In addition to the change in the schedule of Masses, we have also made changes to the confession schedule for our grouping. The primary place for confessions will be at Saint Paul Cathedral. Confessions are heard regularly there on Friday afternoons at 12:45 pm and on Saturday afternoon at 12:45 pm and again at 7 pm. Confessions are also heard on Wednesday evenings from 7-7:30 pm, followed by the Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. We are encouraging those who want to go to confession to avail themselves to the confessions scheduled at the Cathedral where there are always several priests on hand to hear confessions. There are some smaller blocks of time for confession scheduled in the other three parishes: Sunday at 8:45 am before Mass at St. Stephen and at 9:30 am at St. Regis. Confessions at St. Rosalia are scheduled for 3:15 on Saturday afternoons. Weekday Masses are scheduled at 8:15 am (televised) and 12:05 pm at Saint Paul Cathedral and at 10 am each day rotating between the three other sites. If a funeral is scheduled on that particular day it will replace the normally scheduled 10 am Mass.
We will be working with those people whose Mass intentions were scheduled for Masses that are no longer going to be celebrated. Our hope is to reschedule the Mass intention at another time. The diocese has also given us permission to schedule several Mass intentions at the same Mass with the permission of the person who scheduled the intention. Only two pluri-intention Masses can be celebrated during any given week and permission from the Vicar General is required. If no option can be found to satisfy the Mass intention we will return the Mass stipend to the person who scheduled the Mass. We will be working on this in the coming weeks and appreciate your cooperation and understanding.
A YEAR OF REPENTANCE through prayer and fasting has been called by Bishop Zubik for the clergy and faithful in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The bishop is asking that we collectively fast, abstain and make a Holy Hour on the Ember Days, traditional days of fasting and prayer in the Church. These days occur four times during our year of repentance: September 19, 21,22; December 19, 21, 22; March 13, 15,16; and June 12,14, 15. A liturgical event initiating the Year of Repentance will take today, Sunday, September 23 at the Cathedral from 3:00 until 4:00 pm. Bishop Zubik will lead Solemn Evening Prayer with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, with the theme of repentance. All are invited and encouraged to attend. The Year of Repentance will close on August 15, 2019 on the Solemnity of Assumption of Mary, as a sign of hope and healing for victims and for renewal in the Church through the intercession of Mary. Bishop Zubik will offer the 6 pm Mass on that day here at the Cathedral. Let us keep this important effort in prayer and join in this year of repentance through our own prayer and fasting.
ST. MICHAEL PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION. Bishop Zubik has also asked that every parish include the St. Michael the Archangel prayer following communion. As you know, Father Stubna instituted this prayer at the Cathedral nearly 3 years ago and we say it at every Mass following communion. It is a true blessing that the bishop is asking every parish to include this prayer at the end of every Mass. Pope Leo XIII wrote the Saint Michael prayer in 1884, after supposedly seeing a frightening vision: evil spirits, trying to fulfill Satan’s boast to destroy our Lord’s Church within a century, were engaging in fierce attacks against it. Although the Pontiff also saw St. Michael casting Satan (also known as the devil) and his demons back into Hell in his vision, he was so horrified by what he had seen he felt compelled to help defend our faith in this struggle. In the Saint Michael prayer he throws down the gauntlet to “the father of lies” as Jesus calls the devil in John’s Gospel (8:44), by enlisting the help of a very special Archangel. As a special patron and protector of the Church, St. Michael has been assigned to fight against Satan; to protect faithful souls from him, especially at their death; to champion God’s people; and, further along this line, to escort them to their judgment. Pope Leo XIII saw to it that the Saint Michael prayer was recited after every low Mass throughout the world. (The low Mass, discontinued in 1970 after Vatican II, was said by a priest alone, with no music.) This prayer is not said at Mass today, but in 1994 Pope John Paul II urged the faithful keep to reciting it. Although we tend to downplay the notion of the devil as being too quaint or outmoded today, he does indeed exist and not just as a symbol of evil, or as character in a fairytale to frighten us. rayer and the sacraments are an essential part of what St. Paul called the “armor of God” in his letter to the Ephesians. The Saint Michael prayer can help us indeed “stand against the deceits of the devil” (Eph 6:11) by “taking the shield of faith” (Eph 6:16). Remember, God permits us to be tempted by the devil but gives us the grace to resist him through prayer in our daily lives. Let us not be afraid to ask for St. Michael’s help in this prayer and others like it. We need to remember that each time we pray we work to defeat our real enemies, not each other, but rather the devil and his evil spirits. As St. Paul put it, we fight “not against flesh and blood but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness” (Eph 6:12). With God’s help in prayer they can all be overcome.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Divine Power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. AMEN.