PAINTED BY ST. LUKE AND FOUND BY ST. HELENA
Salus Populi Romani, which is enshrined in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome, is one of the so-called “Luke images" of which there are many throughout the world. These were believed to have been painted from life by St. Luke himself. According to the legend: "after the Crucifixion, when Our Lady moved to the home of St.John, she took with her a few personal belongings--among which was a table built by the Redeemer in the workshop of St. Joseph. When pious virgins of Jerusalem prevailed upon St. Luke to paint a portrait of the Mother of God, it was the top of this table that was used to memorialize her image. While applying his brush and paints, St. Luke listened carefully as the Mother of Jesus spoke of the life of her son, facts which the Evangelist later recorded in his Gospel. Legend also tells us that the painting remained in and around Jerusalem until it was discovered by St. Helena in the 4th century. Together with other sacred relics, the painting was transported to Constantinople where her son, Emperor Constantine the Great, erected a church for its enthronement."
The image is five feet high by three and a quarter feet wide (117 x 79 cm) - very large for an icon, especially one with an early date. It is painted on a thick cedar panel. Mary wears a gold-trimmed dark blue mantle over a purple/red tunic. The letters in Greek at the top identify Mary as "Mother of God" (Μήτηρ Θεοῦ in lower case and ΜHΤHΡ ΘΕΟΥ in upper case), as is usual in Byzantine art (Christ may originally have had an inscription under later re-painting). Christ is holding a book in his left hand, presumably a Gospel Book. His right hand is raised in a blessing, and it is Mary not he who looks directly out at the viewer.
St. Helena Parish at Easter
NOVENA TO ST. GIANNA
St. Gianna Beretta Molla lived a life of virtue as a faithful wife, a loving mother and a conscientious doctor. After her death, she was canonized by Pope St. John Paul II and he proclaimed that she was a true model of sanctity for our modern world and gave her the title 'the mother of the family'.
St. Gianna shines as a beacon of charity, generosity and love of God’s will in a modern world that promotes selfishness and praises every form of rebellion. “Whatever God wants” became the guiding light of her earthly life in stark contrast to the spirit of the world that teaches people to only be concerned with their own wants and desires.
Let us ask St. Gianna, during this novena that begins today, for a greater love of God, a true charity towards our neighbour, a complete and loving submission to God’s will, and an ever-increasing devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
God, our Father, You granted to Your Church the gift of St. Gianna Beretta Molla. In her youth she lovingly sought You and drew other young people to You, involving them in the care of the sick and the elderly. We thank You for the gift of this young woman so deeply committed to You. Through her example, give us the grace to dedicate our lives to Your service, for the joy of our brothers and sisters.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.
Jesus, Redeemer of humanity, You called St. Gianna to become a doctor, a role she lived as a mission to comfort bodies and souls. She saw You in the sick, needy and weak. We thank You because, through this servant, You revealed Yourself to us as "One who serves" and alleviates the sufferings of all men and women.
As we treasure her example, may we become generous Christians at the service of our brothers and sisters, especially toward those with whom You wish to share Your Cross.
God, Sanctifying Spirit, You love the Church as Your bride. You poured into the heart of St. Gianna a share of Your love so that she could give it to her family, cooperate with You in the wonderful plan of creation, and give life to new children who would know and love You.
We thank You for this model wife and for her encouraging example. Grant us serene and Christian mothers who are committed to transforming our families into cenacles of faith, love, generosity, and service.
O God, Creator and Lover of the human family, You remained with St. Gianna when she painfully had to choose between her life and the life of the child she had awaited for so long. Trusting You alone and aware of You commandment to respect human life, St. Gianna found the courage to do her duty as a mother and to say "yes" to her baby's life, thus generously sacrificing her own.
Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Jesus, and by the example of St. Gianna, inspire all mothers to welcome with love the seeds of a new life. Help us respect the gift of human life.
Grant us the grace to find inspiration in St. Gianna, a model spouse and mother who, following the example of Christ, gave up her life for the life of others.
3 Hail Marys... Amen.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CONFIRMANDI
Let us pray for the following 33 young people who received the Sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday from Bishop John Jenik.
From St. Helena School:
Daniel “Francis” Belotto
Dayana “Cecilia” Cordero
Kaitlyn “Cecilia” Diaz
Louis “Anthony” Fares
Emily “Elizabeth Ann” Gonzalez
Andrew “Nicholas” Khan
Hope “Cecilia” Martinez
Laila “Rose” Ojeda
Kelechi “Peter” Okworogwo
Noelani “Uriel” Pereira
Kassandra “Mary” Pizarro
Nelson “Peter” Prevost
Arly “Josephine” Reyes
Charles “Michael” Reyes
Kennedy “Cecilia” Rios
Alexis “Lucia” Roman
Rita “Gemma” Rosario
Zavier “Gregory” Solis
Neil “Joseph” Tayao
Adam “Francis” Waldropt
From St. Helena Religious Education Program:
Nayeli “Altagracia” Sanchez
Eric “Francis” Castellano
Marcoantonio “Joseph” Flores
Joseph “Juan Diego” Garcia
Mervin “Guadalupe” Hernandez
Anita “Guadalupe” Mayancela
Christian “Juan Diego” Munoz
Mahel “Mael” Napo
Shade “Elizabeth” Rodriguez
Amy “Mary” Tobar
Elsa “Guadalupe” Velasquez
From Monsignor Scanlan High School:
Antonio “Sebastian” Escano
Crystal “Charity” Pena
SPRING SPANISH CHARISMATIC RETREAT
St. Helena's was the host of the annual Spanish Charismatic Retreat. Over 125 people attended the special Lenten retreat that was held in the gymnasium on St. Joseph's Day. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to put the retreat together and who helped make it such a success.
CARMINE SARNO DIES AT AGE 81; He once held a Guiness World Record
In 1957, Carmine Sarno and a group of other members of the Giglio Society of East Harlem set a world record for the tallest Giglio carried in a parade at 67 feet tall. A Giglio is a very tall three-ton statue which is carried and danced through the streets of East Harlem by members of the Giglio Society, and Sarno was a Giglio officer back in the late 1950s. Sarno passed away last week at age 81, and his Funeral Mass was held here at St. Helena's.
ST. HELENA'S HONORS TWO TEACHERS FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."
Every year on March 8, Catholic Relief Services celebrates International Women’s Day by honoring the achievements of women. In communities around the world, remarkable women are tackling overwhelming obstacles with bravery, intelligence and grace.
Think of the women teaching in inner cities such as the Bronx, which has one of the lowest level of academic achievement in the United States.
Today, as we honor the girls and women who are changing the world for the better,St. Helena's honors two woman who inspire their students, and so we share with you this image taken on Dr. Seuss Day.
Laura Carpiniello (left: Grade 1) and Stephanie Seabrook (right: Grade 2)
BREAST CANCER MAMMOGRAPHY VAN AT ST. HELENA'S
The American-Italian Cancer Foundation free Mobile Mammorgaphy Van was parked all day in front of St. Helena Catholic Church on Sunday, March 13. The van offered free Breat Cancer Screenings to women over age 40. The van will be back next year on March 26, 2017, so mark your calendars.
OUR FEARLESS FACULTY - ST. HELENA SCHOOL 2015-2016
OUR EIGHTH GRADE GRADUATING CLASS - St. Helena School 2015-2016
BOY SCOUT TROOP WINS AWARD
St. Helena's Boy Scout Troop 65 won the Best Sled award at the Klondike Derby, held at Camp Alpine this past weekend. Congratulations to the team.
Helen Urban, our parish's oldest parishioner recently celebrated her 102nd birthday.
Pope Sylvester I - Feast Dec. 31: Saint and confessor, ruled the Church during the reign of Constantine when the Arian heresy and the Donatist schism had provoked great discord. He convoked the first Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. He governed the Church for more than twenty-one years. During his Pontificate were built the great churches founded at Rome by Constantine — the Basilica and baptistery of the Lateran, the Basilica of the Sessorian palace (Santa Croce), the Church of St. Peter in the Vatican, and several cemeterial churches over the graves of martyrs. He also established the Roman school of singing. On the Via Salaria he built a cemeterial church over the Catacomb of St. Priscilla, and it was in this church that he was buried when he died on December 31, 335. Numerous legends dramatize his life and work, e.g., how he freed Constantine from leprosy by baptism; how he killed a ferocious dragon that was contaminating the air with his poisonous breath. Such legends were meant to portray the effects of baptism and Christianity's triumph over idolatry. For a long time the feast of St. Sylvester was a holy day of obligation. He called a weekday on which no feast falls feria, because for the Christian every day is a "free day.”
St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) was born and died in Spain. His parents were poor and could not give him training in any trade. Hence he became the servant of the sick in the hospital of Medina. In 1563 he offered himself as a lay brother to the Carmelite friars, who, however, perceiving his unusual talents, had him ordained a priest. When he was about to join the more severe Order of the Carthusians, the saintly Teresa persuaded him to remain and help her in the reform of the Carmelite Order. This reform of his order caused him such sufferings and brought him many trials. But his sufferings served only to detach him from creatures. He had a great devotion to Our Lord's Passion and voluntarily sought out humiliations. When Our Lord asked him what reward he would ask for his labors, John answered: "To suffer and to be despised for Thee." He died of a cruel disease, embracing the crucifix. Because of his profound treatises on mystical theology Pope Pius XI proclaimed him Doctor of the Church. His Feast Day is December 14.
HE LIFE OF SAINT CATHERINE LABOURE - Feast November 25
Catherine Laboure was was born on May 2, 1806. In her youth she was affectionately called Zoe, after the patron saint whose feast was celebrated the day she was born. Her parents were successful farmers in the village of Fain-les-moutiers in the Burgundy region of France. Catherine was one of 17 children and was the second daughter. When she was only nine years old, her mother died. From that time on Catherine adopted Mary as her mother. She declared, "Now, dear Blessed Mother, now you will be my Mother!" She received her First Holy Communion at age 12. From that time she was determined to pursue a vocation to the religious life, like her older sister, Marie Louise, who joined the Sisters of Charity. At the age of 22 Catherine asked her father for permission to begin a vocation, but he refused. It was not until January 22,1830 at the age of 24 that she finally entered religious life at the Hospice de la Charite in Chatillon-sur-Seine. After a postulancy of only three months she was sent to the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity in Paris.
Catherine had been at the motherhouse for only six months when the Blessed Mother appeared to her. At 11:30pm on July 18, 1830, Catherine was awakened when she heard a voice speaking to her. She saw a little boy with blue eyes and golden hair who she recognized as her guardian angel. He led her to the chapel where Our Lady appeared and sat in the Director's chair near the altar. She was wearing a white dress with a blue veil. At the urging of her angel, Catherine ran to Mary and knelt beside her. She rested her head in Mary's lap and looked up into her eyes as she listened to her speak. Mary told Catherine that God had a special job for her to do, and also warned of a great time of upheaval soon to occur in France. Catherine reported the apparition to the community's Confessor, Father Jean Marie Aladel. He advised her that the apparition was only a dream that she should try to forget.
In the late afternoon of November 27, 1830, while at prayer with the other Sisters of Charity, Our Lady appeared again to Catherine. In this second apparition she first appeared in a pure white dress with a white veil. In her hands she held a golden ball topped with a cross. Her appearance soon changed as she revealed to Catherine the image of the medal she wanted to be made. This was the first time the world saw the words:
"O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
At the end of her visit, Our Lady asked Catherine to keep the apparitions a secret from everyone except the Confessor for the community, Father Aladel. However, when Catherine went to him for a second time he again told her she had "too much imagination".
In December of 1830, Our Lady appeared to Catherine for the last time. This visit was similar to the visit in November, however this time Mary said: "You will not see me any more, but you will hear my voice during your prayers.
MAKING THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL
On January 30 1831, Catherine received the habit of the Daughters of Charity and was sent to work at Enghien Hospice in a suburb near Paris. In the Spring she again tried to convince Father Aladel to create Our Lady's medal, but he continued to refuse. In the autumn she asked for the third time, warning that "The Virgin is angry" with the delays. When Father Aladel finally told the Archbishop of Paris of Our Lady's request, he was told that the medal should be made immediately. Unfortunately, a deadly outbreak of cholera delayed the creation of the medal until May of 1832. The first order was for 20,000 medals and distribution began on June 30, 1832.
Originally, the name of the medal was "Medal of the Immaculate Conception", however stories of miracles related to the medal were reported almost immediately and the medal came to be called "Miraculous".
1. In Paris, an 8 year old girl was the only one in her class that did not wear a medal and was the only one who caught cholera. She was given a medal and returned to school the next day.
2. A woman who was pregnant contracted cholera and was thought close to death. After being given the medal she had a smooth delivery and both mother and baby were found to be healthy.
3. A child who had been unable to walk was healed when he wore the medal on the first day of a novena.
4. In 1842 a young man named Alphonse Tobie Ratisbonne experienced a conversion. From a Jewish family, Ratisbonne had a deep and very public hatred of Catholicism. During a trip in 1841, he unexpectedly spent some time in Rome and met Baron Bussieres, a newly converted Catholic. The two had an argument about the Faith and the Baron gave Ratisbonne a Miraculous Medal, challenging him to wear it and recite the prayer the Memorare. Shortly after, Our Lady appeared to Ratisbonne in exactly the same way as on the Miraculous Medal. He was converted immediately and was baptized that same night.
After only four years the number of medals that had been distributed numbered in the millions, and by Catherine's death in 1876 the number was in the billions.
In May 1835, Catherine pronounced her vows as a Sister of Charity of poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability. For more than forty years she continued to work at the hospice caring for the elderly men who were patients there. Despite the millions of medals that had been distributed around the world, no one except Father Aladel knew the name of the nun who had received the apparition of the Miraculous Medal. When Father Aladel died in 1865, Catherine was left with no one in whom she could confide.
In May 1876, Catherine was aware that the end of her life was near. She had been trying for many years to have a statue made of the Virgin holding the golden globe. Since Catherine could not ask Father Aladel for help, she asked Mary for advice on how to proceed. Forty-six years after the initial apparition, Mary gave Catherine permission to share her story. The statue was ordered in June and Catherine died, content that her work had been completed, on December 31, 1876. When she was beatified on May 28, 1933 her body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt. Catherine's body now rests in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal where Mary appeared to her. Catherine was canonized by Pope Pius XII on July 27, 1947.
"You watch over the Church for you are its Mother. You watch over each of your Children. From God, you obtain for us, all graces that are symbolized by the rays of light which radiate from your open hands, and the only condition that you demand of us is that we approach with the confidence, the hardiness, and the simplicity of a child. And it is thus that you bring us before your Divine Son." - Pope John Paul II on his visit to the Chapel on May 31,1980.
ST. CHRISTOPHER - July 25: Paton Saint of Motorists
Saint Christopher is one of the most popular, yet most enigmatic Catholic figures. He is considered a saint, although he is no longer in the Universal Calendar of the saints. He is listed as a martyr, and some believe he may be identified with Reprobus, who died under the Roman Emperor Decius, in 251 AD. Most Catholics refer to him as Saint Christopher anyway, and his medals and devotions are among the most common in Catholicism. Other than his listing as a martyr, there are no primary sources referring to St. Christopher, only legends.
According to legend, St. Christopher was extremely tall, and by some accounts he was even a giant. He is referred to as a Canaanite, and he was described as a man of significant physical stature. Christopher decided one day that he wanted to serve the greatest king he could. He presented himself before his local ruler and entered service, until he noticed the king cross himself at the mention of the devil, revealing that the king believed the Devil to have more power. St. Christopher then decided to serve the Devil. During his search, he encountered a band of thieves, whose leader referred to himself as the Devil. But when this leader avoided a Christian cross out of fear, St. Christopher learned there was someone even more powerful than the Devil.
St. Christopher found a hermit who taught him all about Christ, the King of Kings. The hermit suggested that he spend his life in prayer and fasting, a thing which St. Christopher, a large and probably often hungry man found difficult, he objected. The hermit suggested he then find something else that would please Christ. St. Christopher offered to work at a nearby river, and help travelers across. The fording was dangerous and many with less strength had drowned. The hermit advised St. Christopher this would please Christ.
One day, a child approached St. Christopher by the river and asked to be helped across. St. Christopher obliged. However, as he entered midstream, the river rose and the child's weight grew and became extremely heavy. It was only by great exertion that St. Christopher safely delivered the child to the other side. When St. Christopher asked the child why he was so heavy, the child explained that He was the Christ and when St. Christopher carried Him, he also carried the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. The child then vanished.
Other legends state that St. Christopher traveled after this experience and evangelized thousands of people. Arriving in Lycia in Asia Minor, and witnessing to Christians there who were being martyred. At that time, St. Christopher was detained and ordered to offer a sacrifice to the emperor. When he refused, it was decided to attempt to persuade him with money and women. Two women were sent to seduce him, but instead he converted them to Christianity. After this, it was decided to have him killed, but various attempts to assassinate him failed. Eventually, he was arrested and beheaded.
The name "Christopher" is not a name but rather a title meaning Christ-bearer, which may allude to the legend of the man carrying the Christ Child across the river. Saint Christopher also did not become popularized in the Church until the 7th century, about three centuries after his death. We know of his popularity because around the 7th century, churches and monasteries began to be named after him. There is also speculation that St. Christopher could have also been confused with St. Menas, an Egyptian saint. Both Christopher and Menas are referred to as "Christ bearers" and are patrons of travelers.
Today, St. Christopher is the patron saint of motorists, travelers and of children. His feast day is July 25, and despite his being moved from the universal calendar of saints to a local calendar, many believe that he continues to intercede on behalf of Christians, especially children, today.
St. Pompilio Maria Pirrotti, a Piarist Saint - Feast July 15
It is very important to Pray to Mary
Domenico Pirrotti was born in Montecalvo, Italy on September 29, 1710, the sixth of the eleven children of Jerome and Donna Pirrotti. His father was a lawyer and was of the noble class. At the age of 16, he left home and joined the Piarist fathers in Benevento, where on February 2, 1727, he took the religious habit of the Piarists and professed the four religious vows made by all Piarists: poverty, chastity, obedience, and the education of youth. At the same time, he changed his name to Pompilio Maria.
He was sent to Chieti to study philosophy, but he became ill and was transferred to Melfi to finish his studies. Before his priestly ordination, he was sent to Turi for a year to teach religion and then to Lecce to teach literature. He was ordained on March 20, 1734 by the Archbishop of Brindisi. For the next ten years, he traveled throughout Italy preaching and hearing confessions.
The Lord gave him extraordinary gifts. In 1746, while he was in Lanciano, he rang the church bells at two in the morning and people flocked alarmed. He told them that they had to pray to Mary to save their town from an impending earthquake. The people did as he instructed, and a powerful earthquake struck the Abruzzo region causing severe damage, but Lanciano was spared.
During the famine of 1765, he had the people of Campi Salentina also pray to Our Blessed Mother, and the famine never struck the village. Even today in this city every year on July 15, the day of his feast, they distribute blessed bread baskets in memory of his protection.
He lived during a time when Jansenism and anticlericalism were growing in popularity, and many Catholics had stopped receiving the Eucharist, but St. Pompilio emphasized the importance of receiving it frequently along with spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, which served as the focus of his preaching and spiritual direction. From this sprang complaints and accusations, resulting in his abrupt departure from Lanciano in 1747.
He spent the next eleven and a half years in Naples spreading the same devotions, and he founded there a confraternity called the Charity of God, which had as its purpose praying for the dead and practicing the Sacraments of Christian virtues, especially the reception of daily Communion. In 1765, he wrote a Novena to the Sacred Heart which spread rapidly throughout the Kingdom of Naples.
He was accused of being too lenient in giving penances, and he was expelled from Naples. For the next six years, he travelled from community to community, preaching and hearing confessions, and during this time he experienced atrocious physical suffering. Finally, he was invited to live in the Piarist community at Campi Salentino by a pious Sacred Heart group. There, he reorganized the schools and made sure that education was available to all children and not just those from wealthy families, and he intensified the religious life of the inhabitants.
After celebrating Mass on Sunday, July 13, 1766, he became ill while hearing confessions. He was brought to his bedroom and died there two days later at the age of 56, while reciting the first vespers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. He was beatified in 1890 by Pope Leo XIII and was proclaimed a saint on March 19, 1934 by Pope Pius XI. His remains are preserved and venerated by the faithful in the Piarist church in Campi Salentina.
ST. THOMAS BROUGHT THE FAITH TO INDIA - Feast July 3
St. Thomas was a dedicated but impetuous follower of Christ. He first speaks in John’s Gospel when Jesus said He was returning to Judea to visit His sick friend Lazarus, Thomas immediately exhorted the other Apostles to accompany Him on the trip which involved certain danger and possible death because of the mounting hostility of the authorities.
He was born a Jew and was called to be one of the twelve Apostles. His exact birth and death dates are unknown, but his feast day is celebrated on July 3, although this year, his feast day is superseded by a Sunday. However, we are still remembering him today during the 1:30PM Mass. A reception will follow the Mass in the gym, which will feature the culture and cuisine of India. Everyone is invited.
His name in Aramaic is Toma, which in Hebrew is Teom, and when translated into Greek is Didymus, which means “the twin,” a title which could mean he had a sibling born at the same time he was or could mean “one like us.” At the Last Supper, when Christ told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them to which they also might come because they knew both the place and the way, Thomas pleaded that they did not understand, and they all received the beautiful assurance that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. St. Thomas is also mentioned as being present at Lake Tiberias, when a miraculous catch of fish occurred.
But, perhaps St. Thomas is best known for his role in verifying the Resurrection of his Master. Thomas' unwillingness to believe that the other Apostles had seen their risen Lord on the first Easter Sunday has earned him the title of "doubting Thomas."
Eight days later, on Christ's second apparition, Thomas was gently rebuked for his skepticism and furnished with the evidence he had demanded - seeing in Christ's hands the point of the nails. Thomas even put his fingers in the nail holes and his hand into Christ's side. After verifying the wounds were true, St. Thomas became convinced of the reality of the Resurrection and exclaimed, "My Lord and My God," thus making a public Profession of Faith in the Divinity of Jesus. Jesus then said to him: “Because you have seen Me, Thomas, you have believed.” Now if Thomas had seen and touched the Savior, why did Jesus say this? Perhaps it was because Thomas saw something other than what he believed. For no mortal man can see divinity. Perhaps Thomas saw the Man Christ and acknowledged His divinity with the words: “My Lord and my God.” Faith therefore followed upon seeing. However, in all fairness to Thomas it should be pointed out that when Jesus first appeared to the other apostles, he first showed them his hands and his side, without anyone needing to ask because Jesus knew what they were thinking. It was Thomas who acted as one like us and articulated what others were thinking.
This is all that we know about St. Thomas from the New Testament. According to Eusebius, after the dispersal of the Apostles after Pentecost, Thomas and Bartholomew were sent to evangelize the Parthians, Medes, and Persians. According to the Acts of Thomas, St. Thomas is believed to have sailed to India in 52 A.D. to spread the Christian faith, and he is believed to have landed at the port of Muziris, Tamilakam (modern-day North Paravur) and Kodungalloor (in modern-day Kerala state) where there was already an established Jewish community at the time. The port was destroyed in 1341 due to a massive flood that realigned the coasts. He is believed by the large native population who call themselves “Christians of St. Thomas” to have established Ezharappallikal or Seven and a Half Churches in Kerala. These churches are at Kodungallur, Palayoor, Kottakkavu, Kokkamangalam, Niranam, Nilackal, Kollam, and the half church Thiruvithamcode.
According to the accounts of Marco Polo, Thomas was killed in an accident when a fowler shot at a peacock and struck Thomas instead. The Roman Martyrology says that he was pierced with lances around the year 72 A.D. at the command of the king. Following his death, some of his relics were taken to Edessa while the rest were kept in India. They can still be found within the San Thome Basilica in Chennai, Mylapore, India. The relics taken to Edessa were moved in 1258 to Abruzzo, Italy, where today they can be found in the Cathedral of St. Thomas the Apostle in Ortona, Italy. However, it is believed that Saint Thomas' skull rests in the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian on the Greek Island of Patmos. Since at least the 16th century, St. Thomas Mount has been a common site revered by Hindus, Christians, and Muslims.
Saint Thomas was mentioned in several other texts, including one document called The Passing of Mary, which claims that the apostle Thomas was the only one to witness the Assumption of Mary into heaven, while the other apostles were transported to Jerusalem to witness her death. While the other apostles were with Mary, Thomas was left in India until after her first burial, and he was later transported to her tomb and saw her bodily assumption into heaven, but he recovered her girdle which was left behind. In some versions of the story, the other apostles doubted Thomas' words until Mary's tomb was discovered to be empty with the exception of her girdle.
The Gospel of Thomas begins: "These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymus Judas Thomas recorded." Early Syrian traditions also relate the apostle's full name as Judas Thomas. There is also the Acts of Thomas, which was written in east Syria in the first half of the 2nd century and identifies Saint Thomas as a relative of the apostle Jude, the brother of James. Few texts speak about Thomas' twin. In the Book of Thomas the Contender, the twin is identified as Jesus himself: "Now, since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself…”
When the feast of Saint Thomas was first inserted into the Roman calendar in the 9th century, it was assigned to December 21. However, the Martyrology of St. Jerome mentioned the apostle on July 3, the date to which the Roman celebration was transferred in 1969, so that it would no longer interfere with the major ferial days of Advent. St.Thomas is invoked against doubt and is considered the patron saint of architects; blind people; builders; construction workers; geometricians; masons; India; Pakistan; Sri Lanka; people in doubt; stone masons; stonecutters; surveyors; and theologians.
His symbols are the spear and lance; carpenter's square and lance; builder's rule; arrows; five wounds of our Lord; girdle; book and spear; spear; t-square. In Sacred art, Saint Thomas is commonly depicted as a young man holding a scroll, or as a young adult touching the resurrected Christ's wounds. Thomas and the girdle were often depicted in medieval and early Renaissance art, and he is often depicted with a lance (because of his martyrdom) or with a square (because of the legend that he was sent as an architect to the king of India).
Existen personas que pertenecen a familias católicas y que incluso son miembros activos de las parroquias o las escuelas a las cuales asisten, pero cuyos matrimonios no son del todo reconocidos por la Iglesia Católica. Como norma común, la Iglesia solicita que las parejas se casen en una ceremonia Católica, en presencia de un sacerdote o de un diácono. Por varios motivos, las parejas deciden casarse en una ceremonia civil o bajo las tradiciones de otra religión. Tiempo después, muchos de estos miembros católicos desean que sus matrimonios sean reconocidos oficialmente por la Iglesia. A este reconocimiento oficial de la Iglesia se le da el nombre de convalidación.
Si usted está interesado en la convalidación de su matrimonio, siéntase tranquilo al saber que es un proceso simple, particularmente si es la primera vez que tanto el novio como la novia se van a casar. El Código Canónico (leyes de la Iglesia) resume los puntos básicos del proceso de convalidación en los siguientes pasos:
HOLY DAY MASSES:
Vigil: 7:00 PM (Spanish)
Holy Day: 6:50 AM, 8:30 AM, 12:15 PM, 7:30 PM
STATIONS OF THE CROSS:
Every Friday during Lent: following the 12:15 PM Mass, 6:30 PM (English), 7:30 PM (Spanish)
Every Saturday from 4 PM to 5:30 PM , or by appointment in the rectory.
English: Every Sunday after 1:30 PM Mass
Español: 2 y 4 Sábados en 2:30 PM
Baptism Preparation Class:
Meets every second and fourth Thursday of the month at 7 PM in the Church. Register for the class at the rectory. You MUST bring a copy of the child's birth certificate as well as a copy of the Confirmation certificate of the godparents and a copy of the godparent's Catholic marriage certificate, if a godparent is married.
SICK AND DECEASED members of the parish are remembered in the Offertory Prayers. If you know of any current or former parishioners who are seriously ill or have passed, or you know of any sick parishioners who need Holy Communion brought to them, please contact the rectory at 718-892-3232 and let us know about their condition.
Announced and Unannounced Masses may be arranged at the rectory Mon.-Fri. from 8:30AM - 4:30PM.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CLASSES
Every Wednesday from September - June from 3:45 - 5PM, gathering in the Church.
English classes meet every Sunday from 3-4PM in the Rectory Meeting Room from September - April.
Spanish classes meet every Sunday from 10-11:15AM in the green Family Life Center from September - June.
Transportation: Take #6 subway to either Parkchester or Castle Hill or take either Bx22, Bx39, Bx4, Bx4A, or Q44 bus.
Parish E-mail: email@example.com
Born in Bithynia, Asia Minor (present-day Turkey), circa 248, St. Helena was married to Roman Emperor Constantius and had a son who would become Constantine I, also known as Constantine the Great, the first Roman emperor to become a Christian. St. Helena, who converted as well, oversaw the construction of churches on Holy Land sites. She would later be credited with discovering the cross upon which Jesus Christ is believed to have been crucified. St. Helena died circa 328 in Nicomedia (present-day Turkey).
Thanksgiving Day Prayers
Father all-powerful, Your gifts of love are countless and Your goodness infinite. On Thanksgiving Day we come before You with gratitude for Your kindness: open our hearts to concern for our fellow men and women, so that we may share Your gifts in loving service.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Father in Heaven, Creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon us and receive our heartfelt gratitude in this time of giving thanks.
Thank you for all the graces and blessings. You have betowed upon us, spiritual and temporal: our faith and religious heritage. Our food and shelter, our health, the loves we have for one another, our family and friends.
Dear Father, in Your infinite generosity, please grant us continued graces and blessings throughout the coming year.
This we ask in the Name of Jesus, Your Son and our Brother. Amen.
For Deceased Veterans
O God, by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest, look kindly on your departed veterans who gave their lives in the service of their country. Grant that through the passion, death, and resurrection of your Son they may share in the joy of your heavenly kingdom and rejoice in you with your saints forever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Veterans Day Prayer
We ask for blessings on all those who have served their country in the armed forces. We ask for healing for the veterans who have been wounded, in body and soul, in conflicts around the globe. We pray especially for the young men and women, in the thousands, who are coming home with injured bodies and traumatized spirits. Bring solace to them, O Lord; may we pray for them when they cannot pray. We ask for, echoing Pope St. John Paul II, an end to wars and the dawning of a new era of peace. Let us honor all veterans. Have mercy on them and bring peace to their hearts and peace to the regions in which they served. May their calling to service continue in their lives in many positive ways. Give us all the creative vision to see a world which, grown weary with fighting, moves to affirming the life of every human being and so moves beyond war. Hear our prayer, O Prince of Peace, hear our prayer. Amen.
PRAYER TO ST. JUDE
O Holy St Jude!
Apostle and Martyr,
great in virtue and rich in miracles,
near kinsman of Jesus Christ,
faithful intercessor for all who invoke you,
special patron in time of need;
to you I have recourse from the depth of my heart,
and humbly beg you,
to whom God has given such great power,
to come to my assistance;
help me now in my urgent need and grant my earnest petition.
I will never forget thy graces and favors you obtain for me
and I will do my utmost to spread devotion to you. Amen.
St. Jude, pray for us and all who honor thee and invoke thy aid.
(Say 3 Our Father's, 3 Hail Mary’s, and 3 Glory Be’s after this.)
Note that in addition to saying a prayer to St. Jude, we can invoke his aid by offering Holy Masses and Communions in his honor. We can also engage in charitable works in his name.
As St. Leo once said “Prayer has the greatest efficacy to obtain favors from God when it is supported by works of mercy.” Don’t forget to help someone in need as part of your prayer to St. Jude.
THE FIFTEEN PROMISES OF MARY TO THOSE WHO PRAY THE ROSARY
Perhaps you have heard the story of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s 15 promises for those who pray it regularly. It was reported that when the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Dominic and gave him the Rosary devotion, she also gave him these 15 promises of spiritual benefits for those who pray it.
At least that’s the story. However, some historians have pointed out since the 17th century that there’s no hard evidence of this story prior to the 15th century, when it was popularized by Bl. Alanus de Rupe. But, it is possible that he might have had a source that has since been lost to us.
In any case, it is important to note that even if these promises were given by the Blessed Mother to St. Dominic, they would still fall into the category of “private revelation,” or something that’s not a part of public divine revelation and that Catholics are not obliged to believe. Either way, these promises could still be taken as inspiration for praying the Rosary.
1) Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the rosary, shall receive signal graces. (signs sent by God to help us make the right decisions in life)
2) I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the rosary.
3) The rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
4) It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the heart of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5) The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the rosary shall not perish.
6) Whoever shall recite the rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
7) Whoever shall have a true devotion for the rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
8) Those who are faithful to recite the rosary shall have, during their life and at their death, the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
9) I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the rosary.
10) The faithful children of the rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven.
11) You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the rosary.
12) All those who propagate the holy rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13) I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
14) All who recite the rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only son Jesus Christ.
15) Devotion of my rosary is a great sign of predestination.
Prayer For Our Animal Friends
Heavenly Father, our human ties with our friends of other species is a wonderful and special gift from You. We now ask You to grant our special animal companions your Fatherly care and healing power to take away any suffering they have. Give us, their human friends, new understanding of our responsibilities to these creatures of yours.
They have trust in us as we have trust in You; We are on this earth together to give one another friendship, affection, and caring. Take our heartfelt prayers and fill Your ill or suffering animals with healing Light and strength to overcome whatever weakness of body they have.
( Here mention the names of the animals needing prayer )
Your goodness is turned upon every living thing and Your grace flows to all Your creatures. Grant to our special animal companions long and healthy lives. Give them good relationships with and if You see fit to take them from us, help us to understand that they are not gone from us, but only drawing closer to You. Grant our petitions through the intercession of good St. Francis of Assisi, who honored You through all Your creatures.
PRAYER FOR PEACE IN OUR COMMUNITIES
Let us pray . . .
O Lord our God, in your mercy and kindness, no thought of ours is left unnoticed, no desire or concern ignored.
You have proven that blessings abound when we fall on our knees in prayer,
and so we turn to you in our hour of need.
Surrounded by violence and
cries for justice, we hear your voice telling us what is required . . .
“Only to do justice and to love goodness,
and to walk humbly with your God” (Mi 6:8).
Fill us with your mercy so that we, in turn, may be merciful to others.
Strip away pride, suspicion, and racism
so that we may seek peace and justice in our communities.
Strengthen our hearts so that they beat only to the rhythm of your holy will.
Flood our path with your light as we walk humbly toward a future filled with encounter and unity.
Be with us, O Lord, in our efforts, for only by the prompting of your grace can we progress toward virtue.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
POPE'S PRAYER FOR 9/11
When the Vicar of Christ visited the United States he made a special visit to "Ground Zero", a truly American site of prayer and reflection and he prayed. In memory of all those who died, those who still suffer, those who still grieve their loss and for a Nation which today reflects on the event and what it means for the future, let us pray the Pope's Prayer:
O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here--
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and
Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.
We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives
with courage and hope.
We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.
God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.
God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.
Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.
PRAYER IN EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
Let us faithfully recite this prayer in the Exaltation of the Holy Cross :
Jesus, Who because of Thy burning Love for us willed to be crucified
and to shed Thy Most Precious Blood
for the Redemption and Salvation of our souls,
look down upon us and grant the petition we humbly ask for
(our prayer intention here...)
Lord we trust completely in Thy Mercy.
Cleanse us from sin by Thy Grace,
sanctify our work,
give us and all those who are dear to us our daily bread,
lighten the burden of our sufferings,
bless our families,
and grant to the nations,
so sorely afflicted,
Thy Peace, which is the only True Peace,
so that by obeying Thy Commandments
we may come at last to the Glory of Heaven. Amen
Mother Teresa prayed this daily with her sisters.
Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.
PRAYERS TO ST. HELENA
Holy and blessed Saint Helena, with the anguish and devotion with which you sought the Cross of Christ, I plead that you give me God's grace to suffer in patience the labors of this life, so that through them and through your intercession and protection, I will be able to seek and carry the Cross, which God has placed upon me, so that I can serve Him in this life and enjoy His Glory ever after. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, You were pleased to reveal to blessed Helena the place where Your Cross was hidden, in order through her to enrich Your Church with this inestimable treasure: give ear to her prayers, and accept this tree of life as the price of our attaining to eternal happiness, You who are God, living and reigning.
O God, we acknowledge you today as Lord,
Not only of individuals, but of nations and governments.
We thank you for the privilege
Of being able to organize ourselves politically
And of knowing that political loyalty
Does not have to mean disloyalty to you.
We thank you for your law,
Which our Founding Fathers acknowledged
And recognized as higher than any human law.
We thank you for the opportunity that this election year puts before us,
To exercise our solemn duty not only to vote,
But to influence countless others to vote,
And to vote correctly.
Lord, we pray that your people may be awakened.
Let them realize that while politics is not their salvation,
Their response to you requires that they be politically active.
Awaken your people to know that they are
not called to be a sect fleeing the world
But rather a community of faith renewing the world.
Awaken them that the same hands lifted up to you in prayer are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth;
That the same eyes that read your Word
Are the eyes that read the names on the ballot,
And that they do not cease to be Christians
When they enter the voting booth.
Awaken your people to a commitment to justice
To the sanctity of marriage and the family,
To the dignity of each individual human life,
And to the truth that human rights begin when human lives begin,
And not one moment later.
Lord, we rejoice today
That we are citizens of your kingdom.
May that make us all the more committed
To being faithful citizens on earth.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
te damos gracias por el privilegio
De poder organizarnos políticamente
Y por reconocer que la lealtad política
No significa que seamos desleales a ti.
Te damos gracias por el privilegio
De poder organizarnos políticamente
Y por reconocer que la lealtad política
No significa que seamos desleales a ti.
Te damos gracias por tu ley,
La cual fue aceptada por los Padres de la Patria
Y reconocida como superior a cualquier ley humana.
Te damos las gracias por la oportunidad que este año de elecciones pone ante nosotros,
De ejercer el deber solemne no sólo de votar,
Sino de influenciar a un sinnúmero de personas para que voten,
Y para que voten correctamente.
Señor, pedimos que tu pueblo despierte.
Haz que se den cuenta de que aunque en la política no está su salvación,
Su respuesta a ti requiere que sean políticamente activos.
Alerta a tu pueblo para que sepa que no están llamados a ser una secta que huye del mundo,
Sino una comunidad de fe que renueva al mundo.
Hazles ver que las mismas manos que se elevan a ti en oración
Son las que halan la palanca en las urnas electorales al votar;
Que los mismos ojos que leen tu Palabra
Son los ojos que leen los nombres en la boletas electorales,
Y que no dejan de ser cristianos
Al entrar a votar en las urnas.
Dispón a tu pueblo a comprometerse con la justicia
Con la santidad del matrimonio y con la familia,
Con la dignidad de cada vida humana,
Y con la verdad de que los derechos humanos comienzan cuando comienza la vida humana,
Ni un minuto más tarde.
Señor, nos alegramos hoy
De ser ciudadanos de tu reino.
Que esto nos haga ser los más comprometidos
En ser ciudadanos fieles en la tierra.Te lo pedimos por Cristo nuestro Señor. Amén.
O Holy Spirit, Spirit of wisdom and divine love, impart Your knowledge, understanding, and counsel to youth that they may know the vocation wherein they can best serve God. Give them courage and strength to follow God's holy will. Guide their uncertain steps, strengthen their resolutions, shield their chastity, fashion their minds, conquer their hearts, and lead them to the vineyards where they will labor in God's holy service.
GOD our FATHER,
WHO wills that all men be saved
And come to the knowledge of YOUR Truth:
We beg you to send
Laborers into YOUR harvest,
And grant them grace to speak YOUR Word
With all boldness; so that YOUR Word
May spread and be glorified,
And all nations may know YOU,
The only GOD, and HIM WHOM YOU have sent,
JESUS CHRIST YOUR SON, Our LORD. Amen.
St. Helena and St. Joseph Calasanz,
Pray for us.
O God Who wills not the death of a sinner, but rather that he be converted and live, grant we beseech You, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph her spouse, St. Helena, St. Joseph Calasanz, and all the saints, an increase of laborers for Your Church, fellow laborers with Christ to spend and consume themselves for souls, through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You, in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. AMEN.