By Father Roger DiBuo
It seems everything now revolves around COVID-19 … as it should. We are all living through a life altering experience. COVID-19 is one thing that should not divide us but unite us in a common cause for the safety of every human person. We are indeed together in this and we must journey together and always move forward.
The traditions of the church also continue to move forward and bring change to our prayer and our common liturgical experiences. One great example of this is when Pope Francis instituted the “Word of God Sunday” to be celebrated universally on the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time each January. We at Seton Parish celebrated this historic moment with great solemnity within our families. For us, it brings a great and needed balance to the spiritual life of the People of God. Since there is the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, then there should also be the Solemnity of the Word of God. Sacred Scripture and the Eucharist are the foundation of our celebration of Mass. For me, it feels like a balance has been offered to us when the church universal is at prayer.
In addition, Pope Francis has offered a new reflection and prayer for the People of God, regarding the Litany of Our Lady.
In a June 20 letter to the presidents of bishops’ conferences, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Liturgy and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said the invocations “Mater misericordiae,” “Mater spei,” and “Solacium migrantium” should be inserted into the Marian litany. Translated, this means: “Mother of Mercy,” “Mother of Hope,” and “Comfort of Immigrants,” respectively.
Furthermore he stated, “The titles and invocations which Christian piety has reserved for the Virgin Mary over the course of the centuries, as the privileged and sure way to an encounter with Christ, are innumerable … even in this present moment which is marked by feelings of uncertainty and trepidation, devout recourse to her, which is full of affection and trust, is deeply felt by the People of God … Pope Francis welcomed people’s desire to include these invocations in the formulary of the litany.”
Each and every Sunday, as we hear proclaimed the Scriptures of the day, we move forward with action and not just prayer. This week, for the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Gospel of Matthew states, “take up your cross, lose your life for others, receive me and the One who sent me, receive the one who speaks prophetically, receive a righteous person, and, give a cup of water to those who are thirsty.”
In living and praying these words of God, St. Matthew reminds us that by giving of ourselves for others, we will truly become Christian, gaining our life and our reward!
Father Roger DiBuo is pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Bear.