From Our Pastor...

Posted on January 25, 2024 in: Pastor

Dear Parishioners:

Known originally as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (February 2) is a relatively ancient celebration. The Church at Jerusalem observed the feast as early as the first half of the fourth century, and likely earlier. The feast celebrates the presentation of Christ in the temple at Jerusalem on the 40th day after His birth.

When Christ was presented in the temple, "there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel" (Luke 2:25) When Mary and Joseph brought Christ to the temple, Simeon embraced the Child and prayed the Canticle of Simeon:  Nunc Dimittis "Now thou can dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel" (Luke 2:29-32).

Inspired by the words of the canticle ("a light to the revelation of the Gentiles"), by the 11th century, the custom had developed in the West of blessing candles on the Feast of the Presentation. The candles were then lit, and a procession took place through the darkened church while the Canticle of Simeon was sung. Because of this, the feast also became known as Candlemas. While the procession and blessing of the candles is not often performed in the United States today, Candlemas is still an important feast in many European countries.

The Church thus prays this day, Father, we praise you and we bless you because through your Son, born of woman by the working of the Holy Spirit, born under the law, has ransomed us from the law and you have filled our life with light and new hope. May our families welcome and remain faithful to your designs, may they help and sustain in their children the new dreams and enthusiasm, wrap them in tenderness when they are fragile, educate them in love for you and for all creatures. All honor and glory to you, Father.

The next day February 3 is the Feast of St. Blaise, a day when the Blessing of Throats takes place (Through the intercession of Blessed Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, may you be delivered from all illnesses of the throat and any other ailments. + In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.").  This blessing, a sacramental of the Church, will be celebrated this Saturday at our daily mass. 


Msgr. John Shamleffer