After Christmas comes the season of resolutions, and about these we really can be too skeptical. Resolutions open a window onto the longings of the soul, often ignored in the workday world. They therefore demand respect in their own right, quite apart whether or not they are actually kept.
If we were to make a shared, parish-wide resolution for 2017, what might it be? Perhaps your answer to this question will reflect what you think we should have learned from 2016. We may take a long time, though, to boil that wisdom down to usable initiatives. In the meantime, St. Paul’s words to the Philippians may be on target.
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is honorable ,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence,
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
What we ponder shapes us. Recent times have taught us to be wary of ingesting toxic food and drink and thereby jeopardizing the healthfulness of our bodies. Do we get that words and images also make over our character in their image. So what has been our intellectual and spiritual diet of late? Can we resolve to improve it for the well being of our mind and imagination?
I propose nobility as a word for 2017 – noble objects, noble literature, noble thoughts, noble intentions, all begetting noble deeds and noble selves.
New Year’s Peace!
For New Years’ weekend, we will have our regular Mass schedule:
Mass and Confessions at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer
869 Lexington Ave (at 66th), New York, NY, 10065
Saturday Vigil: 6:00 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am, 12:00 pm, 6:00 pm
Saturday: 5:00 pm–5:50 pm
Sunday: 5:30 pm
Mass and Confessions at the Church of St. Catherine of Siena
411 East 68th Street, New York, NY, 10065
Saturday Vigil: 4:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am, 5:00 pm
Saturday: 3:00–3:50 pm
On Thursday, January 19 at 7 pm, the Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena will host a lecture by Dr. Christopher Ruddy of the Catholic University of America titled “That The World May Believe: Christian Unity and Evangelization.” An expert on Ecclesiology, Vatican II, Ecumenism, and the relationship of Christianity and culture, Dr. Ruddy’s lecture will explore why ecumenism is a worthwhile enterprise, and how one may contribute to this work. The lecture will take place in the Parish Hall at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer (869 Lexington Ave, New York, NY).
The lecture will be preceded by a Votive Mass for the Unity of Christians celebrated at 6 pm at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer.
For more information, contact Fr. Innocent Smith, o.p.
On Friday, January 20, 2017 at 7 pm, the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer (869 Lexington Ave., New York, NY) will host an evening of Lutheran–Catholic Prayer focused on the theme Music and Christian Unity.
Pastor Gregory Fryer of Immanuel Lutheran Church will speak on the topic “Music as Handmaid of Theology.” Fr. Innocent Smith, o.p. of the Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena, will speak on the topic “Music as Instrument of Tradition.” Mr. James Wetzel, Organist and Director of Music at St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena will play organ pieces from the Lutheran and Catholic traditions by Mendelssohn, Bach, and Messiaen:
- Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) — Overture from Saint Paul, Op. 36 (trans. William Thomas Best (1826-1897)
- Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) — Prelude and Fugue in E Flat Major, B.W.V. 552, “St. Anne” from Clavier-Übung, Part III
- Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) — Apparition de l’église éternelle
For more information, contact Fr. Innocent Smith, o.p.
Download the PDF version of the poster.
On January 23, 2017 at 7 pm, an evening of Orthodox–Catholic Prayer for Unity and Life will take place at the Church of St. John Nepomucene (411 East 66th St., New York, NY).
The evening will consist of praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Akathist for the Unborn as well as talks by Metropolitan Tikhon, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and Sr. Virginia Joy of the Sisters of Life, a Catholic religious order dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of every human life.
The event is sponsored by St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, the Parish of St. John Nepomucene and St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, and the Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena.
For more information, contact Fr. Innocent Smith, o.p.
For a PDF of the poster, click here.
Funeral Information for Rev. John P. McGuire, O.P. (1943–2016)
4:00-9:00 pm, Monday, January 2, 2017
St. Joseph’s Church in Greenwich Village (371 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY)
Mass of Christian Burial
10:00 am, Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Church of Saint Vincent Ferrer (869 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY)
Christmas serves up a feast of preaching in which the words of clergy figure only as a side dish. Consider how eloquently the music of the season ponders the mystery of the Incarnation: Christmas carols join play to doctrinal sophistication, saucing instruction with delight. Think too of how
adroitly the creche persuades with its wordless oratory.
Each of us also preach Christ as we make our love tangible to people in the gifts we select, wrap, and deliver. In our decorated homes our loved ones find welcome and safety, and from our abundant tables they derive well-being that will carry them through winter. By card, call, or computer we put new life into old relationships. In all of this activity we echo the message of the Christmas Gospel.
Without words the Christ child tells us we are as safe in the Father’s care as He is in Mary’s. As we extend ourselves this Christmas we show this promise to be reliable as a basis for living in the
If you are visiting our parish we hope that you find evidence in our celebrations that the
Incarnation of the Lord continues to inspire and shape people in our time.
In what we hear and say, give and receive; in how we welcome and are welcomed, may we
experience the most eloquent of seasons.
Each year from January 18–25, the Church encourages all Catholics to unite their prayers for the unity of the Church and the unity of Christians. In January 2017, the Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena will offer the following opportunities to pray for unity among Christians:
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
7:30 pm: Holy Hour for Christian Unity — Church of St. Vincent Ferrer
Thursday, January 19, 2017
6 pm: Votive Mass for Christian Unity — Church of St. Vincent Ferrer
7 pm: Lecture by Dr. Christopher Ruddy (Catholic University of America): “That The World May Believe: Christian Unity and Evangelization” — St. Vincent Ferrer Church Hall
Friday, January 20, 2017
7 pm: Lutheran–Catholic Prayer: Music and Christian Unity: (led by Pastor Gregory P. Fryer and Fr. Innocent Smith, O.P.) — Church of St. Vincent Ferrer
Monday, January 23, 2017
5:15 pm: Mass of Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life — Church of St. Catherine of Siena
7 pm: Orthodox–Catholic Prayer for Unity and Life (with talks by Metropolitan Tikhon, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and Sister Virginia Joy, S.V.) — St. John Nepomucene Church — 411 East 66th St., New York, NY
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
6 pm: Mass for the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul — Church of St. Vincent Ferrer
Those familiar with the devotion we call “the Angelus” will recognize the collect, or opening prayer for this Sunday.
Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord,
your grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son
was made known by the message of an Angel,
may by his Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of His Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the
one God, for ever and ever.
Grace holds this prayer together. The flesh taking of Christ, His fleshly death on the Cross, and the
glorification of that same flesh each constitute a favor, or gratuity, on the part of God: at Christmas and at Holy Week we celebrate gifts received, not rights won. To leave things here would make us grateful spectators of God’s unfolding kindness, but in fact He has made us partners in it.
At Christmas we perceive the Infant Jesus as God’s tender and adorable present, then in the
Crucifixion we behold the same gift, as He allows His son to undergo the Passion. But joined to God’s gift is the gift Jesus makes of Himself with all His adult freedom. In him the loving intent of God has begotten a completely harmonious will-to-give in a human being. Thus the incomparable grace of eternal life can claim a divine and human root, and this reveals the dignifying purpose of God making us
What God does with the humanity of Jesus, He intends to accomplish also with ours. As you hear the Christmas story again this year, you will see the plan at work already in Mary and Joseph. Indeed, each
member of the Holy Family features as God’s willing collaborator in the extraordinary work of the
redemption. So for ourselves we may surely celebrate the truth that Jesus has come as a gift that we might ourselves become a gift alongside Him, as God will direct. The result is real lives lived beyond contract and beyond job description, at home and at work.
Thus the “gratuity” in grace means more than a kindness received. As the prayer suggests, grace enters us and reorients the whole of our character. We are to take our conscious place in God’s economy of gift. There is no moment of life in which we are not recipients of God’s life-giving love and sustenance, but we are also able to relay this favor to others in very specific ways and these patterns of service not only give us the
satisfaction of virtue, which is real, they also fit us for heaven. God’s renovation of us has this eternal purpose; that He does not simply let us into heaven as a kindness, but through His sanctifying work, we become
genuinely comfortable in that place beyond imagining.
We treat the gift-giving of Christmas as an annual splurge but actually its the most real time of the year. This feast opens up a window onto the true state of our affairs. The transactional economy of earning, paying, and dealing, shows itself to be illusory, even though it preoccupies us much of the time. Here is the lesson learned by Ebenezer Scrooge; he discovered the goodness in Christmas, and Christmas laid bare the goodness in him.
I hope that all of this teaching takes visible shape in the creche at the Holy Name Altar in St. Vincent Ferrer. The infant lies directly under the image of His presentation in the Temple, as rendered in the triptych. Joseph and Mary, having received Him as a gift make of Him a gift. Below, on the face of the altar, the crown of thorns manifests the implication of that gift.
This year, may we each grow closer to the economy of gift, and to the discovery of our truest selves.
Have blessed days of preparation.
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Mass of the Vigil with Carols at 4:00 PM – St. Catherine
Sung Mass of the Vigil at 6:00 PM – St. Vincent
Christmas Lessons and Carols at 9:00 PM – St. Vincent
Solemn Mass During the Night at 9:30 PM – St. Vincent
Midnight Mass in the Dominican Rite at 12:00 am – St. Catherine
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Mass at Dawn at 8:00 AM – St. Vincent
Sung Masses During the Day at 10:00 AM – St. Vincent & St. Catherine
Solemn Mass During the Day at 12:00 Noon – St. Vincent