Saint Stephen Parish
221 Concord St,
Framingham Massachusetts 01702.
Parish Information Center
Saturday: 4 p.m,
Sunday: 7 a.m., 9 a.m.
Saturday: 7 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m
Monday to Saturday: 8 a.m.
Monday to Friday 12:10 p.m. during Lent.
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (in Spanish)
HOLY DAY MASSES
Saturdays from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m.
Thursdays before First Friday 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
STAFF - Rev
Rev. Francisco J. Anzoátegui, Pastor
Rev. Peter DeFazio, Parochial Vicar
STAFF - Deacons
Deacon: Pedro L. Torres
Deacon: Alfredo Nieves
STAFF - Seminarian Deacon:
Seminarian Deacon: Jimmy Macalinao
Seminarian Deacon: Richard Odour
STAFF - Music
Kim Lisbon and Gonzalo Galan
Religious Education Coordinator:
James J. Drummey
STAFF - Assistant Coordinator
Maria M. Nieves
STAFF - Pastoral Associate
STAFF - Secretary
Secretary: Gloria Villamil
STAFF - Financial Manager
Financial Manager: Mary Sanning
STAFF - Sacristan
Sacristan: Mily Nieves
STAFF - Building / Grounds Supervisor
Building and Grounds Supervisor:
Cemetery Director: Rick Diamond
Cemetery Director: Rick Diamond
FASTING AND ABSTINENCE:
Catholics over 18 years of age and up to the
beginning of their sixtieth year are bound to the obligation of fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On these days, only one full meal is allowed. Two other meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal one full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and fruit juices, are allowed.
The U.S. Bishops have declared that the obligation to fast and to abstain from meat still binds on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent, saying: “No Catholic Christian will light-ly excuse himself from so hallowed an obligation.”
Suggestions for Prayer and Fasting
— Are you looking for a way to enhance your prayer life during Lent? Prayer and fasting are a good team. Fasting every Wednesday and Friday can help us grow in faith, get rid of bad habits, and invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts. To learn more about the ancient practice of fasting, call (888) 276-3475, go to the website livethefast.org, or email email@example.com.
The Book of Revelation VII
n his visions while in exile on the island of Patmos, John sees seven angels standing in the presence of God. One angel begins scattering fiery ashes over the earth, causing disasters like the plagues sent on Egypt at the time of Moses. Water is turned into blood, the sky is darkened, there is fiery hail, and locusts are released.
These disasters are all the result of sin — Original Sin and all subsequent sins that have disrupted the harmony of creation. This was not what God had in mind when He created the world, but people have chosen to rebel against Him and suffer the consequences of His justifiable wrath.
In chapter nine, we read about a star falling from Heaven. This is a fallen angel, perhaps Satan himself. Remember the words of Jesus in Luke 10:18: “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.” Is Satan active to-day? Think about the escalation of evil in the past century.
Two world wars and continuing conflicts that have taken the lives of hundreds of millions, as well as the murders of hundreds of millions of babies in the world’s abortion chambers. Is all this coincidental or is the one behind it the same person whom Jesus called the “father of lies and a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44)?
The good news is that Jesus has already triumphed. He came to earth “to destroy the works of the Devil” (1 John 3:8), but we need to be vigilant and reject his temptations.
Adult Confirmation Classes
— Classes for adults who have not received First Communion or Confirmation will be held on seven Wednesday evenings, from 7:00 to 8:30 in the Rectory Meeting Room, from February 28th until Confirmation on April 13th. Please call the Office to get more information or to sign up.
40 Days for Life
— The launch for this Spring’s 40 Days for Life campaign will be held this Sunday, February 11th, at Betania 2, 154 Summer Street (Route 126) in Medway, beginning with Mass at 4:00 p.m. The Mass will be followed by the testimony of Ramona Trevino, a former abortion facility worker who is now Pro-Life. The day will conclude with sandwich-es, drinks, and dessert. Admission is free, and your witness is vitally important if we are to restore respect for all human life, born and unborn.
The prayer vigils outside Planned Parenthood in Boston will begin on Wednesday, February 14th. There will be Eng-lish candlelight vigils on Friday evenings at 7:00 p.m. and Spanish vigils on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. For more infor-mation, contact 40daysforlife.com/boston.
Operation Rice Bowl is part of our community's Lenten observance to help Catholic Relief Services to assist those in the global community. We encourage you take a Rice Bowl home.
— You might have noticed two sheds located in the school parking lot. They are here for us to donate used clean clothing, shoes, sneakers, belts, purses, linens, pillowcases, blankets, curtains, and stuffed animals. The St. Pauly Company sells and distributes the clothing all over the world for mere pennies on the pound in large quantities, and the company gives back a donation to St. Stephen’s every month for the items donated. Please put your items in a bag and place it in the chute on the shed. There is a box on the side of the shed for donations slips. Please feel free to take one and fill it out for yourself each time you make a donation.
— To help you to know your Catholic
Faith better, we have been making available in the front foyer of the Church books and CDs that are both interesting and informative — and inexpensive. Here are some of the latest CDs available for your purchase:
The Treasure of Our Soul: The Apostles’ Creed by Scott Hahn; Love, Sacrifice,and Trust by Fr. Mike Schmitz; Chaplet of Divine Mercy in Song by Vicki Kueppers, Who Am I to Judge by Edward
Sri; Religionless Spirituality: Why We Need the
Church by Tim Gray; Building Your Life on Rock by Ralph Martin; Put Not Your Trust in Princes by Christopher Check; and The Ultimate Goal: Why I Left Pro Soccer to Answer God’s Call by Sr. Raffaella Cavallin.
There are also some valuable Q and A books (Catholic
Replies 1 and 2) to answer any questions you have.
The Power of the Holy Spirit
For three years prior to His Ascension into Heaven, Jesus had been trying to educate the Apostles about the Kingdom of God and what their role would be in spreading that Kingdom. But it wasn’t until the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles on Pentecost that they finally began to understand what the Lord had been telling them.
The Spirit not only gave them the gifts of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, He also gave them the gift of fortitude or courage that would be essential if they were to survive the coming persecution. James was murdered in Jerusalem in the year 42, Peter and Paul were executed in Rome around the years 65 to 67, and the other Apostles, with the exception of John, were also brutally killed.
All they had to say to escape death was that Jesus was not God, that He had not risen from the dead, and that their whole mission was a lie. But they persevered in the face of terrible persecution because they knew Jesus had risen and that they, too, would one day rise from the dead and spend an eternity of joy with Him in Heaven.
Fast forward 2,000 years and we find thousands of our fellow Christians giving up their lives rather than renounce Jesus. Would you be willing to die for Jesus if confronted by enemies of our Faith? Or would you be willing to live for Jesus in a culture that is hostile to our beliefs?
Only the naïve can think that we will not soon face such a crisis in our lives. Will you be like St. Peter and deny even knowing Jesus, or will you proudly say that He is your friend and that you will never turn your back on Him? To do this, you must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Third Fatima Apparition (Part III)
When Our Lady appeared to the three children on September 13th, an estimated 25,000 people were present, the largest crowd since the appearances began on May 13th. The children had difficulty getting through the crowd because so many of them were seeking Our Lady’s help.
When the Blessed Virgin arrived at the Covada Iria, she insisted again that the children pray the rosary for an end to World War I, which concluded a year later. This should be a reminder to us of the power of prayer to end the wars in our own time.
The Virgin also foretold some of the appearance in October. She said that Our Lord would come at that time, that she herself would appear as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and that St. Joseph would appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.
After praising the children for their sacrifices, the Lady cautioned them to modify the penance of tying a piece of rope around their waists, saying that God only wanted them to “wear it during the daytime.” This practice had caused the children much suffering, either because the rope was too rough or was tied too tightly, and God wanted them to have some relief during the night. Imagine little children offering this kind of sacrifice for sinners!
Among the crowd that day were many priests who would later give testimony that contributed to the official approval of the apparitions in 1930.
With the feast of the Archangels Rafael, Gabriel, and Michael two days ago, and the feast of the Guardian Angels this week, it is good to reflect on these heavenly messengers and their place in our lives. Angels are not fat little babies with wings; they are powerful warriors whom God has given to us for our protection. Angels are mentioned some 300 times in the Bible and these highly intelligent spirits have played a key role in salvation history — from assisting the Israelites crossing the desert, to being present at all the important events in the life of Jesus, to their role in helping us today. While they are spirits, than can and do take on human form, and there are many credible accounts of angelic interventions that have rescued people from harm in recent years. We know that from the moment of our birth a special angel was assigned by God to each one of us, and if you are not already saying the following prayer every day, you should start immediately:
Angel of God, my guardian dear To whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
We can pray not only to our own Guardian Angel, but also to the guardian angels of our family members, especially our children and grandchildren, who need their protection more than ever these days. Wouldn’t it be foolish for us to neglect this source of love and guidance that God has provided for us?
The Gift of Fatherhood
As we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, we are aware that fatherhood is under attack today
— on TV sitcoms where fathers are often portrayed as morons or in real life where there are efforts to eliminate the word “father” and replace it with “parent” or “partner.” But fathers, if they follow the guidance of “Our Father” in Heaven, are a vital part of the family, and of society, since the family is the basic unit of society. Without strong fathers, we won’t have strong families, and without strong families, our society will collapse. We call God Father because Jesus told us to do so and because God is the first origin of everything and at the same time the perfect role model of goodness and loving care for His children. Thus, we associate with fathers such good qualities as protective love, fidelity, leadership, strength, security, and stability, and we should not be swayed against using this term of endearment by those who promote negative images of fatherhood based on the failings of fallible human fathers. Instead of wondering what gifts you would like this Father’s Day, may we suggest to all fathers reading this that you ask yourself, “What gift can I give to my family?” How about being a more loving spouse to your wife and a more loving and involved father to your children? How about being truly interested in what is important to each of them, setting aside quality time to listen and support them? How about praying with the family, going to Mass together with them, reading the Bible, and discussing religion together? A Christ-like father can be the greatest gift to his wife and to his children. Happy Father’s Day!
Do We Have to Love Our Enemies?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us to love our enemies, which is a very difficult thing to do. But Jesus doesn’t ask us to do anything that He didn't do first. Recall that on the Cross, when so many were jeering Him, Jesus asked His Father in Heaven to forgive His enemies.
Down through the centuries, many disciples of Jesus have followed the difficult path of forgiving their enemies. Thus, Pope St, John Paul II in 1981 went to the prison where the man who had tried to kill him was being held and forgave him.
Another remarkable disciple is Immaculee Ilibagiza, who survived the horrors of the Rwanda genocide in the 1990s, when she and six other women hid for 91 days in a hotel bathroom while her parents and nearly one million Rwandan Tutsis were killed by rival Hutus out of racial hatred.
How did Immaculee survive? “I said 27 rosaries every day,” she said. “And I counted! I had nothing else to do in the bathroom, so I said 27 rosaries every day and 40 Di-vine Mercy chaplets every day. We never spoke with each other. All we did was pray …. It helped my sanity.”
She said that while she was praying, she realized she was not being honest with God in that she was asking for His forgiveness without extending forgiveness to her enemies. So she fell to her knees and “begged God to help me. I want to feel peace, I want to forgive. I want to be part of You, but I don’t know how to forgive, and if I don’t for-give, I don’t feel like I’m being honest with You. And He did, which again is a grace. Because what helped me to forgive was when Jesus was dying on the Cross.”
To read more about this amazing woman, see her best-selling book Left to Tell.
Saint Stephen Parish - Framingham Massachusetts