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Pastor's Centennial Letter January 2017

1917 – 2017 Centennial of Faith

 

Saint Joseph Parish, Needham
January 1, 2017


Dear Parishioners,

With special anticipation and joy, I am writing this letter to announce that our 100th anniversary as a Parish has begun! For the past few Sundays, during the Prayers of the Faithful, we have offered this intention: “That all the members of our Parish will enter into our upcoming 100th anniversary year with hearts open to renewal and growth in the Lord through His Church.”

I’m deeply gratified by the broad consensus among our parishioners that the goal of this anniversary year is, first, a spiritual one. I’m especially grateful to the 100th Anniversary Committee for their extraordinary dedication and work so that we may experience the rich opportunities of this time of grace. One fine example is the Spiritual Pledge cards that are being distributed at all the Masses, by which we are invited to give prayerful thought to various suggestions for ways to deepen our relationship with the Lord.

Every time I celebrate Sunday Mass here, I realize how fortunate we are that our celebrations of the sacred mysteries are marked by graciousness, reverence and joy. It is especially satisfying to me that, week after week, parishioners and visitors go out of their way to express their gratitude for the way that we celebrate Mass in this parish. The worthy celebration of the Mass and the preaching of the Gospel is my first priority as a Pastor, because it is the Church’s first priority.

At the Second Vatican Council (1962 – 1965) the Church taught that, “the liturgy, through which the work of our redemption is accomplished, most of all in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church.”

Through our participation in the Church’s liturgy, we are being saved and changed by the grace of Christ. We are being built up into a holy temple of the Lord, and we become a sign to the whole world of God’s desire to save all in Christ. The liturgy is “the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time, it is the font from which all her power flows.”

Because our participation in the liturgy is absolutely essential to our life in Christ, the Council fathers wanted to restore and promote the liturgy by making its various elements clearer to the people who participate in it. In that way, all the faithful could clearly understand and rediscover the true nature of the liturgy and the meaning of their participation in it – a participation that ought to be “full, conscious, and active.”

As the Council fathers taught, “Such participation by the Christian people as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people is their right and duty by reason of their Baptism. In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit, and therefore, pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work.”

Regarding what we, the clergy and the lay faithful, bring - our attitude of reverence, our mindfulness and attention to the prayers, our careful observance of the proper liturgical norms, together with the beauty and worthiness of the music that we sing, attention to the sacred liturgical setting, offering the best that we have to offer as a parish, etc. - these are some of the means by which we open ourselves to receive what God longs to give us at every Mass – a deepened share in His own life and love, and the promise of eternal life and love in Him.

With all of this in mind, and with hearts full of gratitude for what God is doing in our Parish, let us enter together into this year of grace. Let us pray for all that is good and worthy for our future, and let us rejoice in what we have received from the generations of the past!

Sincerely,

Rev. David C. Michael, Pastor

 

 

 
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

 


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