Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for February 21, 2016

This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of February 21, 2016Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2016-02-21.pdf

Pastor’s Note: THE PUBLIC LIFE OF JESUS: FROM JORDAN’S BANK TO JERUSALEM   Conference I

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Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes parish website, the boston pilot website, and the Mary Immaculate facebook page for more information.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are available at www.maryimmaculatenewton.com and at thebostonpilot.com. (complete list of www.maryimmaculatenewton.com archives) The official Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish website is at maryimmaculateoflourdes.org

The Public Life of Jesus: From Jordan’s Bank to Jerusalem

Conference I

(Pastor’s Note from the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish Bulletin for February 21, 2016)

Our Theme for our Parish Lenten Mission this year is: THE PUBLIC LIFE OF JESUS: FROM JORDAN’S BANK TO JERUSALEM. The visible Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ may be divided among five distinct phases: 1) The Sacred Infancy, 2) The Hidden Life, 3) The Public Life, 4) The Sorrowful Passion, and 5) The Glorified Life, or “The Great Forty Days” (from Easter Sunday to Ascension Thursday). It is this Third Phase, the Public Life of Our Lord Jesus, which we will make the focus of these Friday Lenten Conferences.

The Four Gospel Books of Inspired Scripture—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—give us many details of Jesus’ Public Life, but they are distinctive narratives in their own right. It is only natural, however, that Christians should want to organize the material of the Four Gospel Books into one comprehensive linear narrative, a “great story” which we can remember and keep close to us as we hear the various readings of the Gospel proclaimed in church from year to year. One such comprehensive narrative is an article from the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia entitled “Jesus Christ” by Jesuit scholar A.J. Maas. This is the source I will use to re-trace the course of Jesus’ Public Life.

How long was this “Public Life” of Jesus of Nazareth? Fr. Maas presents the case that it endured for three years and some months based on the evidence from St. John’s Gospel that there were four distinct Passovers observed during Jesus’ Public Life.

The first occurred shortly after Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist, when Christ cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem for the first time: “And the Passover of the Jews was at hand.” (John 2:13) The second is mentioned in John 4:45: “And when [Jesus] was come into Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He had done at Jerusalem on the festival day: for they also went to the festival day.” (Fr. Maas argues that this unnamed festival is most likely Passover.) The third is the reference point for the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes in John, Chapter 6: “Now the Passover, the festival day of the Jews was near at hand.” (John 6:4) The fourth and last Passover is Holy Week: “Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany, where Lazarus had been dead whom Jesus raised to life.” (John 12:1)

These three-and-a-half years (roughly) of the Public Life of Jesus may be fit into the Roman chronology between December A.U.C. 778 and March A.U.C. 782. The Romans counted their years from the mythical founding of their City of Rome. (A.U.C. stands for ab urbe condita, “from-the-founding-of-the-City”.) Comparing the evidence from the Gospels to the record of historical events at this time, we know that Jesus of Nazareth was born in the last year’s of the reign of King Herod and that He began His Public Life “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea… And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years: being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph.” (Luke 3:1. 23.)   If Herod’s date of death in Roman chronology was A.U.C. 750, then Christ could have been born between A.U.C. 747-749. Tiberius Caesar began his associate reign with Augustus in A.U.C. 764.  Fifteen years later was A.U.C. 778.  Depending upon His actual year of birth, Our Lord could have been 29-32 years at the beginning of His Public Life and 32-34 years at His Crucifixion.  (Because the Christian chronology of A.D., “Anno Domini”, in-the-Year-of-the-Lord was invented centuries after these events and projected back in time, the Year A.D. 1 is off by about 4 years. That is, it is four years late. The Birth of Christ would had to have been between the years 3-1 B.C. in actual history, making the years of the Public Life A.D. 25-29.)

Christ’s Public Life has a discernible pattern of distinct missionary journeys. There are nine of them. The first six took place in the region of Galilee, while Jesus used the city of Capharnaum as the center of His ministry.  The final three missionary journeys took Our Lord south into the Jewish heartland of Judea.  So, in the course of Our Lord’s Public Life, the people of His own Jewish nation living in Galilee and Judea would have had the knowledge of acquaintance of Him. They had unparalleled opportunity to hear Jesus’ voice, to behold His Sacred Face, to feel the warmth of His human sympathy for them. What would we not give to have a day of it! An hour of it! They had three-and-a-half years!  And still… many of them would not have Him.  Theirs was a positive rejection.  As Christ says, as He weeps over Jerusalem on Palm Sunday: “Thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.” (Luke 19:44)

Over the next Five Conferences we will follow Our Lord Jesus on His missionary journeys: we will trace His paths together, taking note of the major markers along the way. And then, we will follow Him into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and we will watch Him as He goes before us to the Cross in order to accomplish our Redemption.

Fr. Higgins
(Fr. Higgins)

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for February 14, 2016

This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of February 14, 2016Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2016-02-14.pdf

Click here to subscribe to bulletins via email;
Parish bulletin archives at maryimmaculateoflourdes.org.


Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes parish website, the boston pilot website, and the Mary Immaculate facebook page for more information.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are available at www.maryimmaculatenewton.com and at thebostonpilot.com. (complete list of www.maryimmaculatenewton.com archives) The official Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish website is at maryimmaculateoflourdes.org

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for February 7, 2016

This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of February 7, 2016Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2016-02-07.pdf

Click here to subscribe to bulletins via email;
Parish bulletin archives at maryimmaculateoflourdes.org.


Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes parish website, the boston pilot website, and the Mary Immaculate facebook page for more information.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are also available at www.maryimmaculatenewton.com and at thebostonpilot.com. (complete list of www.maryimmaculatenewton.com archives) The official Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish website is at maryimmaculateoflourdes.org

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for January 31, 2016

This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of January 31, 2016Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2016-01-31.pdf

Front Cover:
The front parlor of the rectory, our Parish House, decorated for Christmas, the day of our Open House on January 10th, 2016, the Sunday after Epiphany.  At the Open House Fr. Higgins renewed the house blessing for the New Year, signing the entrance to the rectory with the blessed Epiphany chalk. O God, make the door of this house wide enough to receive all who need human love and companionship, narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride, and strife.  Make its threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling block to children, nor to straying feet, but rugged and strong enough to turn back the Tempter’s power.  O God, make the door of this house the gateway to Thy eternal Kingdom.  We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Thy Son.  Amen. (This and other PHOTOs from the Open House by PAUL ELDRIDGE.)

Click here to subscribe to bulletins via email;
Parish bulletin archives at maryimmaculateoflourdes.org.


Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes parish website, the boston pilot website, and the Mary Immaculate facebook page for more information.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are also available at www.maryimmaculatenewton.com and at thebostonpilot.com. (complete list of www.maryimmaculatenewton.com archives) The official Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish website is at maryimmaculateoflourdes.org

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for January 24, 2016

This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of January 24, 2016Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2016-01-24.pdf

Front Cover:
Newly ordained Deacon Stephen LeBlanc (our parishioner), receiving the Book of the Gospels from the hands of Sean Cardinal O’Malley, Holy Cross Cathedral, Boston, January 9th, 2016.  Deacon LeBlanc and his classmates will be ordained to the priesthood in May. (PHOTO from the BOSTON PILOT.)

Pastor’s Note: Christian Unity in the Experience of the Cross

Click here to subscribe to bulletins via email;
Parish bulletin archives at maryimmaculateoflourdes.org.


Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes parish website, the boston pilot website, and the Mary Immaculate facebook page for more information.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are also available at www.maryimmaculatenewton.com and at thebostonpilot.com. (complete list of www.maryimmaculatenewton.com archives) The official Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish website is at maryimmaculateoflourdes.org

Christian Unity in the Experience of the Cross

(Pastor’s Note from the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish Bulletin for January 24, 2016)

The yearly Octave Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is always held between the dates of January 18th-25th.  It falls, significantly, between two feasts of the Princes of the Apostles, Saints Peter and Paul: January 18th, formerly the Feast of St. Peter’s Chair at Rome, and January 25th, the Conversion of St. Paul. This is a reminder to us that the unity for which we pray is a unity centered on the Person of Jesus Christ in His Church founded on the authority He gave to His Apostles.  It is not a vague, sentimental thing.

One of the expressed goals of the Council Fathers at Vatican II was to further the cause for Christian unity and the healing of historic divisions.  In the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) the Fathers declared:

These Christians [not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church] are indeed in some real way joined to us in the Holy Spirit for, by His gifts and graces, His sanctifying power is also active in them and He has strengthened some of them even to the shedding of their blood.  And so the Spirit stirs up desires and actions in all of Christ’s disciples in order that all may be peaceably united, as Christ ordained, in one flock under one shepherd.  Mother Church never ceases to pray, hope and work that this may be achieved, and she exhorts her children to purification and renewal so that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the Church. (Lumen Gentium 15)

One of the ways in which Christian unity has been realized in a way that rises above the divisions is in the shared experience of the Cross among Catholics, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant in the persecutions of modern times.  In his homily at the canonization of the Ugandan Martyrs Charles Lwanga and Companions, Pope Paul VI explicitly acknowledged the blood martyrdom of the Anglican Christians who had died in the same persecutions (1885-1887): “Nor should we forget those others, of the Anglican communion, who died for the sake of Christ.”

In his memoir of how he survived Soviet Communist captivity, My Thirty-third Year: a Catholic Priest in the Gulag (A.D. 1958), Gerhard Fittkau, a parish priest from German East Prussia, describes his friendship with a Protestant Pastor Theodor Goebel whom he encountered in the prison camp barracks.  The two clergymen, Catholic and Evangelical, formed a close bond of Christian fellowship both to support one another and to try to minister to their fellow captives under the extreme conditions of the Siberian Gulag.

During Holy Week 1945 they agreed to have clandestine services, where one would preach to the barracks on Good Friday and the other on Easter Sunday.  Fr. Fittkau recounts the message of Pastor Goebel’s Good Friday sermon:

The only sound beside the pastor’s voice was the crackling of wood in the barrel stove.  He praised the mercy of Christ in forgiving the Good Thief, opening heaven to him in his last hour by the merits of His own innocent suffering.  He invited his listeners to join the Good Thief and abandon the blasphemous thought that was the devil’s temptation to us now: the thought of blaming God for all this suffering.  To place such blame was to make man as if he were God and to hide the great sin of mankind which is unbelief.  We should rather lay that sin before Him by sincere searching of our consciences.  The pastor closed his sermon with a prayer to Our Lord to be with us in our desperate condition and to say to us also when our hour would come, ‘This day thou shalt be with Me in paradise.’

Fr. Higgins
(Fr. Higgins)

The “Call”

(Pastor’s Note from the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish Bulletin for January 17, 2016)

The Gospel Lesson for this Sunday relates the First Public Miracle that Jesus did, changing the water into wine at the Wedding
Feast of Cana. In concluding the story, St. John emphasizes that this was a sign which strengthened the belief of the first group of Jesus’ disciples in Him: “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee; and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.” (John 2:11)

In the Church’s understanding of discipleship, there is the primary and necessary vocation to believe in Christ, receive His Baptism, and become a member of His visible Church on earth. It is necessary to make use of the grace God has given us to save our own soul. Within the life of the Church, however, there is also recognized, in addition to the call to live out our baptismal vows, that distinctive way of life which is a continuation of the call of Christ to specific individuals to leave their former way of life in order to follow Him completely. “And Jesus said to Simon [Peter]: Do not be afraid: henceforth thou shalt be a fisher of men. And when they had brought their boats to land, they left all and followed Him.” (Luke 5:11) We see this call being lived out in our midst through the ministry of the ordained and the various institutes of consecrated life.

I want to recognize the men from our parish who are presently responding to that inner call they have felt to serve Christ and His Church by leaving the life of “the world” for the life of religion.

Among the men ordained to the transitional diaconate by Cardinal Sean on January 9th, was one of the men sponsored by our parish, Stephen LeBlanc. Deacon LeBlanc is currently serving at St. Joseph Parish in Medway. I am hopeful that he will be able to diaconate at one of our Sunday Masses in the near future and then after his ordination to the priesthood in May, he will celebrate his Mass here at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.

As you can see from our front-cover this week, parishioner Cameron MacKenzie has moved a step further in testing his religious vocation with the Brothers of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, by entering into the novitiate and taking a new name in religion as Brother Martin de Porres.

On the Vigil of Christmas, Paul Juhasz, brother and brother-in-law of parishioners Chris and Sharon Juhasz, entered the novitiate of the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey in California. He also took a new name in religion: Frater (Brother) Gerard Sagredo, patron of Budapest, Hungary. (Paul was a full parishioner here at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes during his senior year in high school.)

Deacon Jon Tveit—former parishioner, sacristan and cantor—was ordained for the Archdiocese of New York last fall and will be ordained to the priesthood this spring. Also, at various stages of seminary formation are parish men studying for the Archdiocese of Boston, Brian O’Hanlon and Earl Smith, and Tyler Molisse, who is in his first year with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

Fr. Higgins
(Fr. Higgins)

An unofficial website pertaining to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish in Newton, MA. Parish bulletin archives, theological articles, and historical information.