Sunday, May 1, 2022

Dear Friends,

We enter the month of May, the month of Mary, with the feast of “St Joseph, the Worker.” This year it falls on a Sunday and so the “Day of the Lord” takes precedence over this feast. But it is good to recall that it was Pope Pius XII who instituted the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker in 1955, in order to foster deep devotion to St. Joseph among Catholics, and in response to the “May Day” celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists. This feast extends the long relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers in both Catholic faith and devotion. The dignity of human work has long been celebrated as a participation in the creative work of God. By work, humankind both fulfills the command found in Genesis to care for the earth (Gen 2:15) and to be productive in their labors. Saint Joseph, the carpenter and foster father of Jesus, is but one example of the holiness of human labor.

I wish to highlight a special milestone in the life of someone who has been laboring in the vineyard of the Lord for fifty years. Msgr. Seamus Brennan is celebrating his golden jubilee as a priest. He was ordained on June 4, 1972. He has served the people of God in many different parishes of our diocese in various capacities. Pope St. John Paul II elevated him to the rank of Papal Chamberlain, with the title Monsignor, in 1991. We are very fortunate to have his priestly ministry with us here at St. Matthias. We will celebrate his golden jubilee on June 4 at the 5 pm Mass with him as the presider. But Msgr. Brennan asks that we respect his wish not to have any other celebration here. Instead, he is inviting us to join him for the Jubilee Mass he will celebrate at 3:30 pm on Sunday June 5th at his former parish of Immaculate Conception, 35 Mountain Ave, Somerville. Light refreshments will be served in the Immaculate Conception School cafeteria after the Mass. All are welcome.

May is Marian month, and our St. Matthias School students will have the ‘May Crowning’ on this Friday, as we help them have a filial devotion to Mary. Though our devotion to Mary is often misunderstood by many Protestant churches, an increasing number of Protestants are now more open-minded about the role of Mary. In an article titled: “Protestants and Marian Devotion – What about Mary?” Pastor Jason Byassee (Shady Grove United Methodist Church in Providence, NC) wrote:

“Recently there has been a flurry of publications by Protestants on Mary, works that suggest she could be an ecumenical bridge — or at least that the Protestant aversion to Marian devotion is eroding. Beverly Roberts Gaventa, a biblical scholar at Princeton Theological Seminary, has led the charge with Mary; Glimpses of the Mother of Jesus (1995) and with a collection of essays she coedited called Blessed One; Protestant Perspectives on Mary (2002). Meanwhile, Robert Jenson’s monumental two-volume Systematic Theology (1997 and 1999) and another collection of coedited essays, Mary; Mother of God (2004), has given a certain pride of place to the Mother of God. Church historians of all stripes have long granted that Marian teaching and devotion dates from the earliest days of the church. And they grant that devotion to Mary was not discarded even by the leading Reformation figures Luther, Calvin and Zwingli. The fruit of ecumenical labor on this topic can be seen in such balanced and helpful resources as Mary in the Plan of God and in the Communion of the Saints (1999), a product of years of dialogue between French Catholics and Protestants that calls for both Catholic and Protestant “conversions” on the subject.”

Isn’t it interesting? You can read this article at: Let us continue our devotion to Mary because her only desire for us is what she told the servants at the Marriage feast of Cana: “Do what He tells you” (John 2:5).

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal