Saint Stephen Parish
221 Concord St,
Framingham Massachusetts 01702.
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.
Rev. Francisco J. Anzoátegui, Pastor
Rev. Gabino O. Macias, Parochial Vicar
Rev. Peter F. DeFazio, Parochial Vicar
Rev. Albert H. Stankard, Senior Priest in residence.
Deacon: Pedro L. Torres
Deacon: Alfredo Nieves
Music Director and Organist: Cynthia Angelini
Religious Education Coordinator:
James J. Drummey
Assistant Coordinator: María M. Nieves
Pastoral Associate: Enrique Méndez
Secretary: Gloria Villamil
Financial Manager: Robert Percheski
Sacristan: Pat Robinson
Building and Grounds Supervisor:
— We have the privilege of hosting an Archdiocesan rally in our Church for the protection of life on Thursday, January 18th, beginning at 7:00 p.m. The Church will be open at 6:00 p.m. for prayer and adoration. The evening will include a special blessing from Bishop Mark O’Connell, praise and worship music from the band Delmore, and two dynamic speakers.
The speakers are Sarah Mary Toce, director of the New England Life and Leadership Project, and Dr. Paul Gondreau, a professor at Providence Col-lege. He is the father of Dominic Gondreau, the boy with cerebral palsy who was embraced by Pope Francis on Easter Sunday in 2013.
— Our weekly English Prayer Service will be held this Monday, January 15th, at 7:00 p.m. in the St. Paul Room. This is a wonderful opportunity to take part in prayer and praise to the Lord. Let your family members and friends know about it, and ask the Holy Spirit to inspire others to join us. Our next healing service will be on January 29th.
— Due to the earlier starting time for the 8:30 Mass, our English Religious Education classes will begin at 9:45 a.m. and conclude at 10:45. This is 30 minutes earlier than in the past, so please mark your calendars accordingly and have the children arrive on time.
— Our bimonthly Healing Mass will be held a bit later this month, on Monday, Jan-uary 29th, at 7:00 p.m. in the Church. This is a wonderful opportunity to seek healing through prayer and praise to the Lord and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Let your family members know about it, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the courage to invite others for this Healing Service.
As a book of Christian prophecy, the Book of Revelation has long fascinated people with its visions, imagery, and symbolism. It refers both to events in the first century, when it was written by the Apostle John, and to the end of the world, and thus has inspired speculation about when the end will come.
Instead of wondering about that, we should make sure that we are keeping the Commandments and receiving the Sacraments so that whenever our personal end comes, we will be ready to meet Jesus.
In chapters two and three of Revelation, Jesus instructs John to write letters to seven Catholic churches in Asia (modern-day Turkey). Each of the letters reveals a variety of situations faced by those churches — poverty and per-secution by some, prosperity by others; tolerance of false teaching by some, firm rejection of it by others; fatal com-promises with the surrounding culture by some, resistance to it by others. Sounds familiar today, doesn’t it?
Idolatry, the worship of pagan gods, was a big problem in the first century, and it’s still a problem in the 21st centu-ry, but it’s a different kind of idolatry. We don’t worship stat-ues and images, but we worship others kinds of idols, such as money, sex, power, fame, prestige, sports and enter-tainment figures. Putting any of these in place of God is the grave sin of idolatry. We must always put God first!
— Mass. Citizens for Life will hold its annual Assembly for Life at Faneuil Hall in Boston next Sunday, January 21st, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The program will feature music, prayer, and an inspiring talk by Fr. Frank Pavone, a nationally known defender of life.
— Many thanks to those who gave 91 hours of adoration on the snowy first weekend of January. Your presence before the Blessed Sacrament is a great boon to the Parish. The next time of adoration will be on Friday, February 2nd, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and on Saturday, February 3rd, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
— 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.
— Every January for the past 100 years, Christian churches worldwide have offered special prayers for the healing of past wounds to Christian unity. The Gospel tells us that Jesus prayed that all his disciples would be one, as He and the Father are one. So during the week from January 21st to the 27th we call upon the Holy Spirit to bring together in unity all those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
— 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