From the Pastor: Visitors and More!
This weekend we have Bishop Kinyaiya from the Diocese of Dodoma, Tanzania with us. He is Father Emmanuel’s bishop and is here checking up on him. No, wait, Fr. Emmanuel is now living in Pensacola so that doesn’t make any sense. Actually, both will be here this week in order to thank those who have in the past or are currently supporting the Uhuru Watoto girls’ education endeavor. If you don’t remember what that is, ask him about it after Mass (assuming you read this article during my homily, like normal).
We also have a visiting LifeTeen Youth Group here from St. Catherine parish in Sebring. They will be attending the 10:30 Sung Mass. This is quite a journey for them. They, unfortunately, don’t have a Traditional Latin Mass at their own parish (yet!) and they wanted to experience it. Any group of teens willing to drive 2 hours each way on a Sunday morning for Mass is showing great initiative in learning new aspects of the Faith and will be certainly experiencing Mass so unlike what they are used to as to be practically a different Catholic Rite altogether. I warned the youth director already that once they see the way Mass was celebrated for 1500 years or more, they will never want to go back to the newfangled Mass which they grew up with and thought was the way Mass was always celebrated. I hope their pastor is preparing himself to start the TLM soon!
There will also be a couple of local teenage Latin scholars attending for their first time, too. They normally attend either Christ the King or Sacred Heart and study Latin at St John Episcopal & Berkeley Prep. Our Diocese (or someone at the chancery, anyway) suggested that they come here for Mass. That is quite a change from what they would have been told at our chancery just a couple of years ago! I believe they, too, will be at the 10:30 Mass. And really, although Sacred Heart is an extremely beautiful church, their Liturgies, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, will seem completely banal compared to ours. I feel sorry for these kids if they have to go back to their “home parish’ again!
On a different topic, this Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. Remember that at 2:30 we will gather again in the church for a Holy Hour of Adoration, recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and, of course, Confessions. I hope you remembered to put it on your calendar. A plenary indulgence is available for those participating in these holy activities, with the other usual stipulations attached which are necessary to receive such a great grace. (Confession, worthy reception of Holy Communion, detachment from all sin, and prayers for the intentions of the Pope.)
Looking ahead one week, be sure to mark your calendars for next Sunday, April 15. The traveling statue of Our Lady of Fatima is coming to spend the day with us! She will arrive sometime early in the morning, there will be a presentation on Fatima following the 10:30 Mass, there will be a scapular enrollment, maybe a few (or a lot of) other prayers, perhaps even Benediction, Consecration, and the Rosary, and she will stay for the day. This is something you don’t want to miss, even if you have been present at a previous visit of Our Lady.
Finally, a few words about Holy Week and Easter before they get too far into the past. This was the first time we were able to celebrate all three Tenebraes. I didn’t get to prayerfully listen to the prayers being chanted (for 2 to 2 1/2 hours each!) because this year I heard confessions during that time. Confessions were constant. People came and went, and the schola said that is not an insult, as many people cannot stay for the entire time but want to bask in the prayers for as long as they can. So next year don’t avoid the Tenebraes thinking that you are going to “get stuck” being there the whole time if you come. Come and go as you need. This year we also had Solemn celebrations for the Sacred Triduum for the first time, as Fathers Mangiafico and Vincent were both able to be here all three days. Although we clergy need some more work on our end (me, especially), the liturgies were beautifully done by everyone else! Schola members and altar boys (and families) really deserve a great reward for all they did to make it work. I hope you all took advantage of what we had or at least realized what an unbelievable gift it is to have this parish and the Venerable Traditional Rites available locally!
So back to where we started. We have many visitors today. They don’t come because of advertising or because they see us on the news or in their parish bulletins. They come because somebody told them we are here doing what we do. Word of mouth is the only way people find us. Don’t be shy in promoting this little piece of Paradise!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka