Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Happy (almost) Feast Day! This Monday, February 11th, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes – the patroness of our parish. Notre Dame, taken from the French meaning “Our Lady,” is a particularly beautiful way to address our Blessed Mother. It expresses an intimacy – she is not “the lady,” or “a lady,” she is ours. It reminds us that on the cross when Christ says, “Woman, behold thy son… behold thy Mother,” he speaks to all of us. And we don’t often think about it, but having her as our patroness is certainly a beautiful blessing, because we have a special connection with her and can rely on her in a singular way to protect us and intercede for us. Not only that, under her title of Our Lady of Lourdes, we remember especially how we can entrust ourselves to her for healing and strength in difficult times.
And these are, without a doubt, difficult times. I often feel like a broken record, but I am sure most would agree we find ourselves in difficult days for the Church. The future looks grim as so many parishes shrink and fail. I am full of hope though. Maybe it’s just youthful zeal, but I am confident that this parish, all of us together, can bring new life to the Church. All of us together can transform New Hyde Park and beyond. But how?
With her! My hope is that on this joyous occasion we find hope in our Blessed Lady. We turn to her, and entrust ourselves and our parish into her hands. We ask her to give us that purity of heart, that utter humil- ity, that intense openness to God that led her to say “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me ac- cording to thy word.” And it will not be easy, as it was not easy for her. It will require challenging ourselves to grow in holiness – through prayer, confession, devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. It will require creativity – a readiness to revisit those areas where we have become complacent and think in a fresh way. It will require wisdom – the ability to connect with and learn from the past to apply those lessons to the challenges of the present. But it is possible, because all things are possible with God, and when we allow His grace to work in us it can do incredible things.
I extend an invitation to everyone then to join us Monday night for our Solemn Mass at 7:30pm. It will be a moment to celebrate our Blessed Mother in a new and beautiful way, a moment to celebrate our parish’s history and the many holy men and women who were its foundation, and a moment to celebrate the 2,000 year history of our faith which assures us that Christ founded the Church upon the rock of Peter and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. May we look to our Blessed Lady and learn from her, may we magnify Christ in our lives as she did, and bring him into our community as a bright light in the darkness and a source of hope to those who despair.
Yours in Christ,