Entries for March 2024

From Our Pastor...

Posted on March 26, 2024 in: Pastor

Dear Parishioners:

We are an Alleluia People!

Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Alleluia!

This is the day the Lord has made, Alleluia!

Let us be glad and rejoice in it, Alleluia!

Easter is filled with wonderful connections between the spiritual and natural worlds.

Explore and enjoy them for a more profound appreciation of Christ’s death and resurrection.  Read this week about the disciples’ walk to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35 and take a walk, noticing the signs of spring, a wondrous gift from God.

A Prayer for Easter

The Lord of life has risen with power,

bringing with Him love and justice,

respect, forgiveness and reconciliation.

The One who from nothingness

had called the world into existence,

only He could break the seals of the tomb,

only He could become the Source of New Life.

-- St. Pope John Paul II

Easter Blessings!

Msgr. John Shamleffer

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From Our Pastor...

Posted on March 19, 2024 in: Pastor

Dear Parishioners:

Today begins the holiest of weeks within our church year.  From the triumphal entrance with palms to the gift of Christ in the Eucharist; to His passion and dying on the cross; to the glory of his resurrection; we remember, we celebrate, we believe.  I invite all to partake in these sacred days of Palm Sunday,

Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday.  These days are an opportunity for us to fast, pray, and attune ourselves to Christ’s paschal mystery.  We need these three days to slow us down, give us time to absorb the saving actions of Christ and their true meaning for us.

I would like to send a special invitation to all to attend our Easter Vigil at 7:30 PM this coming Saturday when the church throughout the world gathers to welcome into our parish families our newest members:  Here at Annunziata, we have a rich tradition of welcoming and celebrating with our newest members: who are preparing to enter the Church this Easter.  The Easter Vigil liturgy is the most glorious and uplifting celebration of the year; please consider attending and experiencing this celebration.

Lastly, let us pray for one another this week; let us pray for peace in our world (esp. in Holy Land, Ukraine, and our Nation), for our Pope Francis, for our Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski, our Archdiocese, for all those separated from our church, and for all of us that we might live out the Easter promise.  Then we can sing with the saints.

Hail thee, festival day!

Blest day to be hallowed forever;

Day when our Lord was raised,

Breaking the kingdom of death.

Have a Blessed Holy Week!

Msgr. John Shamleffer

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From Our Pastor...

Posted on March 13, 2024 in: Pastor

Dear Parishioners:

As we draw near to our Holy Week I wanted to share some reflections on the Triduum services of Holy Week and extend an invitation to let these services be a time of prayer and reflection for all. 


Sundown on Holy Thursday to sundown on Easter Sunday is considered the most solemn part of the liturgical year. This three-day period is referred to as the Easter Triduum, also known as the Sacred Triduum, or Paschal Triduum.

The word "triduum" comes from the Latin word triduum, which comes from tris (“three”) + dies (“day”).  Basically, the Sacred Triduum is one great festival recounting the last three days of Jesus' life on earth, the events of his Passion and Resurrection, when the Lamb of God laid down his life in atonement for our sins.

It is known as the "Paschal Mystery" because it is the ultimate fulfillment of the ancient Jewish Passover (or Pasch), which itself was a recollection of how God brought the Jews out of their slavery in Egypt. The spotless lamb was slaughtered at the Passover meal and consumed—that same night the destroying angel "passed over" the homes marked with the blood of the Passover Lamb, and those covered by the Blood were saved. This was the Old Testament prefigurement of Jesus' work at the Last Supper—where he inserted himself as the Paschal Lamb—and Calvary, where the sacrifice was offered to save us from our slavery to sin. With the Holy Eucharist, we consume the victim that died for our sins.

The Paschal Mystery is, therefore, God's plan of redemption for the fallen human race through the passion, death, and resurrection of the God-man Jesus Christ. It is one marvelous event stretched out over three days.

In washing His disciples’ feet on Holy Thursday, Jesus commissioned them in a new priesthood; in Holy Communion, He initiated their ritual sacrifice. His last words fell from the Cross on Good Friday, and with them, His last breath. The bare altar, stripped of its garments on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, stands for the naked Christ. The tabernacle, empty of His Real Presence in the Eucharist, signifies the missing Christ.

The celebration of the Easter Vigil tells the whole story of our salvation — from creation to resurrection and beyond. The Easter Vigil includes the lighting of the Easter Fire and Paschal Candle (the large candle that will be used throughout the year), the singing of the Exsultet (the Easter Proclamation), the expanded Liturgy of the Word that traces time through Salvation History (the story of our Salvation), the Liturgy of Initiation (where new people come into the Church), and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

All these rituals come together for one purpose: to remember and recall the saving deeds of our God on our behalf. Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians that “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Cor 15:14). There would simply be no Christianity if Christ were not raised from the dead.

This realization makes the celebration of Easter Sunday, and every Sunday, so much the more joyful. The Alleluia that the Western Church buries on Ash Wednesday is once again intoned before the Gospel, and Easter joy abounds, all the sweeter for following the Lenten time of penance.

Lenten Blessings!

Msgr John Shamleffer

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From Our Pastor...

Posted on March 06, 2024 in: Pastor

Dear Parishioners

This weekend our parish will celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at all our masses. The anointing of the sick is administered to bring spiritual and even physical strength during an illness, especially near the time of death. A sacrament is an outward sign established by Jesus Christ to confer inward grace. The Rite of Anointing tells us there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death to receive the Sacrament. This sacrament is for anyone of advanced age, infirmed, facing surgery or having serious illness in body, mind, or spirit.

Like all the sacraments, holy anointing was instituted by Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry. The Catechism explains, "This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord" (CCC 1511; Mark 6:13; Jas. 5:14-15).  The anointing of the sick conveys several graces and imparts gifts of strengthening in the Holy Spirit against anxiety, discouragement, and temptation, and conveys peace and fortitude (CCC 1520). These graces flow from the atoning death of Jesus Christ, for "this was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, ‘He took our infirmities and bore our diseases’" (Matt. 8:17). 

In the Church's Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal them from sin – and sometimes even from physical ailment. His cures were signs of the arrival of the Kingdom of God. The core message of his healing tells us of his plan to conquer sin and death by his dying and rising.

Mark refers to the sacrament when he recounts how Jesus sent out the twelve disciples to preach, and "they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them" (Mark 6:13). In his epistle, James says, "Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven" (Jas. 5:14–15).

"The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects: the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church; the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age; the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of penance; the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul; the preparation for passing over to eternal life" (CCC 1532). 

When the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given, the hoped-for effect is that, if it be God's will, the person be physically healed of illness. But even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the Holy Spirit's gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age.  Let us remember to pray for the sick!

Lenten Blessings!

Msgr. John Shamleffer


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