Pastor's Letter - Oct. 8, 2017

The Church has honored the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, from the earliest times. We observe the month of May as Mary's, and October as the month of the Rosary. Next Friday, October 13, marks the 100" anniversary of the final apparition of the Blessed Mother at Fatima. And we just celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on Oct. 7. The origins of this feast go back to the year 1571, when the Church was still reeling from the protestant revolt, and Christian Europe was greatly weakened. Pope Pius V called upon the Catholic countries to respond with sea forces against the advancing Muslim forces of the Ottoman Turks. Since the early 7" century, and the founding of Islam by Mohammed, the expansion of Islam by military conquest steadily expanded. First they conquered the whole of the Middle East and of north Africa. The work of the Apostles & their successors had converted most of these areas to Christianity by 600 A.D. Now Christians (& Jews) were forcibly "converted" to Islam, killed, or only allowed to practice their Faith as "Dhimmis" - forced to pay a tax, and live as second class citizens. Christian Europe made several attempts to stop the encroaching Muslim military expansion, and to preserve the Holy Land as a safe place for pilgrimage. The various Crusades in the 11", 12", and 13" centuries had little – and temporary success. Now, Europe herself was at risk. If the smaller Christian navy failed to stop the Turks, then the whole of Europe - including Rome - would be defenseless. While the command vessel of the Catholic navy carried an image of the Blessed Virgin, Pope Pius V called upon all Catholics to pray the Rosary, seeking the intercession of the Mother of God. All natural signs indicated a defeat of the Christian forces, but miraculously they soundly defeated the Ottoman Turks.

The Feast of our Lady of Fatima has a profound connection to the Muslims as well. Spain (southern) and Portugal had been conquered by the Muslims in the 8" century, and not driven out until late 1400s. The small town of Fatima takes its name from the favorite daughter of Mohammed. It is a sign of God's providence that the Blessed Mother should appear there, in a place once ruled by Muslims. Indeed, in the long conflict of Islam and Christianity, the role of the Blessed Mother is often seen as instrumental to the conversion of Muslims. We Catholics have long known that a true relationship with our Savior Jesus necessarily involves a relationship with, and devotion to, the Blessed Virgin Mary. And so, as Pope Pius V asked of all Catholics in 1571, and as the Mother of our Lord asked when she appeared to the three children in Fatima in 1917: Pray for peace; Pray for the conversion of sinners; Pray the Rosary!

We kicked-off the Diocesan Annual Appeal two weeks ago, and will wrap up our formal appeal in our parish at the end of October (though gifts can be made until the end of the fiscal year. June 2018). My thanks to all who have already completed their pledge card and sent in their gift. Remember, every dollar beyond our target of $48,640 will be returned to us to use for our parish needs. Please pray for the success of the Diocesan Annual Appeal

May God bless you!
Fr. Schaller

From Live and Learn and Pass It On, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
(A compilation of wisdom from people of all ages and walks of life.)
 “I’ve learned that you view other people’s children in a whole different light when you have one of your own. (Age 35)
“I’ve learned that love, not time, heals all wounds.” (Age 14)
“I’ve learned that adding extra spices cant cover those cooking mistakes. (Age 46)