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“Feast day a reminder of the importance of community”

By Most Reverend Brendan Cahill, State Chaplain, Bishop of Victoria

Vol. 4, 2016-2017

On Aug. 15 I will be celebrating Mass at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s in Praha. The Feast of the Assumption of Mary is a Holy Day of Obligation and the Parish Feast Day in Praha. For years this Mass and picnic has represented a way to honor Mary, our Blessed Virgin Mother who entered completely into heaven, body and soul. Because she did not sin and alone among all people was “full of grace” Mary did not experience the decay of her body. We believe her body and soul were brought up, “assumed” into heaven immediately after her time on earth. The earliest disciples knew Mary personally. As the mother of Jesus, she knew most fully that He was the Son of God and that, in rising from the dead, He opened the way to eternal life. As the mother of Jesus she knew most fully the pain of His rejection by the people, His torture and His death. Of all people, Mary understood and saw the effects of evil and the victory of God over sin and death. Mary is a real historical person who witnessed to others what she heard, saw and experienced. From her place in heaven she continues to urge people towards the victory of life over death. And God continues to respect our human freedom as individuals to choose either life or death. On the question of why God allows people the freedom to sin, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in his Summa Theologiae III, 1, 3: “There is nothing to prevent human nature’s being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good.” (cited in the Catechism of the Catholic Church #412) We have the freedom to turn our hearts toward the greater good, and, if we do, we have the promise of eternal life. Right after the Mass of the Feast of the Assumption, I’ll be going over to the parish hall for some of the best fried chicken around. The Feast in Praha also is a day to honor the community of faith who make up the Church. The parish picnics this summer are reminding me of the importance of community for our spiritual, emotional and personal life. For generations men and women have come to the churches in our area and offered praise and worship, prayers and supplications to God. They also have celebrated all the sacraments and the special days when we want to especially ask God’s guidance. The culture, music, food and dancing at the parish picnics lift up thanksgiving to God and support for our churches. May we be faithful children of our heavenly Mother, and may God bless you and your families this summer with peace, joy and rest. Let’s keep each other in prayer.

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