From the Pastor: Parish Mission Starts Next Sunday!
Next weekend Fr. Sean Kopczynski, MSJB will be here, along with a novice from his religious order, to conduct a parish mission while the priests are away at the annual Diocesan Convocation. As always occurs during the first full week of October, the priests gather with the bishop from Monday afternoon until Thursday afternoon for some talks, for some socializing, for some free time together, and even for a little prayer time as a group. Most parishes will be without Mass for those days. Epiphany will have the regular Traditional Latin Mass schedule in the church (with Fr. Kopczynski celebrating), although the Novus Ordo Masses in the chapel will be canceled Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. NOTE: I am writing about NEXT WEEK, NOT THIS WEEK! Also, while on that subject, starting in October the 8:00 am Novus Ordo Masses in the rectory chapel on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday will be in Vietnamese. Fr. Chien knows that a Vietnamese daily Mass is an essential element in building up his mission community, and if this works out, soon all of the Novus Ordo Masses will be in Vietnamese and the chapel will be packed weekday mornings. (Of course, I am still praying that at some time in the near future all of the Vietnamese Masses will be in the Traditional Rite so that, among other reasons, our two communities will be able to unite, to be Catholic in the fullest sense of the word.)
Getting back to the parish mission, now, I want to stress that everyone is welcome to attend everything being offered. Everyone includes those from St. Joseph Vietnamese Mission, those from the Immaculate Conception Haitian Mission, and those from the surrounding parishes, as well as those from Epiphany. As you have seen in the bulletin inserts, heard at Mass announcements, and read on the posters throughout the church and social hall, Father will have catechism classes in the morning and mission talks in the evening. Please mark your calendars and come receive the graces being offered.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” I know that this question is on everyone’s lips right now, as you all want to not only participate but also assist. Yes, you can help. Spread the word, number one. Nobody else is having a parish mission right now, so there is no “competition” in this regard. (That is why we were able to get such a great Mission Preacher!) Let your friends and family and coworkers know that they are welcome to come, even if they have never been to Epiphany or to anything Traditional in the Catholic Church. If they want to grow in holiness, this is the place to be next week. The second thing some few of you might be able to assist with is meals. As you know, we don’t have a cook at the rectory. The priests will be gone, leaving our two distinguished guests, who don’t even know what a “Publix” is, let alone know where one might be, to fend for themselves. (Pity them. There are no Publix’s in Kentucky.) If any of you want to cook for them, feel free to do so. I have not been made aware of any food allergies or likes or dislikes, but you might want to ask once they get here. The third way in which you might assist (and, as you can tell, these are not in order of priority!) is to either continue or start to pray for the success of the Mission. Yes, the mission preacher needs a lot of prayer, as the demands on him are great, the spiritual attacks on him are greater still, and the prayers offered on his behalf beforehand are often few. Most people seem to think that the mission preachers are simply imbued with holiness, knowledge, wisdom, and communication skills in such a way that they are immune to the pitfalls of this world or the netherworld. Not so. As I tell you often, if you want a good homily, pray for the preacher. Taking it a step further now, if you want a good Preached Mission, pray for the Mission Preacher! Beseech God that, by His grace and through the hands of the Blessed Mother, Fr. Kopczynski be a Saint (not just that he become one, but pray that he already is one!) for your own benefit as well as for his.
Lastly, because the Convocation doesn’t begin until after St. Francis’ Feast Day this year (October 4), I will be offering a Blessing of the Animals that day (this Friday) after the morning Mass, confessions and Benediction are completed, about 10:00 am. So bring in your pets, critters, trapped wildlife, teens, or whatever kind of animal you happen to have hanging out at your house. This is not a long, drawn-out ceremony of any sort, just a short blessing, so don't come at 10:31 expecting anyone to still be there!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: What We Did In Madrid
Last week I gave you the prayers and vows of the Consecration which Sister Rachel Maria and the others took as they became perpetually professed Religious. (In case you are just tuning in, so to speak, Sister Rachel Maria is from one of our families, and just took her Perpetual Vows as a Religious Sister with the Home of the Mother. I traveled to Madrid, Spain with my mother to attend the ceremony at their Mother House.) This week I want to let you know what else we did while in Spain. First of all, many of you must have assumed that we were going to be in Spain for a month or more, since you kept insisting that we visit Toledo, Avila, Garabandal, and too many other cities to mention. The reality is that we were only there a few days! We were to fly out of Tampa Wednesday, September 4 shortly before 8 pm. After sitting on the tarmac for a couple of hours, we got off the plane for a couple of hours and then back on for another hour before finally taking off about 1:00 am Thursday morning. Of course, that meant that we missed our connecting flight in Amsterdam, and our new connection for later that day was also then delayed. We didn’t get to Madrid until well after midnight on Friday the 6th, arriving at our rented Airbnb sometime after 1:00 am. Amazingly, the streets and sidewalks of Madrid were packed with people at that hour. It seems that they keep much different hours than we do around here! Shops started opening up around 10 am and many of them closed from noon until 4 pm, although restaurants were open and it seems that 2 pm is a normal lunch time. The restaurants then closed again until 8 or 8:30 pm but few people ate that early. 10 pm is family dinner time. 2:00 am sees everything close up once again.
Friday morning we slept in and then headed out to San Gines, where we wanted to indulge in their famous churros and chocolate. But getting there proved harder than expected. I have never used my phone for GPS while walking but have used it extensively while driving. Most of the time it works extremely well on the road. But while walking in Madrid, the little arrow which indicates where I am and what direction I am moving was not pointing in the proper direction. Ever. It wasn’t always pointed in the same wrong direction, either, so it was quite confusing trying to figure out where we were supposed to be heading. None of the streets are parallel. Most are only a few blocks long, ending in a plaza or roundabout with 4 or five other streets intersecting, and the GPS was more confused than I was. Street signs are non existent, though some of the buildings have the street names emblazoned in tiles about ten feet above head level. But not all buildings do, and only one per intersection has it if it is there at all. Since the arrow was never pointing in the right direction, I tried just listening to the phone’s voice commands. “Turn right at Calle de la Misericordia” it would say, but we couldn’t find such a street name and three streets all branched out to the right, so we just guessed as which right was right. We walked a lot without getting anywhere. But we finally found it, and it was worth the trouble. The churros came five or six to a plate, along with a mug of warm, thick, dark, chocolate for dipping. Although some online reviews said that one order was enough for two or three people to share, we each got our own and were darn sure happy to have done it that way! By the time we were done snacking, the church next door, named San Gines, of course, was already closed for the afternoon. We spent the whole afternoon at the Prado museum and only left when they kicked us out at closing time, 8:00 pm.
From there we started home but had to find a place for dinner. There were little bars/restaurants everywhere, with most blocks having several. We rather randomly chose one when we looked through the door at one small, crowded bar and noticed a dining room down a hallway. There was a whole room back there with tables which were completely empty since it was way too early for the locals to eat! We got the absolute best meal of our trip there. Fresh shrimp, fresh larger shrimp, fresh even larger shrimp, (each with a different, delightful taste) and fresh langostinos (like a cross between and huge shrimp and a tiny lobster). Then, feeling adventurous, we ordered the fresh grilled octopus. Scrumptious!
Saturday and Sunday were set aside to be with the Religious Sisters and the Hernandez family (and the Coughlins, former parishioners now living in California who were there, as well as one of our girls, Valeria Merkt, who, along with Maria Hernandez, is an aspirant with the Sisters). Monday and Tuesday were filled with more churros and chocolate, more shrimp, prawns, langostinos, fish, octopus, clams, mussels, barnacles (they taste like clams), and crabs, and visits to many beautiful churches. We didn’t have time to see (and eat) everything in Madrid, let alone travel to other cities! Wednesday morning we headed back to the airport to come home. Mom took photos everywhere we went and she is more than happy to “show and tell” if you ask!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
I didn't think to take the photo until we were already well into this meal, as seen by the shrimp heads on mom's extra plate near her.
From the Pastor: Sister Rachel Maria Sends Her Love!
Sister Rachel Maria of the Virginal Heart of Mary professed Solemn Perpetual Vows as a Servant Sister of the Home of the Mother! She was absolutely thrilled that my mother and I made the trip, that you all helped her family make the trip, that the ceremony and Mass were going to be livecast in our social hall, that the... Well, let me just say that she was thrilled with everything and everyone! There were no words to really express what she was going through but she kept saying “thanks” and “I’m sorry”. The “thanks” was for all that you have done back here for her and her family. The “I’m sorry” was for not being able to spend much time with anyone, including her own family, and not being able to thank everyone in person or enough. She was busy. She needn’t have apologized, as her frenzied, bubbly, joyful, busyness was expected by everyone but her!
Eleven Sisters and one Brother made their professions in the same ceremony. They were asked by the Bishop (I will use only the feminine, though the questions were also asked, obviously, to the Brother in the masculine), “Dear Sisters: What do you ask of God and of His Holy Church?” Their answer was, “To serve the Lord in the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother all the days of my life.” The Bishop asked more questions. “Dear Sisters: Through baptism you have died to sin and are consecrated to the Lord. Do you now wish to consecrate yourselves more intimately to God through the perpetual profession in the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother?” Each replied, “Yes, I do so wish.” Bishop: “Do you wish, by the grace of God, to faithfully observe perfect chastity, obedience, and poverty, thus imitating Jesus Christ and His Mother, the Virgin Mary?” Sisters: “Yes, I do so wish.” Bishop: “Do you wish to strive to obtain perfect charity with God and with your neighbor, with firmness and constancy, faithfully following the Gospel and observing your statutes?” Sisters: “Yes, I do so wish.” Bishop: “Do you wish to defend the Eucharist and the Honor of Our Mother, especially in the privilege of her virginity, in and with your life?” Sisters: “Yes, I do so wish.” Bishop: Do you wish, guided by the Holy Spirit, to generously spend your entire life at the service of the people of God, especially of the youth?” Sisters: “Yes, I do so wish.” We prayed that God would give them the graces necessary to confirm them in their holy resolutions.
Strengthened by the Litany of Saints, they made their vows, which reflect the above-asked questions, ending with, “I surrender myself to You, Lord, with all that I am and all that I have. I consecrate myself to You with all that I may ever be and may ever have. Such as I am, I give myself to You now and forever, as a Servant Sister of the Home of the Mother in order to live with my Sisters in community of life, work, prayer, and love, making of our house a true Home of Nazareth, in full conformity with the Constitutional norms, which we have voluntarily chosen.” Finally, the Bishop gave them a Solemn Blessing and Consecration. “Oh God, source and origin of all holiness, You have so loved men that You have made them participants in Your divinity and You have not permitted that Your plans of love be destroyed by the sin of Adam or changed by the offenses of the world. Already at the beginning of time, You gave us an example of innocent life in Abel. You inspired holy men and women, full of every virtue, to arise among the Hebrew people, among which the Daughter of Zion, the most Blessed Virgin Mary, stands out, in whose virginal womb Your Word, Jesus Christ Our Lord, became incarnate. He is the image of the holiness desired by You. He became poor to enrich us; He became a Servant to restore our freedom. By His paschal mystery and with ineffable love, He redeemed and sanctified His Church, which was promised the gifts of the Spirit. Under the inspiration of the Paraclete, Lord, You have called innumerable sons and daughters of Yours to follow Christ so that by abandoning the things of this world and joined by the bond of love, they may unite themselves to You with a fervent spirit and be at the service of all their brethren. Lord, look upon these Your children, whom You have called in Your providence, and pour forth upon them the Holy Spirit, so that by Your aid and full of joy, they may faithfully fulfill what they have promised today. May they attentively meditate and faithfully follow the examples of the Divine Teacher. May they abound in chastity, joyful poverty, and generous obedience. May they please You with their humility, serve Your with a docile heart, and love You with fervent charity. May they be patient in tribulation, firm in faith, joyful in hope, and active in love. May their life build up the Church, promote the salvation of the world, and be a clear sign of the heavenly goods. Lord, Heavenly Father, may You be the guide and support of Your children, and when they reach the judgment of Your Son, may You be their recompense and reward so that they may rejoice in having offered themselves in religious life. Thus strengthened in Your love, may they rejoice in the company of the Saints, with whom they will praise You without end. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.”
We love you, Sister! Ora pro nobis!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Many Thanks!
The first part of this article is written by someone near and dear to me and to you, mom.
Some are afraid of getting old. Some are happy to get old (5 ½). Some ignore getting old. Some embrace getting old. As for me, I am the mother of “the priest”. Our Happy Holy Pastor who let everyone know I am now 80. So the whole Epiphany family helped me celebrate. So many of you took the time to wish me a happy birthday. Some were able to come to breakfast even though it was raining hard. Many more were able to come to The 3rd Wednesday of the month Covered Dish that celebrated everyone who had an August birthday. So many showed up we filled the social hall. Young and old, family groups and singles. It was like a family reunion without the Aunt Irma’s everyone hoped wouldn’t come. I received so many cards with prayers, Mass or rosary or other prayers said for me. Still others gave me thoughtful gifts and told me why they couldn’t resist getting me something. Some reminded me of how we met years ago before Epiphany was our Church home. I thank you all for making my 80th birthday so special. Words cannot express how I feel about all of you. I hope I will always live up to the title of Mom that many of you call me. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! God bless you all. Can you imagine what it will be like when our Epiphany Family meets in Heaven? Mary Queen of Heaven and Earth Pray for us.
Carole “Mom” Palka
Along with those thanks, I also have a few words of thanks from Kevin and Cheryl Hernandez and family. They are so appreciative of all the support they have received from you as one of their daughters makes her Perpetual Vows as a Religious Sister with the Home of the Mother. Your prayers have been given in abundance and you have given support in other ways as well. In a perfect world, money wouldn’t be an issue, yet it is when trying to get a large family to fly all the way to Spain for such an important ceremony. You all helped them by getting loaves of bread and other foods that were baked by the family with love and prayers. You slipped them cards with donations, both in person and anonymously. Your generosity is beyond amazing. 10 members of the Hernandez family will be able to make the trip and none will be left behind due to lack of funds! With that in mind, please remember to pray for Sister Rachel Maria of the Virginal Heart of Mary on Sunday, September 8 at noon local time, when she will make her final profession at the Convento de las Bernarda in Alcala de Henares, Spain. To help you pray for her, we are hoping to have it live-streamed in the parish social hall immediately following the 10:30 Mass, so plan to stay and watch next week! If you won’t be there, you may still be able to follow from a home computer or even from your phone wherever you may be (unless you are driving!). A link can be found on the Epiphany website.
As I write this, hurricane Dorian is threating Florida and the airlines have re-routed the Hernandez’ flights. They were going to drive to Miami and fly out of there on Monday, September 2 but have now been issued new tickets out of Tampa (God is good!) without any extra charge. Plus, there return flight was to end in Miami where they were going to park the van and drive home but since the van won’t be there, the airline is flying them back to Tampa as well, again with no extra cost to them! Their whole reason for flying out of Miami even though it was inconvenient was that there was a significant savings on each ticket. Now they get the savings and the convenience, and certainly that is due to your prayers for them! Muchas Gracias! You also know that my mom and I are flying out of Tampa on Wednesday (it was not worth it for just two of us to drive to Miami!) to be there for the ceremony. I have been praying the Mass prayers Ad repellendas tempestates (To Avert Storms) so we shouldn’t have any problems, either. But keep praying anyway! These Mass prayers can be found as number 21 on page 1351 of the Angelus Press Missal. The Collect is: A domo tua, quǽsumus Dómine, spiritáles nequítiæ repellántur: et aëriárum discédat malígnitas tempestátum. Per Dóminum nostrum... (We beseech Thee, O Lord, that all spiritual wickedness may be driven away from Thy house, and that the fury of the storms may pass away. Through our Lord...) The Secret is: Offérimus tibi, Dómine, laudes et múnera, pro concéssis benefíciis grátias referéntes, et pro concedéndis semper supplíciter deprecántes. Per Dóminum... (O Lord, we offer up to Thee praises and gifts, giving thanks for the blessings bestowed, and ever with humility praying that more may be granted. Through our Lord...) And the Post Communion prayer is: Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, qui nos et castigándo sanas et ignoscéndo consérvas: præsta supplícibus tuis; ut et tranquillitátibus hujus optátæ consolatiónis lætémur, et dono tuæ pietátis semper utámur. Per Dóminum... (Almighty, everlasting God, Who by chastising healest and by forgiving dost preserve, grant that we who humbly pray to Thee, may rejoice in the peace and consolation which we desire and ever enjoy the gift of Thy mercy. Through our Lord...).
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka