St. Lawrence of Brindisi

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

On Thursday the Church honors St. Lawrence of Brindisi, doctor of the Church.   He was born in 1559 and died in Lisbon, Portugal on July 22, 1619.   When he was young his father died and his mother sent him to study with the Conventual Franciscans in the friary in Brindisi in Italy.   After a brilliant career as a student in which he mastered the various languages and was a scholar in the study of Sacred Scripture, he entered the Capuchin Franciscans eventually becoming the minister general of the order.   He was known for his keen sense of reasoning, great kindness and outstanding holiness of life.   He served the Church under many capacities, serving as the chaplain to the Imperial army that fought and defeat the Muslim advance at the famous Battle of Lepanto in 1571, ambassador and papal nuncio to the German kingdoms, Bavaria and Spain, and spiritual confidant of bishops and popes.    He also served as a missionary preacher, it was said that his homilies brought many to tears and conversion to the faith.    He was canonized a saint on December 8, 1881.  

St. Lawrence of Brindisi was also known for his immense love of the Mass.   While celebrating Mass it was said he would spend hours extending the Mass with solemn moments of meditation.   So great was his love for the Eucharist that often he would undergo mystical experiences including ecstasies.  Here we find the witness of this great Franciscan Capuchin, his love and devotion for the Mass.   The Mass is the highlight of our week.   Here we encounter the living presence of Jesus Christ both in the Word of God proclaimed in the readings and in the homily as well as the sacramental presence of the Eucharistic Lord hidden in forms of bread and wine.    I encourage you to enter more fully into the joyful and sacred presence of the Lord Jesus every Sunday.   I encourage you to join the many people who attend daily Mass.   When our focus is the Mass, the “source and summit of the Christian life”, then we have oriented ourselves to the one who showers us with his grace and blessings. 

A few weeks ago our parish council and stewardship committee recommended the purchase of new chairs with kneelers for the use in the church.   These chairs will help us now be united to the practice of the church in the United States and in most of the Americas to kneel during Mass.   Over the years we’ve grown accustomed to not kneel at Mass, a condition that was made out of necessity and due to the temporary status of our worship space.   However, now that some considerable time has passed we will be able to express our love and devotion to the Eucharist by kneeling during Mass.   I know that this change will not be easy and of course there are those parishioners who have difficulty kneeling because of physical challenges, but for the rest of us we will also enter more solemnly into the beauty of liturgical prayer and reverence.    Remember that all that we do for the good of our parish is for the glory and honor of Jesus in the Eucharist.   Our love for him must always surpass any hesitation or custom, but renew our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus.    Like St. Lawrence of Brindisi, let us make the celebration of the Mass the high point of the Lord’s Day where we experience God and heaven is wedded to earth.  

In the Lord Jesus,
Fr. Vasquez


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