DEPICTED ABOVE: St. Matthew from The Book of Kells, 8th c. Celtic: Irish/Scottish Gospel Book with a unique Insular/Isle Catholic Art style found in England, Ireland, & Scotland, but pulled its text from the Latin Vulgate.)
Dear St. James Family,
Greetings on the Feast of St. Matthew! The Church remembers the apostle who authored the Gospel of Matthew each year on this day. Did you know that St. Matthew the Apostle was beheaded in the first century while celebrating Mass in Ethiopia?
We had a great time last Sunday with serve Sunday! Thank you to the half dozen different ministries that set up signs and tables outside and connected with people curious to perhaps get more involved with these ministries. The growth of these ministries is a a sign that deeper roots and structures are being created for current and future service to the surrounding community. The next Serve Sunday will take place in January, though you do not have to wait until then to get involved.
News and Happenings
Peak into the Inner Workings of St. James
On Tuesday, September 12, I met with the St. James Council, which is composed of five to six people who serve in three year increments and assist me in fostering pastoral activity and administration the goods of the community. If you are curious to see what went on at this meeting, check out the minutes.
Ember Day Prayers: Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this Week
Ember Days follow an ancient practice of the church to pray for vocations to the priesthood. Please pray for all of our seminarians as they continue to respond to God’s call. Congratulations to Andrew Westerman who will be ordained a transitional deacon in Rome on September 28. Please hold him in your prayers on this day.
Prayer for Embertide:
O ALMIGHTY God, look mercifully upon the world, redeemed by the blood of thy dear Son, and incline the hearts of all whom thou dost call to offer themselves for the sacred ministry of thy Church; that there may never be wanting a supply of fit persons to preach thy Word, and dispense thy holy Sacraments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collects of Autumn Embertide
The Collects of this autumn Embertide, with their emphasis on the relationship of body and soul, remind us that the good and golden mean we seek in our physical life is an expression of the corresponding good we ask for our spiritual life as well. In these prayers, we seek a harvest of both the fruits of the earth and the fruits of the Spirit.
EMBER WEDNESDAY IN AUTUMN
GRANT, we beseech thee, O Lord, to us thy humble servants: that we, who do refrain ourselves from carnal feastings, may likewise fast from sin within our souls; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
EMBER FRIDAY IN AUTUMN
GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that we, who year by year devotedly keep this holy ordinance of abstinence, may serve thee acceptably both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
EMBER SATURDAY IN AUTUMN
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who through godly continency bestowest healing both of body and soul: we humbly beseech thy majesty graciously to look upon the devout prayers and abstinence of thy people, granting us in this world the succour of thy grace, and in the world to come life everlasting; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
A Word from Bishop Lopes
Dear Faithful of the Ordinariate,
It will be a while yet before the interminable heat and humidity relents here at the Cathedral in Houston, but the Ember Days we celebrate this month already indicate that our liturgical year is turning. The autumn Ember Days are observed in the Ordinariate “on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after Holy Cross Day.” Now in our English idiom, the Holy Cross is properly called Holy Rood, hence the cathedral and several of our churches have a “Rood screen” or “Rood beam” upon which the crucifix sits at the entrance to the chancel or sanctuary. Wikipedia will even tell you that this expression derives from the Old Englishrood, meaning a pole or crossbeam, via Middle English, or the Scotshaly ruid (“holy cross”). In any case, we celebrate now the Holy Rood Ember Days, an opportunity to reflect with devotion on the salvation our Lord won for us in the shedding of his Blood.
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14 occurs about as distant as possible in the arc of the year from Good Friday. It is as if the Church draws our attention back to this central mystery of the faith: in this celebration, in the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15, and in the Ember Days which follow these feasts. The Church’s liturgy and devotions (which include the singing of the Stabat Mater on September 15, the same hymn we sing verse by verse between the Stations of the Cross in Lent) place the Holy Rood before us. That which the world intended as an instrument of torture, humiliation and death has been transformed into the tree of life! Here the Incarnate Son pours out everything in sacrificial gift to his Father, and the Father answers in the power of the Resurrection. It is no wonder that Christians have always venerated the wood of the Cross, for our salvation is not a mere idea or hopeful aspiration. It is rooted in time, at a particular place, and by means of this most unlikely instrument.
In prayer before the Holy Rood, we rightly examine our consciences and ask for the forgiveness of sins. We rightly pray for missionaries and evangelists, so that people in every age come to know the power of God’s love revealed for us on the Cross. We bring forth the intentions of the sick, of those who suffer any persecution or violence, of those who experience the pain of grief or human brokenness. For all of this our Savior gave himself over to death on the Cross. And through that Cross, that most unlikely instrument that the world intended for death, life springs forth!
Ember Day blessings,
Most Rev. Steven J. Lopes, S.Th.D.
This Will Make it Easier to Forgive – Last Sunday’s Homily
Learn about the often misunderstand notion of forgiveness. Come and learn why there is no such thing as unconditional forgiveness and why unconditional forgiveness actually lacks charity. Learn also how to forgive even when it is hard and painful and be moved by the inspirational examples of forgiveness lived out by the saints of the Church.
Listen to this and my other homilies at StJamesCC.org/Homilies or by searching “Fr. Mayer’s Preaching & Teaching” wherever you get your podcasts
Bishop Lopes has decreed that for all Ordinariate Members Ember Friday, September 22 is an obligatory day of abstinence, meaning no meat. As Catholics, we are asked to keep the customary meatless penance on most Fridays of the year, though another penance can be substituted if needed, except on Ember Fridays when it is required for Ordinariate Members to give up meat. In addition to penance, this is also a day to offer up the intention of thanking God for the gifts He gives in the fall season and an opportunity to beseech Him for the discipline to use these gifts in moderation.
THE FRIDAY PENANCE: While all Fridays of the year which are not Solemnities are days of special devotion, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops decreed some years ago that abstinence from meat, while retaining “pride of place” could be replaced with some other act of special devotion (visiting the sick, those in prison, some additional prayers, etc.) except during Lent. However, Bishop Lopes, upon the recommendation of the governing council, has decreed that the USCCB’s “relaxation” does not apply to the Autumn or Advent Ember Fridays. The relaxation does still apply to Ember Friday in Whitsuntide because the days of the Whitsun Octave are of a joyful character (in other words, you can eat meat on the Friday after Pentecost). There never was a relaxation of the requirement for abstinence on Ember Friday in Lent.
Relax, catch-up and connect, and get ready to delve deeply into the life of St. Philip Neri, a man who transformed his city and is still rousing souls today. Bring a snack or a drink to share or just bring yourself: 3725 Lilly Rd. N., Jacksonville. Please RSVP by today. Thanks.
Name Tag Sunday: September 24, 2023
Thanks for taking a moment to make yourself a name tag as you come into the building this Sunday. This is a great way to get to know other and build community. It is our goal to have stick on a name tag on the last Sunday of the month.
Grab a Hymnal and a Kneeling Pad as You Enter for Mass
To make things easier for our setup and cleanup crews, it has been asked by the St. James Council to have you grab a kneeling cushion and hymnal as you enter and then to return it when you leave. Thanks for your help as we seek to make things more efficient for everyone.
Learn About the Best Child Discipline Method Available, this Sunday
If you would like to excel as a parent, come on out this Sunday, September 24 from 12-1:45 PM and learn about a tried and true method of working with your children that is known as the The Salesian Preventive System of St. John Bosco, a system which has been used with stunning results on even the worst of kids from all over the world. I’ll be presenting and discussing this brilliant parenting method and why it makes so much since.
Food and fun activities for the kids and parents. I’ll be presenting on the best child discipline method available. Those with elementary school aged children will be receiving a book of wonderful, faith centered activities that you can do at home as a family. It’s going to be a great time. If you are able to come, please let Colleen (firstname.lastname@example.org) know by tomorrow (September 22) so that she can put in the correct pizza order.
If you are looking for an engaging and thought provoking class that boils historic Christian teaching down to the basics from beginning to end, this is it. You will learn about beliefs, worship, morals, and prayer in a captivating series of presentations that will put you on a rock solid foundation no matter what life may bring your way. Get the essentials covered in thirteen sessions. Try it out starting this Monday, September 25, 7:00 – 9:00 PM. Check out the full details.
Adventures in Marriage Workshop, Sept. 23 and Oct. 21
This FREE, two-day workshop will be held on both days at Resurrection Catholic Church, 3383 University Blvd. N., in Jacksonville, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 23 and from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 21. The workshop is designed to help couples turn a good marriage into a great marriage, find hope in a struggling marriage or take a great marriage to a deeper, more passionate level. Come learn how to create the marriage you have always wanted with the spouse you already have! For more information, contact Raquel Tripp at email@example.com. To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/2e6euvxy. For a flyer, visit https://tinyurl.com/5t4vm83n.
Check out More Upcoming Events at the Website
Faithfully, your pastor,