Fr. John Vien
May 12, 2013
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers of our parish family! Thank you for your vocation, for your dedication, for your sacrifices, and for the love that you show your children and families. I hope that you enjoy a wonderful day with your families and friends! Mother’s Day is always in May, the month when Catholics especially remember our Blessed Mother, Mary. How appropriate that as we honor our mothers, we also remember the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus, and the Mother of the Church. I encourage you to make this month special by remembering Mary everyday: pray the rosary, pray the “Regina Caeli” or the Angelus at lunchtime and at dinnertime; remember the Memorare or the Hail, Holy Queen; at least offer a “Hail Mary” every day... but every day, turn to Mary and ask for her intercession and prayers for you and for all.
The Blessed Virgin Mary claims
special honor in our Catholic Church. That honor is of course rooted in her giving
birth to Jesus, the Son of God. The
references to Mary in the Bible are few but powerful. There’s the Annunciation, where she said, “Be
it done unto me according to your Word.” There’s the Wedding at Cana
where she advised the wine steward to listen to her son and, as she said, “Do
whatever he tells you.” And at Jesus’ death,
Scripture tells us she stood silently at the foot of the cross. The stained glass windows in our Church
building tell the story of the Blessed Mother Mary: her betrothal, the
Visitation, the Nativity, the Flight into Egypt, and other Scriptural references. During this month, spend some time looking at
our windows and meditating on Mary’s life!
(But not during my homily, of course!)
Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, RSM is the Director of Media Relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In a recent article, she mused about modern-day titles for Mary. How can the Blessed Mother assist us in this present age? She suggested titles such as “Guardian of the Internet,” “Protector of Talk Radio Listeners,” “Patient Guider through Airport Security,” “Peacemaker in Road Rage,” “Inspirer of Artists,” and “Comforter of the Prisoners in the Pew.” What titles would you give the Blessed Mother for help and assistance in your own life?
Devotion and love for the Blessed Mother Mary always leads us to greater love for Jesus, so during this month especially, ask Mary to help you draw closer to her Son. She is always ready to assist us! Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!
May 5, 2013
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, continues to take the Church and the world by storm! His decision not to live in the Papal Palace, his appointment of a group of Cardinals to study the reform of the Roman Curia, his “unblocking” of the canonization of Archbishop Oscar Romero, his reaching out to children and the sick at his audiences, his simple, but eloquent preaching, and many other examples of faith have breathed new life into the Church during these Easter and Spring days.
Last Saturday, there was an article in the New York Times headlined “Pope Francis Has a Few Words in Support of Leisure.” Google it and check it out; it’s a great read. An excerpt:
On Tuesday, “Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words,” a book of conversations with the man who was then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, will be published in English. These interviews from 2010 with two journalists in Argentina yield cute facts about the new boss of the church — a favorite movie? “Babette’s Feast” — but not much interesting theology. But one passage in the book, at first glance rather slight, ends up insinuating a radical note into the proceedings. On a close read, it seems that Pope Francis believes that we must — indeed, that God is calling us to — relax.
Responding to the question, “Do we need to rediscover the meaning of leisure?” Pope Francis replies: “Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport. But this is being destroyed, in large part, by the elimination of the Sabbath rest day. More and more people work on Sundays as a consequence of the competitiveness imposed by a consumer society.” In such cases, he concludes, “work ends up dehumanizing people.”
How true! I’m not naïve: I know that many people must work on Sunday and that it’s difficult to relax when there is so much happening in our lives. But I do believe that God – and the Church – and the Pope! – is on to something. Sunday (or the Sabbath) has been a day of rest for millennia. Let’s remember and reclaim that!
At the Pope’s suggestion, I invite you to consider once again how you spend your Sundays, and to consider if you take enough time for yourself, your family, and your own enjoyment. In 1998, Blessed Pope John Paul II published his apostolic letter “Dies Domini.” (“The Day of the Lord”) He wrote that “even in those countries which give legal sanction to the festive character of Sunday, changes in socioeconomic conditions have often led to profound modifications of social behavior and hence of the character of Sunday.” In our day and age, Sunday is just another day; but Sunday is the Day of the Lord for Christians! The Church teaches us in the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2185: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body.”
So Sunday is more than just a day for going to Mass – though that is always our first priority. Sunday is the day to be with family and friends, to visit the sick and perform other works of mercy, to relax and rejuvenate. Sunday should look different for Catholics! Is it just another day for you, or do you keep Sunday as a special day of worship, rest, and relaxation?
Our new Pope is inviting us to relax, and to rediscover the holiness of Sunday. How can you do that better? It’s Eastertime, it’s Springtime, the perfect time. Happy New Week! Happy Sunday!
April 28, 2013
This coming Tuesday, April 30, is the Feast of our Parish Patron, St. Pius V. Since the feast of St. Pius V always falls during the Easter Season, we are not able to transfer this celebration to a Sunday, but I invite you to come to Mass this Tuesday at 8:00am in the Rectory Chapel as we honor and celebrate our patron. If you cannot come to Mass, I encourage you to turn to St. Pius V on his feast and to ask his intercession.
When our parish was founded in 1905, Catholics were still happy about the recent election of a new Pope, Pius X. To honor the new Pope, the Archbishop of St. Louis chose to name this parish after another Pope of the same name, Pius V. Even though we love this parish, many may not know about the actual person who is St. Pius V. Fortunately, you don’t have to go far to learn about the man! If you go out our front doors and look up, you can read about the life and accomplishments of Pope Pius V in the bas-relief that is over the doors of the Church. Here’s a little bit more about our patron saint:
Pius V was Pope from 1566-1572 and is considered of the foremost leaders of the Catholic Reformation. Born Antonio Ghislieri in Bosco, Italy, to a poor family, he labored as a shepherd until the age of fourteen and then joined the Dominicans, being ordained in 1528. Called Brother Michele, he studied at Bologna and Genoa, and then taught theology and philosophy for sixteen years before holding the posts of master of novices and prior for several Dominican houses.
Fr. Ghislieri was named an inquisitor and was considered so capable in this office that by 1551, and at the urging of the powerful Cardinal Carafa, he was named by Pope Julius III commissary general of the Inquisition. In 1555, Carafa was elected Pope Paul IV and was responsible for Fr. Ghislieri’s swift rise as a bishop of Nepi and Sutri in 1556, cardinal in 1557, and grand inquisitor in 1558. While out of favor for a time under Pope Pius IV who disliked his reputation for excessive zeal, Cardinal Ghislieri was unanimously elected pope in succession to Pius on January 7, 1566.
As pope, Pius saw his main objective as the continuation of the massive program of reform for the Church, in particular the full implementation of the decrees of the Council of Trent. He published the Roman Catechism, the revised Roman Breviary, and the Roman Missal. Pius may be best known for dealing with the threat of the Ottoman Turks who were advancing steadily across the Mediterranean into Europe. Since Popes at the time were also powerful leaders of nations, Pius helped to organize a formidable alliance between Venice and Spain, culminating in the Battle of Lepanto, which was a complete and shattering triumph over the Turks. Pius was devoted to our Blessed Mother and had encouraged Catholics in Europe to pray the rosary; in recognition of Our Lady’s intercession, he declared the day of the victory, October 7, as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory. Today this is celebrated as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7.
Pope Pius also spurred the reforms of the Church by example. He insisted upon wearing his coarse Dominican robes, even beneath the magnificent vestments worn by the popes, and was wholeheartedly devoted to the religious life. As a Dominican friar, he continued to wear his white Dominican habit after being elected Pope; it is for this reason that even today, the Pope wears white.
To celebrate our parish feast day this Tuesday, I encourage you to turn to God in prayer! Come to morning Mass. Pray the rosary for our parish. Offer a prayer for our Holy Father, Pope Francis and our Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, successors to Peter and to Pius V. Pray that God will bless this parish with all the spiritual and material blessings we need to continue to be a strong and vibrant parish. To one and all, Happy Feast Day! St. Pius V, pray for us!
April 21, 2013
We continue to celebrate the Year of Faith, called by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. But more than just a remembrance of something 50 years ago, the Year of Faith invites and encourages Catholics to deepen their faith today, here and now. Benedict XVI writes “The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church.”
This Fourth Sunday of Easter is always “Good Shepherd Sunday.” This Sunday’s scripture readings focus on the image of Jesus Christ as the shepherd of his flock. In the Gospel, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10,27-28). As the shepherd, Jesus leads us to God the Father, who is “greater than all” (John 10,29). As Christians, we follow Jesus joyfully and entrust ourselves to God’s loving care.
In the first reading, St. Paul shares the good news that salvation is for all people, and the early Christian communities rejoice in the message. As his evangelization efforts continue, “…the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region” (Acts 13,49). The selection from the book of Revelation shows huge and diverse crowd of people, representing every nation as they come to worship Jesus the, Lamb of God. John tells us that He will continue to shepherd, guide and protect his flock (Rev 7,14-17).
It is easy to think of our role as part of the flock a passive one – after all, sheep are not the most intelligent creatures. However, we are called to be strong in our faith and in our support of one another. We must care for one another and for the least fortunate. How proud and encouraged I am that this parish family does this in so many ways! Our St. Vincent de Paul Society, our Food Pantry, and our ministries to Immigrant & Refugees and the Sick & Elderly are testimonies to the wonderful ways we care for each other. Of course, no parish can do everything, and there are so many needs that we will never be able to meet, but I would put what St. Pius V does for those in need on a par with any other parish in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
We are currently in the midst of the Annual Catholic Appeal of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, which helps and serves those in need throughout our Archdiocese, and every parishioner is encouraged to pray and sacrifice for the success of the Appeal. After Mass this weekend and next, everyone at St. Pius V – and every parishioner in the Archdiocese – is asked to make a financial commitment to support the ministries and agencies of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. These organizations help strengthen our schools, our parishes, and our civic communities – the “flock” here in St. Louis. The mission of the Annual Catholic Appeal, just like in the early Church, is to evangelize and spread the Gospel of Christ! The many organizations and agencies, parishes and schools (like Cabrini Academy), and ministries of every kind (like the St. Pius V Immigrant & Refugee Ministry) are supported by your gift to the ACA. In this way we are able to proclaim the Gospel and serve those in need.
In the reading from Revelation we hear that we “will not thirst or hunger anymore” (Rev. 7,16 ) We see around us a glimpse of the vision of salvation in the Book of Revelation. By our support of our parish ministries and our support of the Annual Catholic Appeal, we are able to bring the comfort and healing – material and spiritual – to those who are hungry, thirsty, homeless, imprisoned, sick, naked and dying. Please make your pledge. Please pray for the success of the Appeal. As always, thanks for your support of St. Pius V Parish and your support of the Annual Catholic Appeal.
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I encourage all our parishioners to give to the parish electronically. We are starting to use our new electronic giving program through Our Sunday Visitor. Please visit our parish website – www.stpiusv.org – to register for electronic giving. Your donation is safe and secure, and helps the parish to have a consistent cash flow. If you are already giving through Parish Pay, please register through OSV and be sure to delete your account with Parish Pay.