Sunday, May 1oth: Our Scripture study will resume next week with a consideration of the beginning of the Christian life, or what it means to become a Christian. We will meet at 9:30 in the parish hall.
Tuesday, May 5th and Friday, May 8th: There will be no masses Tuesday or Friday next week. Father will be at the regular chapter meeting of the Society of the Holy Cross and a Hope for Children fundraiser event on those days. Prayers for both of these intentions are appreciated..
Saturday, May 9th: Our next Holy Cross field trip will be to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science – specifically the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes! Check out this video, it looks like such fun. To get discounted tickets ($20 as opposed to $29), we will need a group of at least 10. Please let Maggie or the church office know as soon as possible if you’d like to join us as tickets are selling fast! We plan to meet at the church at 11:15am and carpool/ caravan, as navigation and parking can be tricky downtown. We will luncheon at the Museum Cafe, which has a very affordable menu.
Thursday, May 16th: Clergy and lay delegates of the diocese will meet in convention to elect the 7th bishop of Dallas. Please pray for the diocese, for those who will be voting, and for the candidates, Dr. George Sumner, Fr. Leigh Spruil, Fr. Michael Michie and Fr. David Reid.
Sunday, May 17th: The Vestry meeting will be held after mass.
Saturday, May 23rd: Will be our next volunteer day at Services of Hope. Meet at Services of Hope at noon (6540 Victoria Ave., Dallas) or begin with Morning Prayer and Mass at the church at 10:00 am.
Sunday, June 7th: The St. Michael’s Conference begins just over a month from now. Each year there are teens who would like to attend but cannot afford to do so. The weeklong conference, consisting of a fun but intense formation in the faith, costs $335 for each participant. Consider contributing to this worthy cause. Make a check to the Church of the Holy Cross and write “St. Michael’s Conference” in the memo line. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
May 1: PHILIP AND JAMES
Apostles of the Lord, Ss. Philip and James are remembered together because of an ancient church at Rome dedicated to them on this day in the 4th century (the church is now called the Church of the Twelve Apostles). Philip is always listed 5th in the New Testament lists of the Apostles. He was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and seems to have been a friend or relative of Peter and Andrew, who were from the same town. It was Philip who asked the Lord at the Last Supper to show the Apostles the Father, to which Jesus responded, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14.9). Later tradition says that Philip preached the Gospel through Syria, Greece, and Phyrigia, ending his ministry in martyrdom by crucifixion in the city of Hierapolis. This James is called “James the Just” in tradition. He is mentioned by name in the Gospels, but little is said about him. In the Acts of the Apostles and in the writings of St. Paul, James emerges as one of the main leaders of the incipient Church, and as the first bishop of Jerusalem. He is one of the figures called “the brother of the Lord” in Scripture, a title which probably meant that he was a half-brother or cousin of Jesus (as has been explained elsewhere). The first century Jewish historian, Josephus, says that James was condemned by the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem for “breaking the [religious] law” around the time of the procuratorship of Procius Festus, and that James was stoned to death. It is said that as he was dying, he prayed for his murders, after the Lord’s own example, and that he was finally killed by being struck in the head with a fuller’s rod.
May 2: Athanasius of Alexandria
Born about the year 293 in Egypt, Athanasius was a teacher of the faith, a theologian, and Bishop of Alexandria. Because of his dogged opposition to the Arian heretics (who denied that Jesus was God), and because many of the faithful had lapsed into Arianism, the phrase “Athanasius contra mundum” – “Athanasius against the whole world” – came into usage. Athanasius endured exile for his faith numerous times. While in exile, it is said that he lived in his ancestral tomb, and continued to preach and teach, and to govern the faithful from afar. He was present at the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325, where the Catholic faith was vindicated against the Arians, and from which, partly thanks to the devout work of St. Athanasius, we get the Nicene Creed, recited at Mass on Sundays and feasts. Athanasius was a prolific and eloquent writer, and many of his works have survived and are still studied. Notable among them is his work “On the Incarnation of the Word”, a systematic and very accessible exposition of the Christian faith. Beginning in the year 366, Athanasius was able to return to his see, where he was left in peace, there to write and preach and shepherd his diocese until May 2, 373, when St. Athanasius died peacefully in his own home.
May 4: Monica, Mother of Augustine
Most of what we know of Monica comes from her son, St. Augustine of Hippo, who wrote extensively about her in his great spiritual autobiography, the “Confessions”. Monica was born in the year 333 in north Africa, in the town of Thagaste (now called Souk Ahras, in Algeria). She was raised in a Christian family, but early in life married a pagan named Patritius, a government official in Thagaste. Monica’s marriage was neither tranquil nor happy. Patritius seems to have had a violent temper and dissolute habits. Augustine recounts that Monica’s devotion to Christ, her prayer, and her pious habits, deeply annoyed Patritius who, despite his annoyance, held her in a kind of awe. Unhappy wives were even more common in classical antiquity than they are now, owing to the comparatively few liberties they enjoyed in classical culture. Augustine says that Monica exercised a ministry to other wives and mothers in the town of Thagaste, assisting them most profitably by the example of her devotion and patience. Monica and Patritius had three children, of whom Augustine was the eldest. Patritius refused to allow them to be baptized, which deeply grieved Monica. Augustine himself, as a young man, moved away from home and took up with the intellectual avant-garde of his day, an esoteric sect call the Manichees. Augustine also took a mistress, and lived a life of liberal sexual indulgence. All of this deeply grieved Monica, and she shed many tears and prayed earnestly for her son. At one point, Monica sought the advice of a holy bishop, who consoled her with the words “the child of those tears shall never perish.” And it was true. Augustine was eventually converted to faith in Christ, and went on to become arguably the greatest teacher of the Christian faith the world has yet seen since the age of the Apostles. Not only that, but shortly before his death, Patritius himself came to faith in Christ, and received the new birth of Baptism. Monica and Augustine spent the better part of a year together in peace, rejoicing in one another’s spiritual companionship and prayer. On their return journey to Africa from Milan, Monica fell ill and died at the town of Ostia, where she was buried, in the year 387. Her relics were later moved to Rome, and it is recorded that many miracles occurred along the way. Monica was reinterred in a chapel near the high altar of a church in Rome dedicated to Augustine. Monica was a model of Christian virtue, of Christian wifehood, motherhood, and widowhood; it is said that she was twice over the mother of Augustine, because not only did she bring him into the world, but by twenty years of prayer and sorrowful labor, she brought about his rebirth through Baptism into eternal life.
May 5: The Conversion of Augustine
Augustine recounts the story of his conversion in his “Confessions”. After running away from the faith of his mother for twenty years, through her prayers, and through the teaching of St. Ambrose of Milan, he finally acquiesced to the Lord’s call to his heart. In the “Confessions”, Augustine writes: “You, O Lord, pressed upon me in my inward parts by a severe mercy, redoubling the lashes of fear and shame, lest I should again give way, and that same slender remaining tie not being broken off, it should recover strength, and enchain me the faster. For I said mentally, ‘Let it be now; let it be now.’ And as I spoke, I all but came to a resolve. I all but did it, yet I did it not.” And he says that his old thoughts and habits kept whispering to him “Are you going to dismiss us? From this moment we shall never be with you again, for ever and ever. From this moment on you will never again be allowed to do this thing or that.” Finally the crisis reaches a climax, and Augustine can no longer stand it. He curls up under a fig tree and weeps, and hears some children playing a game in a nearby garden, chanting “Tolle lege; tolle lege” (“take it and read; take it and read”). Augustine picks up a copy of Paul’s epistles which he had been studying, he opens it at random and reads “not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Rom. 13.13-14). He understands the Lord to be speaking directly to him, and he goes and asks to receive the sacrament of Baptism.
May 6: St. John before the Latin Gate
On this day we remember the dedication, under this title, of an ancient basilica at Rome: San Giovanni a Porta Latina. The church was dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, who according to ancient sources survived execution near the Latin Gate in the Aurelian Wall (the ancient wall around the city of Rome). The basilica of San Giovanni a Porta Latina was built during the pontificate of Pope Gelasius, about the year 493 AD.
May 7: John of Beverly
John was born toward the middle of the 600’s to parents at the town of Harpham in Yorkshire, England. He was educated by monks at the great abbey at Canterbury, and was himself clothed as a monk, and became a member of the great monastery at Whitby. In 687 he was consecrated bishop of Hexham, and in 705 was appointed to be Archbishop of York, the second ranking see in England. John planted many monasteries and churches, and was renowned for his learning and his sanctity. He had many students and disciples, among whom was the Venerable St. Bede, the great monk and chronicler of the history of the English. John is said to have ordained Bede to both the diaconate and the priesthood. John resigned his see in 717, retiring to a monastery he had planted at Beverly. Devoting himself to prayer and solitude, John died in peace at Beverly on this day in the year 721. His relics were venerated at Beverly, which became a great center of pilgrimage during the middle ages. The monastery and church at Beverly, in consequence of its popularity as a place of pilgrimage, became very large and rich, and a fine gothic church was erected there, beginning in the 13th century. The church remains to this day, dedicated to St. John and St. Martin, and John’s relics are still venerated inside the church, in a tomb in the nave.