News from San Antonio Church – January 28, 2024

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Weekly Bulletin January 28, 2024

by Terrie Evans

Our San Antonio Church Community sends their condolences and prayers to the Schulter, Acito, and Ader Families on the passing of James “Jim” Schulter on January 16, 2024, at the age of 79.  Jim was a longtime parishioner who served our church for many years along with his late wife Sandra who died in 2016.  They both volunteered for decades with his sister Fran and husband, the late Joe Acito.  Jim was a driving force with Joe Cupito and the late Jo Ann Metz in the fight to save our church from closing in the 1980’s. Jim struggled with health issues for a while and whenever he felt well enough, we were happy to see him at Sunday Mass.  He leaves son Louis, sister Fran (Schulter) Acito, brother Bill (Viv) Schulter and their families.  Jim also leaves his two best friends from the old days, Jack, and Pam (Acito) Baker and Fred Brandewiede, their extended families and all his friends at San Antonio Church.  Jim was buried from St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church.    

On this last Sunday in January, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati celebrates National Catholic School Week, January 28, 2024 – February 3, 2024.  The National Catholic Education theme this year is Catholic Schools: “United in Faith and Community.”  During this week, Dioceses throughout the country highlight the importance of faithful, integral Catholic formation and education within the mission of the church.  Our Catholic schools are the places where Christ continues to be the Teacher, the way, the truth, and the life whom we follow throughout this life and into the next.  St. John Bosco said: “If we want to have a good society, we must concentrate all our forces on the Christian education of the young.  Experience taught me that if we wish to sustain civil society then we should take good care of the young.”   On Tuesday, January 30th at 10:00AM, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr will celebrate a Catholic Schools Week Mass at the Cathedral Basilica.

On Wednesday, January 31st, we celebrate St. John “Don” Bosco born in Becchi, Italy on August 16, 1815, during a draught and famine and at the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815).  His father died when John was 2, and with two older brothers, was raised by his mother, Margherita: laboring growing food and raising sheep.  He was very devout and desired to become a Priest but being poor, John lacked an education and knew his options were limited and the Priesthood was not a possibility.  John left home to find work in a vineyard where he stayed for a few years until meeting a Priest who offered to help him.  Fr. Joseph Cafasso collaborated with him and in 1835, John entered the seminary at Chieri, next to the Church of the Immaculate Conception for his studies and after six years was Ordained in 1841 on the eve of Trinity Sunday by Archbishop Franzoni of Turin.  His 1st assignment was in Turin, Italy, and at a time where he was needed most, in the poor neighborhoods.  Fr. Bosco visited prisons to find boys aged 12-18 housed in deplorable conditions and it was then he knew his calling was to help other boys from ending up there.  When he was younger, a traveling circus came through his town and John was enthralled by the magic tricks from the performers, paid attention and learned some of the tricks they used to charm their audiences.  So, when John was not preaching, he was working to keep boys off the streets and used some of what he learned from the circus acts to get their attention.  Along with his mother, Mamma Margarita, John found lodging for 800 boys and worked to get them jobs as apprentices.  At that time, apprentices needed better contracts and more desirable working conditions, and John negotiated for their safety.  In 1845, he opened a night school for boys in the poorest sections of Turin, Italy and mentored to those young men who desired to be priests.  In 1859, Fr. Bosco established the Society of St. Francis de Sales (Salesians of Don Bosco) with 15 Seminarians.  The purpose of the Society was to continue the charitable work he started and help young boys stay out of trouble. The Salesians’ mission was for corporal works of charity towards the young, poor and the education of boys who want to enter the priesthood.  In 1871, Fr. John “Don” Bosco founded a group of religious sisters to help girls as the Salesians were doing for boys called the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. 

Another group, the Salesian Cooperators, were established in 1874 by Fr. John as a way for lay people to work with young people, both boys and girls.  At the end of 1874, he was asked to accept an Italian parish in Buenos Aires and also a school for boys at San Nicolas de Los Arroyos in Argentina.  Many volunteers from the Salesians answered the call for their 1st Missionary in 1875 and in 1877, Fr. John “Don” Bosco gave the opening address on Systems of Education for the new St. Peter’s Youth Center in Nice.  In August 1877, Fr. John “Don” Bosco founded the official publication of the Salesians, The Salesian Bulletin.  The monthly bulletin is published by the Salesian Congregation and has been published without interruption since 1877.  In 1881, Fr. John wrote “A Compendium of Italian History from the fall of the Roman Empire” that has been noted by scholars for the cultural importance and knowledge from ancient times to modern civilization.  He also penned two biographies, on his mentor Fr. Cafasso and on one of his students, Dominic Savio.   Fr. John “Don” Bosco died in 1888 at the age of 72, declared Blessed in 1929 and Canonized on Easter Sunday in 1934 with Pope Pius XI celebrating both in Rome.  He was given the title “Father and Teacher of Youth”.  His mother “Mamma Margarita” was declared venerable by Pope Benedict XVI on the 150th Anniversary of her passing in 2006.  Servant of God, Margarita Bosco is now known for her work with her son Fr. John “Don” Bosco which helped in the founding of the Salesian Congregation.  She was a woman of faith who at the age of 58 chose to follow her son “In his mission among the poor and abandoned young people of Turin.”  The headquarters of the Society of Saint Francis de Sales, the Salesians of John “Don” Bosco are in Rome, Italy and as of 2022, there are 14,614 members (128 Bishops, 14,056 Priests and 430 Novices).  On Friday, February 2nd we celebrate the Presentation of Jesus, 40 days after Christmas and the end of the Epiphany Season.  In the Gospel Mary and Joseph take the Infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to perform the redemption of the 1st born son in obedience to the Torah.  Also seen as giving thanksgiving after the birth of a child to designate the rite for God’s blessing upon a woman after childbirth. 

Other traditional names include Candlemas (when candles are blessed), the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin and the Meeting of the Lord.  The Feast of the Presentation is one of the most ancient feasts of the Church dating back to the 4th Century.  In the Roman Catholic Church, the Presentation of Jesus is the Fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.   The Blessing of Candles on the day of the Presentation of Jesus recalls Simeon’s reference to the infant Jesus seen as the “light for the revelation” to the Gentiles.  Pope Innocent XII thought Candlemas was created as an alternative to Roman Paganism when he said: “Why do we in this feast carry candles?  Because the gentiles dedicated the month of February to the internal gods, and at the beginning of the month Pluto stole Prosperine, and her mother Ceres, sought her in the night with lighted candles, so they, at the beginning of the month, walked about the city with lighted candles.  Because the holy fathers could not extirpate the custom, they ordained that Christians should carry about candles in honor of the Blessed Virgin; what was done before in the honor of Ceres is now done in the honor of the Blessed Virgin.”  The term Candlemas or Candle Mass recalls the practice where a priest would bless beeswax candles for use throughout the year to be used in the homes of the faithful.  In France, Candlemas is celebrated with crepes and in Italy this day is considered the last cold day of winter.  Because of severe storms in the month of February, Sailors are hesitant to set sail on Candlemas Day believing that any voyage begun on that day will end in disaster.  

On Saturday, February 3rd, we honor the Feast of St. Blaise with the rite of the Blessing of the Throats.  The traditional blessing of the throats conferred of the liturgical memorial of St. Blaise will take place at San Antonio Church on Sunday, February 4th with two crossed candles tied with a red bow as our priest says the blessing:  “Through the intercession of St. Blaise, Bishop, and Martyr, may God deliver you from aliments of the throat and from every other evil.  In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”.   For centuries, St. Blaise has been invoked as the patron saint for those suffering from diseases of the throat because of his intercession in saving a child from choking. As a young man, he became a physician, a priest and later Bishop of Sebastea.  He is the patron saint of animals and veterinarians. 

On Saturday, February 3rd we also celebrate the Feast of St. Ansgar (801-865), 9th Century missionary called the Apostle of the North for bringing Christianity to Northern Europe.  St. Ansgar was renowned as a highly successful missionary who built the 1st Christian Church in Sweden who fought the pagan influence in Denmark when he became the 1st Christian Missionary for Scandinavians.  When he was very young, Ansgar was brought up in a Benedictine Monastery and had a vision that his mother was now in the company of the Blessed Mother and this vision is what motivated him to choose missionary work.  He became a Benedictine Monk at age 15 and was later chosen to be Abbot for the Monastery.  When the Pope made him legate for the Scandinavian Missions stating: “I will go to the people even if I have to go to the ends of the earth.”   Ansgar would direct apostolic activities in the North traveling throughout Denmark who became Archbishop of Bremen.    He was instrumental in the conversion of the King of Sweden who would allow Christian missionaries to return to the country.  He was considered a humble man, exceptional preacher and ascetical priest who devoted his life to the poor and the sick.  He said: “the greatest good we can do for others is to love them and pray for them. “After his death in 865, Ansgar was proclaimed a saint by his successor, Rembert with Pope Nicholas 1 the Great approving the proclamation.  He is venerated in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican Communion and Lutheran Churches and there are statues of St. Ansgar in Hamburg, Copenhagen and Ribe.  Vita Ansgar, “The life of Ansgar”, a biography of St. Ansgar written by his successor Archbishop Rimbert of Bremen between 869-876 became an important source detailing Ansgar’s Scandinavian Missionary work. Written to reassure priests on what they were to expect on a mission and to help Bishops, who manage the needed funds to support their cause.  It also defended missionary work for those who lived under the Rule of Saint Benedict and would have needed justification to leave their monastery to work in a secular society.  St. Ansgar asked for one miracle “that God make him a good man”. 

On Saturday, February 3rd, the 50th Annual Four Chaplains Memorial service will be held at 4:00PM at St. Boniface Church in Northside at 1750 Chase Avenue.  Fr. Matthias Creehan, former Navy Chaplain who served over 20 years in Military Training Facilities and Veteran Affairs will preside over the service which will include a Color Guard, Patriotic Hymns, Candle Service, Ringing of the Ships Bell, and Taps.  All Veterans and Active-Duty Military members are invited.    This service is a tribute to the heroic actions of 4 Military Chaplains during World War II who selflessly acted out of faith in God to help others.  After midnight on February 3, 1943, the U.S. Army transport ship SS Dorchester, one of three ships in a convoy sailing across the Atlantic from Newfoundland to an American Base in Greenland.  The Dorchester was filled with 902 service members, merchant seaman and civilian workers.  Within 150 miles from their destination, a German U Boat spotted the convoy and fired torpedoes striking the ship below the waterline.  The blast killed and wounded many in total darkness.  Soon panic and chaos broke, then 4 men came to the aid of those frightened and disoriented and began handing out life jackets and when the last one was taken, they took theirs off so others would survive.  The Dorchester sank in 20 minutes with only 230 survivors out of 902, 672 perished.  Those 4 men, all new Army Chaplains were:  Lt. George Lansing Fox, a Methodist Minister, born in Pennsylvania who had served in the ambulance corps during World War I received the Silver Star, Purple Heart, and the French Croix de Guerre for bravery; married to Isadore Hurlbut also a Minister.   His son Wyatt enlisted in the Marines on August 8, 1942, on the 18th, the same day his father went on active duty.  Lt. Alexander David Goode, PHD. a Rabbi, born in New York, the son of a Rabbi, in Pennsylvania the Alexander D. Good Elementary School is named in his honor, wife Teresa Flax and daughter Rosalee.  Lt. John P. Washington, born in New Jersey in 1908 was in ordained into the priesthood in 1935, named Chief of Chaplains of the Reserve Pool at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. The fourth Chaplin, Lt. Clark Vandersall Poling, the 6th Generation to serve as a Minister, born in Columbus, Ohio.  His father was a Chaplain in World War I and became Dutch Reformed Minister, Pastor of the First Reformed Church in New York, wife Betty Jung, son Clark Jr. “Corky” and daughter Susan Eizabeth born 3 months after his death.  They all became friends and classmates at Harvard while attending the Army Chaplain School.  They were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Hearts posthumously and a special medal for heroism, “The Four Chaplains Medal” authorized by Congress; awarded to their survivors by the Secretary of the Army, Wilber M. Brucker on January 18, 1961.  In 1948, The U.S. Post Office issued a commemorative stamp in honor of the sacrifice of the chaplains with the words, “These Immortal Chaplains…. Interfaith in Action”. 

Books written about the “Immortal Chaplains” are Four Men of God, by Edgar A. Guest in 1949.   Sea of Glory: The Magnificent Story of the Four Chaplains, by Francis Beauchesne Thornton in 1953.  The Men the Ship:  The Famous Four Chaplains Story and the Sinking of the Dorchester, by Chester J. Szymczak 1976.  In music, the composition “The Light Eternal” written by James Swearingen in 1992. The Four Chaplains are honored on the Liturgical Calendar of the Episcopal Church on February 3rd.   There are stained glass windows depicting the Four Chaplains at the Pentagon, West Point, and the National Cathedral and at military bases and posts throughout the country.  There are many memorials to the Immortal Chaplains including the Memorial Sanctuary on the ship RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach California and the Chapel at the Pittsburg International Airport.  There are art works, sculptures, and plaques in cities throughout the United States.  In Kearney, New Jersey, the “Four Chaplains Memorial” is located outside St. Stephen Church.  This was Fr. Washington’s last assignment before he joined the Army as a Chaplain.  It was dedicated on the 70th Anniversary of the sinking of the Dorchester and shows the 4 Chaplains with their arms locked praying on the stern of the ship with an angel carrying 4 life jackets.  In Massillon, Ohio The Four Chaplains Memorial Viaduct along Ohio State Route 172 over the Tuscarawas River was built in 1949 and refurbished in 1993 with a memorial plaque.  A two-hour audio documentary “No Greater Love” tells the story of the Four Chaplains including interviews with survivors, rescuers, and Naval Historians.  In 2004, a sixty-minute documentary was produced titled “The Four Chaplains Sacrifice at Sea”.

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