From the Pastor: Father Dorvil Will Be With Us!
Next weekend, September 17 and 18, we will have a special guest priest celebrating Sunday Masses and preaching! Fr. Dorvil, who lives at Epiphany and has an office here, has been celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass twice a week since August of last year so those who attend the 8:00 am Mass on Tuesdays and Thursdays know him already. But most of the rest of you don’t, even though he has been at Epiphany much longer than I have been here. So let me introduce you to him before explaining why he will be preaching next weekend.
To begin with, Fr. Pierre Dorvil, SMM, is a De Montfort priest from Haiti, though he is now a US citizen. His order, need I say, is named after the famous French priest, Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, whose classic 33 Day Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, found in his book titled, “True Devotion to Mary”, many of you have undergone. His books, including The Secret of Mary and The Secret of the Rosary, are also so well known that most of you have read them as well. Fr. Dorvil is in charge of the Immaculate Conception Haitian Mission here in the diocese. His Masses are celebrated at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church which is a few miles south of here, which explains why you never see him around here on Sundays!
But this Sunday will be different, as he will stay with us for a change. Every year each parish is expected to host a Missionary Preacher one weekend during the late summer. The mission may be close, as is Immaculate Conception, or it may be in a different country, possibly even a different continent. Because Epiphany was the sponsoring parish for St. Joseph Vietnamese Mission, for years no outside Missionary has come to make an appeal here. When St. Joseph became its own parish, that changed. The Missionary Appeal preachers were already assigned (the diocese gets many, many requests each year and has to choose who to accept and which parish to assign them to) the year after the departure of the Vietnamese community, so this is the first year we have been assigned a Missionary preacher. Since Fr. Dorvil is familiar with the parish and many parishioners are familiar with him, and since he celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass as well as the Novus Ordo Mass, whoever makes the assignments at the chancery level must have determined that we would be a good fit for him and he for us!
I am writing this a week ahead of his appeal to get you ready for it. Monetary appeals are hard to make. Nobody likes to have to beg for money. But the reality is that not all missions, whether a local parish mission like Immaculate Conception (and formerly St. Joseph) or a foreign mission (perhaps in a poor section of India or Africa) can afford to pay the bills without appeals like this, asking assistance from kindhearted and dutiful fellow Catholics. Because I know Fr. Dorvil and know his mission, I can assure you that none of the money you contribute to him will be wasted or foolishly spent. Thank you in advance for your generosity and your prayers.
This Missionary Appeal is not to be confused with a Parish Mission! Due to covid restrictions, we haven’t been able to have one of those in a couple of years but we do have one on the books for November 13 through 17. Fr. Shannon Collins, MSJB (Missionaries of St. John the Baptist) will be preaching that Mission on the topic of The Most Precious Blood of Jesus. If you have been here for a few years you may very well remember another MSJB priest, Fr. Sean Kopczynski, who has preached parish missions for us in the past. While a Mission Appeal asks for donations from us to keep a mission funded, a Parish Mission brings spiritual renewal to our own parish. Although more information will be given when we get closer to the Mission, just be sure to mark your calendar already so that you can take advantage of this spiritual gift in preparation for Advent and Christmas.
Finally, I hope you don’t mind me giving an update on one more type of Appeal. Our parish donations to the Catholic Ministry Appeal, which pays the bills for the diocese, have been slowly increasing and I want to thank you for that (for the “increasing” part, not necessarily the “slowly” part!). We are about a third of the way toward our approximately $94,000 goal, up from 23% when the bishop wrote me in June. I believe letters from the diocese got delivered to you (with my signature, though not with my writing!) last week “inviting” you once again to give generously to this appeal. It’s hard to balance a family budget when prices keep rising but it’s hard to balance a diocesan budget, too, while facing the same price increases! Please prayerfully consider how much you should give and to which appeal(s) it should go rather than just randomly giving or not giving. One of the Precepts of the Church (that is, one of the bare minimum requirements to be a Catholic) is to give to the Church. The pastor (parish), the bishop (diocese), the missionary preacher (missions), the preacher of missions (spiritual nourishment), and many good charities (those with Catholic goals and which use Catholic morality as guidelines) are all waiting for you and God to come to an agreement about who gets what! When money (or time and energy) and prayer are combined in a gift, out of love of God and neighbor, the Church shines brightly and her mission (the salvation of souls) can be accomplished.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka