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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 books, etc.

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 Catholic Faith.
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 Rescue West.

Youth Ministry:
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 and others.

Our Website:
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:
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.)


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 be saved.
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.


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 Midnight.

GOOD FRIDAY, 18th. April, 2003 A.D.
7.00 p.m. WAY OF THE CROSS

HOLY SATURDAY, 19th. April, 2003 A.D.

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