Easter Vigil
St. Mary
of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
527 Beall Ave Wooster OH • 330-264-8824

Pastor's Letter

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dear Parishioners:

    Ascension...We need not forget about it!

   Most of us in church this weekend will recall Ascension long being observed on a Thursday— based on the accounts of Scripture relating to the period of Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearances. The First reading of Mass for the feast relates it thus:

He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God...When they gad gathered together...he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight (Acts 1: 3, 6a, 9b).

   While around the world, the feast is still predominantly marked on Thursday, all but ten of the fifty states of the USA have transferred it to the following Sunday.  The merits of such a transfer can surely be debated (for example: one view is that more people will make it to Mass on Sunday; another view may be that we are further allowing our hyper-busy culture to dictate our observances).

   I offer the following, drawn from CatholicCulture.org as a voice of encouragement:

... even if one lives in one of the 40 states which celebrate the Ascension Mass on Sunday, if we are following the Church's liturgy, our hearts should be focused on the Ascension joy with the whole Church community beginning on Ascension Thursday. The preparation for Pentecost in the form of a novena should begin on Ascension Thursday. The liturgy continues the rejoicing of 'mounting his throne' from Thursday until Saturday, and our hearts should be echoing that joy throughout those days, too.

   At first glance, the Ascension would seem to be a sad day. Christ in his human body is leaving the world for the last time. But we need to take our cues from the liturgy. This is a joyful feast; it is the fulfillment of Christ's salvific mission. The Ascension is the final leg of the Paschal Mystery: Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension into heaven (as mentioned in the Eucharist Prayer of the Mass). It is not until Jesus ascends and returns to His Father that His act of Redemption is completed. Our place in heaven is prepared at this feast -- we will now share in Christ's glory. That is why our hearts should sing with Psalm 47 as it repeats 3 days in a row, 'God mounts His throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.'

For a lovely novena to the Holy Spirit, please check out https://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/pentecost/seven.htm. Finally, here is a entry from our local Lehman’s website:

... here in Ohio’s Amish country, the Amish still faithfully celebrate Ascension Day.  Amish-owned businesses are closed and Amish employees of non-Amish businesses do not go to work. Amish churches hold formal services in the morning, and the afternoon is reserved for reflection, relaxation, visiting, and large meals with extended family and friends.

“Ascension Day is a holiday that most Amish are pretty staunch about,” said Sharon Hershberger, a longtime Lehman’s employee with Amish background. “Some churches have certain things they do at church only on that day, and most (Amish) are very strict about observing this holiday.”

Whatever our religious inclinations, we can all learn from and appreciate the Amish community’s deep dedication to faith, family and tradition.

    Peace,

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Catholics Returning Home

Catholics Returning Home

An Invitation for Nonpracticing Catholics

Were you raised Catholic but do not come or seldom come to church anymore?

Are you a Catholic who now feels separated from the Church?

Would you like to know more about the Catholic Church as it is today?

Would you like to feel at home in the Catholic Church again?

No matter how long you have been away and no matter the reason, we invite you to consider renewing your relationship with the Catholic Church. Please join us for informal listening sessions and an update of the Catholic faith. The 6 sessions are held at St. Mary Parish Hall, beginning Monday, April 17, 2017 from 7-8:30 pm. For more information, call Mindy at 330-464-8873 or mindyptp@aol.com.

Mary's Tears Grief Support Group

Mary's Tears next Grief Support Group will begin September 18, 2017.  There will be six consecutive Monday evening sessions from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.  We invite you to join us then if you have experienced the loss of a loved one, or if the death of a loved one is imminent. Before the next group begins if you would like to be contacted by one of the facilitators you may call Tony 330-321-3854, Mary 330-601-0236, or Joan 330-262-8276.