Architect’s renderings of the final plans for the new church at Saint Mary Magdalene
To learn more about our new building campaign, CLICK HERE
Pictures of the bronze statue of the Virgin Mary. We put it up as a gift opportunity last week valued at $20,000. Yesterday, Ms. Sally Retchless purchased it in memory of her husband Michael who died recently.
Additional Donation Opportunities at Saint Mary Magdalene
Fr. Kelly was given this statue as a gift for his 50th birthday. It has been in his office since he moved into the new office building in 2008.
This statue will be the central focus over the altar in the Day Chapel of the new church. To be able to name this statue for yourself or a loved one, the donation is available for $40,000
The picture is of a Gothic style lectern. It was donated to us by Nancy Clarke. She outbid Fr. Kelly for it in an auction in Jacksonville, and later, in a qualm of conscience, she gave it to SMM. God works in mysterious ways!
This lectern is available for a donation of $25,000 and will be the stand for the proclamation of the scriptures in the Day Chapel.
These are stations of the Cross for the New Church at SMM.
Fr. Kelly bought them recently in Holland. They are due to arrive soon. They are large and very colorful oils on canvas.
The plan is to clean some of them that need it, and to store them safely in an air-conditioned location, perhaps in Fr. Kelly's attic in the rectory. The inscriptions are in Dutch, and Father intends to leave those in place for the sake of integrity and authenticity of the art. English texts will appear close by these stations will be placed at eye level rather than way up on the wall, so that saying the Stations is more pleasant.
Video Link here (Click Aqui): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF9g5ZfO4os
You may download an ACTS Retreat Registration Form Here
Sermon for the First Sunday of Lent
Feb 23rd 2015
The Holy Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert where he encountered Satan, who tempted him. There he dwelt among wild beasts and angels looked after him. A Christian may rightly ask how Jesus could be compelled by God’s spirit to suffer greatly against his will. Then again, in First Peter today, the writer tells us that Jesus went down to Hell after he died on the Cross, there to preach to those in that prison. “Jesus went down to preach to those in prison”. It’s confusing to hear these statements when we normally think of Jesus a miracle worker, a figure with authority, a divine figure who is almighty.
Let me tell you an old story, first heard in Patristic days. It’s a legend and is not intended to replace scripture. But it tells about the amazing lengths to which the Eternal Father will go to save us sinners. It’s a way of explaining the question of how Jesus is compelled to suffer.
This story is often called the “ransom theory”. In this story, Satan has the human race captive after the sins of Adam and Eve. They are prisoners in Hell chained to the wall in the deepest, darkest pit. God tells Satan again and again that he will pay him a ransom for the release of the prisoners. But Satan demands more and more than God offers.
On the earth, God’s spirit drove Jesus into the harsh wilderness to suffer. After death Christ goes down into hell to suffer again. Peter describes the souls who linger in Hell as “souls in prison.” They are like prisoners of war.
Jesus goes into the garden of Gethsemane and suffers so much agony that the angel had to come to comfort him. Then, after he has been crucified, he goes down into the eternal wilderness of Hell. There he seeks out the ones whose salvation could not be achieved without His death and Resurrection.
In Mark 10:45, Jesus said, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Imagine this scene, a great garden, a great park set with ornamental trees and lawns. Hedgerows full of berries and blooming bushes, fragrances of lavender and roses abounding everywhere. The singing of the birds makes it all the sweeter a sight. In the middle of the park is a great oak tree, hundreds of years old, noble and beautiful. Its acorns are golden and its leaves are silver. Its shade comforts the animals and keeps them cool on hot days. Adam and his wife enjoy the fruits of the Creator’s love and affection.
“God’s in his heaven and
All’s right with the world”
Imagine now the great destruction, the takeover of this park by sinister forces and by the darker angels of nature. Adam and his wife are whisked away in shame to the abode of the dead and the gates of Hell slam shut behind them. The thorns pierce those picking the plums and the berries, driving them away. The vines produce no grapes, but they strangle the flowers and the shrubs around them. Crows and rooks and predator birds kill the sweet music. The oak tree still stands, but Spanish moss and strangulating vines are like constricting shackles around him. He is still noble under all the evil vegetation, yet the human eye cannot see his beauty and strength for the wilderness that surrounds him.
In the middle of the garden or park, the Evil One stands laughing at the works of his hands, praising the wild vines and the thorny briars. He has deceived God, taken his children away to Hell and taken over the Garden. When God orders him to give them man and his wife back, Satan snarls, “What price will you pay for them? How much are they worth to you?” He casts seeds of disunity into the rich soil, making plants struggle and fight with each other to get some sunlight. He waters the park with acid rain, poisoning the gentler plants and strengthening the already violent weeds. Oh this is his day! Satan taunts God, refusing all offers for the release of Adam and Eve. “What ransom will you pay for them? God gave him Abel. God gave him Job. God gave him John the Baptist. But the Evil one prefers to keep Adam and Eve chained in Hell. No ransom that God offers will move him.
Then there comes a man from the north of the country. He seems to be able to do some good things and he speaks out against the Lord of Lies. But Satan looks on this carpenter turned preacher with contempt. “I have dispatched greater men than you, preacher! I sent 11 of the 12 prophets to their deaths by arousing the indignation of their own people. I will do the same with you.”
So Satan arouses the ire of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin against the prophet from Galilee and they do what their ancestors had done. They force him into the wilderness and there they nail him to a tree, an oak tree covered by vines and weeds. And the people sneer, “If you are who you claim to be, the Son of God, come down from the Cross. You healed others, now heal yourself.” And the Evil One smiles to see another prophet, another pesky do-gooder dispatched. He claps his claws together and grins with delight.
But then Satan, the Father of Chaos is startled. The man cries out, “Father! Into your hands I commend my Spirit.” The man’s head drops and he is gone. It’s a moment of sheer triumph for Satan; he dominates the world forever and his reign will have no end.
But he has an uneasy feeling inside. There was something familiar about that voice. The weakling had called out “Father” who was he talking to? Could it be that this dead man was calling the King of Creation, the Holy Enemy? But the Arrogant One walks towards the Tree to inspect the body and to gloat. Something in that face stirred a memory of long ago. Blood is trickling down the trunk and dripping into the soil. As the blood reaches the earth, a power seems to take hold of it. His vines and weeds start to crawl and move towards the tree. It’s like a magnet was drawing them to the tree, climbing up the trunk to where the dead man hung. Around his feet they hasten to climb the tree and wrap themselves around the dead man’s body.
As the weeds flee from the garden, the flowers and the roses which had been pushed down and covered in darkness begin to shoot and bud. The dead prophet’s body is hardly visible for the evil and sin that covers it. What had been pure and sinless has taken all the weeds and sins of the garden and they now rest on his shoulders. Satan stands there powerless to stop the denuding of his Kingdom. Sins and evil disappear. He, the man on the Cross, who knew no sin, whose soul was spotless now willingly carries the sins of all the garden on his blood-stained shoulders.
Just then, a messenger comes running up to him. “Master, Master, the Gates of Hell have fallen. A man has smashed them down and he has invaded your kingdom.”
“No Master”, he replies. “It’s true. And what’s worse, he is preaching all kinds of sedition about freedom and goodness. Adam and his wife have escaped. The chains fell off them and they have run away.” He shouts at the Hellish Angel, striking him dead for the message he brought.
Satan’s eyes open wide and horror enters his horrible face. “”He has tricked me!” he shouts. “I have been deceived by the Father of Truth. I have killed the Son of God. I have accepted the ransom for Adam and Eve. How could I have been so stupid not to recognize him.”
God paid for Adam and Eve with the most precious thing he had. Satan was overcome by the breaking heart of God. He had nothing greater to give, God’s generosity knows no bounds, even to sacrificing his Son on a Cross as a ransom for our sins.
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, Our Lord who was conceived by the
Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered
under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell on the third day He arose again
from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the
Right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will
come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the
communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection
of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.