Saint Rocco, Pray for Us!

10-05-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

This weekend is another special moment in our Parish history and life. At the 4:00pm Mass on this Sat, Oct 6th, we celebrate a special Mass of Thanksgiving for the graces, received through the intercession of Saint Rocco and also pray for our deceased Priests, Volunteers and Benefactors as we mark a close to the “in the field” part of our annual Feast in Honor of Saint Rocco. There is also a Reception to follow at the Guidry Center at Dean College.

We are most honored this weekend that Father Michael Guarino who was the prime mover in establishing this “in the field” Feast and Celebration of Saint Rocco is the Main Celebrant and Homilist at this Mass. We also welcome to the sanctuary Father Stephen J. Linehan who was one of the “curates” (parochial vicars) back 40 years ago when this Feast of Faith and Food began. We also welcome Fr. Frank Campo, a former Parochial Vicar, who obtained for our Parish a special relic of Saint Rocco which we use each year at the Special Healing Mass to offer the final blessing at the end of the Mass and at “in the field” closing prayers. We welcome Father Jack, present Parochial Vicar and also Deacon Guy St. Sauveur, Deacon of our Parish. Our extraordinary Choir, under the direction of “Terry” (Mr. Terrence Kerr) has been preparing to add their glorious voices to our celebration. Indeed, they have prepared a special hymn dedicated to Saint Rocco along with the traditional Feast of Saint Rocco hymn of “Hail Thee Festival Days.” 40 years ago a group of dedicated parishioners and Father Michael began this grand event and through time many, many people have sustained it. The time and circumstances and especially the economy and daily town life of then allowed this great work to happen and now as the economy of two parents working outside the home and town life being different, we will again respond and refresh this Feast with the faith values imbued by Father Michael and the original founders.

Long ago this Feast was started out of a depth of faith and spiritual hope, and not for financial support for the Parish. In his first letter when Father Michael wrote about this Feast of Saint Rocco he informed us of this vision of faith. Beginning this coming August 2019, we continue the traditions of faith started 40 years ago. We will celebrate a Special Mass of Healing and Hope through the Intercession of Saint Rocco, offer the sacramental Anointing of the Sick to all who seek it and then have a wonderful luncheon in our lower church level in our Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Hall. Because we will have the new addition with the elevator and accessible bathrooms with a building which is climate (AC) controlled, we now have a beautiful sanctuary for Mass and building facilities to support all of this. The Statue of Saint Rocco which is presently “in the field” will be moved to outside our new main entrance as a spiritual beacon of hope and faith which will welcome everyone.

It is through the intercession of Saint Rocco that so much healing and hope has been flowing in the hearts and lives of our Parishioners. We thank Father Michael Guarino for beginning this graced Feast of Saint Rocco. We thank all the many Parishioners and Friends who helped through the forty years. May we always continue to honor Saint Rocco in various forms in the years and decades ahead.

We say again: “Saint Rocco, pray for us!”

Father Brian