|Thursday, Feb. 2 -- Purification of the BVM
We will have a High Mass at 7 PM preceded by the blessing and distribution of candles and procession. This feast marks the end of the Christmas cycle, when our Lord physically went into His temple in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
The candles blessed on this day symbolize Jesus -- the Light of the World. The wax of the candle made by bees from the nectar of flowers represents the virginal flesh of Our Lord. The wick within symbolizes His Soul and the flame that scatters the darkness is His Divinity.
Any candles that you wish to have blessed may be placed on or near the table in the sanctuary until the beginning of Mass on Thursday at 7:00 pm. Be sure your candles are labeled with your name. Blessed candles are a sacramental that may be used especially in times of trouble, temptations, during storms and for sick calls.
There will be no 7:30 AM Mass this Thursday. Please join us for the evening Mass and candle blessing.
|First Holy Communion Announcement
At Sacred Heart, we have customarily had First Communion on the Sunday after Corpus Christi, when the external solemnity is celebrated. Canon law presumes that "It is primarily the duty of parents and those who take their place... to ensure that children who have reached the use of reason are properly prepared, and having made their sacramental confession, are nourished by this divine food as soon as possible." (can. 914) The place of the parish priest is secondary in this process, and serves more to prevent those from approaching for Holy Communion who are manifestly indisposed. St. Pius X in his decree "Quam Singulari" states:
"A full and perfect knowledge of Christian doctrine is not necessary either for First Confession or for First Communion. Afterwards, however, the child will be obliged to learn gradually the entire Catechism according to his ability."
"The knowledge of religion which is required in a child in order to be properly prepared to receive First Communion is such that he will understand according to his capacity those Mysteries of faith which are necessary as a means of salvation (necessitate medii) and that he can distinguish between the Bread of the Eucharist and ordinary, material bread, and thus he may receive Holy Communion with a devotion becoming his years."
And what are these mysteries of faith? The Catholic Encyclopedia under the heading "Sanctifying Grace" states:
In answer to the theological question: How many truths of faith must one expressly (fide explicita) believe under command (necessitate praecepti)? theologians say that an ordinary Catholic must expressly know and believe the most important dogmas and the truths of the moral law, for instance, the Apostles' Creed, the Decalogue, the six precepts of the Church, the Seven Sacraments, the Our Father. Greater things are, of course, expected from the educated, especially from catechists, confessors, preachers wherefore upon these the study of theology rests as an obligation. If the question be put: In how many truths as a means (necessitate medii) must one believe to be saved? many catechists answer Six things: God's existence; an eternal reward; the Trinity; the Incarnation; the immortality of the soul; the necessity of Grace. But according to St. Paul (Hebrews 11:6) we can only be certain of the necessity of the first two dogmas, while the belief in the Trinity and the Incarnation could not of course be exacted from ante-Christian Judaism or from Paganism. Then, too, belief in the Trinity may be implicitly included in the dogma of God's existence, and belief in the Incarnation in the dogma of the Divine providence, just as the immortality of the soul is implicitly included in the dogma of an eternal reward. However, there arises for any one baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, and entering thus the Church of Christ, the necessity of making an act of explicit faith (fides explicita).
Thus, it is expected that parents can adequately prepare their children for First Holy Communion, teaching them their basic prayers, the rosary, how to go to confession, etc. Parents with children who wish to make their First Communion this year are asked to inform the pastor, who will arrange for a short meeting with the child to ensure proper disposition and the requisite knowledge (including the ability to make a sacramental confession, which must precede First Communion). Highly recommended as a teaching aid is the classic "St. Joseph First Communion Catechism" available at any Catholic book shop.
We are planning to have the Sacrament of Confirmation late in 2017 or early 2018, though a date has not yet been decided. Since we are potentially planning a joint ceremony with St. Stanislaus in South Bend (which location yet to be determined), we need a preliminary head count. The "preferred" age in this diocese for candidates for Confirmation is 13 or 14, but the US Bishops' Conference places the age starting at the age of reason and being postponed no later than the 16th year of age. A more mature understanding of the faith and the Christian life is required, but always proportional to one's chronological age. Some children, being more precocious than others, might be well prepared at a very young age, and are encouraged to receive the sacrament earlier than the preferred age, which is after all merely a preference not a precept. Those desiring to receive the sacrament of Confirmation are asked to contact the pastor or the church office as soon as possible. There will be a catechism class conducted based on Fr. Connell's Confraternity Edition of the Baltimore Catechism #3 and the booklet "Preparation for Confirmation" by Angelus Press, both of which will be provided by the parish.
|St. Blaise & the blessing of Throats
St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, was well known for his miraculous cures especially for protection against diseases of the throat. On his way to prison and his eventual martyrdom he was stopped by a woman whose son was choking with a fish bone in his throat. St Blaise blessed the child and the miraculous cure was witnessed by many of the faithful. St. Blaise was then led to his death having worked his last act of charity before laying down his life for Christ.
The customary blessing of the throats is done with two wax candles which have been blessed with a special blessing from the Roman Ritual. The blessing of the throats is permitted on the Sunday immediately after Feb. 3, the actual feast day of St. Blaise. Due to a conflict with First Friday devotions, we will delay the blessing until then. Therefore we will bless throats immediately after the 8:00 and 10:00 AM Masses next Sunday.