MARY IMMACULATE OF LOURDES: 109th ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHURCH DEDICATION
NOVEMBER 24th, 1910
The front-cover for this week’s Parish Sunday Bulletin shows two historic photographs of our parish church as it looked at its Dedication on November 24th, 1910 A.D. The Day of Dedication that year was also Thanksgiving Day and so it is fitting for us each year to celebrate our Anniversary on the Thanksgiving Day Holiday as we will do this coming Thursday at the special 9 AM Mass.
The interior of the church is an example of the style of what was called the “decorated church”. The whole interior of the church was the artist’s palette, the portrait paintings being only a portion of this larger art-work. As you can see from the old photographs, the portraits were surrounded by all kinds of decorative painting which have since been painted over by later (and unfortunate) renovations from the 1960s on. The careful removal of these overlays and the restoration of the original decorative art-work remains a goal for us, although it has to wait until we are first able to support our yearly operating expenses.
Over the course of the past month I have preached at Sunday Mass on the challenges of parish stewardship and the duty of the lay-faithful to fulfill the Fifth (of the Six) Precept of the Church, which is:
The Fifth Precept of the Church obliges the faithful to support their Church. It is an obligation of justice to provide for the needs of God’s ministers, and, hence, in itself a grave obligation. The faithful have the duty to contribute, according to their means, to the support of their pastors, their church and school. They have, like-wise, the obligation of charity to support their home and foreign missions, Catholic Charities, orphanages, etc.
The Fifth Precept of the Church concerns both rich and poor (who can often render personal service), young and old. While their obligation is a grave one, we would not condemn anyone of grave sin who neglects to contribute his share, unless the clergy would thereby suffer want or other parishioners be greatly overburdened. Entrance into the church during divine worship must be absolutely free, and a parishioner has a right to the consolations of religion when dying regardless of past neglect in supporting his church.
(Rev. Heribet Jone/ Rev. Urban Adelman: Moral Theology, (Precepts of the Church), 1946 edition)
As I spoke about in my stewardship homily I am not asking anyone to give money you do not have. I am, however, and without any hesitation whatsoever, asking you to give the Lord His portion out of what you do have. The Biblical tithe, 10% of one’s goods, given back to God for the things of God (and these as “first fruits”) is the “gold-standard” for stewardship-level giving. I have suggested calculating your own personal tithe-number (10% of your income after-taxes) and comparing that to what you are actually giving as your church-support now. If this sum is lower than your calculated personal-tithe number, then honestly try to move it up in the direction of the “Lord’s portion”.