Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, May 21, 2023

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your prayers for the safety of our pilgrimage to Guadalupe. We prayed for you at all the importance places we visited. It was once again an amazing experience to see the faith of the people. May our Mother Mary continue to lead us to Jesus her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. This was a bittersweet moment for the disciples. They had enjoyed the magnificent and glorious presence of the risen Lord for 40 days, only to learn he was to leave them again. This feast reminds us that, like the first disciples, we are not to dally “looking up at the sky” but are to get busy proclaiming the glory of God’s kingdom by the witness of our lives.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that the Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly domain (CCC #665). God came from heaven and, while retaining His Divine nature, took to himself our mortal human nature. In returning, He takes our human nature into the eternal Divine Nature and the realm of heaven, assuring us of our immortality.

Before he ascended to the Father, Jesus assured his disciples that he would not leave them alone. He would send them the Holy Spirit, who would live in them and animate their lives. After Jesus ascended, the disciples, our Mother Mary, and many other disciples clung together in prayer for nine days in anticipation of the Holy Spirit. This would inspire our tradition of the “Novena.”

On Pentecost, which we celebrate next Sunday, we will receive assurance that the Spirit emboldens us to do the mission Jesus entrusts to us. As we wait to celebrate the momentous occasion of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, let us call out to the Spirit with this prayer drawn from the wonderful words of the familiar “Veni, Creator Spiritus:”

Come, Holy Spirit, come! Enkindle in us the fire of your love! Come and empower the church once again, and renew the face of the earth.

Just a reminder: there is a time change for the Mass to be held at the Grotto on May 31 to celebrate the Feast of the Visitation. We will have Mass at 7 p.m., instead of 6:00 pm.   This allows us to celebrate at a cooler time of the day as we take advantage of the longer daylight hours.

Happy Feast of the Ascension! Have a Blessed Week!

With Love,

Fr. John