By Bruce A. Tomaselli
The change in temperature was very recognizable last night, noted Bishop Mark L. Bartchak at the 52nd Annual Family Marian Celebration held on October 6 at Saint Benedict Parish in Johnstown. “I had to close the window and put on another blanket.”
As he continued with his homily, he said there are other actions to which we must attend. “We must put our faith into action. “Faith is just not something we believe, it needs to be passed on in the way of good works. It is a theological virtue in our hearts, minds, and souls, but it is also real truth, truth we must put in practice.”
Bishop Mark reminded that the Blessed Virgin Mary, never hesitated when she was told she would bring Jesus incarnate into the world. Her response was a deep act of faith. She put her trust in God.
The theme for the celebration was “Mary, Advocate for Miracles.”
Bishop Mark was the principal celebrant of the Eucharistic Celebration and recitation of the Rosary. Father David Peles, pastor of Saint Benedict Parish, was the host and concelebrated the Mass.
There was a big crowd for the annual event along with many priests, deacons, and religious of the diocese. The Diocesan event was planned by the Marian Celebration team.
The recitation of the Rosary preceded Mass. Each of the Five Mysteries were led by the Very Reverend Anthony Francis Spilka, OFM Conv., Deacon Gary Gill, Father Antony Sudherson, HGN, Karen Janosik, and Deacon Chris Conner. Also participating were the Saint Benedict combined adult choirs, Ora et Labora Ensemble, arranged and directed by Jerene Philibin. Joseph Gaunt directed and played keyboards. The Knights of Columbus and The Legion of Mary took part in the celebration.
The Lord spoke of faith the size of a mustard seed in the Gospel reading of Saint Luke, 17:5-10. Said Bishop Mark, “When the Lord responded to the Apostles, who asked Him to increase their faith,” he replied, ‘If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.'”
The Bishop said there is nothing wrong with asking for more faith. “We must nourish our faith with the Word of God. Our faith is rooted in the sacraments. Faith, hope and love are gifts from ur God.”
We all have moments when we sit around and think about how little we have in the way of things. The Bishop reminded, “We should be rejoicing for all we are given by God in the way of faith. God’s merciful love is always available to us. When the gifts are brought to the Altar today think of what you want in the way of faith, and ask the Lord to increase our faith. Ask Our Lady of the Holy Rosary to strengthen our faith.”