Jesus – Our Hope
St. Anselm Parish Lenten Mission
March 9th – 12th, 2015
The St. Anselm Parish community came together on the evenings of March 9th – 12th for the St. Anselm Parish Lenten Mission. Led by Fr. Francis Gargani and Fr. Edmund Faliskie, of the Redemptorists, Bro. Robert Duffy, Christine Deem, and all the members of the St. Anselm Parish Lenten Mission Committee, the Mission offered parishioners the opportunity to grow in faith and a deeper understanding of God’s love for us.
The four evenings featured powerful scripture readings, homilies, “witness presentations” by St. Anselm parishioners, sacramental rituals, and the opportunity to strengthen grace through reception of the Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings featured Social Hours in St. Anselm Catholic Academy after the services in the church, allowing participants to grow in friendship as a parish community.
Monday evening, Jesus – Our Hope, reminded those present of our sharing in the priesthood of believers through Baptism. Through the symbol of water parishioners were invited to bless one another with Holy Water as a sign of our Baptism into Christ. Students from St. Anselm Catholic Academy presented a play on the Gospel parable of the Prodigal Son (or Daughter) to remind us of the limitless mercy and love God holds for each and every one of us. Robin Brazelton, the evening’s “witness presentation” speaker, shared with parishioners her beautiful faith journey to Jesus.
On Tuesday evening the theme was Mary – Our Hope. The congregation was asked to reflect upon the unique role of Mary in salvation history. Mary, who is not only the Mother and first disciple of Our Lord, but also the powerful intercessor to whom we all may turn, Mary – Our Mother. Parishioners were invited to venerate the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, invoke Mary’s intercession in silent prayer and exchange the sign of peace with each other. In his “witness presentation” Christian Deem spoke movingly of God’s plan for his life.
Wednesday evening’s theme was The Church – Our Hope. The worth we all have in God’s loving plan was powerfully presented. We were reminded that no matter how bruised our souls may become – God loves us. Parishioners came forward to venerate the image of Christ on the cross, to receive “the Cross of Christ” and to be blessed by their fellow parishioners. Marie Teseny, the evening’s “witness presentation“ speaker shared with the parish her heartfelt spiritual journey to Jesus and the Church. At the conclusion of the service parishioners were invited to take part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to pray privately, and to meditate.
On Thursday evening the theme was Love – Our Hope. The Mission concluded with the celebration of Mass, during which parishioners participated in the ritual Washing of Hands. The congregation meditated on the idea that we all can be washed clean in God’s sight through repentance and prayer. Daniel “Coach” Nigro, who spoke movingly about faith getting us over the hurdles life places in our way, offered the “witness presentation”. In the final homily of the Mission Fr. Gargani reminded us that when we see the poor, the disenfranchised, the individuals and groups who suffer discrimination – we are seeing Christ. If love is truly our hope, we must share that love with all we meet in our parish, our community, our country, and the world.
Each evening of the Mission featured music under the direction of our parish’s talented Music Director, Therese Panicali. Great beauty and solemnity were added to the services by the participation of the Children’s Choir on Monday evening and the Adult Choir on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, and by the playing of our organist Carlos David Bernales Vilca. The parents and parishioners who donated baked goods for the Social Hours, the Home Academy Association of St. Anselm Catholic Academy, the parents of the St. Anselm School of Religious Education, Boy Scout Troop 13, the Young at Heart, the Respect Life Ministry, the Holy Name Society, the St. Anselm Confirmation Class, the RCIA Class, the greeters, ushers, and lectors, and most especially the St. Anselm Parish Lenten Mission Committee, all contributed to the success of the four evenings. Thank you.
The homilies and spiritual guidance offered by Fr. Edmund Faliskie and Fr. Francis Gargani in the weeks leading up to the Mission and during the four days of the Mission, both at the 11 AM Masses and at the four evening services, made it possible for the Parishioners of St. Anselm to pray and reflect more deeply on God’s great love for each and every one of us, to realize that no matter how we view ourselves, we each are loved and cherished by God, and that through our Baptism into Christ, we share in his death and resurrection. By inviting us into prayer and repentance the St. Anselm Lenten Mission made it possible for us as individuals and as a parish community to more worthily take part in the great solemnity of the Resurrection of Our Lord.
A special thank you to our pastor, Monsignor John Maloney, for making the Mission possible and enabling us to strengthen our faith in –
Jesus – Our Hope!
“For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his…”
Gerard Manley Hopkins, “As kingfishers catch fire”
All the best,
The Saint Anselm Publicity Committee