Corpus Christi

06-03-2018From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Today we celebrate Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. This celebration–one of the most solemn of the Church year–honors the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, under the appearance of bread and wine. This indeed is the Mystery of Faith–that what looks and tastes like bread and wine is really the Risen Jesus.

Speaking of the Eucharist, Jesus once said, “The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.” In other words, receiving Holy Communion establishes an abiding relationship between us and Jesus. It gives us a special closeness to Him.

In these days of electronic communication, we have many ways to keep in touch. E-mails, text messages, and skyping allow us to speak to friends and family members around the world at almost any time. But actually sitting down with each other and enjoying each other’s company–simply being with each other–doesn’t happen as much as we’d like.

But the Good News is that Jesus chooses to be with us in a very tangible way through the Eucharist. This is why it is so important that we take the time to be at Mass each Sunday. To be present when Jesus becomes present to us on the altar. To receive Him in Holy Communion as frequently as we can.

It’s also why it is so good that we have Eucharistic Adoration in our parish–seven days a week. For those who may not know, our chapel is open every day until 11:00pm–with the Eucharist exposed for private prayer and reflection. It is a wonderful way to simply be with Jesus. Different people commit themselves to being present at various hours, so that Jesus is never left alone. But everyone is welcome.

If you’ve never been to Adoration, give it a try. If you used to go and have fallen out of the habit–why not get back into it? Many great saints, including Mother Theresa of Calcutta and Padre Pio, highly recommend spending quiet time in prayer with Jesus in this way. Any of our parish priests or deacons would be happy to answer any questions you may have about it and help you get started. Moreover, I’ve placed some pamphlets entitled “How to make a Holy Hour” in the pamphlet racks that you may find helpful. Believe me when I say that making a Holy Hour–or even a Holy Half Hour–with our Lord in adoration will make a very positive difference in your life!

I will be going on my annual priestly retreat from June 18-22. Every priest is required by Canon (Church) Law to make a five-day retreat each year. As usual, I will be returning to Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where I studied for the priesthood years ago. While there, I will spend time praying at the tomb of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Grotto of Lourdes–a special place of prayer near the seminary. I will be happy to pray for any intentions you have. Please write the names or intentions for which you would like me to pray on a piece of paper and give it to me by next Sunday. I’ll bring all of them with me on retreat, and pray for them each day.

Please keep me in your prayers–at least one Hail Mary a day. Please also pray for the 8th graders who will be graduating from our school Monday evening–and for all those who will be graduating over the next few weeks. May God always keep them close to Him and may they allow their faith to guide them through all the pathways of life.

Finally Let’s keep praying for peace and an end to senseless violence in our world.

Have a great week!
Fr. John