From the Pastor: Saint Jude and Other Exciting Saints
The changed date, Sunday, November 19 snuck up on me. Most of you are reading this bulletin on that very date. “What changed date,” you ask? The date of the annual St. Jude Award ceremony at the cathedral. Each year on the (new liturgical calendar) feast of Christ the King a group of very deserving yet too-humble-to-acknowledge-that-fact people receive an award from the bishop for their service to their parish. It is a beautiful, large medallion featuring an image of our diocesan Patron Saint, St. Jude the Apostle. This year, to get back to the “changed date”, the award will be given out a week early because Christ the King Sunday is also the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It was feared that many people would be busy with family and friends, either out of town visiting them or hosting those from out of town, and would miss out on the ceremony. So rather than holding it next week, the award will be given out this week. That’s how the date caught me off guard. By now, because you always read every word of the bulletin and not just this column, you already know that Pat Hanson is receiving it this year. She has long been a very active member of Epiphany and has certainly earned this award with all she has done and continues to do around here. Please be sure to congratulate her when you see her. And if you read this early enough (or already have it on your calendar) you are most welcome to join us at the Cathedral at 3:00 pm.
The St. Jude award ceremony simply kicks off the beginning of a very exciting week of Saints. Look at the great feasts we celebrate this coming week: Monday is the feast of St. Felix of Valois, a co-founder of the Order of the Holy Trinity for the Redemption of Captives. What? You don’t know him? I understand why that feast is not too exciting to you, then. But if you were captured by the Muslims in the twelfth century and were facing either death for being Catholic, a life of slavery, or forced apostasy and conversion, you would have understood just how exciting this Saint was and still is! Tuesday is the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Because you all pray the Rosary daily, you certainly have meditated upon this “mystery” often enough to be excited about the feast associated with it. Wednesday brings the feast of St. Cecilia. She, of course, is the Patroness of Sacred Music, so everybody in the choir (schola) and everybody who appreciates their ministry can certainly get excited about this feast. She is also traditionally credited with (and more recently ridiculed for) inventing the organ, the only musical instrument devised specifically to give glory to God in the Mass. Other instruments were developed for secular entertainment and subsequently incorporated into sacred usage (some with more readily apparent sacred value than others), while the organ started out specifically for sacred music and only later was occasionally incorporated into secular entertainment. This is what the Vatican II document on Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) said about musical instruments in Mass: “120. In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man's mind to God and to higher things. But other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority, as laid down in Art. 22, 52, 37, and 40. This may be done, however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.” Pretty clear and pretty much excludes tambourines and rain sticks, doesn’t it? Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the secular world but the Mass honors St. Clement I (4th Pope) and St. Felicitas (mother of seven martyred sons). Friday brings St. John of the Cross (who, along with St. Teresa, founded the Discalced Carmelites) and St. Chrysogonus (the second of this week’s Saints mentioned in the Roman Canon at every Mass even if you know nothing else about him). Finally, Saturday brings us the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria who, at only 18 years old, marched right up to Emperor Maximinus, who was torturing and murdering Catholics, chastised him for his cruelty, and explained that his false gods were, indeed, false gods. These are all pretty exciting Saints!
Were there any Saints mentioned whom you do not know? The TLM daily Masses help us to venerate many great Saints (as if there are any “not-so-great” Saints!) who are generally not too well known except by daily Mass goers. At the 8:00 am Mass I usually give a short(ish) sermon giving some historical background to at least one of the Saints of the day. Need a little excitement in your life which will also bring joy to God? Come to daily Mass! This is a great week for it.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka