From the Pastor
6th Sunday of Easter
May 21, 2017
What are the chances that a fun-loving, joke-telling prankster would become a Catholic Priest? [I think you know the answer!] But could that same boy, after teaching as a layman for years, and as a Priest for 44 years, known for his comical, light-hearted, laugh-producing homilies and advice – even in Confession – attain Sainthood? Yes! It’s the story of Saint Philip Neri
… and, I hope, at least one other Priest … someday!
Born in Florence, Italy, on July 21, 1515, Saint Philip Neri
was ordained a Priest on May 23, 1551 at age 36. He founded an Oratory or group of Priests and Laity who live, pray and minister as a community, combining the charisms of Diocesan Priests and Religious Order Priests. Ever merry and cheerful, Saint Philip Neri was also quite sickly, yet lived to be 80, dying on May 26, 1595, and was canonized in 1622. Here are Saint Philip Neri’s orations.
Saint Philip Neri, Priest – Collect
O God, who never cease to bestow the glory of holiness on the faithful servants you raise up for yourself, graciously grant that the Holy Spirit may kindle in us that fire with which he wonderfully filled the heart of Saint Philip Neri. Through our Lord Jesus … and ever. Amen.
IDLE HANDS ARE THE DEVIL’S WORKSHOP.
The world in which Saint Philip Neri
ministered was similar to ours: immorality and indecency was rampant; political groups and even Church leaders were corrupt and self-seeking; disease and wars, international turmoil and worldwide poverty plagued every land and nation. However, despite all the negatives, Saint Philip Neri remained positive. Always joyfully upbeat, he offered simple, practical ways to combat evil influences. For example, to keep ‘the boys’ [and ‘girls’] out of trouble during Carnivale [aka Mardi Gras], he promoted healthy, sinless alternative activities, such as recreational games and sports, trips and communal service projects, so ‘kids’ could expend their energies on good, not evil. Today’s youth groups and teen ministry groups, which seek to do the same, need your support – and membership from our own young people.
Saint Philip Neri, Priest – Prayer over the Offerings
As we offer you the sacrifice of praise, O Lord,
we ask that by the example of Saint Philip
we may always give ourselves cheerfully
for the glory of your name
and the service of our neighbor.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
A HOLY ‘CHEERFUL’ COMEDIAN.
One of the best medicines is to get people to laugh at their own quirks and weaknesses. Like Saint John Vianney, Saint Philip Neri
excelled in hearing confessions and counseling sinners. But when a boastful, pride-filled Priest bragged about a ‘home run’ homily he preached, Saint Philip Neri
had him give it – as a penance – seven more times – verbatim – so people would think it was his ONLY homily! Imagine if we corrected each other – and ourselves – in such witting ways!
Saint Philip Neri, Priest – Prayer after Communion
Having fed upon these heavenly delights,
we pray, O Lord, that in imitation of Saint Philip
we may always long for that food
by which we truly live.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE BREAD OF LIFE: A HEAVENLY DELIGHT. Knowing that God’s graces do not happen by magic, but that ‘grace builds on nature,’ meaning we must set the stage for God to help us, Saint Philip Neri made the Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist the center of his life. He celebrated Mass; he often received Eucharist; and he spent hours before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer, communing with the Lord of Laughter. For when Jesus was challenged for not paying the Temple tax, citing that the Son of the King is exempt from paying the tax, he sent Peter fishing with these directions: “go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.” [Matthew 17:27]
And some say Jesus has no sense of humor! Saint Philip Neri, pray for us!
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS