Fr. Daniel Gifford
Presentation of the Lord
Dear St. Louis Parishioners, We have a lot going on this weekend! We begin with the blessing and first use of our brand new Marian vestment (front cover), at our Saturday Mass. This vestment is to be worn on feasts of Mary, of which there are many, although most of them fall during the week, as well as celebrations in which Mary plays an
important role, such as this great Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The vestment is a memorial donated in honor of our dearly beloved Dick DeBord, who was such an active member of our parish for so many years. It is a blessing to have this physical reminder of the mystical reality that the whole Body of Christ, in heaven and on earth, are present with us in the Holy Eucharist. This is part of the idea behind memorials. Those funds donated as memorials for our loved ones do not go toward the ordinary operating costs of the parish, but rather to purchase things which contribute in some way to the liturgy or otherwise to the life of the parish. In this way, the memorial becomes a way of remembering that they are still with us in a very real way in those significant moments in the life of the parish family, but especially in the Holy Eucharist. Since their memory has inspired this donation, the thing itself is a reminder of all that they have contributed, and in a very real way still are contributing, to the life of the parish. Especially for someone like Dick who contributed a great deal, it is most fitting to have this reminder with us at the altar on those special Marian days. At the end of the same Saturday Mass, we will have the annual blessing of candles, which is customary for the Feast of the Presentation. This will be the third year in which we have included a special procession to Harkrader Hall, with the candles beautifully arranged in front of the Our Lady of Light tapestry. It is a wonderful blessing that our repairs to the hall, after the flood just before Christmas, have concluded in time for us to continue this tradition. We have been able to reopen Harkrader Hall and the Saint Jerome Room for about the past week and a half. This means that the entire restoration was mostly completed within just barely over a month. The only reason I say “mostly” is because a few of the individual items that were affected have yet to be replaced. This might take a bit longer, but it will be done before too long. Overall, this whole ordeal has turned out about as well as we could possibly have asked for, considering what happened. The possibility of structural damage where the pipe burst turned out to not be an issue. Carpet, brick and drywall, as well as the vinyl flooring in the hall, all dried well enough that there wasn’t a need to replace any of it. And it wasn’t even that long that we were without our rooms. Thanks be to God. I have included a few pictures, so you can see how bad it was, in order to appreciate what a blessing it is to have things back in order! Finally, after each of the three Masses on Sunday, we are also holding the personal consecration to Jesus through Mary, which a number of our parishioners have been preparing for over the past thirty-three days. It has been a beautiful experience! Although every Saturday morning during this time has had bad weather, which limited attendance of our group gatherings, still there was always even a small group of us! Additionally, though, since most of the preparation is done individually, there was a much larger group who was united in prayer. The spontaneous conversations throughout the week about how this experience has enriched people’s faith has been such a blessing. I would certainly encourage others to consider doing it in the future, either individually or in a small group. We may have another open-invitation parish-wide consecration again in the future one day. But, no need to wait until then!
PRAYERS FOR THOSE SEEKING HEALING: Meanwhile, next weekend (February 7-9) is another significant moment to keep on your calendars, as we will be offering prayers in our chapel for those attending the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, for healing after an abortion experience, next weekend (February 7-9). Please consider signing up for a slot to offer prayers for those who are hurting, but are now approaching Our Lord’s Merciful Heart. Offering a time of prayer for them is a very simple way to show them compassion.
TUESDAY FOLLOW-UP: On a related note, thank you to all who came Tuesday night, to join us in prayer for the first “20/20 Vision” Holy Hour, our January Holy Hour for Life. I want to especially thank Colleen and Steve Harmon for their assistance in planning for it and helping to lead the prayers. I am grateful for their leadership with all of our monthly Holy Hours for the Unborn, which normally occur at 7 pm on the 4th Sunday of the month. I want to extend an invitation and reminder to all to consider joining us every month for the important intention of praying for a greater respect for the dignity of all human life.
KEEP EXPLORING: As we look forward to the next “20/20 Vision” Holy Hour, we will be meeting again to pray for the renewal of marriage on Tuesday, February 18th at 7pm. The intentions of these first two holy hours - God’s plan for life and God’s plan for marriage and sexuality - are deeply intertwined, as are the threats against them. I am very happy to announce that we will be able to offer an opportunity to learn more about how these matters are all connected. A new documentary was recently released which portrays a personal journey of discovery about God’s plan for life, love and human sexuality. As this journey of discovery unfolds, the glorious plan of God becomes more clear, in all of its richness and beauty. At the same time, the depth of deception that is so commonplace in our society also becomes more clear. There is so much that the average American is taught and has proposed to them as healthy, that is actually completely contrary to any real scientific or ethical view of the human person. There is still much to learn. I invite all to consider joining us for a viewing of Sexual Revolution: 50 Years Since Humanae Vitae, on Thursday, February 27th at 6pm. Light refreshments will be provided. More information will be forthcoming about this, as the date draws nearer.
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us