March 29 Bulletin: My Dearest Parishioners,
There is a saying, "Out of sight, out of mind!" I beg to differ! You may not be here at the church in person, but you all are in my thoughts and my prayers – daily!
I would like to invite you to stop by the church and make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. You could also make the Way of the Cross, or pray the Rosary, or recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet, while you tarry in the presence of our Blessed Lord in the Tabernacle. The church will stay open basically between 10am – 3pm daily (please use side door opposite the Adoration Chapel). Please observe the six-foot rule inside the church. More than ever before, now is the time for us to be especially close to our Blessed Lord and be rooted in Him! Whatever the government might deem essential, for Christians, the essentials must include, first and foremost, a deep and abiding relationship with God – a relationship that generates life. But that relationship must be nurtured and guarded by prayers and the Sacraments. In the absence of Sunday Mass in the life of a Catholic, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is the most profound way to stay connected to the Sacrifice of the Mass. At the same time, prayers and devotions keep alive that hunger for the Eucharist.
Until we see each other again, May God bless you and keep you! May God show His Countenance upon you!
Holy Mary, Mother of God - pray for us! St. Joseph - pray for us! St. Agatha's - pray for us!
March 22 Bulletin: My Dearest Parishioners,
With a heavy heart I am writing you on this Wednesday, the third day into a new regime of shutdowns and cancellations! Although all public Masses are now forbidden until after Easter Sunday, Holy Mass is being celebrated daily at our parish church to offer worship to Almighty God and to pray for the welfare of our people – your families. It is truly a pain for a parish priest, such as I, to see for the first time how his beloved parish church is now silent with empty rows upon empty rows. But the Holy Mass and the Sacraments are for the people, and, although you are not present, I am celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in communion with all of you and for you, even as I am in communion with the saints and the Angels! The strength of our bonds is not merely emotional, but based on the reality of our sharing in the Communion of Saints and our common membership in the Body of Christ! And so, out of sight, out of mind? NOT! You are in my thoughts and my prayers – daily!
March 1 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
The following comes from one of my old homilies and I think it's good to share it with you. I can't say all the ideas in this paragraph were mine. I think I might have had incorporated some of them from other sources I had come across previously. Anyway, I think it's beneficial!
"The three practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving that Christ teaches us and which we make a central focus each Lent are wonderful tools to help us as we seek to enter our own spiritual desert this Lent. But the more difficult thing among these three practices is this business of fasting. For instance, how hard is it to say a few more prayer, to give an extra dollar or two to charity On the other hand, fasting and denying ourselves of our favorite foods and things seem a bit more complicated and cumbersome - no? Truth is, fasting or going without is more difficult than one could imagine! Lately, many priests and spiritual writers have discouraged this practice of self-denial and advocate doing something more positive. But the Lent is incomplete unless it involves some forms of disciplining of the unruly body. Sometimes these can seem trivial things, like tea or coffee or cakes or sweets, tokens of abstinence. Yet, by the things and the small pleasures that we give up, we discover our weaknesses. Giving up things, even little things such as our favorite snacks, clarifies for us what our life is really dependent on. As the weeks go by, we come to realize how much we miss them and how dependent we are on them. We come to realize how important a role they play in our lives. We come to grips with the reality that we have used those “creature comforts” to manage and cope with the stresses and strains of life. But if we persevere by the grace of God, by the end of Lent, we find that not one we have survived without those things we have given up, we might have become liberated from them and we feel much better for it. So, giving up things for Lent can teach us much about our true dependency on God. We learn that the fewer attachments to this life we have, the freer we are for the things that pertain to our true destiny.”
February 23 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
My homily last week received some positive feedbacks and I am grateful for them! No, I don't base my happiness upon people's positive input, and yet I do appreciate very much your kindness! Really, it is affirming to be told that what I say might have a small impact on how you think about God and eternity. My more basic point is this: I hope and pray that my homily may help you look inward and come to the realization, as I do, that God is real, that the Catholic Church is truly the bulwark of salvation, that there is hope for you and for me, and that life is ultimately worthwhile.
The one theme that runs through all my homilies is this: my faith must be verified through my daily experiences; otherwise, faith is pretty much “chuckable!” If faith is not verified through moments of daily living, if faith is not affirmed through my encounter with reality and people and events and happenings, then faith is useless. But as it is, faith is indeed always and everywhere verified for those whose eyes are open and whose hearts are awakened to the call of the One who has made us and continues to generate us - even now.
Lent is coming! God has seen fit to grant us another season of grace in which to clear our hearts and souls of all the things that clutter up our interior space and crowd out the graces of heaven and drown out the voice of eternity. If we take Lent seriously, we shall discover, once again, how faith is truly the stuff that makes life brimming with the joy of our youth and keeps us excited every Monday morning, and motivates us to put one foot in front of the other in order to keep on keeping on!
February 16 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
Pope Francis just issued his post-synodal apostolic exhortation titled “Querida Amazonia.” This document is an official response by the Holy Father to the participants in October 2019’s Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology. It is also addressed to the whole Church. In it, the pope did not mention celibacy nor did he accept the recommendation that women be considered for ordination to the diaconate. The pope also talked about the four dreams he has for the region. But first and foremost he is concerned with the spiritual welfare of the people of God in that remote area of the world. He is very concerned that people may not have access to the Holy Eucharist. And He proposes a very sound solution: he asks that bishops pray for and encourage more vocations and that Catholic people be inspired to offer their service as missionaries to the region. And he entrusts everyone and everything to the Blessed Mother. One thing that struck me, the task of proclaiming the Gospel is not reserved exclusively to the clergy but the lay faithful have also a large role in it.
Today, we pray for the intentions of the Holy Father for the Amazonian region and for its people!