A Message from the Pastor : Fr. Pedro de Oliveira
August 12, 2020
Greetings once again my beloved people! First, I want to apologize for not feeding you with a weekly message for a while; It has been a busy summer for both the principal and myself in preparing for the next school year. I will try to be more faithful to writing you more regularly.
I want to first share with you a Spiritual reflection for the Feast of the Assumption of our Lady, which is this coming Saturday, on August 15th, 2020. We will have one mass at 8:30 am in our St. Peters’ church. We are sorry that the beach mass cannot happen this year during these Challenging times. Then I will give the Class of 2020 Confirmation Students , Parents and Sponsors the new updated date for the Celebration of Confirmation.
The Assumption (August 15) refers to the Blessed Virgin Mary being assumed — body and soul — into heaven at the end of her earthly life. “Assumption” is different than “ascension” because one is passive (i.e. one is assumed) and the other is active (i.e. one ascends). It is by the power of God Mary was assumed.
As evidenced by the writings of many early Church fathers, Christians have believed for more than a millennium that the Blessed Virgin was assumed into heaven. In 1950, Pope Pius XII issued Munificentissimus Deus, which officially defined the Dogma of the Assumption. This means that the Church officially recognizes this belief as a true and necessary part of our Catholic beliefs about Mary. Like all beliefs about Mary, they illuminate our most treasured beliefs about her Son. The Assumption illustrates to us the truth about Christ’s promise of eternal life and the resurrection of the faithful.
I want to highlight 3 aspects of this feast of the Assumption and how it applies to our lives:
We celebrate first Mary, the Mother of God, the one whose yes to God led to our salvation. She was blessed above all not just because of her physical relationship with the Lord, but because she heard the word of God, treasured it and put it into practice. The best way we can celebrate her today is to follow her lead, to listen to the word of God, to treasure it, and to put it into practice.
Secondly, we celebrate the reality that heaven exists. Mary shares in the full destiny of the human vocation, to spend eternity in the kingdom of love in heaven. During the Last Supper, Jesus promised us that he was going to prepare a place for us, so that where he is, we also may be, and that he would come back for us. What we celebrate today is that he fulfilled that promise in Mary. The Blessed Mother was taken up body and soul into heaven by God. Hence, this is a unique feast in the Church’s calendar. We celebrate lots of saints throughout the year, who, through the presence of miracles God grants through their intercession and the heroic virtue of their lives on earth, are declared to be in heaven — but only their souls are in heaven, awaiting reunion with their bodies at the resurrection on the last day. With Mary we celebrate that fact for sure, but we celebrate the fact that not only her soul is in God’s presence in heaven, but also her body. Both her soul and her body are experiencing eternal beatitude. Why her body? Because her body never knew sin, so, just like Jesus’ body, it would not know corruption after death.
And lastly, Our destiny is heaven as well, but that involves a choice here. It involves a choice for heaven, for eternity, for God in this life, just like Mary did. It involves saying yes to God’s great love by our responding in love. To choose heaven, eternity and God, we first have to desire heaven, eternity and God. We’ve got to hunger for God and heaven. Mary hungered for heaven. Do we?
The Blessed Mary’s intercession is so powerful. For example, The old sailors used to call Mary, the “Stella Maris,” the star of the sea, because no matter how stormy the seas, she was the morning star on the basis of which they could guide themselves to port . She is our stella Maris, and no matter how stormy the seas we confront are, she’s there to guide us across the ocean of life to that eternal shore which is heaven. May we always follow her lead! Amen!
Update for Confirmandi Class of 2020:
Dear Confirmandi Candidates , Parents , and Sponsors of Class of 2020,
I greet you with the peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ!
Back in the beginning of July, when Governor Murphy permitted outside gatherings of 500 or more, I had hoped that we could have celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation outside; we looked at renting tents but discovered that it was too expensive and many restaurants had already rented them; I also considered the heat and humidity as unpleasant factors; and some families had approached me and informed me that they were taking their needed local vacations. So, I write you at this time to propose you the following date for the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, on Wednesday September 2, 2020, inside St. Peters Church, where the environment will be more conducive to prayer and photographs, and also more comfortable, since the Church will be air-conditioned.
So, I have assigned the St. Peters School Confirmandi Grade 8 class of 2020, for the Confirmation celebration time slot, at 4:00 pm on Wednesday September 2nd, 2020.
And, I have assigned St. Peter’s Parish Confirmandi Religious Ed. Grade 8 Class of 2020, for the celebration time slot, at 6:00PM on Wednesday September 2nd, 2020.
Because we are living in these challenging times of the pandemic, we still have to follow the local officials limited seating capacity for the inside of the Church for the Celebration. Consequently, I ask for your understanding and for your cooperation on this matter, and so I ask each Confirmandi candidate to invite 3 persons to accompany him or herself to the Church celebration of the Sacrament, that is, both of his / her parents, and his /her sponsor for the Sacrament . I assure you that the rest of your families can participate live , through our Parish YouTube livestream channel, that you can find on our Parish website page, which is:
There will not be any rehearsal, but I ask all Confirmandi Candidates and Sponsors to be present in Church a half hour before the Sacrament, so that they be instructed about the details of the ceremony at that time.
I humbly ask any family that has a serious conflict with this updated Confirmation date, to please contact me as soon as possible so that we can make other plans for your family. My personal email is :
I thank you for your cooperation and look forward to celebrate with you the Sacrament of Confirmation on September 2nd, 2020.
Sincerely in the Lord,
Fr. Pedro de Oliveira, OFM Conv.