Dear friends in Christ,
As the calendar turns to May, as we continue in this glorious Easter Season, our hearts turn to Mary, the Mother of God. I concelebrated a Funeral Mass for a family I know this past week at Saint Agnes Church in Blackwood, NJ, which is now called Our Lady of Hope Parish. I have been reflecting on this title of Mary as we begin this month dedicated to her honor during this Easter Season.
There is a tradition in our Church – picked up by Saint Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises – which contemplated the first visit of our Lord to his Mother on the morning of the Resurrection. Like any faithful son after returning from an arduous but necessary journey, surely Jesus must have gone to see his mother at some point! Of course, such an event is not recorded anywhere in the Scriptures. It must have been an encounter too mysterious to put into words! And yet, at that moment, Mary truly was Our Lady of Hope. It was her steadfast hope – even at the foot of the Cross – which came to be fulfilled on Easter Sunday.
In his masterful encyclical Spe Salvi, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote this beautiful invocation to Mary: “When you hastened with holy joy across the mountains of Judea to see your cousin Elizabeth, you became the image of the Church to come, which carries the hope of the world in her womb across the mountains of history” (no. 50). May each of us imitate Mary and rely on her prayers as we seek to bear Christ, the true hope of the world, in our day.
On a final note, I am happy to announce that the first-annual Saint Francis de Sales Classic, presented by Scott Contractors, will take place on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at the beautiful Liberty Hill Golf Course in Lafayette Hill, PA, recently purchased by the Union League of Philadelphia. All proceeds benefit Saint Francis de Sales Parish and School. If anyone would like to assist with this event, would like to sponsor a foursome for the outing and dinner/auction, or would like to donate an auction item, please let me know!
May God be Blessed!
-Father Eric Banecker