He only shuts up when he is writing!
From the Pastor: Day of Reparation
This Wednesday, June 29, our parish’s Holy Face group is inviting you to share in a Day of Reparation for atrocities done by our Federal Government toward our unborn children. Here is a description of the day’s intent: The US Federal Government that has been buying harvested fetal baby body parts for scientific experimentation. Federal tax dollars, our money, is used for these purchases. We must pray for the end to this barbaric organ harvesting and the slaughter of near-term (and full-term) babies. We must beg God's forgiveness for this country. We must pray to end all abortions. We must pray to stop the funding of Planned (un)Parenthood. We must also pray for the end to the perversion and moral destruction of our children who have been born. Please, on June 29, abstain from eating meat, fast, and pray in reparation for these evils. Here is the scheduled prayers of Reparation (that is, prayers we will offer to help repair the spiritual, emotional, and physical damage described above) we will conduct in the church:
8:00 Holy Mass
9:00 Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, confession, Rosary for Priests
10:30 Prayers from the Holy Face of Jesus Manual
noon The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary
12:30 The Sorrowful Mysteries
1:00 The Glorious Mysteries
1:30 The Stations of the Cross
2:15 Prayers from the Holy Face of Jesus Manual
3:00 Divine Mercy Chaplet
4:00 Adoration ends
Although there will be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament throughout this period of prayer, we do not need you to sign up the way we ask for First Friday Adoration. Because the Holy Face group is sponsoring this day of Reparation, they have assured me that there will always be people present in front of Our Lord. If you have never heard of the Holy Face (of Jesus) devotion or simply want some information about what our group does, this is a great time to find answers! Maybe you will want to include this devotion in your normal prayers schedule. Or maybe not. This is a legitimate Day of Reflection, not a recruitment day!
But, just in case you want to know more about this devotion even now, here is some information from the website holyfacedevotion.com.
Have you heard about the devotion of reparation to the Holy Face of Jesus? It is a devotion that was first heard of through a Carmelite Nun named Sister Mary of St. Peter in France, 1844, who stated Our Lord revealed this devotion to her at Mount Carmel. Sister Mary of St. Peter stated that Our Lord wanted this devotion to be spread throughout the world with the goal of making reparation for the sins which offend God.
When a man named Leo Dupont took this devotion and started practicing it privately in his home nearby, repeated first class miracles started occurring, which lasted for a period of over 30 years! This immediately became the talk of France, and attracted the attention of the Catholic Church, who investigated and publicly recognized the miracles as authentic. These miracles attest to the authenticity of the revelations from Our Lord to Sister Mary of St. Peter.
In 1885, to bring attention to the importance of this devotion, Pope Leo XIII established this special devotion as an Archconfraternity; and contrary to custom, He immediately established it for the ENTIRE WORLD. Note that numerous indulgences have been granted from several Popes, including Pope Pius IX and Pope Leo XIII, to those devoted to Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.
Note that Saint Therese of Lisieux was also very dedicated to this devotion, which prompted to take the name, "Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face". This devotion was universally practiced before World War I but unfortunately, has since become scarcely known. This website has been created in an attempt to revive this important devotion.
Many wonderful promises are attached to this devotion, which can be seen on our Revelations page in the menu above. To understand how this devotion came about and the miracles associated with it, see our Timeline page as well.
All remaining information on the Holy Face Devotion, including information on how to obtain a Holy Face Cross and chaplet to assist with this devotion, are available via the menu above.
The quoted website is ripe with information about this devotion. The prayers, the papal approbations, the miracles received, the image of the Holy Face (which we have hanging in our social hall, by the way, and which comes from Veronica’s veil, for Our Lord left an imprint of His Holy Face upon the veil which that holy and brave woman offered Him—wiping His Face as a tender and wondrous act of love—as He carried His Cross to Calvary) and so much more can easily be found there.
May our heartfelt prayers appease the Just anger of God. Let us make reparation for those who hate or are indifferent to Him and His children, so that even the most damnable among us may soon be resplendent with the grace of conversion.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Happy Father’s Day, Father Soares!
Last Sunday we were blessed to have the newly ordained Father Noel Soares, of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, preach our two Sunday morning Masses. He also celebrated the 10:30 Mass, the second “First Mass” of a priest we have had in this parish in the years I have been here. The last one was in 2015 when Father/Canon Jean-Baptiste Commins of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, was first ordained. His parents and siblings were attending Epiphany at the time (they have since moved back to France) so we got him for at least the one special Mass. I expect we will see plenty more First Masses from the young men of our parish currently in their various seminaries as well as from many more who have yet to answer God’s call due to age or other temporarily interfering circumstances. Father Soares, after both Masses last Sunday gave his blessing to one and all. These blessings of a newly ordained priest have long been considered special. People kneel to receive the blessing, as is the norm in all Traditional blessings, then the priest presents the palms of his hands and they kiss those beautiful instruments of man’s salvation, a sign of reverence for the hands which a short time ago were covered with the oil of Chrism as the bishop consecrated his hands to perform miracles, naming specifically the Absolution of Sin in the sacrament of Confession and the substantial changing of bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Those freshly consecrated hands are kissed with devotion, knowing that they perform glorious tasks which are necessary for getting us through this life and into Eternal Life in Heaven.
Although I haven’t found any of Fr. Soares writings online yet, I recently came across a paragraph from the young Canon Commins the year after he was ordained a priest. He wrote:
The Traditional Latin Mass: a love story!
I was 17 when I came to know and appreciate the Traditional Latin Mass. To discern my vocation, and to choose the seminary where to go, my first criterion was: “what is the degree of charity in that community?” between the members themselves, and with the other communities. You might ask yourselves: but what is the link, the relation between Charity and the Latin Mass? If we consider the Eucharist as the best proof of the love of God for us which it is, then we understand that all that covers the mystery of the Presence of Christ, blood, body, soul and divinity, has to be perfectly performed, with gravity, with beauty, with solemnity. The Traditional Liturgy makes clear the adoration of God made flesh, religion of the Incarnation, everything in that Liturgy lifts up our heart and our body to the most transcendent reality. The entire faculties of our human nature are satisfied, filled with the music, the silence, the incense, and the gestures. All our senses are attracted to the beauty of the Liturgy. The Spouse is giving himself to his Wife, our Mother the Church, and in response to that gift, the Church tries to express her love for Him. The Liturgy as the public official prayer of the Church, tries to imitate the eternal liturgy of the angels and of the saints in Heaven. To conclude this short note, let me quote Pope Benedict XVI: Sacred Liturgy transforms our lives of Catholics. Indeed, “the encounter with the beautiful can become the wound of the arrow that strikes the heart and in this way opens our eyes.”
The timing of this is perfect. Today we celebrate the External Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Hopefully, we will do it in the way described by that young priest who once blessed us with his First Mass so that the liturgical celebration helps one and all to fall more deeply in love with God, Who wrote us into his Love Story. God the Father so loved the world that not only did He create it (and us) but He also sent His Son to redeem us when redemption was beyond our grasp. The Son, offering everything for our sakes, suffered and died for our salvation, rose Body and Soul from the dead and ascended into Heaven where, out of “renewed” (if such a thing were possible for Him) eternal love, He continues to intercede for us to this very moment. The Father and the Son, rather than abandoning us to our own devices after this, jointly sent the Holy Spirit to not just dwell with us but to dwell within us, to make our bodies into temples of His Godhead, to make our souls into hospitable dwelling places for His perfect Love. With that Holy Spirit within us we, in a state of grace, are then able to not just communicate with God, but, more than that, to consume God in the form of the Holy Eucharist, that we may, in a mysterious way, become What we eat! The hands of the priest, once consecrated to do God’s saving work on Earth, bring forgiveness, hope, miracles, salvation, and even Love Himself to all men of goodwill, Mystically, if not physically, the amazing aroma of the Chrism still permeates each holy action of the priest, whether he is blessing, absolving, offering his First Mass, his Last Mass, or those in between.
Pray for the men God is calling to be priests, especially those from our own families. We currently have five in various stages of formation in diverse communities and many more who will follow them. The world needs holy priests; loving priests; Saints.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Corpus Christi Comes Twice Each Year!
This Thursday, June 16, is the actual Feast Day of Corpus Christi. We won’t be having an extra evening Mass for this important day but will simply have our regular morning Mass schedule because in the USA it is mandated that the following Sunday, June 19 this year, we are to celebrate it again as an External Solemnity. (This is a rather new—in Church years—indult, having been decreed in 1885!) Although this is only a mandate for the main Mass of the parish if it is a Sung Mass, we will be celebrating Corpus Christi at the low Mass, too. After the 10:30 Mass, as usual for this feast, we will have a procession around the church, stopping at several temporary altars as we go, giving Benedictions with the Blessed Sacrament to the people and the property all the way around. Some years we have had a light rain, other years it has been dry, but I believe that every year it has been hot and muggy, so be prepared! Bringing a handheld paper fan with you might be a very wise thing. You probably have several around, souvenirs from long ago trips, and have never used them for anything except maybe the young girls playing dress-up. You have time to find them if you read this during the homily on Trinity Sunday.
Of course, if you are at the 10:30 Mass on Trinity Sunday (June 12) you will probably put aside your regular homily escapes (and so might not read this until you find it scrunched up in the back seat of the car a few weeks too late), as we will have a newly ordained priest from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter celebrating one of his first Masses for you. Fr. Noel Soares, FSSP, has joined us for Mass several times during breaks in his seminary formation. He has a brother who lives in town and we are closer than the nearest FSSP parish, Christ the King, in Sarasota. If all goes as planned, this Mass will be a Solemn High Mass, with Fr. Mangiafico and yours truly taking the parts of Deacon and subdeacon. This brand new priest, still wet, not behind the ears, but, rather, wet with chrism on the palms of his hands from his ordination, sent a letter asking for, and receiving, a plenary indulgence for all the Faithful who attend his First Mass. This will be his first Mass here, so (probably) it applies to us as well! See the letter and rough translation below.
Beatissime Pater, Diaconus Natalis Soares, qui ad sacrum promovebitur presbyteratum, humiliter plenariam implorat indulgentiam pro fidelibus qui, vere paenitentes atque caritate compulsi, sese sacramentali confessione purificantes et ss. ma Eucharistia reficientes, preces demum ad mentem eiusem Sanctitatis Tuae pie fundentes, primae coram populo Oratoris Missae devote interfuerint. [RESPONSE] Paenitentiaria Apostolica, de mandato SS.mi Patris Francisci, propositis precibus lebenter annuit.
Ita fideles ad supernaturales virtutes, praesertim Fidei, Spei et Caritatis, magis semper in actum vitae traducendas instimulabuntur et solidabunt suam communionem cum Romano Pontifice, totius Catholicae Ecclesiae unitatis visibili fundamento,
Contrariis quibuscumque minime obstantibus.
Most Holy Father, Deacon Noel Soares, who will be promoted to the sacred priesthood, humbly begs for a plenary indulgence for the faithful who, truly penitent and driven by charity, purify themselves by sacramental confession and the reception of Holy Communion, and finally pouring out pious prayers for the intentions of Your Holiness, are present at the first Mass he celebrates devoutly before the people. [RESPONSE] The Apostolic Penitentiary, at the mandate of the Most Holy Father Francis, agrees with the prayers proposed.
Thus, the faithful will be increasingly encouraged to lead the supernatural virtues, especially of the Faith, Hope, and Charity into an act of life, and will strengthen their communion with the Roman Pontiff, the visible foundation of the unity of the entire Catholic Church,
Notwithstanding anything whatsoever to the contrary.
Now, back to Corpus Christi and External Solemnities. In the Novus Ordo calendar, Corpus Christi has been moved to Sunday, so it is celebrated just the one day. On that day, June 19, Bishop Parkes, joining the other bishops of our country, is kicking off a three-year National Eucharistic Revival with a 3:00 pm Holy Hour at the Cathedral of St. Jude. He would like each parish to send two parishioners to pray this Holy Hour. For what will you be praying? How about that people believe in the Eucharist as Our Lord told us? That they treat the Eucharist with the respect Jesus deserves? That priests believe and that they promote and celebrate reverent Masses? That Eucharistic Adoration would become once again a normal occurrence at parishes rather than a strange thing that only a few seemingly strange parishes do? Does that sound like Eucharistic Revival to you? Then sign up officially to represent Epiphany on that day!
As for the topic of External Solemnities, we have two more on the two Sundays immediately following the External Solemnity of Corpus Christi. June 26 we will celebrate the Sacred Heart and July 3 we will celebrate Sts. Peter and Paul, taking the place of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Sundays after Pentecost, respectively. Before we get to any of them, perhaps you might do a little research to discover why each is important enough to “bump” a regular Sunday!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: A Letter From The Bishop
This week I received an email from Bishop Parkes regarding our parish’s participation in the Catholic Ministry Appeal, which replaced the Annual Pastoral Appeal this year. It was a form letter sent out to all parishes that fell below what he and his advisors were expecting as far as the percent of parishioner participation, the average contribution to the appeal per person, and the total amount pledged and collected. I cannot reproduce his letter here, since it was longer than would fit into this slot but I will give you the highlights.
Dear Father Palka,
As you know, last fall we introduced the Catholic Ministry Appeal. This new appeal replaced the Annual Pastoral Appeal as part of a clergy-led effort to lessen the financial burden on parishes and allow 100 percent of contributions to be used for important ministries and programs instead of diocesan administration.
Change is never easy, but I am proud of this transition and am delighted to say that the Catholic Ministry Appeal has been a resounding success so far. Across the diocese, participation is up with 500 more donors than this time in 2020 and 2021; and commitments and donations received are up by $500,000. However, as I said from the beginning, the ultimate success of the Catholic Ministry Appeal requires that every parish put forth their best effort.
I’m writing today because we have completed our active phase and have been looking at the results for all parishes in key categories: percent participation and percent of goal achieved.
Through this review, it appears the results of the Catholic Ministry Appeal at Epiphany of Our Lord vary from the success other parishes are achieving. This week’s reports show 7% of your parish families are participating, compared to national (20%), regional (19%) and diocesan (16%) trends. Additionally, your parish is 23% to goal ($21,460 raised of $94,368), suggesting the appeal may not have been communicated from the pulpit and/or an in-pew commitment weekend may not have been conducted as it was in other parishes.
...The premise in our change with the Catholic Ministry Appeal was for all parishes to put in a “best effort” to conduct a successful appeal. In doing so, parishes would not be assessed the balance as they had in the past. In addition, goals were reduced overall, making it likely for most, if not all, parishes to exceed goal...
The letter included both year to date and end of year statistics for our parish for the last two years of the APA. Year to date in 2021 and 2020 we had 7% participation and 5.4% participation respectively, for a two year average of 6.2%. This year our Catholic Ministry Appeal (CMA) participation is 7%, which is slightly above average. The average gift, though, has fallen from a $621 average to a $550 gift average per person this year. Also, although his letter says, “goals were reduced overall” our goals have gone up because, unlike the other parishes, our parishioner numbers keep going up! In 2020 our APA goal was $44,370. In 2021 it rose to $66,878. Our CMA goal is $94,368. We only have pledges of 23% of that goal, compared to 39% and 35% at this time during the past two years. Obviously, the Bishop wants us to pledge and collect more than we have done until now. He has “suggested” that I “send a personal letter to your parishioners who have not participated to date” and “host an in-pew promotion and commitment weekend.” The Stewardship Office will even “help” in writing the “personal letter” so that I get the wording right!
Before that letter gets to you, though, might I remind you of my opinion about this new CMA campaign so that you can ponder it deeply. As I told you at the beginning of the CMA campaign, I think the bishop is really taking a leap of faith in changing from the APA to the CMA. The APA goal was mandated to be paid, so if a parish did not make the goal through appeals to the parishioners, the diocese would simply take from the parish savings account whatever balance was still due at the end of the campaign. This new goal, on the other hand, does not come with a “bill due” invoice. Assuming that the pastor makes his “best effort” (which the letter from the bishop suggests has not been done at Epiphany up to now), if the goal is not met, it simply is not met as is not paid by the parish. Only if “best effort” is not made is the parish on the hook for the entire amount.
But better than that, the most amazing difference between the two appeals is that for the new one, you get to choose which specific ministries within the diocese you wish to support. If for any reason you don’t like how money is being spent in one area or for any project, you simply stipulate that your money will go elsewhere, to something that you can get behind 100%! If enough people, say, dislike project “Feel Good Doing Nothing Worthwhile” it won’t get financed through the appeal in the next fiscal year. The bishop will get insights into where the people think he is doing good stewardship and where he is off track based on what they support and what they don’t. Easy, informative, and effective!
Anyway, get ready for a letter coming soon. Or whenever they tell me to send it. I support this new diocesan way of raising needed money for its projects and I hope you are able to do so, too.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka