Dear Friends in Christ:
This Sunday we host our annual Parish Bazaar. The history of bazaars, festivals, feasts, fiestas, etc., is actually quite interesting. While many may consider these types of celebrations as merely fundraisers, the actual history is quite different. The idea of a festival extends back to harvest festivals and they actually predate Christianity. These celebrations were practiced in many ancient religions and cultures. The celebrations in Judaism were eventually absorbed and appropriated by the Church. We see the antecedents of our Christian feasts in the various harvest feasts that evolved into religious feasts celebrated in Judaism. There are three major feasts celebrated in the Jewish calendar: Pesach – the Feast of Passover in early Spring; Shavuot – The Feast of Pentecost in late Spring or early summer and Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) in the Fall marking the end of the agricultural year. The Gospels attest that Jesus observed and celebrated each of these feasts. These celebrations were marked with festive meals, gatherings, pilgrimages, and prayers. Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot continue to be celebrated in Judaism to this very day. We continue the religious aspects of Passover and Pentecost in our Catholic liturgical calendar with Easter (Passover) and Pentecost. Most Catholics are familiar with the terms Paschal Feast, Paschal Lamb, Paschal Candle, Paschal season, etc. The word Pascha (Easter) in Greek and Latin (Pascua in Spanish) is derived from the Hebrew word, Pesach (Passover). The Feast of The Transfiguration of the Lord is associated with the Feast of the Tabernacles (Sukkot) because the disciples wanted to build three booths/tents (tabernacles) for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. This year, Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, begins today, October 13, at sunset and lasts until next Sunday, October 20, at nightfall.
For much of the Church’s history Ember Days were celebrated with fasting and prayers to mark each of the four seasons. These days were associated with the harvesting of various crops and aimed to help teach people that all good things come from God. The Fall Ember Days were associated with Michaelmas (Michael’s Mass), the Feast of St. Michael and the Archangels (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael), on September 29. On these days, prayers of thanksgiving were offered and a fatted goose would be cooked and a celebratory Harvest Feast held. This was also a time for the unleavened hosts to be baked that would be used for communion at Mass. It was also a homecoming for many who may have moved away. We can see some of these aspects in our national celebration of Thanksgiving.
Our Parish Bazaar has as its primary purpose the bringing together of our parish community. We gather to work, play, and celebrate together as one great and wonderful family. We have fun and lots of food and hopefully, a day of enjoyment with each other. But the first thing we do is gather together and pray at Holy Mass. That is our great thanksgiving to the Lord. As we gather for food, fellowship, and fun, we are also grateful for all the blessings we enjoy as a parish family, as individual families, and as individuals. As an act of thanksgiving, 100% of the net proceeds from the Bazaar are given away! We do not pay the light bill or salaries or anything else here in the parish with the monies we raise. These funds are designated for our charities. We make grants to the many charitable works that our parish supports. These include feeding the hungry, providing housing for the poor, helping care for the sick, educating children, helping released prisoners re-enter society, assisting victims of crime and violence, protecting the unborn and spreading the Gospel. St. John Vianney parish collaborates with and financially supports more than 30 different organizations each year through our charitable grants. This is in addition to all of the wonderful work done every day by our own Social Services Ministries.
Have a great day! Eat a hot dog, a barbecue sandwich or a pupusa; have some ice cream, play a game of bingo, eat something fried, buy a raffle ticket, watch the kids on the carnival rides, listen to some music, get your face painted, catch up with some old friends and make some new ones!
In pace Christi,