The Blessing of Animals will be celebrated on Sunday, 1 October at 1:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Peace. The blessing will take place outside at the convent side of the Church. I hope that you can join our furry, feathery, and scaly friends for this tradition. The following, from Franciscan Media, is a prayer of blessing for the occasion.
“Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless this pet. By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.”
Breakfast will be served on Sunday, 15 October in the school cafeteria at Our Lady of Peace. McCausland Garrity Marchesani Funeral Home is sponsoring the social. Breakfast begins after 7:30 a.m. Mass and continues through the morning until after 11:30 a.m. Mass. I hope that you can join us. We thank our friends at McCausland for sponsoring the breakfast. The following table prayer is from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“Blessed are you, loving Father, for all your gifts to us. Blessed are you for giving us family and friends to be with us in times of joy and sorrow, to help us in days of need, and to rejoice with us in moments of celebration. Father, we praise you for your son Jesus, who knew the happiness of family and friends, and in the love of your Holy Spirit. Blessed are you for ever and ever. Amen.”
Our Parish Forty Hours Devotion begins next Sunday, 8 October. The Forty Hours Eucharistic Devotion dates back nearly five centuries. Earliest accounts of these extended periods of Eucharistic Adoration dates to 1527 in Milan, Italy. A decade later the practice of Forty Hours Devotion branched from a parish adoration to diocesan adoration with each Church in the Milan Diocese simultaneously offering this extended period of Eucharistic Adoration and raising their voices in prayer simultaneously as one. The practice of Forty Hours Devotion came to America through our own Bishop John Neumann. Bishop Neumann, recalling the Catholic persecutions that occurred in Philadelphia in the 1840s, encouraged parishes to offer the Forty Hours Devotion as an opportunity for the faithful to be drawn to the Eucharistic and receive the strength of its grace.
Here at Our Lady of Peace the Forty Hours will begin with the 11:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, 8 October. The Blessed Sacrament will be reserved upon our Main Altar throughout the afternoon and early evening with Benediction at 7:00 p.m. Similar periods of Adoration, with a culmination in evening Benediction, will occur after the Masses on Monday, 9 October, and Tuesday, 10 October. Our Forty Hours celebration will conclude at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 10 October with Mass, Eucharistic Procession, and a social at the OLP Gym. Please plan to join us.
Meditating upon Sacred Scripture is an excellent way to prepare for these special days and the words of Sacred Scripture are a precious source of prayer throughout these days. The Last Supper accounts begin at Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, and John 13. The Bread of Life Discourse is John 6. Likewise, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter “Desiderio Desideravi” from June of 2022 is a fitting accompaniment to Forty Hours. The following is a prayer from St. Francis of Assisi quoted by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter.
“Let everyone be struck with fear, let the whole world tremble, and let the heavens exult when Christ, the Son of the living God, is present on the altar in the hands of a priest! O wonderful loftiness and stupendous dignity! O sublime humility! O humble sublimity! The Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself under an ordinary piece of bread! Brothers, look at the humility of God, and pour out your hearts before Him! Humble yourselves that you may be exalted by Him! Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves, that He who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally!” St. Francis of Assisi – A Letter to the Entire Order II, 26-29