My dear parishioners and friends of our parish community: Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!
The readings for the past two weekends have reminded us to cultivate the traits of humility and receptivity. Sometimes we feel that we do not have the strength on our own to develop these traits. Today St. Paul reminds us of the truth that we can easily miss: “the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness” (Romans 8:26-27).
Through the Sacrament of Confirmation we were given the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Too often these Gifts remain dormant. Perhaps today is the day to wake up and rely on these seven powerful Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Name one Gift and identify one brief way in the past week that you used it in particular.
On July 14th, 2008, St. John Church received the necessary permission from the Norwich Diocesan Building Commission to go ahead with our work to install the new heating and air conditioning system and new bathroom. The contract was given to Triple A Heating/Cooling of Killingworth, CT, our lowest bidder. I know that this has been a long-awaited dream of so many of the parishioners of St. John Church. Work will begin in the next few weeks. I am most grateful to our Parish Renovation Committee who has worked for a year and a half on this, as well as our Parish Finance Committee, who has supported and encouraged us to complete this necessary project during this summertime. Our parish is so blessed to have so many dedicated persons enabling us to accomplish this work, thus providing our parishioners better comfort during our sacred liturgies all season. Together, we can keep St. John’s moving forward and growing.
July 18th we begin our Parish Summer Novena Honoring Good Saint Anne, which continues all this week following the daily 8:00 AM Mass, concluding next weekend, July 26th and 27th, as we honor the Solemn Feast Day of St. Anne (see box to the right). The Annual Summer Novena to St. Anne is a very special time for all of us. As you know, Good Saint Anne is the Patroness of the Diocese of Norwich. As the beloved Grandmother of our Lord Jesus Christ and mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, countless souls turn to her powerful intercession.
I recall with fondness making the Summer Novena days to St. Anne as an altar boy serving morning Mass in my home parish of St. Joseph Church, Norwich, CT. The devout parishioners, especially many of our Polish immigrant grandmothers, would join in these special summer days of prayer and devotion to St. Anne. I recall assisting the pastor with the veneration of the relic of St. Anne, as the faithful knelt all down the altar rail each day of the novena. What a beautiful demonstration of faith!
Yes, dear St. Anne continues to be a favorite intercessor of ours all across the Diocese of Norwich. Just last weekend, we heard of the closing and yoking of parishes in the Putnam deanery due to changing demographics and the rapid decline of priests. Bishop Michael Cote closed his letter to the faithful of our diocese asking us to seek the intercession of St. Anne. The Holy Spirit is at work and guiding us on, as is the maternal help of beloved St. Anne.
Jubilee Blessings in this Holy Year of St. Paul!
Summer Blessings to you all!
Always, Father Jim
Homily of Pope Benedict XVI in Barangaroo, Sydney. For World Youth Day 2008