Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Apr 12, 2023

“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.”

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS. The Feast of the Sacred Heart this year is on Friday, June 16. Since
the Feast of the Scared occurs on a Friday we are permitted to move the celebration to the weekend
because it is our patronal feast. So, we will celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the
weekend of June 17 and 18 at all the Masses. Following the 5 PM Mass on Sunday, June 18 we will hold our parish picnic. The Family Life Commission and the Parish Council will be working to plan the event, but more help and ideas would be most welcome. So, if you would like to help plan this parish gathering, please call the parish office as soon as you can. In the meantime, we can all pray for good weather, or we will have to have our “picnic” downstairs in McMahon Hall. What would a Parish Picnic be without a raffle! This year we will have a raffle with a Grand Prize of $500. The tickets will be $5.00 each and will also be sold in advance as well as the day of the picnic. The winner need not be present. The proceeds from the raffle will go to help Ukrainian refugees coming into the Cleveland area. We are joining with three other parishes to raise money to help these refugees. Please be generous in supporting our efforts.

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 Eric Pandrea gave us a very beautiful rendition of the Passion on Good Friday. Carol Mancini and the teen choir have been doing an exceptional job throughout the year and added much to the 10 AM Mass on Easter. We were 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 Tammy Seifert and so many generous people. Angela Boland did a great job behind the scenes during Holy Week with the lights and other details especially, on Holy Thursday, a big thank you to her. 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, and altar servers. The altar servers did an outstanding job under the direction of Fr. Pat and Deacon Rich. Thanks to the Knights of Columbus for being with us on Holy Thursday for Mass, procession and acting as honor guards for adoration til 11 PM. I am especially grateful to Fr. Pat and Deacon Rich for 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.

Fr. Joe Labak