Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Apr 20, 2022

“I shall sing forever the Lord’s mercy.” (Ps 89 [88]) This Sunday is popularly known as Divine Mercy Sunday. Between 1930 and 1938 Christ appeared to Sister Faustina, a Sister of Mercy in Poland who initiated the Divine Mercy devotion. She was canonized on April 30, 2000, the Sunday after Easter, the Feast of Divine Mercy. On Good Friday, 1937, Jesus requested that Blessed Faustina make a special novena before the Feast of Mercy, from Good Friday through the following Saturday. Jesus also asked that a picture be painted according to the vision of Himself as the fountain of mercy. He gave her a chaplet to be recited and said that it was appropriate to pray the chaplet at three o’clock each afternoon (the Hour of Great Mercy).

The Holy Gospel that the Liturgy presents to us on this second Sunday of Easter, is one of the most well-known, discussed, and appreciated—the meeting of the Risen Lord with St Thomas. The Fathers of the Church have given us numerous insights into this Gospel text. Likewise, it is has proven the inspiration to the numerous artists who have physically represented the events of this Gospel in order to give us a clear idea of what happened, ‘eight days after’ the first apparition of the Risen One, to the disciples congregated in the cenacle.

Jesus’ response to Thomas, after he recognized Him as ‘My Lord and my God’, has a mysterious fascination that must relate not so much to the disciples—those who ‘have seen’—but rather to those, like us, who were added to their number afterwards. ‘You have come to believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.’ (Jn 20:29)

We might do well to reflect on these words from the diary of St. Faustina as she records the words Jesus spoke to her, “[Let] the greatest sinners place their trust in My mercy. They have the right before others to trust in the abyss of My mercy. My daughter, write about My mercy towards tormented souls. Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy. Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.”

As I said last week our celebration of Holy Week and Easter was made especially prayerful and beautiful through the work and efforts of many people.

The music was especially beautiful thanks to Eric Pandrea and Melissa Busson and our choir.  Peggy Andrews, Sue Fajt, and Nathan Ott gave us a very beautiful rendition of the Passion of Good Friday.  Several very fine cantors enhanced our worship during Holy Week as they do throughout the year, Sue Fajt, Holly Linger, and Peggy Andrews.  Carol Mancini and the teen choir have been doing an exceptional job throughout the year and added much to the 10 AN Mass on Easter.  We are also helped in our worship from time to time by Andrew Bebesi who played the organ at the noon Mass on Easter with Sue Fajt as the cantor.  We were also graced with many other talented people and instrumentalists throughout the Easter weekend.  The church looks very beautiful thanks to the efforts of Amy Uhase and so many generous people.  Over the years Don Drouhard has done a great job behind the scenes during Holy Week with the lights and other details and this year Angela Boland has been working with him so that she can take over the position next year; a big thank you to both of them for their service to our parish family.  I am also grateful to Dave Heskamp and Marsh Fernbaugh who take care of our live streaming the liturgies year round and especially during Holy Week as well as Vince Greczanik for all his technical support for our sound system and live streaming.   I am also very grate to all of our readers, EMHC, ushers, altar servers.  The altar servers did an outstanding job.  I hope everyone noticed the new look with the cassocks and surplices.  Thanks to the Knights of Columbus for being with us on Holy Thursday for Mass, procession and acting as honor guards for adoration to 11 PM.  I am especially grateful to Fr. Pat and Deacon Rich overseeing the liturgies of Holy Week.  Everything was beautifully and prayerfully done. So many generous and talented people giving of themselves for the glory of God.  Thank you all very much.

FLIX PICK:  I have gone to the movie theatre once in the past two years since covid started.  The pandemic was one reason for my absence the other reason is that there has not been much out there to go to see.  Now there is something worth recommending: “Father Stu,” in theaters now, tells the story of Father Stuart Long, a priest who had been ordained for only four years before he died from an incurable muscle disorder, and the lives he touched along the way before and after his ordination.

“I’ve made a movie about a remarkable man, and I know that they had campaigned to get him ordained and petitioned to have him canonized,” Wahlberg told Catholic News Service in a March 31 phone interview from Los Angeles. “I’ll push and campaign for Stu, absolutely.”  I think this movie is worth seeing and I plan to go to the theatre to see it.  I invite you to do the same.

Fr. Joe Labak