"Behold the Man of Faith"
Christ Before Pilate
(Tintoretto - 1567)
“Therefore the civil authority, the purpose of which is the care of the common good in the temporal order, must recognize and look with favor on the religious life of the citizens. But if it presumes to control or restrict religious activity, it must be said to have exceeded the limits of its power" (Declaration on Religious Liberty, I, 3; Second Vatican Council).
We do not live in a time in which the civil authority looks favorably on the religious life of its citizens. In fact, in a span of less than two full terms of an American presidency our civil powers (national, state, and local) have affirmed and accelerated a culture which regards religious freedom quite unfavorably. It is true that some religious activity which can be harnessed to serve the will of the state in the pursuit of its particular brand of social justice still remains in governmental favor, however most other pious activity which does not forward the immediate needs of secular government, but which in fact might even decelerate its pressing schedule, is an activity needing to be suppressed.
Once upon a time, America believed in the principle of subsidiarity: the principle that holds that the autonomy of citizens (those with lesser authority) must be respected and provided for by the State (that with higher authority) in order to prevent democracy from becoming tyranny (i.e. rule by the one), or oligarchy (i.e. rule by the few). Subsidiarity is the common understanding of a free society set forth and agreed to by both its leaders and its citizens in order to prevent the reigning authority from becoming authoritarian.
Religious freedom is at the root of subsidiarity since its moral power is anchored firmly in the human conscience guided by belief in a benevolent Creator in whom all authority originates. Our founders humbly understood this truth in their conception of democracy. They knew it to be only right and natural - that a declaration of independence granting due honor to those citizens faithful to a benign Creator and to principles of the natural law must come prior to any successful and abiding constitution of government.
A country intolerant of religious freedom feels compelled to manufacture its own principles. Yet in our own time these newly engineered principles all boil down to one very ancient vice: You shall do as you please without reference to anything but yourself. This hedonistic principle is sometimes tempered with the words as long as you hurt no one else. But even this addendum is swiftly cast aside once the pleasing and the pleasuring take strong hold of a free society. First, those who cannot speak for themselves (in the womb and on the deathbed) are hurt, then those with religious conscience, and finally those with any conscience. These last tend to fall like dominos once the faithful are disbanded. Then all is lost until the light is relit by God himself.
Yet, there is no need for the light to go out if only our State and our culture were to look again on religious freedom with the favor it deserves for its primary role in cultivating the care of the common good. Sadly though, it appears we no longer live in an age of the common good. Rather, we live in an age of the individual good, or as already suggested, of individual pleasure.
It is clear that our State is exceeding its limits of power; this is because for some time our culture has been exceeding the boundaries of conscience. These two grave excesses are the harbingers of woe of the democratic experience and they both seek to dismantle religious freedom which is usually the last defense against their excesses.
Let us pray this month for religious conscience and religious freedom, that these will not be extinguished but will be renewed in order to care for the common good of our nation.
Be in the Presence of Jesus: On Easter Day some of Jesus' disciples who knew of his suffering and death on the cross just two days prior, were walking and talking and probably lamenting over the horrific crucifixion of the person they thought was the Messiah, the Savior of the world. They were on their way to Emmaus, a town some seven miles distant from Jerusalem. The resurrected Jesus caught up with them, "but their eyes were kept from recognizing him." (Lk 24:16) They told Jesus of the great prophet who had been delivered up to death, and that even now his body was not in the tomb where his disciples had laid him. They did not undrstand.
Jesus therefore explained to them all the prophecies concerning the Messiah and how he was to suffer and all the mysteries that related to him and their hearts were "burning" inside them at his words and presence. Then Jesus, "took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight." (Lk 24:30-31).
The Eucharist is an eye-opener! It is in the Eucharist that Catholics most recognize Jesus here on earth. It is important to note that St. Luke in his gospel states that the disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread and not in the "bread" itself. This is because the bread was no longer mere bread but the same Body of Christ that the Lord fed his Apostles at The Last Supper. This post-Easter encounter on the way to Emmaus was a training session in the Real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus the physical person vanished, however Jesus the Holy Eucharist remained! It is in the blessing and breaking - the consecration of the bread into the Body of Christ - that the Church was expected to recognize Jesus until his Second Coming.
It takes grace and faith to recognize Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. In the Eucharist, one's eyes are kept from recognizing him, however one's mind and heart and soul burns in recognition. Catholics must pray fervently for this grace and the grace of Adoration, and the best place to do this is before the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.
Come to the parish church of St. Francis Xavier of Acushnet and pray before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It is only in doing so that you will come to greater understanding by being in the Real Presence of Jesus, just as the men on their way to Emmaus recognized Jesus, only after he vanished from their sight, in the Most Holy Eucharist.
Parish Rosary CD is available for $5.00.
Copies are available at the parish office.
It is also sold on iTunes.
You can click on image and play the Rosary from this site.
Got Evening Prayer? We do! Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening in the parish church beginning at 6:30pm & concluding before 7:00pm. Please look for more information about Evening Prayer under the above home page heading: Parish Life & Liturgy
The church is open for prayer every day. Please call the office at 508 - 995 - 7600 if you require use of our wheel-chair lift.
Sunday, August 2nd: we ask that all parisioners place this date on their calendar to remind them that it is the date of our Annual Parish Picnic at Cathedral camp in East Freetown, MA. We will have an area reserved from Noon to 4pm with access to the pond. Plenty of food, music and fellowship. This is a parishioner-only event. We hope to see many of you there!
Summer Hours: Our Office of Religious Education has changed its hours for the season. Our CCD classes are over and our Religious Ed Director, Janine Hammarquist, will be in the office on Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 8am to Noon (except for the 9am Mass). Please call the parish office if you have any questions about the next Religious Education season.
August 7th: is the first Friday of the month and as such we will celebrate Holy Mass in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on that day both at 9am and 6pm. Please join us if you are meeting you spiritual goal of 10 consecutive First Fridays or if you just want to honor Our Lord's Sacred Heart which beats for all his beloved!
The Deacon is In: the parish office on Thursdays from 9am to 3pm. Deacon David Pepin is available for spiritual counseling and advice or just for listening to those who might be struggling in their personal lives and need refocusing on God. He may also be available some Wednesday evenings by appointment after Evening Prayer. Please see Deacon on the weekends before or after Mass or call the parish office to get him a message.
Recent Photo's & Events
May 04, 2014
St. Francis Xavier of Acushnet is a lively parish with many activities and opportunities for worship, prayer, and community. We extend to you an invitation to our parish family in hopes that you may join in our devotions and our reverent celebration of Holy Mass. Please contact us with any questions you have regarding our parish and living a life in the Catholic faith.
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