“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” We all know this lovely Christmas song, and we have seen it parodied in back-to-school ads in the summer as parents are happy that their children return to the classroom.
For the Province of Saint Ann, two weeks each summer are the “most wonderful time of the year” because we celebrate the special solemnities of:
our province’s patron saint, Saint Ann on July 26
and our Congregation’s founder, Saint Peter Julian Eymard on August 2.
We mark these special days each year with a novena in New York City at our parish Eglise Saint Jean Baptiste (Roman Catholic Church) and a Sacred Triduum at our headquarters in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, Saint Paschal Baylon, Highland Heights. For Saint Eymard, we usually have a Triduum from July 31 – August 2. This year, in light of the national Eucharistic revival, our province’s Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (CEE) is hosting a Congress you have heard about for almost a year.
During the three days at our national headquarters, we celebrate with a special homilist this year Father Paul Bernier SSS. Beginning on July 24, we focus on the Blessing of Children because, as any grandmother knows, it’s about spoiling the children and letting them know how special they are. Saint Ann, being the grandmother of Jesus, surely spoiled and loved her grandson and gave him much Hebrew wisdom! During this Mass, we will share a special blessing on our children and give them a Saint Ann medal to give protection and guidance.
On July 25, we celebrate the Anointing of the Sick in the Mass. Saint Ann is well-known for healing and intercession for the sick and ailing. While each day we venerate her relic, this day it is especially appropriate to recognize her presence, for the tradition has it that from the healing waters of the one northeast gate in Jerusalem, where Christ cured the afflicted, Ann, Joachim, and Mary lived down the street from the healing waters. The powers of Christ continue now in our midst through the sacrament of the sick and the intercession of Good Saint Ann.
Lastly July 26, we complete the solemnity, the highest-ranking liturgical feast in the Church’s life. We have a candlelight procession with the Blessed Sacrament to highlight this special night. A grandmother proudly shows off her children: we proudly show off the Risen Eucharistic Christ by the extension of this prayer of the Mass and praise, thank, and glorify God by witnessing this Eucharistic life through this procession with a monstrance containing the sacred host of Christ.
Usually, the following week and July 31 to August 2, we celebrate an Eymard Triduum at our headquarters parish. This year, as mentioned above, we have a Eucharistic Congress on August 4 to 6, 2023 for the Eymardian Family and anyone who wishes to “Renew Your Eucharistic Spirituality”, the theme of the Congress. We will have our Blessed Sacrament religious (priests, brothers, and sister) and Associates speaking, including myself. We will take aspects of the Eucharist and reflect upon their importance. We celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharist, and even the new auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland, Michael G. Woost, present to hail the meaning of the Eucharist in our life. There will also be a procession of the Blessed Sacrament to end the event on Sunday, following a gathering of the Associates.
So, summer is no “ordinary time” for us Blessed Sacrament and Eymardian family members. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” for us to enjoy the fruits of Good Saint Ann, our patron, and Saint Peter Julian Eymard, our beloved founder who inspired the development of Eucharistic Congresses so that the Body of Christ could gather with the Body of Christ to live the Eucharistic mystery fully and evangelize the wonders of so great a sacrament to a world in need of nourishment, healing, love, and care.
Please join us in person or on our Saint Paschal Baylon, Highland Heights YouTube Channel.
Meanwhile, we are so grateful for you, our benefactors, and know that I keep you in my prayers each day, especially at mealtime. Let’s continue to pray for each other.
Father John Thomas J. Lane SSS
Province of St Ann Newsletter