Message from Fr. Damian (3/25)
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.
The Feast of the Annunciation
My first image of the Annunciation probably came from one depicted by Fra Angelico.
It’s all so beautiful...there’s a certain stillness to it, the angel is giving his message...he looks pretty calm...And Mary looks like a grand lady in a medieval home, receiving an expected visitor. I guess the message says this is how things were meant to be. There’s no sense of drama or uncertainty.
I don’t want to be too critical of Fran Angelico, at the time they didn’t know anything about biblical archaeology or the clothing or the customs of the time. Indeed Mary is pictured in the clothes of her own age. She sits in a house whose architecture would be familiar to all the observers.
What seems strange to me in this century was absolutely familiar to the people of the time. They weren’t saying “this isn’t historically accurate”! They saw the message of the angel Gabriel being made in their own time, this made it all real to them.
Last year, I got a chance to visit Nazareth in Galilee. There’s a beautiful church there dedicated to the Annunciation, built over the ruins, the remains of Mary’s house. This is the place where we believe the Annunciation took place. It’s interesting that in some of the other biblical sites and churches there is a lot of noise and sometimes it’s not as inspiring as you might imagine it to be.
In Mary’s home, however, there is a profound silence. It’s an not uncomfortable silence but a consoling one. People spontaneously fall to their knees as they approach the door to the home, this is where Mary said yes. This is the place where she conceived of the Holy Spirit...and in truth this is the place where the word became flesh...in the womb of Mary.
This is the place where God reaches into history to save us... not from a distance or high above the clouds, but with true love and sacrifice and mercy and sweat and tears and laughter and joy and hope. The God who came to us 2000 years ago has not abandoned us. He is still with us and he will use us as instruments of mercy salvation.
In more recent years, I found another image of the Annunciation which at first I couldn’t make much sense off. The angel isn’t really that obvious. It took me a while to recognize what was going on. Mary looks frightened and bewildered. The message tells us that Mary was greatly distressed and troubled but she trusted in God. She gave a generous yes.
Lord in these times of distress and uncertainty, we are troubled and bewildered. We know you are with us, using us as your instruments of mercy and grace. We place all our trust in you.
With Love and Blessings,
A Coronavirus Prayer
Please pray this prayer along with us daily
Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages "curing every disease and illness." At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.
Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.
Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbors from helping one another.
Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.
Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages "curing every disease and illness." Come to our aid now, that we may experience your healing love.
Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.
Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.
Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.
Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.
Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.
Jesus Christ, heal us.
Watch Father Damian and/or Fr. Will every weekday at 12 Noon, Saturdays at 5PM and Sundays at 10:30AM for mass in St. Catharine Church on live stream
These masses are not open to the public
Please join Sr. Carole on live stream each Monday and Wednesday at 4PM to pray the rosary.
This week she will be praying the Joyful mysteries
Stations of the Cross
Virtual Stations of the Cross will take place Fridays at 7PM.
215 Essex Avenue
Spring Lake, NJ 07762
The total collection for this past weekend (electronic & mailed) was $8,430
Although we are not currently hosting public masses, we are doing our very best to maintain a community for our parishioners and friends.
If you are able, please maintain your contributions to the parish. Donations can be mailed, given electronically, or dropped off in the free standing mailbox outside the rectory offices.
This will help us continue to pay our staff, who continue to work, and maintain vital programs and operations.
More information on electronic giving can be found
or by contacting Lisa Cole at
Request From The Pope
The pope has requested all Christian communities to join in praying the Our Father together at noon on Wednesday, March 25, which on the Catholic calendar marks the Feast of the Annunciation.
Prayers From Sr. Carole's Class
Please help us "Passover" the corona virus it is world challenge that you want to face head on and we love you God and always protect us.
Pray as you go is an amazing resource while you are at home or out for a walk. They have a new series specifically for our "new normal" and the challenges we are facing.
Check it out
If you know of any more please let us know and we'll add to the list
Attention Senior Citizens
The following stores have hours just for senior citizens.
Stop & Shop- Neptune (6am-7:30am)
Whole Foods- Wall (8am-9am)
Target- Ocean (8am-9am)
Acme- Wall (7am-9am)
BJs Wholesale- Oakhurst (8am-9am)
Send Us A Family Picture
As I'm sure you can imagine, saying mass in an empty church isn't that easy. We want all of you to be with our priests at mass.
Please send in a family picture (at least 8x10) and we'll put them on the pews for mass. Printing it on regular paper is perfect, we just want you with us.
Pictures can be mailed to the rectory at 215 Essex Avenue Spring Lake, NJ 07762 or dropped in the mailbox outside.
If anyone is in need of spiritual, emotional or psychological help getting through this difficult time please feel free to call Fr Padovani on his emergency line 609-298-8457
and for more information and helpful videos please go to Fr Padovani's website
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on Wednesday, March 25 at 11:50AM