Category Archives: Father’s Messages

  • 0

Eucharistic Adoration

We, Catholics believe and we are taught in the Catechism that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. The existential presence of Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer, in the Eucharist even after the celebration of the Holy Mass, is a great blessing for us. Besides maintaining His promise that He will be with us till the end of the world, Jesus offers us an opportunity to come before Him and unload the life’s burden and be filled with inner peace of mind and heart. It is very easy to say that we don’t have time to go to the Adoration, just like some people say that they don’t have time to go for Sunday Mass. We give to ourselves such excuse, because we forget the truth in the Words of Jesus: “I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever … Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6: 51, 53 & 54).

Finding time to go to Adoration can be difficult; but if one would commit himself/herself to set apart time to go for Adoration regularly with a determined mind and heart, that person is not far from finding inner peace.

In today’s culture, the concept of inner peace, which is spiritual, is undervalued; sometimes it is considered a waste of time. Hence many people seek for peace and happiness through material possession and things which satisfy the senses. I agree that this would give certain happiness; yet it would be colored with a fleeting occurrence. Whereas the inner peace is what transforms the whole life of the person, both internally and externally. This is the reason, why we seek God. The Eucharistic Adoration is the best time, one can sit before The Lord and experience the inner peace.

God bless you ,

Fr. Arul Joseph V.


  • 0

Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

The month of June, in the Catholic Tradition, is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On June 8th we celebrated the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Remembering and reflecting on the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus means reflecting on the love of God. Yes, in the burning and wounded Sacred Heart, we see that God’s heart is consumed with love for us, so much so that he was willing to suffer and die for us in the most gruesome manner. The deeper we grow in reflecting on God’s love, the more we realize that it is not our love for God but God’s passionate love for us that has been precious and very valuable. He has revealed His love for us in many ways. Hence a month is dedicated to remind us of the depth of God’s love for us.

Pope Pius XII said, “Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, of its very nature, is a worship of the love with which God, through Jesus, loved us, and at the same time, an exercise of our own love by which we are related to God and to other men”.

Many of us are not able to understand the value of love, because our culture has confused us with mistaken definitions of love, referring love to mean passing infatuation or sexual attraction. It is not the true definition of love. Rather, true love is sacrificial and self-giving, so as to lay down one’s life for the good of another.

I would like to suggest some ways, in which we can thankfully honor the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus:

Consecration: The image of Jesus exposing His Heart reveals to us the depth of God’s sacrificial love for us. He proved His love by sacrificing Himself on the Cross. He continues to show the same love, every time when we participate in the Holy Mass and receive the Eucharist. One of the ways we could show our love for Him is to consecrate ourselves. The prayer of consecration can be found in most of the prayer-booklets.

Enthronement: An important way of our devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is to recognize the authority of Jesus Christ over the family, as the King of the family. Enthronement of the Sacred Heart is an excellent way to acknowledge the Kingship of Christ. A blessed image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is placed prominently in our home, reminding the members of the family that Jesus is our King and that all in the family should love and serve Him with our whole hearts.

Reparation: On several occasion and several times the name of Jesus is abused in the media or in literature or in conversation. Each time, His name is so dishonored, the loving heart of Jesus is wounded. Hence, one way to show our love and repair the dishonor is to make reparation by reciting a prayer of reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

First Friday Devotion: When Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, he asked her to foster the practice of the First Friday devotion by participating in the Mass, going to make a confession, receiving Him in the Holy Eucharist and if possible by participating also in the Eucharistic Adoration. The First Friday devotion is to remember the Passion and death with which Jesus manifested His immense love for the humankind. This devotion is a reminder of His love and a reminder to imitate His love.

Prayers for enthronement and reparation can be found in Catholic prayer books or online. When the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is fading, it would be a very good practice of our faith to grow in acknowledging the love of the heart of Jesus.

May God bless you,

Fr. Arul Joseph V


  • 0

Memorial Day

On Monday, May 28th we observe the Memorial Day in US. On this special day we remember the more than one million American combatants, who have died in many wars through the history. According to the available data, since 9/11 approximately 7000 U.S. troops have lost their lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan; over 50,000 wounded and about 7000 U.S. military contractors have also been killed. Besides the loss of these great men and women combatants, we should remember that well over one million innocent civilians were also killed in various wars.

Now approximately 200,000 U.S. troops are currently stationed in most countries around the world; of these about 26,000 are in war-torn countries of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The world is at war. While trillions of Dollars are spent on wars, very little is spent on ending global problem of hunger, poverty and the homeless.

We may not be able to do much to stop the war. But we have one powerful weapon at hand with us. It is the weapon of prayer. While praying for those who have died in various wars, let us also pray that those in authority, instead of sending more combatants, take measures globally to a peaceful way of life walking in the light of Christ.

Please remember that I will be celebrating the Holy Mass at 9:00 a.m. on the Memorial Day at the Guardian Angel Cemetery. Let us gather at the Guardian Angel Cemetery and pray for all.

May the souls of the great men and women, who have died in wars through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Fr. Arul Joseph V.


  • 0

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY


The Catholic Church celebrates this Sunday as Divine Mercy Sunday. It was first established by Pope St. John Paul II at the Canonization of St. Faustina on April 30, 2000. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized the importance of the Divine Mercy stating that it is an integral dimension of a Christian’s faith and prayer.

On this Sunday the Catholics are expected to reflect and praise the “merciful and gracious Lord (Psalm 111:4), who, out of great love with which He loves us (Ephesians 2:4), … gave us His Only-begotten Son as our Redeemer…”

The Divine Mercy Sunday has become important, because Jesus told St. Faustina that it was His desire that we celebrate this special feast. St. Faustina has written in her diary, as having heard what Jesus spoke to her: “On that day the very depths of My Tender Mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon these souls who approach the Fount of My mercy [the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist] … Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet…” Through His Mercy, we receive a new source of joy, a new relationship with Him.

Sacred Heart Parish in Polonia is having a special celebration with Adoration after the Mass till 3:30 p.m. with possibilities to make confession. If you have some free time, you could go experience the Divine Mercy.

 

God bless you

Fr. Arul Joseph V.


  • 0

CHRIST IS RISEN, ALLELUIA!

With joy-filled heart, we celebrate the glorious event that Christ is risen. “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).  Celebrating the victory over death, gained for us by Our Lord Jesus Christ, we contemplate the joy of our ultimate victory over death at the end of our journey on earth.

Our Holy Redeemer, Jesus Christ, has conquered death and all that weakens the Divine life in us. We celebrate it not only on Easter Sunday but also every Sunday. Gathering at the table of God’s Word and the Eucharist, we celebrate the glorious event of the Resurrection of The Lord.

The Resurrection is the foundation of our faith. As St. Paul says: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14).

Celebration of the Easter, every year, gives us an opportunity to renew the fervor of our Baptism and to commit ourselves to live up to our Baptismal promise. May our encounter with the Risen Lord on our journey of faith touch us deeply and transform us. Let us live, as St. Augustine stated, as “Easter People” who commit to give their time, talent and treasure in witness.

May The Risen Lord bless you all

Fr. Arul Joseph V.

 


  • 0

Keeping the Day of The Lord Holy

One of the parishioners asked me why we should go to Church every Sunday. This prompted me to think that perhaps, many others have the same thought. If anyone has such a thought, let me answer their question:

First of all, the obligation of observing the Day of The Lord falls on all the baptized Christians, because it is the third of the Ten Commandments of The Lord. It says: “Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it, you shall not do any work…” (Deuteronomy 5:12-14).

The word “Sabbath” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “day of rest”. “To keep it holy” means “consecrate” or “set apart” or “sanctify”. As a steward of God’s gifts, abilities, resources and opportunities, we have six days to use all of them for our good. The seventh day is reserved to engage ourselves for God.

There are good reasons why we need to refrain from regular work on the sabbath day: From a human point of view, first of all, we often say that we don’t have time to pray or to spend time with the family or to spend some time with a friend or to relax. This commandment of The Lord solves these problems. Secondly, from the point of view of our faith, we are called to glorify, honor God and exercise our faith by going to the Church and participate in the Mass.

It is important to know the historical shift in observing the third Commandment. Before the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ, the last day of the week, Saturday, was the Sabbath day. But after these glorious events, it was no more the last day of the week but the first day, Sunday, which was observed as “The Day of The Lord”. The change was made because The Lord rose from the dead on the first day of the week.

At the present age of Catholic laxity, many have lost sight of the fact that it is a grave or mortal sin to skip Mass on Sunday or on a holy day of obligation when one is able to attend. Next week, I will share, why it is a grave sin to miss the Mass on Sunday and on the holy day of obligation.

God bless you,

Fr. Arul Joseph V.


  • 0

Why should I pray?

God knows me and knows what I need. If so, “Why should I pray?”

Prayer basically enables a person to relate himself/ herself with God. We pray to God because of our relationship with Him, sharing what is weighing on us in life, our feelings and thoughts of our daily life. In fact, even if our family members and our friends would know what is happening in our life, we still share about it and they listen to us with love and affection. The same is true with prayer.

Prayer neither changes what God knows nor does it change what God does. Instead, prayer changes us. Prayer is about being in relationship with God and pouring out our hearts to God. Prayer is about God receiving all that is in our hearts in love. Prayer is about not being alone. Prayer is about being with God, the Emmanuel, that is, God who is with us in our darkest and hardest moments. Prayer is about Jesus crying out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” God is with us in those moments of feeling abandoned. We pray because God created us to be in relationship, and relationship requires communication and communion. We pray to be with God.

God bless you,

Fr. Arul Joseph V.


  • 0

What Shall I Give Up for Lent?

Lent is a period to prepare ourselves for the celebration of Easter. As a process of preparation, we recall our own Baptism and do penance. Self-denial is what Jesus requires from us, in order to be his disciples. Self-denial is about making sacrifice, focusing on the Cross, and reminding ourselves of what Jesus gave up for our sake.

During Lent, the usual question, that is asked, is, “What do you give up for Lent?” Even though we are already in the second week of Lent, here are some suggestions to give up, out of our love for Jesus:

  • Give up grumbling, instead, give thanks in everything;
  • Give up five to ten minutes of personal entertainment, and spend that time in reading the Bible or in personal prayer;
  • Give up looking at other people’s weaknesses and mistakes, but concentrate on their best attributes and characteristics;
  • Give up your worries and anxieties, instead, trust in God and place them before God;
  • Give up your loneliness, replacing it by visiting someone, who is lonely or sick;
  • Give up judging others by appearance and by the standard of the world, instead, leave to Jesus to judge.

Wishing you a fruitful Lent,

Fr. Arul Joseph V.


  • 0

Holy Mass Explained – Part 20

Active Participation

The phrase “active participation” was conceived by the saintly Pope Pius X. He explained: If you wish to participate in the Mass actively, you must follow with your eye, heart, and mouth all that happens on the altar… You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings … and in this manner, you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way you have prayed the Holy Mass.”

Active participation entails participation of mind and heart expressed through bodily gestures, sacred signs, praying, singing in union with the whole assembly. During the Mass we take different postures like standing, sitting and kneeling down; Kneeling is an expression of our submission before the majesty of God and a sign of our adoration. It is by singing and responding to the priest’s prayers, we are taking active participation.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council promulgated the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy on Dec. 4, 1963. It explains: “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious and active participation… such a participation is their right and duty by reason of their baptism…”

While celebrating the Holy Mass, the priest acts in the person of Christ, as the head of the assembly, present in the Church. While the priest performs the celebration, the assembled faithful are expected to be present as conscious and active participants, rather than mere observers. In other words, they should not be like silent spectators, on the contrary, they should involve themselves by praying, singing and consciously being present in the celebration.

With this column, I bring to an end my explanation about the significance of the Holy Mass. I hope that you have gained a greater understanding of what we celebrate. My earnest appeal to you, now, is that you take active participation from the beginning until the end of the Mass.

May God bless you

Fr. Arul Joseph V


  • 0

Holy Mass Explained Part 19

Closing Rite

The distribution of the Holy Communion during Mass is like an act of a lover meeting with the beloved. When we receive the Eucharist, we are welcoming Christ into our hearts and so it is an important moment. The priest and Deacon are the ordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and Lay Eucharistic Ministers are the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, authorized by the Church-authorities. Some have scrupulous thought that it is better to receive the Body of Christ only from the priest or deacon. Such people must believe that the Lay Eucharistic Ministers distribute the same Body of Christ as the Priest or Deacon.

At the end of the distribution of the Holy Communion, the remaining Consecrated Hosts are taken to the Tabernacle for private adoration and for the use of the sick and the homebound, who are unable to participate in the Mass with the community. After receiving the Communion, there is a time for meditation whether silent or singing a song.

Is it right to leave the Church immediately after receiving Communion? It is not right. Some people receive Communion and go straight to the parking lot. If someone would leave the party, before saying goodbye to the host and the fellow guests, would this be appreciated? I am sure it won’t be appreciated; rather it would distress the host. Just so would such people distress God, who has provided the spiritual meal.

After the concluding prayer, the priest concludes the Mass with the prayer and the final blessing in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. At this point, the priest or the deacon greets the people that the Mass is ended and the assembly may go in peace. With the response, “Thanks be to God”, the assembly goes out singing joyfully, empowered to serve in the outer world.