From The Pastor's Desk

From the Pastor's Desk
April 24, 2024

Dear Parish Family,

Today we have a special reason to proclaim “Alleluia!” On Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. Mass a group of our young people will be celebrating their First Holy Communion. This is a special day for them, their families and friends and for our entire Incarnation-St. James Parish Family.

For several months, since they have celebrated their First Reconciliation, they have been preparing for this moment by attending classes to learn more about our Lord in the Eucharist, and in prayer, to grow closer to the Lord with all their hearts. Before receiving First Holy Communion they attended a retreat at the parish where they were given a tour of the church, explored the building, saw and touched the many things that surrounded us during Mass, asked questions, and hopefully had them answered.

They viewed two videos. “The Weight of the Mass” tells the story of elderly woman who has to beg for just a slice of bread while everyone else is preparing for a lavish banquet for the wedding of the king. The village baker refuses to give her the bread she asks for, so she promises to pray for him at the Mass she will attend. The baker sees no value in the prayer but says that if she writes her prayer on a piece of paper, he will weigh it against some food and give her what the prayer is worth. The baker and his son begin stacking pastries and breads and other foods on the scale but none of it even moves the scale. Eventually, the baker realizes how powerful and valuable prayer is and the old woman converts him. When he offers her all the food in his shop, the woman replies that all she asked for was one slice, and that was all she needed. As the story ends, the old woman, the baker and his son are walking toward the church to attend Mass together.

The second video is a brief documentary produced by the cloistered Passionist Nuns who make communion bread that is used at Mass. Each step is explained from mixing the water and wheat to the packaging of the hosts for shipping. At the end of the video, Sr. Mary Angela, our guide, speaks to the children who are going to make their First Holy Communion. She talks about her own First Communion when she prayed that Jesus would allow her to become a nun. She then tells the children that at their First Communion, and at every Communion after that, we have the opportunity to speak to Jesus intimately, with the most important and pressing needs and hopes that we hold in our hearts. Then she told them — all of us — “If you ask Jesus, whatever you ask him for in your First Communion, seriously, he’ll give it to you.”

Sister Mary Angela knew what she wanted, to be a Sister. Jesus heard, it was God’s will, and it happened. She knew the power of the Mass and the power of the Eucharist. What is it we ask Jesus for at each Communion we participate in? Even if you can’t or don’t go to Communion, when you attend the Mass, where Jesus is present in Word and Sacrament and Community, what is it you are asking Jesus for? What is the deepest longing of your heart?

The Mass, the Eucharist are great gifts available to all of us. The only requirement is that we come, humble sinners in need of the food that brings us life and light.

If you have been away from Mass or Communion, I want to take this time to invite you to come back. Make an appointment to talk this over with me, or another priest, a deacon, even a friend. God is longing for you to join Him at his table. He has so much to say to you, to offer you, and He wants to hear what you need from Him.

Peace and blessings,

Fr. Stan, OSST