News from San Antonio Church – April 14, 2024

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Weekly Bulletin April 14, 2024

by Terrie Evans

On this Sunday, we celebrate the Third Sunday of Easter in the traditional Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.  Also referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday due to the Gospel reading assigned to it with an image that depicts God as the kind of shepherd who cares for his flock.   In some liturgical calendars, this Sunday was at one time known as the Feast of Our Lady, Mother of the Good Shepherd with the Franciscans celebrating this day as the Feast of the Holy Sepulchre.  In the Greek Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox and Greek Catholic Churches, this day is called the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers for the role of the women who followed Jesus during his earthly ministry and remained with him during his arrest, execution, crucifixion, and burial.  They were mentioned in the New Testament who were directly involved and the first to pay a visit to the tomb of Christ in the early morning to find it empty after the Resurrection.  According to Jewish tradition, the women returned to the tomb every day for 3 days for brief burial preparations before waiting for the Sabbath to pass, then returned to anoint the body with myrrh.  When the Resurrection was revealed to them, they told the Apostles of finding the tomb empty.  The myrrh bearing women, especially Mary Magdalene is considered as the apostle to the Apostles.  In Western Christianity, they are called Women at the Tomb with several prominent Orthodox Cathedrals and Churches named in honor of the Myrrh-bearers.  In the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church, they are celebrated with a feast day for the “Myrrh-bearing Women on August 3rd.    

On Tuesday, April 16th we observe the feast day of Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879) known for experiencing the apparitions of the young woman who asked for a chapel to be built at the nearby grotto where she visited Bernadett.  The visions seen by Bernadett began in 1858 when she was 14 with the Virgin Mary appearing to her at a grotto near her home in France.  There were 18 appearances of Our Lady to Bernadette in 1858 between February 11th and July 16th at the rock cave located along the River Gave near Lourdes, France.  She was dressed in blue and white with roses at her feet and asked Bernadett to pray to the Rosary with her.   In the final vision to Bernadette, the Blessed Mother would finally reveal her identity “I am the Immaculate Conception” and then instructed her to drink from the natural spring that began to flow from the place of the apparitions.  Bernadette Soubirous reports were then reported and after a canonical investigation, the visons were then declared believable with the Marian apparition that came to Bernadette, named Our Lady of Lourdes.  In 1862, Lourdes became a place of pilgrimage with the approval of the Church and in 1864, a statue of the Virgin according to Bernadette’s description was placed in the grotto and dedicated in the presence of 20,000 pilgrims. 

In 1866, at the age of 22, Bernadette professed her vows with the Sisters of Charity at their convent in Nevers, France taking the name Marie Bernarde in honor of her Grandmother.  In 1876, Pope Pius IX granted an official decree of Canonical Coronation to the image as Notre-Dame du Saint Rosaire performed by Cardinal Pier Francesco Meglia in the courtyard before the Rosary Basilica was built.  Bernadette, Sr. Marie Bernard   worked as an assistant in the infirmary and as a sacristan until her death on Easter Wednesday on April 16th in 1879 at the age of 35.  In 1901, the Basilica of the Holy Rosary was completed with Lourdes becoming one of the most popular sites of pilgrimages for healings that have been reported after bathing in the waters of the spring or during the blessing ceremonies with the Blessed Sacrament at the Basilica.   On June 14, 1925, Bernadette, was beatified by Pope Pius XI and canonized by him on December 8, 1933, with her Major Shrine, the Chapel of the St. Gildard Convent in Nevers, France where her remains are buried.    Over the years, the Marian devotion became popular with the image of Our lady of Lourdes copied in shrines, for homes and in garden landscapes.  In 1941, a novel, the Song of Bernadete by Franz Werfel was published about the events of the apparition and in 1943, a film was made from the bestselling book.  All recent Popes have visited the Marian Shrine with Benedict XV, Pius XI and John XXIII making their pilgrimage as Bishops.  Pope Pius XII visited as a Papal Delegate and issued an encyclical, Le pelerinage de Lourdes on the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions in 1958.  Pope John Paul II visited Lourdes three times, twice as a Bishop, and also instituted the World Day of the Sick on May 13, 1992, in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes. 

In 2008, Pope Benedict visited Lourdes to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Marian apparitions.  In 2019, Pope Francis granted a canonical coronation towards a Lourdes image at the National Shrine at Our Lady of Lourdes in Quezon City in the Philippines that took place on August 22, 2020.  There are other places of veneration to Our Lady of Lourdes at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, the Internal grotto of The Church of Notre Dame in New York City, Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama, with many other located around the world.  The Catholic Church has formally endorsed Lourdes as a place for those who are ill to visit and bathe in the waters for healing and a possible cure.  Many pilgrims are said to be cured by drinking or bathing in the spring waters who are provided for anyone who asks for it free of charge.  The water was deemed pure and inert and is said to contain many minerals.    A Prayer in honor of St. Bernadette: “O God, protector, and lover of the humble, You bestowed upon Your servant, Bernadette, the favor of beholding the Immaculate Virgin Mary and of talking with her.  Grant that we may deserve to behold You in heaven.” 

On Friday, April 26, 2024, the Men from San Antonio Church will hold their annual Mussie Fest in our Church Hall.    The evening will begin with all the men coming together for a traditional Italian dinner in our Hall.  The Annual Mussie Fest and Lick Run Reunion will take place on Friday, April 26th.  Doors will open at 5:00PM for this historic event open to all men who support San Antonio Church.  The tickets are $20.00 per person for an evening of great food and fellowship so, please invite your friends.  There are only 125 available seats in our Hall, reservations can be made by calling Dave Sabatelli at 513-405-6444.  There will be a signup sheet in the Hall this Sunday for this great event that brings all our families closer together.

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