our facebook page we asked a question: SATURDAY SURVEY: Has this time during the pandemic deepened your faith? If yes, share how and/or what you have done differently. Here are some of the answers (permission has been given by the responders).
Myra Chisholm Hi. I had started going to 7:30 morning/daily mass before the Pandemic. At first it felt strange because I wasn’t used to it. I was getting to know the 7:30 crowd by sight. It became very meaningful for me to see this new community. And then suddenly, it seemed gone/lost due to the virus. I was like a fish out of water. Then live streamed masses started. I tuned in a lot and posted messages I started to feel the community close again But really wanted to see people. Finally, the morning masses started in the church again. It was better than ever. I had visited God in the church many times when it was open during the day and now I could make adoration a bigger part of my prayers. I also started making it earlier to participate in the rosary with others. I’m feeling very blessed for these opportunities. Also many people have come up to me and introduced themselves and others to me I’m so grateful for these friendships.
Debbie Morgan Claire It has drawn me to have more quiet time with the Lord reading the Bible.
Mary Fay Definitely- I became more cognizant of what really matters and gave up a lot of the little indulgences I used to think mattered. Definitely more prayerful. I also started asking God to give me the words for those individuals struggling with their faith and/or their situation. I was also tested to trust in the Lord more and it’s something I’m working on.
Cathy Gallant As I recently told some family members, I’ve always had a deep faith in God, but I’ve been feeling more spiritual during this pandemic. I also have more interest in reading more religious books, information, etc.
Lynn Verny The closure of the church had a two-fold effect for me. It made me realize how much it meant to go into the church and also to gather for mass with others. I have fallen in love with daily mass thanks to the live stream I can listen to while I work. I gained an appreciation for the Office of Readings when it was live streamed, since I wasn’t that familiar with it previously. I have recently started praying the rosary daily & discovered yesterday that I can now remember the mysteries without having something to reference while praying it �. I am getting ready to start the consecration to St Joseph on Monday and after that I want to do the 33 Days to Greater Glory which is the consecration to the Father through Jesus. So the pandemic has been tough in many ways for so many people, but I am growing closer to God, and for that I am so grateful. And I’m fairly new to IC Parish, but if you come to the 5pm Sunday mass, I’m the one helping with the seating, so come say hi.
Maureen Prendergast Roselli It has definitely been a time of change for me. I look at my faith in a whole new light now. I’ve found myself wanting more quiet time with the lord in prayer , novenas and wanting to have that special relationship with Jesus and Mary. To trust in him and know that everything happens for a reason and everything will work out. I’ve been tuning in to daily mass , participated in the Eucharistic talks and presented which was new to me. As a family we’ve found ourselves volunteering at the outdoor masses which we have enjoyed. I have recently been trying to say the Rosary.and reading the Bible a bit here and there . My whole outlook on everything has changed for the better.
Molly K Maguire-Conti Yes, our family has done a better job of praying together and trusting that the Lord is in control. During the months that my work was closed I was able to bring my children to the church for quiet prayer (they weren't always quiet but we will get there in time and we read through their children's Bible.
Kathy Halfpenny Definitely. I am more aware of how much I need God every minute of every day with everything going on around me in the world. I watch daily mass as often as possible (I am back working now). I read more (pertaining to my faith) and value prayer time and am more aware of the evil around us. I value my Bible study group ( zoom) and St Vincent De Paul Friends (zoom) for the support we give each other and my parish support.
Luis Lara My live was running too fast behind a job that was stressing me to the limit; before the quarantine I started to ask God for help and prayers to ask Him for a sign of what should I do. Many times in the morning there was something on the road - accidents, train blocking the road, etc. - like something or someone was trying to keep me away from going to do that job, it was really affecting my health- blood pressure was increasing, stress was very high, etc. Just before the quarantine I asked for a week of vacations just after that week quarantine started and I began to assist to the Mass every day - Virtually, and also morning and evening prayer and daily Rosary - it was for me like God answered my prayers and sent me home - this was the answer I was praying for - to be closer to Him. Ever since I try to go to Mass every day - my stress level is way down as well as the blood pressure. I feel like I growing in my faith and feel his presence every day, every minute of my live. “God is good all the time, all the time God is good!” (Fr Stevens) God is true Love!
Marie Jatsko Yes. Pray more
Jill Ishkanian Praying a lot more, and trusting in God more.