Back in 2002 I had the opportunity to be one of the thousand priests and hundreds of bishops who concelebrated Mass with St. John Paul II at World Youth Day in Toronto, Canada. I remember it like it was yesterday and the impact of the event still feeds my soul. Can you imagine how the lives of the incarcerated persons were changed when Pope Francis choose to pray with them? Instead of being with the high and mighty in government, he choose to intimately share with those whom society often times wishes to forget, the presence of Jesus. Their lives will never be the same. Holy Father Francis, again and again, shows us by his life and ministry, the inclusiveness of God’s Kingdom. The prophecy of Jeremiah chapter 31, our first reading, raises the exiles’ hope of returning to the land of their birth. However, this Messianic prophesy does not only include those who were faithful in exile, but the blind and the lame; those thought to be sinners because of their affliction. In the Gospel of Mark 10, Bartimaeus, a blind man shouts to Jesus in hopes of being recognized and welcomed. Many try to quiet him. I’m sure the “faithful followers” were surprised when Jesus called him forward; took the time to notice, speak, and heal. Bartimaeus was never the same. The witnesses of the event were never the same either. Now Bartimaeus too becomes a follower. Our gathering at church each weekend isn’t an exclusive gathering of “card caring members.” Rather all need to be welcomed. All need to be changed by the presence of our Savior Jesus. After each and every weekend celebration of Mass I am never the same; I’m forever changed. How about you?
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU….. Many thanks to one of our parish families, who after receiving a bit of an inheritance, sacrificed a percentage as a gift to our community to assist in the “padding of our pews.” This donation along with another from Mr. Anthony Amigone Sr. and a grant received last year from our sister community of Nativity of the BVM, will help speed this project toward completion. While assisting in our comfort at Mass this parish improvement will also assist us with our church’s “echo chamber” effect.
Sister Parish News:
OH WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN…. Next Sunday, November 1st, the Church around the whole world celebrates All Saints Day. Each and every year, since the formation of the African Commission by the Office of Cultural Diversity, our brother, the late Louis Eze, may he rest in peace, would come and inquire in what special way will we be celebrating our holy ancestors? He and members of the African Commission continually sought new and creative ways to celebrate the Feast. This year St. Martin de Porres Parish family is privileged to welcome Most Reverend, Bishop Fernand Cheri, newly consecrated Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans, to be our principle celebrant at the 9:30AM Mass. This is the first Pastoral Visit to St. Martin de Porres Parish of one of our country’s African American Shepherds. Please welcome your extended family and friends to join us as we welcome Bishop Cheri and celebrate All Saints Day.