In the last few weeks, the friars in Philadelphia have had a number moments of grace. First, there was the Solemn Celebration of the Sacred Triduum. At the Easter Vigil, the parish in Philadelphia received 18 into the Faith of the Church. Beginning on the 3rd Sunday after Easter, the parish also opened its annual observance of the Forty Hours Devotions. We began with a Solemn High Mass, in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Fr James W. Mayer was the celebrant; Fr. Matthew H. Phelan was the deacon; Br. David M. Spencer, was the subdeacon. Following the Mass there were three days of prayer and petition before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. Msgr. Joseph Nicolo was the homilist for all three evenings of Vespers. His theme was on the 'image of God'. What is our image? How do we come to that image? Is our image limited? Are we open to expanding our understanding of God, His love and His mercy? Many of his thoughts and words were provocative, calling forth from us to examine our notions and, perhaps, allow them to be transformed by the words of the Gospel. What better place to have them transformed then in prayer before the Most Blessed Sacrament.
On the final day of 40 Hours, we were graced and privileged with the presence of His Excellency, Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, USA. He spent time with our community and then presided at the Solemn Pontifical Vespers, in the Ordinary Form. The Church was full with the schoolchildren, Third Order, Altar Boys, Bernadette Society, Knights of Malta, Chaplains the Knights of Mercy and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, prelates and priests were in attendance. And, lest we forget, many seminarians from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbrook.
Above: Fr. Matthew chants the Gospel and a familiar blogging face, Philip Johnson,