Today is the World Day of the Poor. It was established by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et Misera, issued on 20 November 2016 to celebrate the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. In preparation for this year’s celebration of the World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis had urged everyone to work toward providing free healthcare, medical examinations, vaccinations, and bill payment assistance to those in need.
The theme for World Day of the Poor 2023 is a passage from the Book of Tobit: “Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor.” The Pope stressed that “a great river of poverty is traversing our cities and swelling to the point of overflowing; it seems to overwhelm us, so great are the needs of our brothers and sisters who plead for our help, support and solidarity.” This is literally true in our own area as our St. Vincent De Paul Society is overwhelmed with requests for help in the recent months. Helping those in need is something that we here at St. Matthias, have been passionate about through the ministry of St. Vincent DePaul Society, and we can be happy that we are helping as many deserving individuals and families as we can.
Last Sunday we revived the Children’s Liturgy of the Word, which we had suspended during Covid. The 10 am Mass was packed with families with children and it was a delight to see some seventy children having a separate and wonderful time of understanding the Sunday Scriptures. They were given an increased opportunity to come to a full, active and conscious participation in the Liturgy of the Word according to their spiritual capacity.
I am sure that we all agree that helping our children appreciate and benefit from the Sunday worship is very important. Taking them away from the adults during the Mass facilitates sharing the message of the gospel with them at their level and encourages them to form a loving and generous response to the Word of God. This way of doing Mass helps children to learn about their faith in a positive and enjoyable manner. This encourages parents to bring the children to Mass and to come as a family regularly. I am very grateful to Cecelia Regan who leads this ministry, with the help of Dee Nann, Jody Martielli, Maria Fonseca, Melanie McNamara, Marianne Viaud and Fran Johnson.
We are entering the Thanksgiving Week. We all take a pause from our regular work and activities to celebrate this quintessential American holiday. But, the celebration will be meaningless unless we become people of gratitude. Thanksgiving Day is to remind us that our expression of thanks to God and to others must become a habit with us on a daily basis. Please come for the Thanksgiving Day Mass here in our church at 8 am so that we can begin this day with the Eucharist, which literally means thanksgiving. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving time with your family and friends.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal