September 26, 2021: My Dear Parishioners,
This week I don't have much to say in my message for you, except this: Please help me with this Rosary movement, this Rosary crusade! This one is not about anything political or historical. We simply need to do this for ourselves. When the time comes, I will tell you more how the Blessed Mother saved me time and again from certain death and injuries with the Rosary during my twenty seven years as priest. All I know is, we need to start praying for our parish and our school with the Rosary, if we want to come out on the other side of this pandemic alive. We can't depend on another program, another strategic plan, another brilliant idea. We can't rely on ourselves to save ourselves. But we can certainly depend on the Blessed Mother's powerful intercession with God for us - for our little parish, our school, our families. No amount of money can't solve the problem the whole Church is facing: lack of faith, lack of devotion, lack of love of God, lack of trust and confidence in God's almighty power. No program can bring people back into the pews. Catholics who have been staying away from Sunday are not suddenly returning to their own parishes just because priests and bishops have come up with a cleverly designed outreach program.
In the end, three things matter: prayer, fasting, and penance. We start with the Rosary this October!
September 19, 2021: My Dear Parishioners,
This evening I am thinking of asking you to join me on a new adventure - a crusade! No, we are not marching off to some far-off land to fight a battle for God. Instead, I want to invite you to join me on a Rosary Crusade when October rolls around (October is the month of the Holy Rosary!). It's not about fighting a battle to take back something or to fend off some foes. It's about storming heaven with prayers using the Holy Rosary as our instrument to fight for the survival of our parish and school! You see, we have been caught in this pandemic for almost two years, and now the restrictions are weighing on us like fetters and shackles, and they are dragging us down! I had been wanting to restart coffee and donuts, but I couldn't. I had been wanting to begin potluck once a month after the first Saturday Vigil Mass of the month, but I couldn't! I had been wanting to start a film club to stir up interests in faith and culture, but I couldn't! What's more, we don't have the resources to invite guest preachers for missions, for retreats, for talks. We don't have money to start up new programs, to try different approaches toward evangelization. The needs of this parish and school are numerous, and the resources we have been given are limited.
What can we do? Ultimately, it's not about what we can do to save ourselves, but it's about whom we trust to help us. While we lack many things that other parishes have, one thing we do not lack: devotion and love of God! What I am trying to say is, why shouldn't we return to the tried-and-true method of the past - PRAYERS? Why shouldn't we start a Rosary Crusade! Why shouldn't we storm heaven with our prayers through this ancient form of devotion so that our parish and our school may survive these terrible times? For a while now, Emma Bosco and her group have been practicing the devotion of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. And I just joined them recently, and it was very uplifting and reassuring! We don't need to start a program and we certainly don't need to reinvent the wheel. When times are tough, we follow the saints of the past: we pray! And I would like each family of the parish to begin to pray the Rosary beginning in October.
Won't you join me?
September 12, 2021: My Dear Parishioners,
Someone in the pew at the 5pm Mass last Saturday, wrote me a letter and indicated I had offended people by saying that sick people are abandoned when they are put in an institution. I must apologize most sincerely and wholeheartedly, for I should not have said that. It was, in the very least, insensitive and judgmental. The fact of the matter is, the decision to place a loved one in a memory care unit is an incredibly difficult one, but such a decision may be warranted for the good of the individual and the good of the rest of the family. It is indeed heart-breaking to have to put a loved one in an institution, but the truth is, it can be overwhelming to try to care for a sick loved one at home who suffers a debilitating illness. I should know. Some of you might have heard me telling the story of my father and his dementia some time ago. So, I hereby offer my abject apology to anyone in the pews who might have been offended by my remarks. One more thing, doctors and nurses are among the most dedicated people I know and I truly appreciate their hard work and care.
My main point last week about the sick was simply this: sickness born in faith can be truly salvific and redemptive. And the sick person who carries the cross of sickness is Christ to others. We can decide to let sickness embitter us, or we can look at sickness as an occasion of grace - because Christ our Lord loves the sick and cares for them personally!
September 5, 2021: My Dear Parishioners,
It is true that the Catholic Church is becoming more and more irrelevant in the life of modern man. The only thing that will save the Church from becoming totally irrelevant is the testimony of witnesses who have encountered Christ, who have met Christ – not just on the pages of the Bible and theology books, but Christ Himself, witnesses who have received His strength from the Cross, who have been transformed into a new humanity themselves. Without such witnesses we have nothing, and nothing we try to do to evangelize will succeed.
Modern people have little patience and time for preachers and teachers and philosophers and professors and lecturers, but they do listen to witnesses. And should a preacher be listened to, it’s because he is also a witness. That is exactly what Pope St. Paul VI said many years ago! God bless you!