Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lourdes 50th Anniversary of Dedication (2014-05-18)

5th Sunday May 18, 2014  (5th Sunday Easter)
At the Sat. 5:30 pm Mass + Sunday 11:30 am Mass with Bishop Edgar da Cunha presiding

Title:   Lourdes 50th Anniversary of Dedication

[__01__]       This Sunday, we observe the 5th Sunday of Easter, with a Gospel about homecoming, of reunion in heaven. Jesus says,

“in my Father’s house, there are many dwelling places, if there were not, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2)   Our future hope and reunion in heaven.

[__01.01__]       This Sunday, we also observe, the 50th anniversary of the dedication of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, in this building.  And, we read this in the white banner to the right of the altar.

In November of this year, we observe 100 years as a parish.

Today is 50 years in this our spiritual home, around this altar.

[__02__]       Anniversaries, centennials, birthdays, remind us not only to ..

  • Consider the past – to number our days and our years already experienced…
  • Consider the future – to ask the Lord to make his plans known to us.

In this Gospel reading, Philip is anxious – focused on the past - because he does not know what it means to dwell in the Father’s house.

He does not know where Jesus is going.

When we reach, certain significant birthdays, centennials, we might at times … feel confused, bewildered, uncertain.

In this bewilderment and uncertainty, we are called to pray for God’s direction and plan for the future… and we are also called to give thanks for the people in our lives through whom we have received our gifts.

On this parish 50th anniversary, we give thanks for you …all of you, the dear people of God of Our Lady of Lourdes …and we gave thanks for those whom
we have known in this church as servants, as God’s workers in the including the principals of Our Lady of Lourdes School and our teachers. The principals over the years include –
  • Sister Stella Joseph
  • Sister Stella Maurice
  • Sister Joseph Marie
  • Sister Alice Teresa
  • Sister Anna Raphael
  • Sister Francis Xavier
  • Sister M. Rachel
  • Sister Anne William
  • Sister Joan Woods – who is also here with us today
  • Sister Catherine Marita
  • Mrs. Mary Cassels – who remains a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

we have also known in this church as servants, as God’s workers in the vineyard of Our Lady of Lourdes … our clergy and pastors including –

  • Father Nicholas A. Marnell (1st pastor)
  • Father Joseph P. Connor
  • Father Hugh J. Fitzsimmons
  • Father Florence C. Mahoney (2nd pastor)
  • Father Edward C. Higgins
  • Father Thomas J. Walsh
  • Father Gerald P. Ruane
  • Father John T. Lawlor (3rd pastor)
  • Father Robert Daly
  • Father Eugene C. McCoy
  • Father Peter M. Cutillo
  • Father John G. Judge
  • Father John T. Hank
  • Father Kevin A. Kortina
  • Father Gerald A. Marchand (4th pastor)
  • Father Michael H. Hansen
  • Father Nicholas Figurelli (5th Pastor)
  • Father Jim Chern
  • Myself .. Father Jim Ferry
  • Father Bob Suszko
  • Father Edson Costa

… and the beloved recently deceased clergy of the parish – Deacon Ernest Abad and Monsignor Joe Petrillo.

These are servants, our brothers, for whom we give thanks on this, our 50th anniversary.  

But, isn’t it true that each of them would invite us to look forward, to go forward on this 50th anniversary.

[__03__]   Of course, if we were to feel lost or alone, we would be inclined to look back, to reminisce, to remember.

Philip, the apostle, at the Last Supper, is reminiscing.

The Lord is reminding us that when we serve him, surrender him, even repent of our sins and faults, we not simply doing this to account for the future.

We are repenting and examining ourselves not simply to be free of the past but to experience true freedom in the future.

Yes, we may experienced – at times – injustice, sinfulness, brokenness … but as St. Paul writes to Philippi, there are also blessings mixed with times of sorrow.

Paul identifies that there are good things to be recovered even in times of sadness and sorrow so that we grow in goodness and love – and freedom - ourselves.

Paul writes --  “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)

This remembrance – and recollection and thanksgiving – is part of our path to peace.

[__04__]    Monsignor Joe Petrillo, with whom I served here at Lourdes had a particular fondness for nostalgia, for history, and for – as many of us and his dear friends know – storytelling.

I think inclination was always with him… even his regular hours of ministry and meetings.

Were you ever at parish council with Father Joe?  At a school board meeting with Monsignor?  At finance council gathering?

He took plentiful, copious notes at these.

Monsignor had trained himself, to be diligent about keeping a record. This was not just an act of nostalgia for him but also a way to affirm, recognize, and love the people in his life.

Still…his notebooks and binders kind of heavy with many pages … and they are weighty objects.

[__05__]    Monsignor Joe also had a way of orienting himself and others toward the future.

One particular way was his method of writing and delivering the announcements at the end of Sunday Mass.

I can still remember one the first times I heard him.  If there had been, say, 3 events on successive days at the end of the upcoming week, he would list them chronologically..but in reverse.

  • 1st … the Friday event…
  • 2nd … the Thursday event…
  • 3rd … the Wednesday event..

Unfailing, he adhered to this reverse chronology.  It was his way of not only focusing on the future, but also on what we have to do next.. what we are called to do immediately.

[__06__]   And, isn’t this also the message of Easter? To tell of the Lord’s resurrection, immediately, today.

It is the hope of Father Edson and me, for all of us, that we – our parish of Lourdes – will be messengers of the Lord today, of his mercy, and his direction … the direction and destination mentioned at the Last Supper to Philip and the apostles.

So, if we – at this altar at 1 Eagle Rock Avenue – have known Jesus’s love and sacrifice in the Eucharist, then we have seen the Father…and we will recognize the Father’s house and mercy when we arrive.

[__06__]   On this 50th anniversary, we also recall the gift of our faith and worship, that  bring us to celebrate not only our heritage but also our hope.

Our hope is not only for the future but also for the eternal present of the Son of God alive in the Resurrection and Easter … in this house…

“this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24)

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