Fr. John Gerritts - August 12, 2018
This coming Wednesday, August 15,
is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a holy day
of obligation and we have three opportunities to attend Mass in Hudson. Mass
will be at 8:00 am and 6:30 pm in our main church. There will also be a 10:00
am Mass at Christian Community Nursing home.
I am taking a few vacation days
this week. We are blessed to have Father Adam Laski, one of the newer priests
in our Diocese, preside at our Holy Day Masses. Father Adam has served a
cluster of parishes the past two years in Superior including our Cathedral. Recently
he received a new assignment from our Bishop. Beginning this fall Father Adam
will return to school to study Church Law. Each Diocese is generally required
to have two priests with advanced degrees in Canon Law. When Bishop Powers
became our Bishop, we technically lost one of our two Canon Lawyers. While it
is challenging to lose Father Adam from parish ministry, he has been an exceptional
student in the past and do well in the future for our Diocese. Since he is
preparing to leave for school this fall, he is available to be with us for the
Father Adam is an outstanding
preacher. I know he will have a great message to share with you on this
Solemnity in honor of Mary being taken into heaven. Falling in the midst of
summer, it can be easy to forget this Holy Day and miss the Mass for the day. I
hope many do remember and enjoy Father Adam’s presence for the day with us.
You may wonder why we celebrate
Mary being taken into heaven. Pope Pius XII taught ex cathedra, which is from the Chair of Peter, that “The Immaculate
Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly
life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” Munificentissimus Deus (Most Bountiful God) 44- Pope Pius XII. This
teaching was infallibly defined by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950. The Holy
Father explained that this was “a divinely revealed dogma”. As such it requires
our assent of faith and as Saint Pope John Paul II explained it, “definitively
excludes every doubt”.
The only other teacher that the
magisterium (a Pope) has given the Church expressively from the Chair of Peter
was the teaching regarding the Immaculate Conception (given by Pope Pius IX in
1854). This teaching is that Mary from the very moment of her conception was
without the stain of sin and was kept immaculate. This by a free gift from God
to the woman who would become the mother of His only son.
This teaching on the Assumption of
Mary can be a real help for us. Pope Benedict XVI encouraged us to contemplate
on Mary going to heaven to help us understand that earth is not the definitive
homeland for us either. That when the shadows of sadness or violence enters our
lives or even the daily grind and difficulties that tend to pile up, the bright
reminder of Mary being with her son in heaven can illuminate the darkness.
Finally we can be assured that Mary from heaven follows us on our journey with
a mother-like, gentle concern. So we can feel supported by her awareness and
prayers to the Father.
While I will enjoy a few days away
over the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary I will remember
you in my prayers as I celebrate Mass that day, knowing you are in great hands
with the help of God, wisdom of Father Adam, and motherly love of Mary.