1000 East Maple Avenue
Mundelein IL 60060
EASTER SUNDAY 2016
Very dear Stigmatine Lay Member,
The Stigmatines have three major community liturgical celebrations: January 23rd; the feast of the Hoy Souses, Mary and Joseph – June 12th, the Solemnity of the canonized Founder – and the Friday after Mercy Sunday, the Feast of the Sacred Stigmata [this year, it is commemorated on April 8th].
As we are soon to remember the last mentioned, the Sacred Stigmata are remembered on Good Friday, as a major cause of our Lord’s death. They are also remembered on “Mercy Sunday’, as the Gospel is on the wounds of Christ retained in His risen body, the source of the Church’s Apostolic Mission of Mercy.
Over the years, this liturgical commemoration has moved around a little in the calendar of the year, due to the number of elements the community wanted to commemorate in its celebration:
- Before the IInd Vatican Council, the usual celebration was on the Friday before Lent – this was preceded by a Novena of prayers among the Stigmatines. This led to the comment of my old Novice Master, Fr. John B. Zaupa, our only Father General who served as Fr. General for three terms: in Rome, spring comes once the three Novenas are completed: the one for Christmas; then, the Novena for the Espousals day in January- and then the Novena in preparation for the Last Friday before Lent. This led to the old saying among the Stigmatine community “old-timers’ regarding this feast celebrated on a Friday:
In Chiesa, Grande Festa –
In refettorio, feria Sesta!
[This meant: in Church we had a great a joy-filled celebration – but in the refectory it would still be Friday!]
- The present placing of the Feast of the Stigmata in the Easter time remembers this revelation of the Mercy of God – but a Friday was chosen, that we never forget the sorrowful side of these two aspects, both sorrowful and glorious.
As in the Eucharist, we pray with the Church each day: Say only the Word and my soul will be healed. She learned from Isaiah 53:5, that the wounds inflicted on the mysteries Suffering Servant would be instruments of our healing!
The accompanying document is an excerpt from the introduction to my study Stimmate Integre, in which I offer a few reflections on the feast of the Sacred Stigmata, and in general on the Stigmatine Charism.
A blessed Easter time and feast of the Sacred Stigmata to all!
Sincerely, in the Sacred Stigmata of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS
Acting Spiritual Director
P.S.: I take this opportunity to let you know I will be participating in a Symposium on Father Cornelio Fabro, CSS, in the Catholic University of America, in Washington D.C., on April 1st – 2nd, 2016. For further information, this is the web-address: http://www.corneliofabro.org.
Appendix I: “A Few Reflections on the Feast of the Sacred Stigmata”, by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS – 2000.