The Month of March 2021

My Friends,

“From Mess to Mercy”

          Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, writes this reflection about the forty days of Lent.  His words are a good read as we continue on the journey in this great season of grace.  Better than simply a good read, they are best taken to heart!  Will you do so?

          “Sorry to bring it up.  If not now, during Lent, when? I am talking about sin.  We Catholics are often criticized as “hung up” on sin, guilt ridden, oppressed, negative, beating ourselves up over it.

          “Actually, we are hung up on mercy, redemption, salvation, none of which is ours unless we admit sin.

          “Remember how Pope Francis shocked the reporter who asked him, ‘Tell us about yourself.  Who are you?’  The Holy Father replied simply, ‘I am a sinner.’

          “It should not have shocked us.  Everyone but Jesus and His Mother is a sinner.  The plea that most moved our Lord was simply, ‘Jesus have mercy on me a sinner?’

          “What startled us about the response of Pope Francis was not that he is a sinner, but that he admitted it.

          “After noon Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Ash Wednesday, a woman spoke with me.  ‘This world is in a mess.  My family is dysfunctional. And I’m messed up. Everything goes wrong.’  I think she expected me to talk her out of this funk and tell her she had it all wrong, because I could see her surprise when I said, ‘You are right.  We are all messed up.  And we call that sin!’  What is worse, I continued, is that we can’t seem to do much about it.  We conquer one problem and two more arrive; we clean up a mess and a new one spills over; we make progress in one disaster, and another shows up!  Is there any hope, or is this funk, fatigue, and frustration just going to overwhelm us?  We could get depressed, or – we could whisper that most basic, heart-rending prayer we can utter: ‘I need a Savior!’

          “St. Augustine, one of the smartest men who ever lived, arrived at this conclusion after a long journey of many years.  ‘I need pleasures and licentiousness,’ he thought.  He got it; it didn’t work.  ‘I need a philosopher,’ he then reasoned.  Some progress, then, but no letup to his restlessness.  ‘I need a teacher,’ he next reasoned.  He found many, but his disquiet went on.  ‘I need an exemplar, someone to give me good example.’  These he discovered, and they helped a bit.  But, the search went on.  ‘I need a friend,’ he figured.  He surrounded himself with good ones.  Some progress, but he was still uneasy.  Finally, guided by the Bible, the preaching of St. Ambrose, the tears and prayers of his great mother, St. Monica, and most of all, prompted by God’s grace, he admitted, ‘I need a Savior.’  He found one, whose name is Jesus.

          “’Why are we in such a mess?’ folks ask me.  Covid, political acrimony, shutdowns, plan shattered, families apart, dreams on hold, future questionable, and on and on.  Because we have turned from God; because we think my way beats His way.

          “That’s a description of sin.  And we are even too proud, too chic, too ‘modern,’ to admit we are sinners.  So, misery, messiness, mischief, and migraines abound.

          “All I know is that St. Paul is right!  ‘Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.’

          “From a mess to mercy.  A forty day trip.”

The Great Week

          Looking forward to the culmination of the forty days of Lent, the Great Week when we celebrate the mystery of our Redemption in Christ, begins on Palm Sunday, March 28th.  All churches will take into account safety precautions, for the good of all, in these pandemic times.

          At the 10:00 AM Palm Sunday Mass, we will bless palms which all are welcome to take after Mass.  Booklets with the text of the Passion of the Lord, according to St. Mark, will be available for all to take the “people’s parts” during the proclamation of the Passion.

          The Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper on April 1st will be celebrated at 5:00 PM.  The “Washing of the Feet” ceremony is eliminated this year.  Following Mass the church will remain open for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament until all have departed.

          On Good Friday, April 2nd, the Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord will be celebrated at 12:00 Noon.  Again booklets with the text of the Passion of the Lord will be available for the “people’s parts”. The Adoration of the Holy Cross will be in the form of a veneration by all while in place in the pews.  Holy Communion will be distributed in the usual manner.

          The Easter Vigil of the Lord’s Resurrection on April 3rd, will be celebrated at 6:00 PM.  Only minor precautions are directed relating to the blessed water of Baptism.

          Easter Sunday Mass on April 4th, will be celebrated at 10:00 AM.  At the present time our capacity, according to City guidelines, remains at 150 people.  Hopefully we will be able to accommodate all who wish to be present for in person worship. The Mass will be live-streamed.

Founder’s Day

          On Thursday, March 4th, we observed the 115th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick, second Bishop/first Archbishop of St. Louis.  It was Archbishop Kenrick who, in 1847, founded St. John, Apostle and Evangelist Parish.  In the 1860’s, then, he designated it the Pro Cathedral of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  Subsequently he consecrated four bishops here.  During this time, and until the latter years of his life, he lived in a home across the main plaza of the church, which was then 16th Street.  He died in 1896 after serving fifth-three years as Archbishop.  Thanks be to God for the ministry of Archbishop Kenrick here and for his foresight in founding this Pro Cathedral Parish.

In Brief

          We pray for Don Barker, who was born into glory on February 24th after his long and valiant battle with cancer.  May he see God face to face.  And may God give grace and peace to Kathy, his bride of 49 years, and all in the family, in coming days and always.

          We pray, too, for those ill with the Corona virus, all the sick, and for health care workers, first responders, and all essential personnel.  God keep a careful eye on them all. 

 

                Faithfully,

 
Faithfully,
Monsignor Delaney