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Heart to Heart

Posted on January 21, 2022 in: Pastor

Heart to Heart

Whoever put the odd idea into our heads that something has to happen when we pray?  Right from childhood, we start off on the wrong track when well-meaning adults regularly ask us, “Have you finished your prayers?”  As though prayer was something to “do.”  Other verbs convey a certain image or ideal we have of prayer, such as “feeling,” hearing,” “understanding things.”  But in reality, those things are rarely experienced.”

Prayer can often feel arid, or in any case not always live up to our expectations. We feel let down.  That’s when we are tempted to blame God because,  if God really loved us, God would answer our prayers.  Or we blame ourselves because, if we really loved God, we ought to be able to get through to Him.  If the connection is poor on one end of the line or the other, doesn’t it make more sense just to hang up?  So too often, after several attempts, we give up on prayer. 

Great spiritual writers suggest that the correct verb to use in speaking of prayer is “to be.”  To pray is to be -  to be with. That’s what prayer is all about.  St. Augustine understood this well when, with sadness he asked:  “My God, you who are everywhere, how is it that I find you nowhere?”

The problem is not the absence of Christ or His distance from human history.  As St. John Paul II said, “There is one problem only that exists always and everywhere: the problem of our being present to Christ.”  What is the point of insisting on the real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist as well as in the other Sacraments, in God’s Church, in fraternal love, in the service of the poor, if we ourselves are not also present?

When Jesus sent His Apostles out bearing the Good News to all nations, He emphatically stated:  “I am with you always, to the end of the ages!” (Mt. 20:28) But “to be with” takes at least two.  This is the very heart of faith as an experience, a living faith:  to be with Jesus, with Jesus who wished to be with us. 

The Saints teach us that the quality of our prayer is not measured by the number of lovely thoughts or wonderful sensations we derive from it.  But by the fact that, in this world we live in, in the moment of our life in which we find ourselves, we dare to open ourselves up to being with God.  The Bible calls it “face to face.”  Some spiritual writers call it “heart to heart.”  It is essential that God find us waiting!

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FROM OUR PASTOR…

Posted on January 14, 2022 in: Pastor

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

Our late Holy Father, St. John Paul II, visited the United States in September of 1987. On September 12th, he addressed Catholics in Louisiana, “In the most difficult hours of your struggle for civil rights amidst discrimination and oppression, God guided your steps along the way of peace. Before the witness of history the response of non-violence stands, in the memory of this Nation, as a monument of honor to the Black Community of the United States. We recall those who with Christian vision opted for non-violence as the only truly effective approach for ensuring and safeguarding human dignity. We think of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and of the providential role he played in contributing to the rightful human betterment of black Americans and therefore to the improvement of American society itself.

Monday, January 17, on the National Day commemorating Dr. King’s Birthday, we remember some of his inspiring words that can touch our souls:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

"The ultimate measure of a human being is not where the person stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where the person stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“By the Grace of Almighty God, we must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish as fools.”

(The Parish Office will be closed Monday, January 17th, National Day commemorating Dr. King’s Birthday.)

THE PASTORAL WISDOM OF POPE FRANCIS

This past Monday, January 10th, Pope Francis suggested that getting vaccinated against the coronavirus was a “moral obligation,” and denounced how people had been swayed by

“baseless information” to refuse one of the most effective measures to save lives during the pandemic. Pope Francis had previously termed vaccination as “an act of love and

contributing to ensure the majority of people are vaccinated is an act of love.” Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and

caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable.

WEARING A MASK IS LIFE-SAVING

Please wear a mask! Why, you say? The research is clear: individuals with Covid-19 can be symptom free for up to 5 days, not realizing they are carrying the coronavirus and spread it to others more at risk than themselves. We all care for our families and those we love. Let’s keep them safe!

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FROM OUR PASTOR…

Posted on January 07, 2022 in: Pastor

FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

Today’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord is the final celebration of the Christmas season. Tomorrow, we begin “Ordinary Time” once again. But as you know, we are not in an “ordinary” year.

Pope Francis makes it clear: “Our Baptism inserts us into the Body of the Church, into the holy people of God. And in this Body, in this people who are walking, faith is transmitted from generation to generation. Baptism gives us new birth in Christ, makes us sharers in the mystery of His death and resurrection, grants the forgiveness of sin and brings us new freedom as God’s children and members of His Church.”

On this Feast, we are urged not to forget the great gift we have received. Our Baptism has changed us, given us a new and glorious hope, and empowered us to bring God’s redeeming love to all, particularly the poor, in whom we see the face of Christ. Our Baptism has also given us a share in the Church’s mission of evangelization: as disciples, we are also missionaries.

Pope Francis urges us on this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord to ask the Holy Trinity to renew in us the grace of our Baptism and to make us, with all our brothers and sisters, true children of God and living members of His Body, the Church.

A NEW YEAR: FAITH DEMANDS WORSHIP

As we begin the Year of Grace, 2022, the Pope prayed that all believers might discover in a deeper way that “Faith demands worship!” Adoration means putting the Lord at the center, not ourselves. Pope Francis explained that worship means “making space for God’s plan”, realizing that we belong with God, and being able to speak to God freely and intimately. Worship means discovering that in order to pray, it is enough to say ‘My Lord and my God’, and to allow ourselves to be filled by God’s tender love.

Worship is an act of love that changes our lives. Although we have some idea of what it means to pray, the Church must go even further with the prayer of adoration, we have to grow in adoration. It is wisdom that we must learn each day.

By praying in adoration, we allow Jesus to heal and to change us…to transform us by His love, to kindle light amid our darkness, to grant us strength in weakness, and courage amid trials. By kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, in the Real Presence of the Risen Christ, we discover that life’s greatness consists not in having, but in loving!

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Epiphany Blessing for Home and Family

Posted on January 04, 2022 in: Pastor

Epiphany Blessing for Home and Family

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation,
for through Your goodness You have given us shelter from the cold and light of Your Word to brighten the darkness of night.
We come to You bearing no gifts for everything we have is a gift from You.
All we can offer is our love for each other and our faith in your Son.
Transform, then, these humble gifts into an epiphany,
a revelation of Your Divine Presence,
and bless our home and all who come to it.
May our home and family be a light for all who are lost and afraid,
a place of peace and hospitality for those in need,
and a sign that you are indeed God with us.
And when our long journey has ended, lead us all by the star of Your mercy
that we may come home to You to the dwelling place You have prepared for us in heaven.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.      Amen.

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FROM OUR PASTOR.....

Posted on December 17, 2021 in: Pastor

WELCOME TO ALL!

To all visiting Family and Friends
To new Parishioners
To all Visitors
To all our Parish Family...

a warm and loving welcome
to the Celebration of Christmas!
We hope everyone will feel at home,
as together, in song and praise,
we thank God for all our
many blessings!

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FROM OUR PASTOR.....

Posted on December 10, 2021 in: Pastor

THE GREATEST GIFT

          Pope Francis presents a very timely question, “How can we respond to those who say that there is no need to go to Mass, not even on Sundays, because what is important is to live well and to love our neighbors?”

          “It is true that the quality of the Christian life is measured by the capacity to love, as Jesus says in the Gospels.  But how can we practice the Gospel without drawing the necessary strength to do it, one Sunday after another, from the inexhaustible spring of the Holy Eucharist?” 

           Our Holy Father points out that participating in Sunday does fulfill the Third Commandment and the law of the Church.  But even more importantly, we Catholics need to participate in Sunday Mass because only with the Grace of Jesus, with His living presence in us and among us, can we put into practice the Great Commandment, “You shall love the Lord Your God…..and Your Neighbor as yourself” and be credible witnesses.  Holy Communion is where we find our strength for daily life.  Without the Eucharist we are “condemned to be dominated by the fatigue of everyday life.”  “Often consumed by worries and fears, Sunday Mass is where Christ gives us the strength to live each day with courage and hope.”

          “At Sunday Mass we rest from the busyness and work of the week, which teaches us to place our trust in the Father, not in earthly things," the Pope said.  The Prayer from the Roman Missal addresses God, saying:  “You do not need our praise, but for a gift of your love you call us to give you thanks; our hymns of blessing do not increase your greatness, but they obtain for us the Grace that Saves Us!”

 

CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR’S MASSES

Friday, December 24th,  CHRISTMAS EVE
5:00 and 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 25th,  CHRISTMAS DAY
7:00. 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.
(There will be no 5:00 p.m. Mass on Saturday, December 25th.)

Saturday, January 1st, NEW YEARS DAY
7:00 and 10:00 a.m.
(There will be no 5:00 p.m. Mass on Saturday January 1st.)

NOTE:  January 1st, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is NOT
a Holy Day of Obligation.

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FROM OUR PASTOR.....

Posted on December 03, 2021 in: Pastor

A NEW OUTLOOK ON CONFESSION

            Congratulations to our Second Grade Girls and Boys in our Parish School of Religion as they receive the Sacrament of Joy for the first time on this Tuesday evening!  You may ask, "what is the pastor talking about?"  I want to assure you that it is not the Sacrament of Confession, scarcely frequented these days, that is changing.  Pope Francis proposes a completely different outlook on Confession, different from the experience of so many Catholics and different from a certain historical legacy.

          First of all, Pope Francis indicates that within the Sacrament lies “the remedy” for the moments in life when we are down.  Pope Francis asks all of us, “What do you think about when you go to confession?  I am almost certain of the answer:  sins.  But are sins really the focus of confession?  Does God want you to approach God by thinking about you, your sins, OR ABOUT GOD?”

            Pope Francis proposes something that can provoke a Copernican revolution in the life of each one of us:  “I am no longer at the center of the Sacrament of Penance, humiliated with my list of sins—perhaps always the same ones—to be told with difficulty to the priest.  AT THE CENTER is the meeting with God who welcomes, embraces, forgives, and raises us up.  Go to confession as a child of God who comes to receive God the  Father’s unconditional love!  Pope Francis emphasizes, “Hear this well:  God always forgives!  Do you understand?  God always forgives!”  We are not going to a judge to settle accounts, but to Jesus who loves me and heals me!”

            This new outlook on the Sacrament of Confession proposed by Pope Francis asks us not to remain prisoners of shame for our sins, shame which is a good thing, but to overcome it, because “God is never ashamed of you.  God loves you right there, where you are ashamed of yourself.  God loves you always!”

            To those who still cannot forgive themselves, believing that not even God can do it “because I will always fall into the same sins," Pope Francis says, “When does God take offense?  When you go to ask God for forgiveness? No! Never! God suffers when you think God can’t forgive us, because it is like telling God, ‘You are weak in love!’  Instead, God rejoices in forgiving us, every time.  When God raises us up, God believes in us as God did the first time.  God does not get discouraged.  We are the ones who get discouraged, God does not.  God does not see sinners to label, but children to Love.

CONSIDER THIS:  the Sacrament of Confession—from shame to celebration, from humiliation to joy.  This does not come from Pope Francis, but from the GOSPEL!

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FROM OUR PASTOR

Posted on November 29, 2021 in: Pastor

ADVENT…..

A TIME OF HOPE…..A YEAR OF GRACE

           

            Advent invites me, you, everybody to acknowledge this: 

Dear God, the world is a mess, and my own life is less than whole. Something—NO—SOMEONE—is missing.  We—I—really need YOU!  If you are willing to admit your life is not whole, that you need a rescuer, a helper, someone to intervene, and want a Savior:

PRAYER:  These days of preparation during Advent are a great time to regularly spend some quiet time with God.

BIBLE:  Read St. Luke’s Gospel 5 minutes each Advent Day.

MASS:  Participate in Sunday Mass and receive the Risen Christ in Holy  Communion.

CONFESSION:  Try to receive God’s loving forgiveness — available  every Saturday beginning at 3:30 p.m. and after Mass as announced on some Advent Sundays.  THE SACRAMENT OF GOD’S MERCY AND

               FORGIVENESS WITH 3 PRIESTS  AVAILABLE ON TUESDAY,

               DECEMBER 14th, FROM  5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

CHARITY:  Advent is a time to share, love, remember, serve, forgive, help out, Let people know you care for them.

               

SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Wednesday, December 8th, is a Holy Day of Obligation

honoring the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Mother,

the patroness of the United States of America.  We ask for

our Blessed Mother’s intercession, that Christ will

protect our Country during this time of uncertainty. 

 

To allow everyone an opportunity to attend Mass on this day,

Mass will be offered on Wednesday, December 8th at

7:00 a.m., 7:45 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. 

(There will be no vigil Mass on Tuesday, December 7th.)

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FROM OUR PASTOR

Posted on November 19, 2021 in: Pastor

Happy Thanksgiving

 

PLEASE COME TO GIVE THANKS TO GOD ON THIS THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 25TH! 
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered at
7:00 and 9:00 a.m

There is a hurting world out there who needs to hear about Jesus and witness the difference He makes in our lives as we choose to grow in obedience and produce the fruit of goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, heartfelt kindness, and love…  Let’s choose to live lives of gratitude, growth, and not forget Heaven is waiting and one day there will be a welcome party for us as we come home…

Christ Our King

When Pope Pius XI instituted a special feast honoring Christ “the King” in 1925, he grieved for a world that had been ravaged by the First World War and which had begun to bow down before the “lords” of exploitative consumerism, nationalism, secularism, and new forms of injustice.

     This Sunday’s celebration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe reminds us that the Kingdom of Christ isn’t some far-off   reality.  We are living in that Kingdom now.  After all, Jesus tells the dying thief “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”  But this feast   also reminds us that while we should honor Jesus as our “Sovereign King”, we must also emulate his total gift of Himself, perfectly       embodied in His sacrifice on the Cross.  It is only by imitating our thorn-crowned King that we can help bring relief to those who suffer and God’s healing mercy to those who long for forgiveness, helping to proclaim the Good News of the Reign of Christ in the world today.

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Dear Annunziata Parishioners,
As the State of Missouri relaxes restrictions in regard to Covid-19, the CDC reminds us that the coronavirus is still being passed among us, and numbers are increasing in many areas because of relaxed restrictions. The Church of the Annunziata is continuing follow the CDC guidelines and take ever...

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