THE SAINT PHILOMENA MESSENGER
Issue Number 31 February, 2003,A.D.
Dear Friends of Saint Philomena,
May the Good Lord bless you all through the powerful intercession of
Saint Philomena in this New Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 2003.
Another year has passed. All of us grow older , but we are no less enthusiastic
in proclaiming the Good News of our salvation through the One true Church
of Jesus Christ and the powerful intercession of Saint Philomena!
2002 A. D. (Do put these initials after the date; they stand for the
Year of the Lord -Jesus Christ), was a very good year for us here at the
Shrine. We look back on a growing participation in our:
Friday evening devotions:
Every Friday at 7.00 p.m. our church is packed with devotees of Saint
Philomena, who actively and enthusiastically participate in a regular
High Latin Mass, followed by the veneration of our First Class Relic of
Saint Philomena, and the imposition of her Holy Oil. After Mass there
is a Coffee Hour of fellowship in the hall with the opportunity to meet
old friends, make new ones, obtain devotional items, buy good Catholic
Daily Holy Latin Masses:
Every day of the year, with the exception of Good Friday and Holy Saturday
(when no Masses may be offered), we rejoice in the fact that the Holy
Sacrifice is offered. People come from near and far for these traditional
Latin Masses, knowing that the valid Masses and are offered.
Regular Processions and Traditional Devotions:
We hold regular public processions through the local streets in honour
of Our Blessed Lord, His Holy Mother and the Saints. Such processions
are sacramentals of the Church, grace-bringing manifestations of Our Holy
These processions are held on Candlemass (February 2nd.) when we celebrate
Our Lord's presentation in the temple as a baby and His being the Light
of the World; on Palm Sunday, recalling Our Lord's entry into Jerusalem
as a triumphant, but humble King; on Maundy Thursday, recalling His going
from the Last Supper to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray; on Good Friday,
a procession of the Cross; in May, in honour of Our Blessed Lady; on Corpus
Christi, the Feast of the Holy Eucharist; on Saint Philomena's Day, in
honour of our Patroness. These processions bear witness to our Living
Church and challenge the local pagans and heretics.
Reception of Converts:
In January, 2002, A.D., a heretic of the Lutheran sect was reconciled
to the True Church. This dear man had come to Mass for more than 10 years
and had been an example to all. Finally he made his submission and is
now a proud Catholic on the road to heaven.
Pro Life Ministry:
The Shrine of Saint Philomena greatly values and emphasises its pro-life
ministry. People have left this church (sad, but necessary) because of
our 100% stance against abortion, contraception, racism & homosexuality.
NO OTHER CHURCH WITHIN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF MIAMI HAS PERMITTED
A PRO LIFE SIGN TO BE ERECTED ON ITS PROPERTY (Incredible,but
true). OURS HAS A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE OF A LITTLE BABY AND READS:
ABORTION IS MURDER (In English and Spanish).
We distribute pro-life material, witness outside abortuaries, co-operate
with other pro-life groups (non-Catholics mainly!), especially Operation
Every Saturday morning, we provide, thanks to loyal collaborators, classes
for First Communions, Confirmations and Furthur Study of the Faith. Regular
outings, videos, discussions are arranged.
Adult Study of the Faith:
On Tuesday evenings adults meet to study of the most important thing in
their lives: their Holy Faith. Over the last year we have studied St.
Matthew's Gospel; watched and discussed videos by Fr. Hesse, Fr.O'Connor
Thanks to the sterling work of Mr. Nicholas Katz, this is undoubtedly
one of the best church websites in the world. (Nicholas tells me that
only the Vatican's is superior!)
More Good News:
Last year we paid off our mortgage on the Church Rectory, thanks
to your generosity. We have no more debts! Let's now concentrate once
more on our most important project:
A NEW CHURCH!
Presently, we have a small church and a rectory. The church is land-locked:
that is to say that we cannot expand. We have very limited parking. We
are very poor. Up until now God has not blessed us generous millionaires,
rich intellectuals, lawyers, doctors, accountants, etc. Instead,we have
many good, humble folk, labourers, mechanics, plumbers, cleaners, housekeepers,
retirees, who love their Faith, the Holy Mass and Saint Philomena and
who are unitedly and staunchly Pro-Life.
We need a bigger facility. We need a lecture room (Fr. Rueda has dreams
of giving classes in English, Creole and Spanish!) Could some generous
soul help us purchase (or build- better) a much larger facility?
I would like to remind all that the Shrine of Saint Philomena in Miami
is not financially supported by the local diocese and receives no funds
from any religious society. We rely for our day to day existence on donations
and profits made through the sale of statues, books, medals, pictures,
etc. of our Patroness. We are eternally grateful for your support in the
past and very much need it for the present and future.
As ever, may God bless you, dear Friends, through the powerful intercession
of Saint Philomena!
Revd. Fr. Timothy A. Hopkins, B.A., M.Th., P.G.C.E.
(©Copyright: Revd. Fr. Timothy A.Hopkins, 2002, A.D.)
A LENTEN MESSAGE FROM FATHER ENRIQUE RUEDA
The Holy Season of Lent
The Church offers us her calendar as an opportunity to live the Christian
Life from various perspectives as well as to imitate the lives of Our
Lord, Our Lady and the saints. By reminiscing the history of our salvation,
we relive in our individual and community lives the event that have made
it possible for us to receive God's Sanctifying Grace and thus come to
The Holy Season of Lent is one of the richest parts of the Church calendar.
From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, Lent is set aside as the time when
we are called to renew our commitment to holiness as we prepare to celebrate
the saving Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord, God and Savior
Jesus Christ. From time immemorial, Christians have celebrated Lent as
a period of forty days of prayer, self-denial and alms-giving, a form
of purification before the greatest celebration of the Church: the manifestation
of the power of God in the defeat of the Devil by the sacrifice of Jesus
on the altar of the cross for the salvation of mankind.
During Lent we are called to make a halt in our lives, set a bit aside
the concerns of this world and set our eyes in God as the ultimate source
of peace and joy for our hearts. Traditionally, Christians have done this
by engaging in very specific acts of religion, well suited to our individual
needs. The Church encourages each one of us to prepare a spiritual plan
for Lent. At the Shrine of Saint Philomena, our congregation does this
and you, the reader, are asked to do likewise.
The time for planning for Lent are the three Sundays immediately preceding
Ash Wednesday (Sexagesima, Quinquagesima and Quadragesima: February 16,
23 and March 2, 2003). Your plan should be suited to you and be very specific.
Write it down after you have prayed about it. Make sure to include some
practices in the three categories of traditional Lent practices: prayer,
penance and alms giving.
The first category of practices for Lent is prayer: the lifting of our
minds and the opening of our hearts to God, our communication with Him,
His Mother and the saints. Prayer is the cornerstone of the spiritual
life and the best preparation for Lent. Make sure that your plan includes
going to Confession, receiving frequent Holy Communion and if possible
attendance at Mass one or more fixed weekdays every week. The recitation
of the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross should be part of everyone's
Lent, as is the prayerful reading of theScriptures (especially the Gospels
and the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament) and of a holy book ( I suggest
a life of Saint Philomena that you can order from our Shrine.)
The second category of practices for Lent is penance, the giving up of
sense pleasures. Food, drink, the enjoyment of the senses, entertainment,
merry making and other pleasures are goods in themselves, but they are
not the highest good. During Lent we are asked to give up some of these
goods for the sake of the Highest Good. Penance, if done with humility
and for the sake of the Kingdom of God, helps us identify ourselves with
the sufferings of Our Lord, strengthens our expresses our sense of priorities.
I suggest little things rather than complicated or very difficult deeds.
The Church prescribes fast and abstinence asthe primary forms of penance
during Lent, but there is much more that you can and should do: give up
certain kinds of television programs, refraining from going to the movies,
giving up some favorite foods or sweets. I suggest that you take a good
look at how much money you are saving from your penance. Put it to good
use; give it to a worthy cause or to the poor. Perhaps you can order some
religious goods or books and give them away to help others come to the
knowledge and practice of the faith.
The third category of practices for Lent is alms-giving. This is the sharing
of your goods with those in need. Alms-giving should be based in compassion.
You should give some of what you have to others because you feel their
pain and need. Alms-giving should not simply be an exercise in private
welfare but a true sharing of your very self with those who need it. It
is better to give of yourself, your time and energy for the benefits of
others than simply to give money that you would not use anyways. One good
way to start your alms-giving plan is to reconcile yourself with someone
who has offended you or to whom you have offended.
On Ash Wednesday, as you start your personal plan for the celebration
of Lent 2003, make sure you go to Mass and receive the ashes on your forehead.
Re-read the plan and before God make a commitment to carry it through,
thanking Him for having given you the grace to look into your own need
for Him. Ask our Blessed Mother to get for you from Her Divine Son the
graces you will need to carry on this plan.Consecrate this Lent to Her
Immaculate Heart. Pray also to Saint Philomena, your advocate in Heaven.
Ask her that just as she consecrated herself to God (and paid a heavy
price for her commitment) that you will also have the strength to carry
on from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday so that you too can, having
nailed your sins to the Cross and died to the world, will share in the
Glorious Resurrection of your Lord.
May God bless all those who read these words. Father Hopkins and I promise
to pray this Lent that the Lord will come to your hearts and make you
holy in His sight.
Father Enrique T. Rueda.
LENT AND HOLY WEEK SCHEDULES, 2003, A.D.
ASH WEDNESDAY, 5th. March, 2003, A.D.
7.30 a.m. Blessing of Ashes, Imposition & Holy Mass
10.00 a.m. Holy Mass & Imposition of Ashes
7.00 p.m. High Mass & Imposition of Ashes
PALM SUNDAY, 13th. April, 2003, A.D.
8.00 a.m. Holy Mass
11.00 a.m. Blessing and distribution of Palms, Procession
& High Mass
7.00 p.m. Holy Mass
MAUNDY THURSDAY, 17th. April, 2003 A.D.
7.00 p.m. High Mass, Foot-washing, Procession of the
Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose & Watch of the Passion until
GOOD FRIDAY, 18th. April, 2003 A.D.
3.00 p.m. LITURGY AND HOLY COMMUNION
7.00 p.m. WAY OF THE CROSS
HOLY SATURDAY, 19th. April, 2003 A.D.
11.00 p.m. BLESSING OF THE NEW FIRE, EASTER VIGIL & FIRST
MASS OF EASTER
EASTER SUNDAY, 20th. April, 2003 A.D.
8.00 a.m. Low Mass & Sermon
11.00 a.m. High Mass & Sermon
7.00 p.m. Low Mass & Sermon