Advent Special: Daily Mass Project
Guest bloggers: Rose and Dennis Wingfield
Parish: Historic St. Rocco – Cleveland, OH – Third Sunday of Advent – 12p.m.
St. Rocco Catholic Church is the first and oldest Italian Parish on Cleveland’s West Side, founded in 1914. It is known as a “Do-It-Yourself” parish because of the numerous self-building projects undertaken over the years by the parish members, including construction of the current church in the years 1949 to 1952. The craftsmanship is this church is stunning!
The church is named for St. Rocco, the patron saint of the sick, who was especially venerated in southern Italy. The parish was officially recognized in 1922 by the Diocese of Cleveland. In 1924, the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy (Mercedarian Order) was given charge of the parish and remains in their care to this day.
Presider: Fr. James W. Mayer, O. de M., STL
First Reading: Isiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
Responsorial Psalm: Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Gospel: John 1:6-8, 19-28
Homily Reflection: “A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light” (Jn 1:6-8). The task of John the Baptist was to point to Jesus. “When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, ‘I am not the Christ’” (Jn 1:19-20). The Pharisees asked John many times who he was and he repeatedly pointed to Christ.
Fr. Mayer told the story of a Bishop answering a a man who asked, “What is heaven like?” The Bishop responded, “We do not know a lot about heaven but we do know that is not about you. It is about God’s immense love, beauty, and glory.”
Heaven is a model for us on earth. It is not about us. We cannot get stuck on ourselves: our importance, our holiness, or even our unworthiness and sinfulness. Our lives, like John the Baptist, should be pointing to Jesus Christ and His immense love, beauty, and glory. We should be a voice proclaiming the Christ.
Holy Moments: Every Sunday, the noon Mass at St. Rocco is the Traditional Latin Mass. The beauty of this church and the chanting of the choir was a foretaste of heaven. It lifted our hearts to heaven in praise and thanksgiving to God. If you are in the Cleveland area, we highly recommend that you attend Mass at this parish. You will not be disappointed.
The United States Vicariate of the Roman Province of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy is part of an international community of priests and brothers who live a life of prayer and communal fraternity. In addition to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, their members take a special fourth vow to give up their own selves for others whose faith is in danger.
The Order, also known as the Mercedarians, or Order of Mercy, was founded in 1218 in Spain by St. Peter Nolasco to redeem Christian captives from their Muslim captors. The Order exists today in 17 countries, including Spain, Italy, Brazil, India, and the United States. In the U.S., its student house is in Philadelphia, and it also has houses in New York, Florida, and Ohio.
Today, friars of the Order of Mercy continue to rescue others from modern types of captivity, such as social, political, and psychological forms. They work in jails, marginal neighborhoods, among addicts, and in hospitals. In the United States, the Order of Mercy gives special emphasis to educational and parish work.
The spiritual and communal life of the friars include prayer, meditation, Holy Mass, recreation, and apostolate. Their life is based on the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitutions of the Order.
Overall, the Order of Mercy commits itself to give testimony to the same Good News of love and redemption that it has shown since the beginning of its history.