By Father James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
A Dublin television channel selected three young Irish kids to participate in a religious talk show. The three little kids were given one question, “Who is the greatest person who ever walked on earth.” Whichever kid answered correctly would receive a scholarship of $500. One kid was Catholic; another was Lutheran and the third Jewish.
The Catholic kid said that it was St. Patrick. The interviewing host said that was a good answer, but not the correct one. The Lutheran kid said that surely it was Martin Luther. Again the host said it was a very good answer, but not the correct one. Finally the Jewish kid said that it was Jesus Christ. The host was taken back with that answer from a Jewish kid. So the host said, “I am surprised that a young man of your religious background would say Jesus Christ and not Moses. The young boy responded, “Well, in my heart I knew it was Moses, but business is business.”
‘Abstinence’ means abstaining from meat. Each Friday during Lent everyone over the age of 14 is strongly encouraged to abstain from meat. Many Americans enjoy a delicious meal with meat. The Church wants us to remember Christ who died for us on a Friday. By denying ourselves on Fridays of a favorite food, especially meat, we will be more apt to remember our Savior who gave His life out of love for us.
This year the feast day of St. Patrick falls on a Friday. Does that mean ‘no corn beef and cabbage’ on Patrick’s feast day? I guess so. When I was living in Kansas City our bishop was an F.B.I. – Foreign Born Irishman. With a little pressure coming from the Irish of Kansas City, Bishop Boland granted a dispension from meat on St. Pat’s day. So,we all enjoyed corn beef and Irish stew.
In the middle of March we celebrate the feast days of three great saints who walked the earth: St. Clement Hofbauer C.Ss.R., Wednesday, March 15th, St. Patrick – Friday, March 17th; St.Joseph – Sunday, March 19th.
Clement Hofbauer was born in Moravia which is now known as the Czech Republic. He was the 9th of 12 children. Clement wanted to be a priest. But, with so many mouths to feed, there wasn’t any money available for education. So, Clement went to work as a baker in a monastery. One day, after serving Mass in the Cathedral, Clement met two ladies. Since it was raining, the ladies were waiting for the rain to pass. Clement politely offered to call a carriage for them. While waiting for the carriage the ladies learned that Clement, along with a friend of his, wanted to be a priest but neither had money for a seminary education. The generous ladies offered to pay for his education as well as the education of his friend Thaddeus.
The two freaks went to Rome where they met the Redemptorists. Both friends were deeply interested in the Redemptorist mission. They joined the Redemptorists. Shortly after ordination the two of them were sent over the Alps to Vienna. They were met with religious opposition and persecution, so they traveled on to Warsaw Poland. There they were given the church of St. Benno.
At St. Benno they opened an orphanage for boys. The two friends had to beg for money to support the orphanage. On one occasion Clement went into a local tavern, asking the customers for a donation. One fellow, a bit intoxicated, leaned over and spat in Clement’s face. Clement took out his handkerchief, wiped the spittle off his face, turned to the culprit and said, “That was for me. Now, do you have something for my boys?” It is reported that the customer gave a donation to Clement.
Clement attracted many young people to the Redemptorist life. Over the years Clement sent Redemptorist missionaries to Poland, Germany and Switzerland. And from Germany, the Redemptorists came to America.
On Saturday, March 17th, we will be celebrating the feast day of St. Patrick. St. Patrick is the patron said of Ireland. He is certainly one of Christianity’s most widely known figures. But, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are probably a bit farfetched. As you know, the Irish have a knack for telling stories, even exaggerating at times.
Then, in the 19th of March we celebrate the feast day of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that Joseph was a ‘just’ man. Being just means that Joseph was completely open to God’s will for him. He became holy by being obedient to God.
Three great saints – Clement from Moravia, Patrick from Ireland and Joseph from Israel. Each of them filled with the faith in Jesus Christ. St. Clement, St. Patrick and St. Joseph pray for us.
Last weekend I announced that we would publish the dates and places where the Penance services will be. Our church encourages us to receive the sacrament of reconciliation during Lent.
March 24 – Holy Name – 5:30 pm
March 27, Youth – Mission San Francisco (Espada) – 6:30-8 pm
March 28, Spanish-Mission San Francisco (Espada) – 6:30-8 pm
March 29, English-Mission San Francisco (Espada) – 6:30-8 pm
March 18, Spanish – Senyor Santo Nino de Cebu 9 am – 3 pm
March 18, English – Senyor Santo Nino de Cebu 9 am – 3 pm
March 18, St. Benedict 10 am
April 5 , St. Benedict 7 pm
April 4 , St. Gerard 6:30 pm
March 21, St. Michael 7 pm
April 4, St. Jerome 7 pm
April 5, St. Margaret Mary 7 pm
March 29, St. Philip of Jesus 7 pm
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.