Fr. J.J.’s Jottings

NO 12:15 or 5:00 p.m. Mass Next Weekend!!

   Next weekend at Jaycee Park (Between Rochester and John R on the north side of Long Lake Rd.) we are going to celebrate our annual Parish Picnic from 12:15 – 4 p.m. We will celebrate Mass at the Park, so bring a lawn chair to sit on. Bring also a disposition to have fun. There will be hot dogs, games, face painting, and prizes. We will share the event with our “collaboration partner” St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Let’s make sure that we live up to St. Anastasia’s reputation for hospitality. You can make some new friends in the process and witness Fr. Moses’ first ever water balloon toss!! See you there.

   This Friday, June 28 our parish celebrates 45 years of serving Jesus. I think both Cardinal Dearden (who founded the parish) and Fr. Davidson (our first pastor) would be proud of what we have become! Before any permanent structure was created, we started by celebrating Masses in both the Susick School Gym and in Troy Union School. While there have been two other St. Anastasia churches built on two sites, the present church was built and dedicated in 1980. To commemorate our anniversary, we will be decorating our church’s façade in a unique manner.

How? An image of our patroness St. Anastasia (and another sign indicating who she is) will hang on two pillars outside the entrance of the church. We will bless them after the 9:30 a.m. Mass this Friday. I have been working on these for several years along with the help of Chris and Jack Broses. The figure I created of St. Anastasia is portrayed with her being consumed by flames (with an expression of peace and contentment because of her faith) and each of the signs are surrounded by Christian symbols on all four corners.

St. Anastasia was a martyr who died in her 20’s in the year 304 A.D. She was a Roman nobleman’s daughter who married a pagan. Having discovered her acts of piety and that she was a Christian, he moved from being a loving husband to a cruel tyrant. He confined her to the house, and treated her like a slave. Having been appointed by the emperor as ambassador to the King of Persia, he gave orders to his servants that they should maltreat his wife during his absence and that there should be no fear if she would be found dead upon his return. Ironically, it was he who met with an untimely death upon his journey. St. Anastasia is therefore the patroness to widows. She is also patroness of those who drink potions (Her intercessions are credited with the protection of the faithful from poison and other harmful substances. Notice too, the bottle she holds in her icon and in the stained glass in the chapel) and of weavers (Why? I do not know).

Free from her husband’s control, St. Anastasia then ministered to Christians who suffered under Emperor Diocletian’s persecutions. She carried out acts of charity and helped prisoners jailed for being Christian endure their sufferings, curing their sores and injuries and bringing them food. She used to pay the jailers in order to carry out her merciful service. She was arrested and both the Prefect and the Emperor unsuccessfully attempted to convince her to abandon her religion and sacrifice to pagan gods. They imprisoned her and tried to starve her. After surviving shipwrecks, other challenges, and converting many prisoners, she was sentenced to death and was executed by being burned to death.

After hearing her story, you may understand better the 8 Christian symbols I chose to surround the signs. The four that surround her image symbolize the saint herself: 1) a bottle of poison (patroness of those who drink potions); 2) hands holding prison bars (because of her ministry to prisoners); 3) a palm branch (a symbol of Christian martyrdom); and 4) the empty tomb on Easter (Anastasis means Resurrection in Greek). The four that surround the wording of her name are symbols of what happens in our building: 1) The Davidson cross (which is a symbol of all of us connecting our cross to Christ’s); 2) The Scriptures (one of the ways we are fed during the Mass); 3)The elevated Eucharist (the source and summit of why we come to the church); and 4) The Holy Spirit (covering all of the other sacraments that take place in the church). Enjoy.

God bless,
Fr. J.J.