Thank you for your response last weekend to the presentation by Mr. Steve Morissette, principal of our parish school. We will continue to have periodic two-bit collections for the renovation project to make our school safe for our children and all who use the building. I am especially appreciative of those who made a pledge to support this project. If you have not yet done so, please consider making it part of your sacrificial giving.
This weekend we welcome Frs. Narciso Valencia and Faustino Pari at our six weekend Masses. Fr. Narciso is pastor of San Miguel Parish in Ilave, Peru and Fr. Faustino is his parroquial vicar. Shortly after ordination, Fr. Narciso attained an advanced theology degree in Brazil and in addition to being pastor of San Miguel is also on the faculty of the regional seminary. Both priests are native Aymara speakers, a language used by some three million people in Peru and Bolivia.
I knew both when they were seminarians and had the joy of seeing them ordained to the priesthood while I was down in Peru. About four years ago Fr. Bill McKee from St. John's Parish, Seattle, took a delegation to Peru where they set the basis for a sister parish relationship with San Miguel, Ilave. During most of their two week stay in Seattle, Frs. Valencia and Pari will be at their sister parish.
This week we celebrate Valentine's Day. Though taken over by our secular culture, it has Catholic roots. St. Valentine was a third century priest martyred in Rome. The popular customs associated with Saint Valentine's Day had their origin in a conventional belief that on 14 February, i.e. half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair. Thus in Chaucer's Parliament of Foules we read:
"For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate."
For this reason the day was looked upon as consecrated to lovers and as a proper occasion for writing love letters and sending lovers' tokens. Both the French and English literatures of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries contain allusions to the practice.
Notwithstanding these lovely customs, on February 14 the Catholic Church actually celebrates two other saints: Cyril and Methodius, the Apostles of the Slavic Peoples. Cyril was born in Thessalonica and educated in Constantinople. He accompanied Methodius to Moravia to preach the faith. They prepared Slavic liturgical texts in what today is known as the Cyrillic alphabet. Cyrillic continues in use in Russia, Serbia and other Slavic nations. Both were summoned to Rome in 869 where Cyril died on February 14. With the support of the Roman Pontiff, Methodius continued his missionary work another fifteen years, until his death on April 6, 885, in Velehrad, Czech Republic. In 1980, Pope John Paul II proclaimed them Co-Patrons of Europe (an honor they share with St. Benedict, founder of Western monasticism).
One of the great contributions of Sts. Cyril and Methodius was to liturgy. They could be our special patrons as we work toward a consistent and reverent celebration of the saving mysteries. On February 2 Archbishop Brunett gathered the priests and others of the Archdiocese for a day devoted to the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, which Pope John Paul II issued in July of 2000 as a revised introduction to Roman Missal. It does not envision major changes, but is rather a call to deeper reverence. I will try to communicate some of this to you, especially during the Lenten season.
COURAGE: Founded in 1980 by Cardinal Cooke, Courage is a spiritual support group for men and women striving to live chaste lives in accordance with the Catholic Church's Pastoral Teaching on Homosexuality. What makes Courage different from other ministries is the radical change in one's way of thinking, willing and acting. Courage members accept completely the teachings of the Church and through the help of the Sacraments, prayer and meditation, one can achieve interior chastity. The Catholic Church is with those who want help dealing with this issue. COURAGE meets at Holy Family Rectory every Friday evening at 7:30 p.m