July 21 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
This summer has not been a quiet and restful one as I had hoped. I have to respond to events on the ground with all my energy - physical as well as spiritual. At times, I felt exhausted; but at the same time, I have been discovering a wonderful truth: as long as I have Jesus within sight, I can deal with things more or less adequately. But as soon I let go of Him - by looking away, by turning my gaze to other things, by relying on my own strength and experience instead, I shall begin to sink and to drown. Without Jesus, the center cannot hold. Without Jesus I cannot remain afloat. But with Jesus, I am intact - physically, mentally, and spiritually. Yes, even my physical strength remains strong if I am spiritually grounded in Him - in prayer and through the sacraments.
In these dog days of summer, we might feel a sense of spiritual lethargy; but this is precisely why we must hold fast to Him - with prayers, adoration, and even Confession. We might be tempted to take a vacation from God, but we shall find out very quickly that we will be in spiritual quicksand if we break off our praying habit for one reason of another! I, for one, am very grateful that, so far, the center is holding for me!
July 14 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
I truly appreciate the outpouring of goodwill towards me concerning my 25 years in the priesthood. I have never wanted to make a big deal of my anniversary, because I know it was not my priesthood but that of Jesus Christ our Lord; because I realize I am nothing but a fragile and flawed human being who do not merit anything - much less the most tremendous gift of the priesthood; and because I know that I have not always lived up to God's glory in my priestly life. (By the way, I am using the present tense and the perfect sense because everything is still true today!)
What is monumental for me is the fact that somehow God has seen fit to preserve me in my vocation, regardless how often I have disappointed Him. I am singing a hymn of gratitude each and every day now to God for this awesome kindness towards me. And I am grateful to all of you for having allowed me to serve you as your priest! I am particularly thankful to Karen Blodgett and the Altar Society for arranging everything, which I did not deserve but appreciate deeply! And I thank all those who wished me well and prayed for me on the special occasion! God bless you all for your generosity!
July 7 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
After this last weekend we have collected around $91,000 for our project so far. Thank you!
This past week we celebrate our country's Independence Day. For those like me who had fled the modern form of slavery that is communism, we cannot thank America enough for having opened her arms and embraced us, the "huddled masses" from far off shores! Almost 40 years ago, I arrived in this country as a scared and lonely refugee from a war-torn country without a word of English. Now, 40 years later, I have come to love this country as my own. I appreciate so much the freedom we enjoy here, and I pray for those who are not blessed with it. But the more I cherish my new country's freedom and all the benefits it affords us, the more gratitude I feel I owe to Almighty God for everything. And I am painfully aware of how this freedom could be misused and abused for the wrong reasons and for the wrong ends.
May our life be nothing other than a continuing and enduring act of thanksgiving to God for all His gifts and benefits He has bestowed upon us!
June 30 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
Including last weekend's donations, the amount collected so far for the Preservation project is still around $85,000!
This week's reflection is about the priesthood, now that I have entered my 26th year priestly service. As the years went by, I am more and more cognizant of the fact the priestly existence is an existence "FOR" - an existence for the Other and for the others. The older I am, the more I am awaken to the need to live less for myself, but more for others. Unless my life follows the pattern of obedience Jesus our Lord has traced out for me, then I am not living an authentic priestly existence. Unless my life resemble the Host broken and given away at Holy Mass, I am not serving God the way He wants me to serve as priest. I don't know what the future will bring, I do know one thing: God is my companion through thick and thin. If I trust in Him, I shall not be wanting in anything!
Everything is gift. Everything has been given. Everything belongs to Him.
June 23 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
This week’s donations to the Preservation Fund has brought our total to about $85,000!
I am looking forward to this weekend of Corpus Christi Masses so I could offer you all Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament! What a wonderful thing Holy Mother Church has given us!
I also want to invite you to join me at the Traditional Latin Mass whenever your schedule allows, so you can experience the Mass as your parents and grandparents and countless generations of Catholics had experienced it! If there is enough interest I will be have a class or two on the Latin Mass so you could feel comfortable! Please don't be hesitant to try something new! You will be struck first by the silence of the Mass and you may discover what a great gift silence is at Mass!
June 16 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
So far, we have received around $75,000.00 for our Preservation Funds. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
This week, the Catholic Sentinel published the priest assignments effective July 1, 2019. Please pray for all the priests going to their new places. Which also got me thinking of my appointment to St. Agatha last year. It has been almost a year since I took over from Fr. Nathan. I remember being so anxious, restless, and worried about coming here - I had never had a school before. And here, today, I am still alive, more or less. I am truly and deeply and abjectly grateful to you for all your prayers and support. God has seen to fit to give me extra graces so that I would serve Him by serving you to the best of my ability. I hope I have not made your lives too difficult! I hope you continue to help me in my priestly service here. I am always willing to listen to any concern you may have, now or tomorrow!
God bless you and God bless all of us together!
June 9 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
Last week I spoke on the state of the Restoration Project, and I might have appeared a tad bit unenthusiastic about the prospect of completing it. After much prayer and many conversations, I have arrived at a new place: hopeful, serene, and encouraged! And I have found a new attitude towards everything - an attitude and a spirit of gratitude! I am grateful to God for giving me YOU!
Yes, you have been most gracious and most generous in your contributions, your giving, and your donations to various causes and projects. Thanks to you we have been able to keep the lights on and the water running! Thanks to you the Archbishop's Appeal this year has surpassed last year's figures. Thanks to you we now have receive a total of almost $32,000 (almost $6,000 since last Sunday) towards our goal of repairing the exterior of the church!
The bottom line is: I am very grateful to you for everything you have given and everything you have done for the church! Every dollar and every minute you gave to the church represent untold sacrifices and self-denial, so that the parish might have a future! Many of the works you did and much of the financial assistance you rendered remain unknown to me and to others, but God knows your heart and He will make sure they will not be forgotten! THANK YOU for everything! God Bless you!