I want to thank all our parishioners who participated in Founders’ Weekend, celebrating six years of living faith in Jesus Christ here in King of Prussia. The Advent Carols on Friday Evening, the Dinner Dance on Saturday the Mass on SUnday with combined choirs AND those trumpets and trombones and the luncheon afterward. It was a momentous weekend!!! I want to thank my staff for sacrificing so much time and preparation: you are always there when there is a need! I am grateful to Mr. Bill Mentz for orchestrating the music. Job well done! And to all of you who packed the Church on Sunday – THANK YOU.
I am leaving you with my long homily to mark the anniversary:
The shepherd feeds his flock. He gathers the lambs in His arms and leads the ewes with care.
This weekend we celebrate a significant milestone for the community of Catholics in our region. In 1953, the Venerable Pope, Pius XII declared the first Marian Year for 1954 at the end of which Archbishop O’Hara of Philadelphia founded eight parishes! Imagine eight parishes in one year; such was the need for a worshipping people. All these parishes were consecrated to God under a title of the Blessed Mother; ours being Mother of Divine Providence. A rather small but not uneventful shrine in Rome; a copy of the miraculous painting is kept safe here on our Marian shrine for your devotion.
While this church building was not consecrated until 1964, there was at its foundation a living faith that endures to this day- a faith that continues to inspire and radiate itself to others, to the poor, the suffering and to those who are alone. This parish is committed to her school and her religious education program, youth groups and young adult formation programs as an outreach to support and encourage all parishioners in their faith. We are not the perfect community by any stretch. There are many people who have become slothful in their practice and others who have rejected it outright.
But you see, what has happened here. The parish did not begin with this building. The faith was here without a building. The people of this parish built this church as a living testament to their faith, a place made sacred by her anointing with chrism, so that those already faith filled could have a place to worship God.
Without a living faith in the risen Christ, our beautiful church would be a museum, and the wonderful work we do here would lose its soul, leaving only empty space and a lost people. “I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
What we celebrate then, is not a church building or even a parish, what we are celebrating is our life in the Spirit of God, our close encounter with the person of Jesus, our mission to “go out and make disciples.” We are called everyday to become a Church who feeds the flock we find in our neighborhoods, in our schools, and in our marketplaces. And once we find them on the roadside and in the byways, we warmly invite them in to meet the Good Shepherd who is Jesus. This is not an individualistic or relative meeting of Jesus; it is a personal and communal meeting, where, “according to his promise, we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
Once gathered, the people of God cannot be without a shepherd; the role of the priest with the help of his catechists is to serve the unity of the faith and ensure that it is taught according to Church tradition and not to the trends that pass through the night without foundation. We have been formed as a parish to lend each other mutual support in our mission: “Worship God first above all things and then “go and make disciples.” “Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
My dear young people “do not be discouraged by the times in which we live. With the help of God and His abundant grace continue to hope in a better future, despite the difficulties and obstacles which you face every day, especially in the expression of your love for Jesus “and His Holy Family.
“The Catholic Church is with you, “ (Pope Francis, 2014) especially through the invaluable work of our catechists, who offer in various ways, opportunities to see more clearly your education and formation in the faith rooted in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Remember always that God does not forget any of his children, and that those who are the smallest and who suffer the most are closest to the Father’s heart. Remember too, “The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as “good news” to the people of every age and culture (JPII, On the Gospel of Life, March 25, 1995).
Today above all days let us each and as a whole, rededicate ourselves to this living faith that breathes the truth and completed joy into our souls. Let the illumined soul then cry out still to every human being in King of Prussia and beyond: “Go up on to a high mountain, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God!”