Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
This month of February is dedicated to the Holy Family. This meditation will help to bring to a close all the mysteries of the Christmas season and those periods in the Lord’s life that led to His public ministry. This is an excellent month to entrust our families to the Holy Family and model them after that most perfect of families. We also entrust the Oratory, as a type of family, to the Holy Family. St. John Henry Newman once described the Oratory as a domestic circle, a family. May the Holy Family bless our parishes and inspire strength in all our families.
On Thursday, February 2, we will celebrate the Feast of the Purification or the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord — throughout history, it has been called both names. This feast commemorates the double events that the names indicate, namely the Blessed Virgin presenting herself in the Temple for the purification rituals following birth. Before this, she was considered under the law to be unclean. The feast also celebrates the Lord’s presentation in the temple, where the Gospels recount that dramatic scene with Simeon taking the child and declaring Him to be the Messiah. So in a sense, this feast takes on characteristics of a Feast of both Our Lord and Our Lady.
February 2 is the day in which candles are traditionally blessed. If you would like your candles blessed, please arrive at the evening Sung Mass (6:30 p.m.) at least 15 minutes early and ask a server to place your candles near the altar. These should be in boxes and clearly labeled as to who they belong. Please collect them following Mass.
Lastly, the Oratory had its ordinary visitation by the Apostolic Delegate of the Holy Father in mid-January. This is a routine visit that occurs usually every six years at every Oratory in the world. The Delegate comes to make sure that the house has its own particular rule, follows the rule, has a prayer life consistent with the Oratorian vocation, and is otherwise healthy. Every house is always challenged in some way, as no one is perfect on this side of Heaven. However, the Delegate found our house healthy, consistent with the vocation we are called to live, and faithful to the rule and our prayer life. He challenged us in the promotion of vocations, encouraged us to use a seminary for the formation of our seminarians in the future (as opposed to having them be formed in-house while taking part in the life of the parish as we have done in the past), and encouraged us to be humble in recognizing our limits in what can reasonably do while being a small community. The Delegate generally seemed happy with our progress and was impressed by our parishes. I wanted to relay this good news to you and also encourage you to continue praying for the Oratory and for holy vocations!
I pray you have a good month ahead!