From the Pastor
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – A
September 24, 2017
Very few found joy or hope in the dark, dank, disease-ridden world of Europe in the 1600’s. Yet, one man, by the grace of God, reflected Christ’s light into all that distressing dismay: Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest, honored on September 27. Born on April 24, 1581 to a French peasant family, he sought an escape from poverty through the Priesthood. Preferring to hobnob with the elite, he was so embarrassed by his ‘low class’ father that he forbid his dad to even visit the seminary. Yet all that changed after he was abducted by Moslem pirates who maltreated him. After escaping from slavery in Africa, he fulfilled his vow to serve the poor if he regained his freedom. Here are his orations and the rest of his story …
Collect – Saint Vincent de Paul
O God, who for the relief of the poor and the formation of the clergy endowed the Priest Saint Vincent de Paul with apostolic virtues,
grant, we pray, that, afire with that same spirit,
we may love what he loved
and put into practice what he taught.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ … and ever. Amen.
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING. Life in France – and just about everywhere else in the 1600’s – was deplorable: most clergy were uneducated; many secular and religious leaders were corrupt; the gap between rich and poor was huge; few cared for the needy – save one man, who was ordained a Priest in 1600. For the next 60 years, Father Vincent de Paul promoted seminary training for clerics, founded two Religious Orders [the Vincentians for men; the Daughters of Charity for women] and begged the powerful and wealthy for alms for the poor. The once “irascible, hard and repulsive, rough and cross” [these words are a friend’s description of him!] future Saint began to totally live for those he had once adamantly sought to avoid: the poor. Do we allow life’s struggles and setbacks to change us for the better? To make us more compassionate and caring, generous and giving?
Prayer over the Offerings – Saint Vincent de Paul
O God, who enabled Saint Vincent
to imitate what he celebrated in the
divine mysteries, grant that by the
power of this sacrifice we, too, may be transformed into an oblation acceptable to you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
TAKE, OR RATHER, MAKE TIME FOR GOD. To help the Faith and grace of the Sacraments ‘sink in,’ Saint Vincent de Paul conducted retreats and days of recollection. At first, he did it mainly for Priests, Seminarians and Religious Sisters and Brothers. But over time, lay people wanted to join in prayerful exercises and faith formation classes. We would do well to go out of our way to learn more about our Faith and its practices so it can truly benefit us.
The Church provides all sorts of means for us to care for the poor. There are Saint Vincent de Paul Societies, founded by a devoted admirer, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, who named them after the man Pope Leo XIII named the Patron of all Charitable Societies. There’s the Knights of Columbus; donating to special collections for Social Concerns; using the bins for clothing, eyeglasses, etc.; serving at a soup kitchen; joining Habitat for Humanity, to name few. How will you honor Saint Vincent de Paul?
Prayer after Communion – Saint Vincent de Paul
Renewed by this heavenly Sacrament, O Lord,
we implore that, just as we are prompted
by Saint Vincent’s example to imitate your Son
in his preaching of the Gospel to the poor,
so, too, we may be sustained by his prayers.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
WORDS FROM SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL. To those who say they have no time to help others, listen to Saint Vincent de Paul: “Do not become upset or feel guilty because you interrupted your prayer to serve the poor. God is not neglected if you leave him for such service. One of God’s works is merely interrupted so that another can be carried out.”
Amen. Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS