Dear Parishioners and Friends,
This weekend, as we observe the annual Sunday of the Word of God, a reproduction of the Bible of Borso d’Este is on display in front of the ambo. This Bible is one of the most notable illuminated manuscripts of the Renaissance. It was created between 1455 and 1461 by a team of artists for Borso d’Este (1413-1471, the Duke of Ferrara and Modena. Currently housed in the Modena library, every page of the Bible is decorated with an elegant border of scrolls and other ornaments, surrounding two columns of texts. The margins contain various Biblical scenes often depicting a passage of Scripture found on that page. Scenes are also depicted between the columns of text, usually next to the capital or illuminated letters. It is a magnificent presentation of the Word of God!
The Bible is opened to the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew (“Incipit Evanglium secundum Matheum”). The highly decorated border features images of animals and birds as well as the Nativity of Jesus. A portrait image of Matthew sitting at a writing desk is in the central part of the page. On the right side, the bottom border shows John the Baptist preaching to the people. The original hand-written text in Latin has been replaced in this reproduction with an English translation of the King James Version of the Bible.
When he established the Sunday of the Word of God in 2019, Pope Francis hoped that the Sacred Scriptures of our faith would become more deeply rooted in the lives of Catholics. Lectio divina, a practice that has become popular in recent years, is one way of helping us to hear or read the Scriptures and make them part of our daily lives. The Friars here at St. Patrick-St. Anthony practice it every Tuesday morning by reading and reflecting on the Gospel for the upcoming Sunday. We do this in the context of Morning Prayer. In whatever manner you choose, try to spend time each week with God’s word and allow it to become part of your daily experiences. Borrowing St. Augustine’s phrase, may the “ever ancient” Word be “ever new!”
Moving on, I’d like to inform you that, at the December meeting of our Parish Finance Council, the decision was made to reinstate special collections to help us close some gaps in our operating budget. As I’ve mentioned previously, we end each fiscal year with a gap of approximately $200,000 which we cover by a withdrawal from our investment account. While it has been a standard practice to do so for a number of years, I feel that we should do so with caution. I also believe that we should try, as best as possible, to use the funds that you so generously give each week wisely. However, certain expenses can’t be avoided. For example, heating the church during the cold weather season is quite costly. This past December, the bill for steam was over $7,000. The cost of air conditioning in the summer is just as expensive. In addition, because of the age of our church, ongoing repairs are also necessary.
In light of all this, we will begin to take a second collection (most likely on the first Sunday of the month) to help defray some of these expenses. So, on the weekend of February 4-5, there will be a second collection for the heating of the church.
Finally, I am grateful for your patience as we begin to use the gates of our parking lot once again. It has certainly had its ups and downs – and last weekend’s traffic tie-ups didn’t help – but I am hopeful that things will go more smoothly over the next several weeks. Also, parishioners who use the parking lot regularly are eligible to receive a key card that will let you in and out of the parking lot without having to take a ticket. More information is available elsewhere in this bulletin. The parking lot is a necessary source of funding for us, and we want to use it to our best advantage. But I also want to make it as easy for you to use as possible, so I hope the key cards will be a helpful part of the solution.
Blessings on your week ahead!
Fr. Tim Shreenan, O.F.M.Pastor