My dear parishioners and friends of our parish community: Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!
We gather together for this celebration of the Lord’s Day…can you believe? This is the last weekend of Summer 2008!
I join with you all in lamenting the fact that Summer is much too short a season in Connecticut! I hope that Summer 2008, as brief as it is, holds some special memories in your life.
As you know, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has declared a Jubilee Year marking the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul, Apostle. It began in early Summer, on June 29th, 2008, the Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul. It continues now until June 2009.
During my Summer vacation time in August, I was able to make a special trip to the Island of Malta. Malta is an island about 90 miles south of Sicily. It was once a British colony for over 200 years, but gained independence in 1960. During the Middle Ages, Malta was home of the famous Knights of St. John, or simply “The Knights of Malta.” It is now part of the European Union and remains a place of deep Catholic faith.
There are numerous and beautiful Catholic churches across the island. There are statues of saints everywhere! You know how much I love our saints! So it was awesome! English is an official language on Malta, but natives tend to speak both English and Maltese. The island remains a popular vacation spot for many Europeans. Italian is heard quite a bit too! But perhaps the most famous visitor to Malta in its long history was SAINT PAUL, APOSTLE.
As we know from the Scriptures, specifically in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 28…St. Paul was shipwrecked and landed on Malta. It was winter, so he stayed on a few months in Malta establishing the faith and the Church there. Today, the spot of his shipwreck is called “St. Paul’s Bay” and there is a huge pillar topped with a beautiful statue of St. Paul exactly where he landed. I was able to swim in this bay, close to St. Paul! Also, I was able to visit the Cathedral of St. Paul and gain the special Jubilee Year indulgence.
In very close proximity to the Cathedral is the “Grotto of St. Paul.” Here he lived! Pope John Paul II prayed in this grotto on his visit to Malta in 1990. I saw the spot St. Paul celebrated the Holy Eucharist as well as baptized and ordained priests. This place was once a Roman prison! It was awesome to know that St. Paul carried on his pastoral ministry right on this spot. You can be sure that I prayed for all of YOU! I asked St. Paul to bless St. John Parish with abundant blessings in this special Jubilee Year dedicated to him. St. Paul, Pray For Us!
Late Summer Blessings to you all!
A restful Lord’s Day to you!
Always, Father Jim