Diocese of Toledo, Ohio

Browsing From the Pastor

May 28th/29th Bulletin Article

Dear Friends,

            We celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord this weekend. We read in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles that 40 days after Easter Jesus went up into Heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of the Father. For centuries, the Ascension of the Lord was celebrated on a Thursday, which would be 40 days after Easter. For whatever reason, most dioceses in the United States have transferred the celebration of the Solemnity to Sunday, because apparently Jesus ascended into Heaven 43 days after Easter. I make a big deal about this because the first novena was prayed between Jesus’ ascension into Heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. In fact, the concept of a novena—a nine day prayer—comes from the time between the Ascension and Pentecost, which is 50 days after Easter. The idea of nine days between the Ascension and Pentecost is lost when transferring the liturgical celebration of the Ascension.

            Next week, we will celebrate Pentecost and the Holy Spirit descending upon the disciples, and now is a good time to ponder upon that first novena, that time between the Ascension and Pentecost. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descends upon the apostles and disciples, pushing them to go out into Jerusalem, proclaiming Jesus risen from the dead. Hundreds are converted that day; it was an incredible day of ministry, and we can easily fixate on that, but we ought not lose sight of what happened before: they spent nine days in prayer. In the Church today, and even in our own lives, we are more likely to spend nine days in ministry or in activity, and then maybe spend a day or an hour in prayer. Results are often mixed. Perhaps we would be better off—counter-intuitive as this may seem—in the Church and in our own lives spending nine days in prayer and one day in ministry and activity.

            As I mentioned last week, June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. One way to foster devotion to the Sacred Heart is enthroning an image of the Sacred Heart in your home. I have planned that we enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus in our parishes around the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which this year is June 25 (this Solemnity is always the Friday after the Solemnity of Corpus Christi). When done in the home, there are three days of preparation, so we will participate in the preparatory prayers every weekend leading up to June 25. We will also have enthronement packets available for everyone so that you will be able to enthrone the Sacred Heart in your homes and can pray the preparatory prayers together as a family in the home. Opening our homes to the Sacred Heart will powerfully transform our lives, our homes, and our families. Opening our hearts to the Sacred Heart will also open our hearts to the Holy Spirit.

            We are saints under construction, preparing for ministry and activity by significant time in prayer, calling upon the Holy Spirit. Have a great week!


In Christ,

Fr. Matt


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