World Mission Sunday

10-20-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of making a pilgrimage with a busload of people from our parish. We went to the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was inspired by the beauty of the Church and prayerfulness of the people there.

For those who may not know, the Miraculous Medal was given by our Blessed Mother to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830. While appearing to St. Catherine, Blessed Mary asked that she have copies of the medals made and distributed for people to wear. She promised to obtain great graces from God for those who obeyed her request.

As usually happens in such cases, not everyone believed St. Catherine’s story right away. But her confessor did, and helped her begin spreading the message. He also asked for an official investigation by the Church. The Church found the incident ‘worthy of belief’ – meaning that Catholics should take it seriously.

If people needed any more reason to believe in this story and wear the Miraculous Medal, they got one in the many miracles that began to be reported by those wearing the Miraculous Medal and faithfully saying the prayers attached to it. Seriously ill persons who were given no hope by their doctors were suddenly and completely healed. People who had been far from God – or whose faith had grown lukewarm – had their faith rekindled when they wore Miraculous Medals given to them by loved ones. The list of such miracles goes on and on – even to our own day!

There is a Novena attached to the Miraculous Medal. It is prayed in our chapel – in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament – every Monday evening at 7 PM. After the novena, the Rosary is also prayed. I have asked our priests and deacons to help us reinvigorate this devotion in our parish. We will make a special effort to see that the Novena is always led by one of our priests or deacons, who will give a short reflection as part of the service.

I am hoping that many of you will also help pump some new life into the Miraculous Medal Novena. Coming to it is a good way to pray for those in your life who need special blessings and graces from God. It’s also a good way to spend some time with our Lord and His Blessed Mother.

Last Thursday I made another trip – to see the progress being made on our historic pipe organ. With our Music Director, Paul Kucinski, and some members of the Buildings and Grounds Commission, I went to the workshop of the Peragallo Pipe Organ Company in Patterson, New Jersey. It was a truly fascinating place where you could feel the dedication the craftsmen have for the work they do. They told us that the organ will be back in our Church in time for All Saints Day, November 1st!

Today (Sunday) is World Mission Sunday. It is a day when we remember Jesus’ command to ‘teach all nations.’ Unlike the Mission Co-op appeal held during the summer – which supports a specific missionary group – today’s collection supports the world wide missionary efforts directed by our Holy Father, the Pope. Thanks in advance for your generous support of the missions – and your prayers for them!

Please also say a prayer for me – at least one Hail Mary a day. I prayed for all of you at the Miraculous Medal Shrine - as I do every day. May God grant each of us a deep and life – giving friendship with His Son, Jesus Christ!

Have a great week!

Fr. John