Notes from Father Brendan

June 2, 2024

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we wish Fr. Sam farewell on what is a well-deserved sabbatical, I find myself taking on some extra duties here at the parish. One of them is writing this “Pastor’s Note” for the bulletin each week, which we may relabel as “Administrator’s Note” until September, but we don’t want to change too much in our Pastor’s absence.

This Sunday is the great Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Also known as Corpus Christi, this is a feast that Pope Urban IV established for the whole Church in 1264. This is a nearly 800-year-old tradition where we take this particular Sunday to celebrate the true gift we have in the Eucharist. This feast honors Jesus Christ, really, truly, and substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine. This Presences comes about through transubstantiation when at the Consecration of the Mass, the priest speaks the words of institution, “This is My Body,” “This is the chalice of My Blood,” “Do this in remembrance of Me.” This fundamental belief we have, that the Second Person of the Trinity becomes actually present in that tiny white host and in that chalice allows us to more fully understand what we do here at Mass. For “Mass” is truly called “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.” The rhythms of the liturgy, the fact that we stand, sit, or kneel at different times. How we have sacred music chanted, we have the “smells and bells” from the reverent altar servers. All of these aspects of the Mass lead us to plainly see that the crescendo of the liturgy is the consecration, Christ becoming present before us once again. When we have a proper understanding of the Eucharist, we can then understand Mass. These are “Sacred Mysteries” after all, it’s not that we’ll truly comprehend the divine and mysterious beauty that we encounter, but it will allow us to be properly oriented. The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, §1324), and it is the focus of each Mass. To put it in simpler way, the Mass is never about us, it is about worshiping the Lord who comes to us. He is the One who has been sacrificed and offered for us and therefore we come to Mass as prayerful worshipers. Not much else is required of us, what a relief!

There is a beautiful quote from St. Maximilian Kolbe, the great Franciscan priest martyred at Auschwitz, “If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.” What a gift we have in the Eucharist that our Lord doesn’t come before us to simply be worshiped, but to be our very food and nourishment. It’s a beautiful quote in part because angels are not jealous of us, those creatures in their angelic nature worship and behold God in the perfection of heaven for all eternity. They have no need of physically receiving the Eucharist. Yet, as our Eucharistic Lord resides in the tabernacle, is exposed in the monstrance, and consecrated upon the altar, the angels are always present, for they are always where God is, so as to worship before Him. We are truly most like the angels when we are before the Lord in humble adoration.

Our Patron, St. Pius X, is known as the “Pope of the Eucharist” as he lowered the age for receiving first Holy Communion, and encouraged frequent if not daily Communion for those who are able to receive, and I echo his encouragement! This is a feast day for us to renew our love, trust, and belief in Jesus Christ substantially present in the Eucharist. We are blessed as a Parish to have our Adoration Chapel, and I believe it to be one of the most important places in all of Fairfield. Spend time with our Lord, worship Him, love Him, and receive Him worthily and well at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Brendan