“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” These words of Jesus in today’s Gospel are repeated in every Mass, in the prayer just before the Sign of Peace. What a precious gift; but how well have we received it and how well do we bear it? The peace which “the world” offers us is an external reality; the peace Christ gives is an internal reality: a right relationship with God and others. It is the peace which is the foundation of justice and the fruit of love. If we possess this gift of peace, it will not be hard to accept the Lord’s exhortation, “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”
The peace which “the world” offers is an elusive reality. It is certainly not a current reality. The violence, abuse and degradation which are in the news these days are evidence of this fact. Too much of the history of humanity is marked by war. Is it any wonder that the Church has prayed so fervently in every liturgy for peace? It seems, unfortunately, that we have yet a long way to go toward world peace, but Christ’s peace is available to us now. Peace be with you.
Our parishes’ fiscal year ends on June 30. Pledges to the Diocesan Annual Appeal must be received by that date to be credited for this year. Please honor your pledges to the Appeal and continue your support of our parishes. St. Peter Parish has reached 87.64% of its target for this year with $2,376 to go. St. Charles Parish has reached 84.37% of its target with $10,421 to go. Both parishes are inching toward their goals, but the majority of households have not given to the Appeal. These targets could easily be reached if everyone would give something. This is a fundamental duty of parish membership. Please help us meet our financial obligations.
I welcome new readers, communion ministers, ushers and servers from both parishes. Training sessions for all new liturgical ministers will be provided. Just drop me a note by email or in the collection basket or leave a voicemail message, if you are willing to serve in any of these ministries. I especially encourage those confirmed the last two years to volunteer. The grace of Confirmation is given to help you be active members of the Church and liturgical ministry is one expression of that.
This week we celebrate Memorial Day. It is kind of a national All Souls’ Day. Originally a day to remember those who died during the Civil War, the holiday eventually included a remembrance of all who died in service to our country and later all deceased veterans. By extension it has become a day to visit cemeteries and remember all deceased relatives and friends. There is no better way for American Catholics to do this than by participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and praying for the departed. Father Justin Kizewski will offer Mass at the outdoor altar in Hope Cemetery at 9:00 on Monday morning, weather permitting. In the event of inclement weather, the Mass will be celebrated in Holy Ghost Church. Father Thomas will celebrate Mass in St. Peter Church at 8:30 Monday morning followed by a visit to the cemetery.
Pray the rosary this week for students who are graduating from any level of schooling, that they may always put to good use what they have learned. Pray also for good weather for the spring planting and growing season. Pray for those from our area serving in the armed forces and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.