Twenty-Seventh Sunday of the Year
7 October 2012
Dear Friends in Christ,
On Monday 8 October I leave with a small band of pilgrims for the Holy Land, and we will be gone until Friday October 19th. The pilgrimage begins and ends in Jerusalem, with an excursion to Galilee in between. Along the way, we will celebrate Mass in most of the sacred shrines connected to the birth, public ministry, passion, death, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This will be my first visit to Israel, to the Promised Land, and to the places where the Word made Flesh walked among us, and so my heart is full at the prospect of simply being there. The experience will be enriched even more by three dates that fall during our time in the Holy Land:
+ Tuesday 9 October is the feast of Blessed John Henry Newman, an intellectual and spiritual precursor to most of the best developments in the Catholic Church during the 122 years since his death. His spiritual autobiography, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, is a masterpiece and should be read by every serious Catholic, and although the title is in Latin (Account of His Life), the text is a wonder of English prose of the late 19th century. I commend this book to you with highest praise.
+ Thursday 11 October is the beginning of the Year of Faith, and the date was chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to coincide with two anniversaries: it is the 50th year since the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th year since the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In this Year of Faith, I encourage everyone in the parish to read the Catechism and learn to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.
+ Monday 15 October is the 31st anniversary of my conversion to the Lord Jesus. On that day I will say Mass on the Mount of Beatitudes, and my night of fire in a Princeton dorm room of three decades ago will comingle with the Sermon on the Mount of two millennia ago in a way that I pray will deepen my continuing conversion today.
On each day of the pilgrimage, every parishioner of St. Mary’s will be with our pilgrim band in prayer, and in turn your prayers for our peaceful journey and safe return would be most gratefully accepted. While I’m away, the sacramental schedule is slightly modified: we will not have Confessions or the Holy Hour on Wednesday 10 October, but both will resume on 17 October. And we will not have a Mass at noon until Tuesday 23 October when the usual schedule resumes. The schedule of Masses on weekdays at 7am and our weekend schedule of Masses and Confessions remain unchanged. Also unchanged is the schedule for RCIA which will continue to meet.
Now, let us go up to Jerusalem!