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From the Pastor 03/04/18

Archdiocesan Capital Campaign: One Faith, One Hope, One Love. Saturday evening, March 3, we had the first of the three socials for the campaign. If you have received a personal invitation from me to attend one of two remaining socials in March, please sign up to attend.

The socials are a way in which you can learn more about the importance of this campaign in a relaxed atmosphere. You will be able to ask questions and take home a prepared packet of information along with a personalized letter from our Archbishop asking you to consider a five-year gift to the campaign. I wish to emphasize the importance of attending one of these socials. If you cannot attend one of the socials, you will be contacted by a parish volunteer who will ask to meet with you to explain the campaign. It will be much easier for you and for our volunteers if you attend one of the two remaining socials.

The second part of the Public Phase will be in the month of April in which the rest of the parish will be contacted as we move forward with the campaign. We hope to have all of this accomplished by the end of April.

In the next two months when you receive a phone call from the parish I would ask that you please, in your kindness, respond to that phone call, so that parish volunteers do not have to continue to call you. No matter if you can give or not give to the campaign, simply respond to the phone call. I am grateful to the many volunteers who have agreed to make calls, and I thank you for promptly responding to those calls.

Wednesday, March 7, the Church will celebrate the Feast day of the martyrs SS. Perpetua and Facility.

“When my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and thus weaken my faith, I said to him, ‘Do you see this vessel ― water pot or whatever it may be? Can it be called by any other name than what it is?’ ‘No,’ he replied. ‘So also I cannot call myself by any other name than what I am ― a Christian.’”

So writes Perpetua: young, beautiful, well-educated, a noble-woman of Carthage in North Africa, mother of an infant son and chronicler of the persecution of the Christians by Emperor Septimius Severus.

Perpetua’s mother was a Christian and her father a pagan. He continually pleaded with her to deny her faith. She refused and was imprisoned at the age of 22. In her diary, Perpetua describes her period of captivity: “What a day of horror! Terrible heat, owing to the crowds! Rough treatment by the soldiers! To crown all, I was tormented with anxiety for my baby ... Such anxieties I suffered for many days, but I obtained leave for my baby to remain in the prison with me, and being relieved of my trouble and anxiety for him, I at once recovered my health, and my prison became a palace to me and I would rather have been there than anywhere else.”

Despite threats of persecution and death, Perpetua, Felicity ― a slave woman and expectant mother ― and three companions, Revocatus, Secundulus and Saturninus, refused to renounce their Christian faith. For their unwillingness, all were sent to the public games in the amphitheater. There Perpetua and Felicity were beheaded, and the others killed by beasts.

Felicity gave birth to a girl a few days before the games commenced.

Perpetua’s record of her trial and imprisonment ends the day before the games. “Of what was done in the games themselves, let him write who will.” The diary was finished by an eyewitness.

Persecution for religious beliefs is not confined to Christians in ancient times. Consider Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who with her family, was forced into hiding and later died in Bergen-Belsen, one of Hitler’s death camps during World War II. Anne, like Perpetua and Felicity, endured hardship and suffering and finally death because she committed herself to God. In her diary, Anne writes, “It’s twice as hard for us young ones to hold our ground, and maintain our opinions, in a time when all ideals are being shattered and destroyed, when people are showing their worst side, and do not know whether to believe in truth and right and God.”

A blessed 3rd Week of Lent to all,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor