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Weekly Bulletin September 24, 2023
by Terrie Evans
On this 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time and the last Sunday in September, we honor all priests on Priesthood Sunday, a Vatican backed worldwide event. We are thankful for all the priests who have served San Antonio Italian Church since its founding in 1922. Without them and their dedicated service to those Immigrant Italians who settled in the Lick Run area of South Fairmount, we would not be here today, Mass would not be offered, and the Sacraments would not have been celebrated. Those early priests kept generations of our family members practicing their faith as they were Baptized, Confirmed, Married, and the final celebration of life, their Funeral. Our parishioners have wonderful memories of those priests who served their families, and we will never forget the roster of Priests who have aided us in keeping our church alive and open. They are Fr. Matthias Crehan, Fr. Larry Dunham, Fr. Bill Ferris, Fr. Frank Jasper, Fr. Jim Meade, Fr. Mike Savino, and Fr. Ralph Westerhoff. A prayer for them and all Priests: “Gracious and Loving God, we thank you for your gift of priests Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments. Help our priests to be strong in their vocation. Set their souls on fire with love for your people. Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Inspire them with the vision of your kingdom. Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel. Allow them to experience joy in their ministry. Help them to become instruments of your divine grace. We ask this through Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest. AMEN.” St. John Vianney who is the patron saint of parish priests said “The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus. When you see a priest, think of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
On Tuesday, September 26th we honor the feast day of Saints Cosmas and Damian, 3rd Century Arabian born twin brothers who were Martyred, rather than deny their faith. They were highly skilled physicians who practiced medicine and performed surgery refusing payment for their services. They were known for their invention of opopira an oral medication that treated diverse maladies such as paralysis, later used by many 15ths Century Italian physicians. Their major shrines are the Convent of the Poor Claires in Madrid and the Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Rome. At St. Anthony Parish in Utica, New York, Cosmas and Damian are venerated during their annual pilgrimage that brings thousands to honor them with many generations from the Italian immigrants who settled there among them. Their festival will start with Masses on Sunday, Blessing of the Sick and processions throughout the streets of East Utica, New York. There will be many regional Italian dishes served for the celebration which is considered one of the largest festivals that honor saints in the northeastern United States.
On Wednesday, September 27th we honor the works of St. Vincent de Paul, the Occitan French Catholic Priest, dedicated to serving the poor who was known for his compassion, humility, and generosity. When Vincent was 36, he began bringing food and comfort to the poor families in Paris and soon established the Confraternities of Charity to assist him and to collect funds for missionary projects. These wealthy women of Paris helped Vincent collect funds to aid victims of war; and to pay the ransom for the release of 1,200 North African slaves. The work of these women led to the founding of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul; the charitable organization dedicated to the service of the poor. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded in 1833 by French University students and at present is in 153 countries. He was born in 1581 died in Paris on September 27, 1660, and was Beatified by Pope Benedict XIII in 1729 and Canonized by Pope Clement in 1737.
On Thursday, September 28th, we honor the feast of St. Wenceslaus, who worked to strengthen the Catholic Faith in Bohemia when Catholics were begin purged from public office and churches were being closed. Born around 907 to a noble family he preferred to become a monk instead of a duke, although he led a life of charitable service and prayer. When he was assassinated in 935 at the age of 22, by his brother, it was seen as a turning point in the history of Bohemia. His feast day is a public holiday in the Czech Republic and the major shrine dedicated to him is the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. His helmet and armor are displayed inside the Prague Castle where a rotunda was consecrated to St. Vitus. In 1994, the TV Film Good King Wenceslas was produced recounting a version of his early life. Also on Thursday, September 28th, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of Lorenz Ruiz the patron saint of the Philippines. Born in Manila to a Chinese Father and Filippino mother, he became a member of the Dominic Order always working for the good of the church. At the age of 42, Lorenzo was falsely accused of a crime and with the aid of Dominican Fathers, sailed to Okinawa where they were imprisoned, transferred to Nagasaki, and tortured to death. He was beatified in 1981 during the visit of Pope John Paul II’s papal visit to the Philippines, the 1st Beatification ceremony held outside of the Vatican. Lorenzo was Canonized in 1987 by Pope John Paul II, becoming the 1st Filippino Saint. There is a mosaic of San Lorenzo in the Trinity Dome of Mary’s National Shrine in Washington, D.C.
On Friday, September 29th, we honor the important role of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. St. Michael the Archangel was referred to as the messenger. Pope St. Gregory the Great once said “Whenever some act of wondrous powers must be performed. Michael is sent”. Muslims, Christians, and Jews practice devotion to Michael as a defender and protector of the Catholic Church. He is the patron saint of emergency medical technicians, police officers, first responders and of Papua, New Guinea. St. Gabriel the Archangel is seen as God’s Messenger of Good News who was the angel who appeared to St. Joseph in dreams. He is the patron of all messengers, broadcasters, diplomats, postal workers, and all telecommunication personnel. St. Raphael the Archangel is considered the healing angle as Raphael means “God Heals”. Raphael is mentioned in the Old Testament story of Tobit where he guides Tobit’s son Tobiah through adventures leading to a happy conclusion. Raphael is the patron saint of travelers and the blind. The Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are considered the patrons of the country of Germany.