Week of March 13, 2022

A Note From Fr. Timothy

“Sunday of Orthodoxy”

The history of the Church is, unfortunately, not very well known by most Catholics. It is never taught in public schools and rarely touched upon in Faith Formation classes. It is easier and more popular to have a Bible study than a study of Church history. Even if someone was fortunate to have a class in it at a Catholic High School, since Church history covers so many centuries and topics, it is nearly impossible to cover everything with the depth it deserves. Yet we are people rooted in Faith and Tradition, so our history should be important to us. The Catholic Church as founded by Jesus Christ cannot change its core beliefs or teachings. Some of the externals in the way things look or the words we use might change, but the fundamental substance remains the same.

Learning our history and being connected to our past supports and strengthens us as we move forward into the future. If we are unaware of our history and what has been handed on to us, how could we remain faithful to it? Sometimes it feels like many Catholics believe Church history begins with Vatican II. That Council, however, was a continuation and extension of what the Church has always taught and believed and must be viewed in that context of continuity with all of history.

Part of my duty as pastor is to teach, so I occasionally will touch on Church history topics in homilies and bulletin articles. Hopefully, it helps you connect with a Church that is bigger than any one of us, and bigger than any one generation, but extends to all peoples of all ages. I encourage you to delve into the history of the Church and its saints, and come to see how God has continued to work throughout history to reveal himself to us for the glory of his name and the salvation of souls.

“Orthodox Sunday” or “Sunday of Orthodoxy” is a celebration of the defeat of iconoclasm (when certain ecclesial and imperial authorities sought the removal of sacred images from worship and the destruction of those images). It is celebrated primarily by those who follow the Byzantine Rite (both Catholic and Orthodox). Orthodox Sunday commemorates the Synod of Constantinople which was called to begin on March 11th, 843 to bring peace to the issue after the death of the last iconoclastic emperor. The synod decreed a perpetual memorial be observed each year to rejoice in the saints and acknowledge the integral role that icons have for faith and devotion. This year it is observed on Sunday, March 13th.

As Latin Rite Catholics we do not have quite the same emphasis on icons as our Byzantine Rite brothers and sisters do, but icons and statues and imagery still plays a major role in our faith and devotion as well. We do not worship the icon, but God who created all things, and we venerate the image remembering that God chose to bring salvation to us through the incarnation of his Son. The Knights of Columbus and St. Joseph Church, Waite Park are hosting a Pilgrim Icon Program of St. Joseph on the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19th at 1pm. Everyone is welcome to join us for prayer and devotion to St. Joseph, that like him we may have the courage to stand up and carry out our mission of protecting, defending, and raising future generations. I hope to see you there.

Fr. Timothy Gapinski