November 18, 2018

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

SING A NEW CHURCH
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Singing Circles of Color
The Singing Circles of Color symbol above represents our Theme. Notice (color version at www.stphilip.org and Church Banner) the dynamic relationships that each individual circle and a variety of combinations of circles share. Through relationships there is a plethora of creation – new colors and diverse sounds. We SING A NEW CHURCH in the Key of Faith as Love in Action.

WEEK XI

Wounded Healers
Fr. Matt shares a reflection:
I remember how excited I was stepping on the plane to come to America for my seminary education and then, with God’s help, to minister as a priest in the Diocese of Paterson. What I did not know was the pain I would experience in leaving my family, friends, language and homeland. I am delighted to be a priest here and consider this country my home as I pursue citizenship. Yet, there is always pain in separation especially at holiday time. When I feel the pain of loss of family and my past, I think of it as a little wound. As a priest, I am glad for this pain because it gifts me with compassion for people who suffer loss, grief and fear.

The spiritual writer Henri Nouwen teaches that ministers and all people are called to be wounded healers. As stewards of Christ’s Work, we are invited to use our suffering and pain as a catalyst for our growth in sensitivity and as an impetus for our desire to help others on this pilgrimage and journey of life. In our theme, Sing a New Church, we have three circles that may represent this dynamic of being wounded healers. One circle is our difficulty or pain, the other Christ’s power to heal our pain, the third our interaction with others as we heal them with our words, actions and ministry. The place of beauty where our wounds, Christ’s power, and our healing presence for others is represented by the rainbow. In the center, we become love in action with faith as our key.

An Icon of Healing Love

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For me the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa is a helpful image of our mission to be wounded healers. The origin of this image of Mary and Jesus is surrounded by many legends. The icon originated near Constantinople until it was taken to Poland in the fifteenth century. The icon changed hands frequently and was involved in various wars and controversies. At some point, the icon received slashes to Mary’s face and throat. All attempts to artistically erase the scars have failed, as if the icon wished to remain imperfect. This makes sense because, when we look upon this Image of our Blessed Mother, we see not perfection but a wounded healer with whom we can share our sorrows, pain and wounds. Mary brings our wounds to Christ for healing. Christ himself is our wounded healer, in that, Jesus suffered as we suffer, died as we died and promises us a share in His Resurrection. Ultimately all wounds are healed in God’s kingdom.

Replica images of the Our Lady of Czestochowa icon travel in pilgrimage around the world and people visit shrines dedicated to her at Czestochowa in Poland and even Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Our Mother draws her children to seek healing through her Son Jesus, our wounded healer.

Prayerful Action
Our Scripture readings this week speak about the trials and sufferings we find in life. I invite you look upon this image of Our Lady of Czestochowa praying with the following reflections:

  1. What wound, pain or distress in me needs healing?
  2. Speak to Mary and our Lord about your wound.
  3. Ask our Lord to heal you and to give you compassion because of your pain.
  4. Who in your life needs you to be a healing presence?
  5. What one action can I take to be a wounded healer for others?

Prayer to Our Lady of Czestochowa
Compassionate Mother, your image bears the marks of time and pain mixed with the joy of holding your Son our Wounded Healer. Grant, through your kindly intercession, that Christ heal my pain and wounds so that I may give God glory through faithful service as a grateful steward. Through my suffering, open my heart to hold the presence of your Son more dearly. May I grow in empathy for the people in my life and throughout the world. In word and deed, may I be love in action with faith as my key. Amen.

ST. PHILIP’S JUBILEE HISTORY CELEBRATED AT FILM PREMIER

filmpremier

Join us for a premier viewing of “Greater Things” a documentary movie created by Fr. Matt about the history of our parish. The viewing will be on Saturday, December 8th after the 5:30 pm Mass and Sunday, December 9th at 11:00 am in the Auditorium.

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