Feb 2, 2014

St. John the Evangelist parishioners reminded that Jesus is ‘the light’



(Photo by Sharon Roulier)

Staff report

AGAWAM – You could honestly say that they were all fired up for Mass at St. John the Evangelist Parish here the morning of Feb. 2 --- the candles that is.

Celebrating the Blessing of the Candles during the 10:30 a.m. Mass, Father Tomasz Parzynski and his parishioners marked the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The feast day, which commemorates 40 days after the birth of Jesus, is also known as Candlemas Day. To symbolize the light that is present through God, the liturgy includes the blessing of and processing with candles.

During the processional, Father Parzynski invited children in the congregation to gather with him to light a candle, which he then blessed.

“This specific liturgy of this Candlemas feast, the blessing of candles, is not as widely celebrated as it should be,” Father Parzynski said during his homily, “except, of course, whenever February second falls on a Sunday and takes precedence.”

The feast was first observed in the Eastern European church as “The Encounter.” In the sixth century, it began to be observed in the west. In Rome, it was marked with more penitential character. In France, it was a day for solemn blessings and processions of candles.

Father Parzynski encouraged parishioners to be reminded that Jesus is “the light” during moments of distress, false accusation, illness, or economic problems.

“Light a candle at home while you are praying,” he said. “It will remind you that God is always present and he is there to light the way.”

The Presentation of the Lord concludes the celebration of the Nativity and church events now point toward Easter.