Pentecost

Pentecost

Pentecost

Originally a Jewish harvest festival, Pentecost has become to us a celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Red is the color of the Holy Spirit, signifying life, energy (the “tongues of fire” is the image used in the Scripture). Pentecost is sometimes called the birthday of the church. Can you think why that might be?

It is through the Holy Spirit that we receive the gifts of God’s life in us. The Acts of the Apostles tells us that the gift of the Spirit made it possible for people gathered in Jerusalem for the feast to hear and understand the preaching of Jesus’ disciples who, because of the Spirit, had finally left their locked room and took to the streets to tell everyone of the Good News of Jesus.

Some parishes around the world mark Pentecost by having the readings done in different languages. Another good way to reflect on the importance of this day and the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to think about how the gifts of the Spirit are present in us, in our life as a parish and in our homes. Gifts of the Spirit include patience, forgiveness, hope, courage, generosity of service (think of the various parish ministries: those we see at Mass and those that go on throughout the week such as visiting the sick, knitting prayer shawls and baptismal blankets, feeding the hungry, teaching our children, responding to issues of justice in our communities) and so much more.

For what gifts of the Spirit can you thank God in your own life? The many gifts you see in your neighbors, family members, and parishioners – can you thank God for them? Can you thank the people in whom you see these gifts? Such wonderful ways to celebrate the reality of God’s presence in our lives!

Fr. Paul Sullivan, SJ

Luke, Paul, and Greg Boyle S.J. – An Ascension Message for 2022

Luke, Paul, and Greg Boyle S.J. – An Ascension Message for 2022

Luke, Paul, and Greg Boyle S.J. – An Ascension Message for 2022

Both the scripture readings and Fr. Greg Boyle S.J. ‘s talks at Cheverus High School on Tuesday, May 24 focus our attention on the intersection of Church as a holy place set apart and Church as the Holy People of God becoming the presence of Christ in the world.

In the Acts of the Apostles, the first reading on Ascension Thursday, we witness Jesus’ final moments with his disciples as he ascends to heaven. The disciples watch him go and are approached by two figures dressed in white. These angelic figures ask the disciples, “Why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus has been taken from you into heaven.” The question suggests that looking to the sky is not the right place to be looking for Jesus following the ascension. If looking to the sky is not the appropriate place to be looking for Jesus – where do we look?

Luke, who wrote both the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles – seems to suggest two places for our attention, prayer and community.

Luke’s Gospel emphasizes the prayer/worship as he tells that the disciples “were continually in the temple praising God” after the Ascension. Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, emphasizes finding Christ in the community. The disciples begin to carry on the mission they learned from Jesus as they teach about Jesus crucified and resurrected and they heal the sick. The feast of the Ascension focuses our attention on that intersection between church as a holy place set apart – and church as the people of God becoming the Body of Christ in the world – making Christ present through our words and actions.

In his talks on Tuesday, Fr. Greg Boyle focused our attention in a very similar way as he described his work with Homeboy Industries over the last 40 years. In building Homeboy Industries Fr. Boyle and those he worked with built a structure that allowed everyone to discover their own worth and dignity and to invite others to that discovery of self. Fr. Boyle emphasized the importance of relationship and mutuality by repeatedly saying that the work is not about “me.” Our Christian mission is not about the person alone but the person in relation with the other. Fr. Boyle talked not only about how gang members in Los Angeles experienced transformation but how he – Fr. Boyle himself – experienced that transformation. When we focus our attention on that intersection between holiness set apart and the reality of human existence – we discover the places where we can be a healing presence – healing both the broken places in each one of and healing those around us.

We can see the transformation that occurs in the Apostles during the days between that first Easter Sunday and the feast of Pentecost. “When they had gathered together (after the resurrection), they asked him – Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” We can see that their attention remains narrowly focused on what they see as important – the end of the Roman occupation and the restoration of the Davidic Dynasty – the independent kingdom of Israel.

The early church, guided by the Spirit following Pentecost, refocused their attention to the margins, to places of suffering and oppression. These were the places where many of them came from in the first place. They come with a message of hope for those who are poor; for those who are unjustly accused; for those who are severely punished – even condemned to death. They come with a message of hope because that is where Jesus went. Jesus went to these places when he became poor; when he was unjustly accused; and when he was put to death. If Jesus is present in those places then God is present in those places. God, who is eternal, is eternally present on the margins with the poor and the oppressed because that is where Jesus went. Jesus and the Father are one – where we find one we find the other. Fr. Boyle’s encounters at the margins reminds us of the hope that where others have found God in the past we will find God today.

Our prayer for this day is the same as Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians, “May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.” We are not looking to the sky for this knowledge but to our experience here and now. Let us be confident that when we look at places of violence and injustice in today’s world we will encounter the Holy Spirit who will guide us to find ways to bring to new life to those places because we are now the body of Christ present in the world carrying out Christ’s mission of prayer, teaching, and healing/reconciliation.
Fr. Brian Conley, SJ

 

Approaching Change with Curiosity

Approaching Change with Curiosity

Approaching Change with Curiosity

In making the upcoming changes to our parish Mass schedule, beginning the first weekend of June, we are hoping to build a more vibrant and worshipful community. You have told us that is what you desire, too. We believe that having more voices praying and singing together will help make that happen.

We all know that human beings find change difficult, and, at first, unwelcome. Adapting to changing circumstances is necessary for both human beings and human institutions – including parishes – to survive. We all know of institutions (like Sears, once the largest US retailer and now almost gone) which did not adapt and change to new circumstances. There are lessons there.

Like most Catholic parishes in the US – and in Maine – we have experienced shrinking attendance and financial support over the last 15 years, and more changes will likely be necessary as we adapt to this new reality.
We invite you to approach the new Mass schedule in a spirit of exploration and curiosity! Look at the different Masses and the different styles of music and choose one that gives you the most life. Help us to build the vibrant, welcoming, and prayerful community of faith that we have envisioned in our parish planning process and expressed in our synodal listening sessions.

If it proves that any of these Masses is filled to over-capacity, we can always make further adjustments and add a Mass! We can change.

If you’d like to talk about any aspect of the upcoming Mass schedule or about managing change in life, we’re here and glad to help.

The Last Supper – The First Eucharist

The Last Supper – The First Eucharist

The Last Supper – The First Eucharist

We do not know for certain who gathered with Jesus at the Last Supper. Three Gospels refer to “the twelve”. John says only “his disciples.” We do know the names of some of those closest to Jesus. It is possible to think they were there too. Whenever the Church celebrates Eucharist now, we know that we gather not only with those physically in the room with us, but with all of God’s friends, “the saints”:

The Cloud of Witnesses
They gathered in an upper room to share a meal. And the names of those gathered were these: Simon, called Peter, Mary, called the Magdalene, Simon’s brother Andrew, Janes and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee; Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus, Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector; Clopas and his wife, Mary; James, the son of Alphaeus, and his mother Mary; Thaddeus; Simon the patriot’ Joanna, Judas Iscariot and Mary, Jesus’s Mother. All chosen by Jesus to be with him that night, as we are chosen to be with him this night.

Lord Jesus, seeing that we are surrounded tonight by such a great cloud of witnesses to faith – those who ran their races before us and have entered into their rests – we join them now to praise your name.
For the first apostles, and for all those who have kept the light of the Gospel burning down the centuries, we give thanks.
For those who have gone before us and passed the light on to us, parents, grandparents, teachers, friends, especially those we remember now in silence…..
For those who are still on the journey and who have shaped us: parents, teachers, church ministers, congregations which whom we have worshipped, friends
For those suffering or in fear or alone in the world tonight we ask for your blessing and for doctors, nurses and health care workers and those making policy decisions we ask your blessing and pray in gratitude for their skill and courage. We give thanks.
Come, Lord Jesus, take your rightful place as host at this, your table.
Amen.

Holy Week 2022

Holy Week 2022

Holy Week 2022

You are invited to join us as we embark on the journey of Holy Week, marking the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. This week can be one of rich personal growth in our individual faith life in addition to the deepening commitment and connection of the faith of our parish in community.

In this week’s bulletin (which is available HERE), you’ll find the Scripture readings for the week on page 3. Perhaps reading them at home, whether through a publication like Give Us This Day, your family Bible or an online resource, would be a way for you to feel closer to God. After reading once, give a second read – see what comes up in your heart and where the Holy Spirit is leading you.

We will have regularly scheduled Mass this weekend for Palm Sunday and daily Mass on Monday – Wednesday . All services at St. Pius X are Live Streamed via the home page of this web site.

Holy Thursday:
Prayer Service at 9 AM at St. Pius X
Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7 PM at St. Pius X, with quiet prayer at the altar of repose in the Parish Hall until 10 PM

Good Friday:
St. Joseph Church will be open for quiet prayer from Noon, with Stations of the Cross at 3 pm.
Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion at 7 PM at St. Pius X

Holy Saturday:
The Great Easter Vigil at 8 PM at St. Joseph

Easter Sunday:
Easter Mass at 7 AM and 9 AM at St. Pius X
Easter Mass at 8 AM and 10 AM at St. Joseph

We hope to see you this week. Jesus welcomed everyone. We do, too.

Changes to Mass Schedule in June

Changes to Mass Schedule in June

Changes to Mass Schedule in June

We’ve Heard You…

For several years now, our parish community has been participating in a lengthy process of planning and discernment, with a goal of directing our future parish life with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Divine guidance is bountiful and infinite, of that we are assured! And, from the earliest days of examining our parish life, our resources – both human and capital – through the recent days of Synodal listening sessions, you’ve told us your goals. You’ve
shared your hopes and dreams for the broader Church, and for our parish community.

Among other goals, you’ve told us repeatedly that you want Our Lady of Hope to be a welcoming parish which is known for living out the Gospel message through our vibrant ministries and visible sense of community. You’ve missed seeing each other at Mass – we’ve all missed seeing each other. And, you’d like to find more ways to share your Faith in community.

After listening to you, the architectural planners, and in alignment with Church teaching on celebrating weekend Masses to a full Assembly, we are shifting our Sunday Mass schedules to enhance our parish liturgical experience starting on June 5th . This will also allow greater scheduling flexibility for our dedicated Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Greeters, and offer creative opportunities for our Music Ministry.

Weekend Mass Schedule Our Lady of Hope Parish, effective June 5, 2022
Saturday, 4:30 PM St. Pius X, 492 Ocean Avenue
Sunday, 7:30 AM St. Joseph, 673 Stevens Avenue
Sunday, 9:30 AM St. Pius X, 492 Ocean Avenue (Family Mass)
Sunday, 5:00 PM St. Joseph, 673 Stevens Avenue

Thank you for your continued support as we make our way forward in our Spirit-guided efforts to grow our Parish.

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