News from San Antonio Church – May 26, 2024

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Weekly Bulletin May 26, 2024

by Terrie Evans

On this 1st Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate Trinity Sunday, the celebration of the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity, the three Persons of God: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.  The dedication to the devotion of the Blessed Trinity started with private devotions in homes during the Middle Ages.  The feast for the entire Church was established by Pope John XXII (1316-1334) for the entire Church on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost.  In 1911, Pope Pius X raised the feast day to the dignity of a primary of the 1st Class.  This Sunday is officially known in the Roman Catholic Church as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (Jn.3:16-18).   

Monday, May 27th, Memorial Day, Americans will pay tribute to the soldiers who died protecting our freedoms by praying for those lost and decorating their graves.  Many cemeteries will hold memorial ceremonies for those who sacrificed their lives while in service to our country.   The location of the first Civil War grave to be decorated was in 1861 in Warrenton, Virginia, for the 1st soldier killed during the Civil War, John Quincy Marr.  In 1865, the women of Jackson, Mississippi placed flowers on the graves of Confederate and Union Soldiers as a way to never forget the loss to their families.  In 1866, four women in Columbus, Mississippi decorated the graves of the Confederate and Union Soldiers buried at the Friendship Cemetery, some say as the inspiration for Memorial Day.   There were more than 600,000 soldiers lost on both sides with these memorials taking on a new cultural significance with the federal government establishing the United States National Cemetery System for the Union war dead.  In 1868, Gen. John Logan gave an official order for May 30th as a day to remember those who died in the Civil War as Decoration Day.  With that proclamation, 20,000 graves at Arlington Cemetery were decorated as future President, James Garfield spoke on honoring the war dead.    The 1st Parades for Decoration Day, later to be named Memorial Day were held in Rochester, Wisconsin in 1867 and in Doylestown, Pennsylvania in 1868.  In 1873, New York recognized the day as an official holiday and by 1890, all Northern States followed.  After World War I, Memorial Day honored all American soldiers who died in all wars, not just the Civil War.  In 1915, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a physician with the Canadian Expeditionary Force authored the poem “In Flanders Fields” referring to the fields of poppies growing among the soldiers’ graves in Belgium.  We must never forget the United States Military deaths in Vietnam: over 58,000, in Korea over 36,000, in Iraq 4,500, in the war in Afghanistan 2,459 and in 2021, the 13 U.S. service members from the US Marine Corps, US Navy and US Army who were killed during the evacuations at the Kabul Airport.                               

On Monday, May 27th we honor the Christian Monk who became the 1st Archbishop of Canterbury in 597.  Augustine of Canterbury was the Prior of St. Andrew’s Monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him for a Mission to Christianize King Ethelberht and his Kingdom of Kent in Britian from paganism.  Pope Gregory sent French priests along to aid the mission with Augustine when they arrived in England in 597.  Being pleased for their hard work, the King did convert to Christianity allowing the missionaries to preach freely and gifting them with a plot of land for a monastery.  In 597, on Christmas Day, Augustine held a mass Baptism for thousands after he converted the King on Whit Sunday, along with many of his subjects.  Augustine soon founded the Monastery of Saints Peter and Paul which was later named, St. Augustine’s Abbey.  In 601, Pope Gregory supported the work of Augustine by sending more missionaries, encouraging letters and gifts for the churches for what was then called the Gregorian Mission.  Augustine collaborated with Pope Gregory on issues of the church, the punishment for those who commit robbery in the church, guidance on who could marry, and the consecration of Bishops.  He also worked on relationships between churches, the rules regarding baptisms, who is to receive Communion and when is a priest allowed to celebrate Mass.  Augustine was consecrated the Archbishop of the English, established his See (diocese) at Canterbury and founded two more bishoprics at London and Rochester.  Augustine was sent special gifts from Rome, a pallium for sacred vessels, vestments, relics, and books, all a symbol of a metropolitan status.  He became the influence in Christianity in many areas of the British Isles and due to his example, the great missionary efforts of the Anglo-Saxon Church were attributed to Augustine of Canterbury.  He died on May 26, 604, seven years after his arrival to England and was buried in St. Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury.   St. Augustine was canonized pre-congregation and in 1884, with St. Augustine’s Cross, a Celtic Cross erected in East Kent on the exact spot where the newly arrived Augustine met and preached to the awaiting King Ethelberht. 

On Wednesday, May 29th we remember the life of Pope Paul VI, born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini (1897-1978) head of the Catholic Church from 1963 until his death on August 6, 1978.   His feast day is actually the day of his ordination, May 29th.   He established the Second Vatican Council, improved relations with the Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Churches with the reforms he established after the Second Vatican Council were among the widest and deepest in the Church’s history.  He named Mary the Mother of the Church and called her the ideal of Christian perfection with “Devotion to the Mother of God as a paramount importance in living the life of the Gospel.”  He started his journey of service to the Catholic Church when he entered the Seminary in 1916 and was ordained on May 29,1920 in Brescia, where he would celebrate his 1st Mass at the Santa Maria della Grazia.   He received his Doctorate in Canon Law and continued his studies at the Gregorian University, the University of Rome, and at the Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastical Nobles.  Montini was never assigned a parish and in 1923 served in the Diplomatic Service as the Secretary in the Office of Papal Nuncio to Poland.  After he became Pope, the Communist Government of Poland refused his scheduled visit to Poland for a Marian Pilgrimage.  He then held high ranking positions in Rome and by 1938 was appointed to Protonotary Apostolic, to sign or notarize papal documents, the highest honorary title accorded to a priest.  When he was appointed Pro Secretary of State, he assisted fugitives hidden in Catholic Convents, Parishes, Seminaries and Schools during World War II and helped distribute over 2 million meals of free food in 1944.  In Rome, Castle Gardolfo, the Papal Residence and Vatican City took in 15,000 refugees.  When he became Archbishop of Milan in 1955, Pope Pius XII presented Montini “as his personal gift to Milan”.  Archbishop Montini was now in charge of the Cathedral of Milan, a diocese that had 1,000 churches, 2,500 priests and 3,500,000 souls.  While in Milan, his goal was to re-introduce the faith to a city without much religion “If only we can say Our Father and know what this means then we would understand the Church’s Faith.”  During that time, 7,000 sermons were delivered by priests, bishops, cardinals and lay people in churches, factories, meeting halls, homes, schools, hospitals and wherever people congregated.    In 1958, he was appointed Cardinal after his friend Angelo Roncalli became Pope John XXIII.    In 1961, Cardinal Montini was appointed to the Central Preparatory Commission and requested to live in the Vatican as a member of the Commission of Extraordinary Affairs.  In 1963, when he was elected the next Pontiff, he took the name of Paul to show his intention of making Paul the Apostle as a model for his papal ministry.  At his coronation, the Archbishop of Milan presented him with a tiara to be worn on this momentous day.  After he descended the steps of the Papal Throne at St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Paul VI laid the tiara down as a sign of renunciation of human glory in keeping with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.  The tiara was sold for charity and the purchasers arranged for it to be gifted to the American Catholics.  It is now displayed in the crypt of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  In 1965, he established the Synod of Bishops to be a permanent institution of the Catholic Church and as an advisory body to the papacy.  In 1966, Pope Paul VI asked all bishops to submit their resignations to the Pontiff by the age of 75 and also asked that cardinals relinquish their offices in the Roman Curia by their 80th birthday to make way for younger prelates.  When asked if he should apply those rules to himself at 80, Pope Paul VI replied” Kings can abdicate, Popes cannot.”  He became the 1st pope to visit 6 Continents working to turn the Eurocentric Church into a church of the world and to integrate bishops from all continents in its government and also in the Synod where he convened.  Pope Paul VI was the 1st Pontiff to travel on and airplane and journey outside of Italy in a century.   In 1965, he was the 1st reigning Pontiff to address the United Nations in New York where he pleaded for peace during the Vietnam War, his diamond ring and cross were later donated to the U.N.   He became known as the “Pilgrim Pope” when he visited the Holy Land, India, and Colombia in 1966.  In 1967, he visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal on the 50th Anniversary of the apparition.  He was the 1st Pope to receive Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsy in an official audience and opened the Anglican Center in Rome to increase mutual knowledge of their faiths.  They both signed a common decree to end the disputes of the past and outlined a common agenda for the future.  Pope Paul VI Beatified 38 individuals, Canonized 84 Saints in 21 causes.  He sent a Goodwill Message to NASA for the historic Apollo 11 landing writing “To the Glory of the name of God who gives such power to men, we ardently pray for this wonderful beginning.”  Pope Paul VI’s message still rests on the lunar surface.  Before his death in 1978, Pope Paul VI wrote reflecting on Hamlet: “What is my state of mind?  Am I Hamlet? Or Don Quixote? On the left? On the right?  I do not think I have been properly understood.  I am filled with ‘great joy’ with all our affliction, I am overjoyed.”  He died on August 6, 1978, at the Papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo and is buried in a grave beneath the floor of St. Peters Basilica near the tombs of other Popes in the Vatican Grottoes. The process for the Beatification of Pope Paul VI was opened in 1993 with him being declared Venerable in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.  On October 14, 2018, he was Canonized at St. Peter’s Square by Pope Francis, making him the Patron of the Archdiocese of Milan. 

On Friday, May 31st we honor the Feast of the Visitation centering around the charitable act of Mary traveling the 81 miles to a town in the Judean Hills to visit her pregnant relative, Elizabeth.  They are both pregnant, Mary with Jesus and Elizabeth with John the Baptist, a scene that represents the cycles in the Life of the Virgin and the role Mary plays in the Christian Church.  In the Catholic Church, the Visitation is the Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.  Mary declared her willingness to cooperate with God’s word and go to the assistance of Elizabeth, with whom she spends three months, leaving right before the birth of John the Baptist.   This Medieval Feast was established in 1389 by Pope Urban VI on the urging of the Archbishop of Prague, maintain that the purpose of the visit was to bestow diving grace to both Elizabeth and her unborn child.  The visitation is the first encounter between the two unborn sons, Jesus, and John the Baptist.   While still in his mother’s womb, John felt the presence of Christ, was cleansed from original sin, and filled with divine grace with Elizabeth recognizing the presence of Jesus.  Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth blesses Mary: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”   Mary became the mediator for the first time between God and man with our Church honoring her role with special feasts and devotions as “From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”   There is a statue of the Visitation at the Church of the Visitation in Ein Karem, Israel where the Franciscan Order bough the plot of land from an Arab Family in 1679.  There is a “fresco” (painting in fresh plaster) showing Mary approaching Judaea with the Franciscan local Superior presenting her with the model of the Church and also showing the Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem at that time behind the altar of the Church of the Visitation. 

On Saturday, June 1st we celebrate Justin the Philosopher (AD100-AD165), who became a bold defender of Christianity, regarded as the first great Christian philosopher.  When studying philosophy and the teachings of Plato, he said to embrace the teachings of Jesus.  At the time, Christians were subject to persecutions by state authorities, and he defended Christianity to Emperor Antonius Pius.  On his visits to Rome, his public writings brough attention to the authorities: “Is this not the task of philosophy to enquire about the divine.”  He became a gifted evangelist bringing many Romans from all levels of society to conversion.  Justin’s early Christian expressions on the Eucharist: “This food is called among us the Eucharist.  For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ Our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.”  He was martyred during the persecution of Maximus and canonized pre-congregation with his relics placed at St. John the Baptist near Rome, and at the Church of the Jesuits in Valletta, Malta.  In 1873, a noble Italian Family in possessions of Justins remains sent them to a priest in Baltimore, Maryland to be displayed at St. Mary’s Church.  In 1989 his remains were given a proper burial with the Vatican’s approval.  

On Friday, May 31st the St. Catherine of Siena Parish and School will sponsor the Cincitalia Fest at Harvest Home Park in Cheviot.  Many delicious Italian specialty dishes will be offered for this 3-day event.   San Antonio Church will have their popular Bruschetta Booth with major help setting up the refrigeration and prep table by Andy Ciolino and the LaRosa Pizzeria Family.  They also supply all the bruschetta mixture, breads, and paper products to help our church have a successful fundraiser.  Harry Panaro and his large extended family and close friends will supply their expertise to make us all proud, but there are always volunteers needed so, consider working a shift at our booth.  The Cincitalia Fest runs from May 31st Adults Only (6PM-12AM), Saturday June 1st (3PM-11PM), and Sunday June 2nd (1PM-9 PM).

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