Mater Dei Music Ministry - The Music of Fr. Charles and Laurie Mangano

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Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.   And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."  And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

"Glory to God in the highest
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

 
We pray God's choicest blessings come upon you and your family this Christmas.  May you have a blessed and holy new year.
 
 ~ Father Charles and Laurie ~
 
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December 12, 2020
 
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Praised be Jesus Christ. I write this letter to you on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, our merciful and loving Mother. It feels so good to connect with you; it has been a while.
 
The last time I wrote to you I was living home, taking care of my mother and father full-time. I was there for two years and what a blessing that was. This past September 1, 2020 the Bishop assigned me full-time to a parish - Our Lady of Lourdes in West Islip. The people in the parish have a beautiful faith in the Lord. They hunger for Jesus. The Pastor, staff and parishioners have welcomed me with open arms which has brought me much joy. It is wonderful to be in full-time ministry again. Going back into the parish as an associate pastor affords me the ability to still assist with the nighttime care of my parents. All my siblings have been wonderful as we share the responsibility. Mom and Dad are doing well considering their age, but as we watch their decline, it is so difficult. I cherish each day with them, and I thank God for His mercy to us.
 
Covid has been an exceedingly difficult time for many and considering this, I would like to share what Our Lady of Guadalupe said to Juan Diego in the apparition of 1531. It is so beautiful and has always touched my heart, and it truly applies to us today. "Hear and let it penetrate into your heart, my dear little son, let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you; let nothing alter your heart or your countenance (face). Also, do not fear any illness or anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?"
 
When we read this, it sounds so beautiful but we can think to ourselves, can Mary really be serious? There is much that I need and struggle with. She obviously wants Her love and Her Son's love for us to be our refuge. In Medjugorje our Lady says, "If you knew how much I love you, you would weep for joy."  Whatever comes our way in life, our Heavenly Mother will always be with us, to help strengthen our faith in Her and Her Son's love. One of my favorite scriptures is when St. Paul says, I ran the race and I kept the faith until the end.
 
This time of Covid has made me question:  What is the depth of my faith; is it firm faith?  Is the Lord really the rock in my life? Is He really my everything?   Is He your ROCK? Is He your EVERYTHING? The Scripture that comes to mind when I say this is Habakkuk 3:17-19 which says: "Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will exult in the God of my Salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer and makes me tread upon the heights." The scripture writer is telling us that we are to rejoice in the Lord even when everything is going wrong and even when there seems to be nothing visible to rejoice in Him about.
 
Though things might be difficult for us right now, can we still rejoice in the Lord? Someone can only rejoice in the Lord in times of great distress if the Lord was their rock and their everything before the distress hit. But it is never too late to ask the Lord to be our rock, to be our everything! I find that this must be a daily asking. Our cause to rejoice is that the Lord loves us and is with us in and through everything in our life. He is the only CONSTANT in our lives. Everything and everyone are transitory in our lives. This pandemic drives home that point. St. Paul reminds us that our citizenship is in Heaven; it is not here. This truth alone points us to asking the Lord to be our everything now!

None of us knows what the future holds, but what we know for certain is that for those of us who believe that God is in love with us (according to Saint Catherine of Siena the great Mystic and Theological Doctor of the church) are confident that He will not abandon us in our trials and sufferings. Many may fall away and lose their faith in the midst of the trials, discomfort and suffering caused by this pandemic. We pray for them every day. I think we are all being faced with the challenge of asking some important questions: Is my delight and trust in the very things that I have grown accustomed to such as eating what I want, going where I want and when I want and doing what I want? I find for myself that this has been a time of deep purification of my heart and soul so that I can be more deeply united to God my Father, Jesus my Brother and the Holy Spirit my Consoler. Jesus tells us, what good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul in the process? One might say, I am not trying to gain the whole world, I'm just trying to keep my job or my business so I can provide for my family. I also want to be able to spend time with all my loved ones. Those seem to be reasonable desires and they are, but do we believe that even in the midst of these struggles, God can accomplish His will in our lives and attach us to Him and Him alone?
 
Yet, when we are faced with unforeseen difficulties, where do we go? The first place must be to the Lord to express to Him all our worries, anxieties, anger or fear. It is close to the heart of Jesus and Mary that we will find (and I am finding) the inner strength to walk on the troubled water with deep faith trusting that the Lord brings all things unto the good for those who love Him. In the Scriptures St. Paul said you must suffer for a time but the Lord will bring you to glory.  As I said earlier, we do not know what the future will bring, but if it were to bring more suffering, let us face it holding the hands of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Our suffering does not have to weaken our faith but rather strengthen and fortify it. The more the Lord becomes our everything, the more secure we will be in His love for us, and we will find ourselves rejoicing because we are not an abandoned people. I pray that this time of Covid is making you and me into the saints He wants us to be.
 
Regarding our nights of recollection, four have been canceled and will be rescheduled once we get through Covid. I pray in the meantime that our music has strengthened your faith in God who is closer to you than your very breath. Some people have reached out to me and shared how our music has been a source of great comfort for them. Needless to say, leading souls to Christ brings me great joy for this is the whole purpose of our music ministry. Know that I am deeply grateful for all your support through these years. One day we will be evangelizing through song again and will be able to gather together and give praise to the Lord.
 
Each Advent I offer a Mass for all those who have shared their time, talent and treasure with our music ministry. Please know that you will be prayed for in a special way.  
 
Peace and blessings,
Fr. Charles Mangano
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On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception our Holy Father Pope Francis declared this new liturgical year (December 8th to December 8th) the year of St. Joseph. St. Joseph is the holiest saint second to our Lady and he is a powerful intercessor for us. St. Joseph was a man of firm faith amid life's twists and turns. He has been there for me in many ways in my life and has answered numerous prayers. In 2014 while in prayer,  I felt deeply inspired by St. Joseph to write a litany to him, which Laurie and I recorded.  In light of the fact that the year of St. Joseph has now begun, you may want to give someone a copy of our sung Litany of St. Joseph for Christmas. You may order from our websites: frcharleslaurie.com or materdeimusicministry.org, or by phone at (203) 970-7862. The price of the CD is $5.00 including sales tax and shipping.

  

 

 

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