FROM THE PASTOR…..MY DEAR PARISH FAMILY, as you know, last weekend we welcomed FR. ANTONY to our parish as our new assistant. I asked him to write something for the bulletin so that we may know more about him. The following is his response: “Hi, dear loving parishioners. Your hearty welcome and warm smiles made me more glad. I hope that you are all keeping fine and I am your new assistant priest. My name is S. Antony Sudherson, hailing from southern part of India, a state called Tamilnadu, where St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Xavier did God’s wonderful ministry. My order name is The Society of Heralds of Good News. I am a priest for five years. For the first three years, I was in a retreat center as procurator and the following year I was in St. Thomas National Shrine at Chennai. Before my arrival here I was in a deanery as assistant and now I am part of this parish. As I am new to this parish, please be patient with me to your expectations. Allow me to gradually get into the situation. Please do remember me in your valuable prayers. Thank you so much.” And I did assure him that he would have the support of the entire parish as he begins a new ministry at Our Lady of Victory.
This Friday at the 9:00 AM Mass, our parish will celebrate the mass in honor of OUR LADY OF VICTORY, OUR FEAST DAY. The children will celebrate with us at this Mass instead of their normal 9:00 Mass on Wednesday. Hopefully the statue of Mary in memory of Fr. Val will be in place so that we will be able to bless it after Mass.
Some have asked if we were going to have a guest speaker for OUR LADY OF VICTORY NOVENA this year. The answer to that question is not this year. The reason is that since I was here by myself, I could not pull something together. Things here were up in the air for so long that I could not plan on getting anyone in. I do apologize to anyone who wants to have a speaker again this year. Hopefully next year we will return to having a speaker. We will say the Novena Prayer at the end of the Prayers of the Faithful for 9 days instead of the Jubilee of Mercy Prayer.
This week I received the following correspondence and I want to share it with you. “INTERFAITH HUMAN SERVICES (IHS) would like to thank all of you at Our Lady of Victory Church for your phenomenal support. You made it possible for us to finish our fiscal year by providing 350 low-income families with 1,800 pieces of furniture at no cost. Our Free Furniture and Recycled Appliance Program would not have been successful without you. Your continuous support to our programs also helped us provide in-depth one-on-one ongoing money management counseling to 65 individuals, as well as utility assistance, new prescriptions and gas vouchers to long-distance medical appointments for 230 people. Thank you so much for making it possible for us to help our neighbors in need.” And as your pastor, I also want to thank you for being such a generous parish. Once again, OLV is truly a light shining brightly in an otherwise dark world for others.
SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT – Once again, when reading Fr. Dumm’s book, A Mystical Portrait of Jesus, he makes the point that what is most important in spiritual growth is a personal contact with God, a “mystical experience.” He writes that St. John in his gospel “emphasizes the importance of experience. It is desirable to know the right words and to perform the right rituals because they help to protect us from false religious experience, but it is the mystical experience of union with God in Jesus Christ that is essential. All the right words and right rituals will be worse than useless if they are thought to be sufficient in themselves. (my underline) Mystical experience is an unmediated contact with God. Ritual or verbal mediums are important, but they are only mediums. Jesus is certainly demanding more than correct doctrine or right ritual when he says: ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’ (14:23). Keeping his word means to love as he loves – indeed, loving with his loving.” Again, some food for thought as we continue to grow in our love for God and then our love for each other.
HUMOR FOR THE WEEK - "After a worship service at First Baptist Church in Newcastle, Kentucky, a mother with a fidgety seven-year-old boy told how she finally got her son to sit still and be quiet. About halfway through the sermon, she leaned over and whispered, 'If you don't be quiet, Pastor Charlton is going to lose his place and he will have to start his sermon all over again!' It worked."