This statue outside the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel surprised me when I first saw it. It took me a while to realize it was a depiction of The Annunciation. Quite a bit different from traditional representations of that amazing moment when Mary said "yes" and true to the surprise she must have felt at the moment.
St. Darerca is said to be the second most popular female saint in Ireland after St. Bridget. She was sister to St. Patrick and had 19 children, many of whom became bishops and saints themselves. She and her children helped St. Patrick evangelize Ireland. They could have made their own congregation!
Not many other specifics are known for certain about her life. I've shown her here with a shamrock on her cowl for each of her children, holding wedding bands for her motherhood and an Irish cross for her evangelizing role with her brother.
Saint Enda was converted from warrior-prince to priest by his sister, St. Abbess Fanchea. He spent his life as a monk, eventually becoming abbot of a monastery on the Aran Islands off the coast of Ireland. These barren islands were chosen because of their inaccessibility and difficult climate. He was a tremendous influence on other Irish saints over history, including our own saints Kieran and Colomba.
The Irish monks on the Aran Islands lived austere lives of poverty, penance and prayer. We need not exactly copy their example, but are nevertheless called to abstain from some pleasures, do penance and pray during Lent.
Classes will begin for the 2019 Annulment Advocate Course in September, but it’s not too soon to consider application for enrollment. Annulment Advocates are trained and deputed by the Diocese of Trenton to help those who wish to obtain a church annulment to file their petition with the Diocesan Tribunal. After recommendation by Fr. Manning and acceptance by the Diocese, candidates will attend classes to understand the grounds for annulling a marriage and the rights and duties of annulment advocates. Advocates generally assist our own parishioners or those from nearby parishes and meet in Holy Cross Parish Center.
The classes will be held beginning in September on Thursday evenings from 7 PM to 9 PM at the Pastoral Center in Lawrenceville. The formation course is 16 weeks long.
Over the years, several annulment advocates have been commissioned for Holy Cross. If you are interested in performing this valuable service of mercy and justice for those seeking annulments and permission to remarry in the Catholic Church, please call Fr. Manning or Lori LaPlante in the Parish Office.
(Church annulments may only be applied for after a civil divorce has been granted. It is an official statement by the church that the proper requirements for either canonical documents or the disposition of mind and heart required for unconditional consent by both parties were not present when the wedding vows were exchanged.)
St. John Nepomucene was martyred on the orders of King Wencelaus IV for refusing to divulge the sins of his wife, the queen confessed in the Sacrament of Confession. He was imprisoned, tortured, burned then thrown affixed to a wheel to drown in the Charles River.
The bridge holds a memorial to St. John, including the spot from which he is said to have been thrown. Touching or rubbing his effigy on the plaque is said to bring good luck, or a guaranteed return visit to Prague. A dog, a sign of loyalty, is also featured in one of the memorial plaques and it too has been burnished by well wishers and luck seekers.
The Seal of the Sacrament of Confession has generally been respected by our nation's laws but due to the recent scandals in the church, is now under attack at the moment in New York State. Please pray we have the wisdom to deal effectively with child abuse without attacking the seal of the confessional.