Outreach, Engagement

Dear Friends in Christ, In last week’s bulletin I made mention of the priorities for our parish: Outreach - Engagement - Discipleship - Leadership These priorities are going to be around for some time. They will guide, direct and shape, our parish activities and form us as a parish community and as individuals of faith. As you have heard before, Jesus gave His church a mission, not a maintenance plan! As Catholics and as parishioners of St. John Vianney parish we are all called to live and be part of the mission. We are commissioned by Jesus to “Go therefore and make disciples...

Addressing our Priorities

Dear friends in Christ, I would like to give you an update on a few things around the parish. First and foremost, we were blessed with a most beautiful Advent and Christmas! Words cannot adequately describe how truly wonderful everything has been. From the tremendous outpouring of love on Gift Giving Sunday, to the number of confessions, to the crowds at Mass on Christmas, to the hundreds of parishioners who worked to make our liturgies so beautiful for Christmas by their selfless ministry, we were truly blessed. It was all wonderful and fantastic! On behalf of Fathers Richard, Chuck and myself,...

In the Search for Truth

Dear friends in Christ, The Epiphany narrative (Mt 2:1-12) illustrates the relationship of faith and reason (religion and science). The Magi, the Wise Men of science and human reason, as do the wise of every age were seeking understanding and truth. The Epiphany narrative in St. Matthew’s gospel tells of how they found the fulfillment of their journey in Jesus. Ultimately, their journey of scientific inquiry, following charts and calculations and observing the cosmos, could only take them so far. This is no different than our own times. To reach their goal, the Magi required an additional aid. They needed and...

Ten Helpful Hints for Families

Dear friends in Christ, Today is Holy Family Sunday. With that in mind, I thought I would give my own brief 10 helpful hints for a happy family life. These are in no particular order. Surround yourself with beauty. We all need to be inspired to the good. Beauty elevates our thinking and pleases our senses and our souls. In a crude and disposable culture, we need refinement. Beauty is transcendent and enduring. Monkey see, monkey do.Children are sponges and mirrors. They soak up everything around them and reflect it right back at you. If we want our children to be good, holy,...

Christmas Letter

Dear Friends in Christ, Today is born a Savior, Christ the Lord! Our hearts are filled with joy this day and all creation exalts in praise for Salvation has come to the world in Jesus Christ!  This is our faith and this is what gives meaning to our lives.  That God in his love for us has given us His only Son, who has taken our human condition upon himself so that we in turn might live in all eternity with Him!  Now to many, this sentence seems like utter nonsense.  What is there to be joyful about?  Why should we exalt? ...

Living as Followers of Jesus

Dear Friends in Christ, In just a few days it will be Christmas. As in past years, I fully expect that we will see many visitors joining us for Mass. That is wonderful. Now some may lament that many of these visitors don’t regularly come every week. That is true, but we can and should be glad that they are here. The challenge is to welcome them and encourage them to indeed come back soon. Periodically, but not too often, I will receive a report that a visitor will come to Mass and have an unpleasant experience; that someone made a...

Rejoice Always!

Dear Friends in Christ, Advent is fast coming to a close. Today, the Third Sunday of Advent is Guadete Sunday - Rejoice! Sunday. We hear in today’s Entrance Antiphon the famous exaltation of St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice..The Lord is near!”~Phil 4:4:5. In our first reading we also hear the Prophet Isaiah telling us how all creation will rejoice at the coming of the Lord (Is 36:1-6). We rejoice today firm in the knowledge, faith and hope, that Jesus is coming and that with his Second Coming, the end of time...

Lord, Teach us to Pray

This week’s letter is from a special guest columnist The Mass is prayer; it is prayer par excellence, the loftiest, the most sublime, and at the same time the most “concrete”. In fact it is the loving encounter with God through his Word and the Body and Blood of Jesus. It is an encounter with the Lord. But first we must answer a question. What truly is prayer? It is first of all a dialogue, a personal relationship with God. Man was created as a being in a personal relationship with God who finds his complete fulfillment only in the encounter...

Turn to Jesus this Advent

Dear Friends in Christ, Again we begin another Advent when we prepare and reflect on the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of time and the Judgement we will all face. The last eight days of Advent, beginning on December 17, we prepare for the celebration of the first coming of the Messiah in his Incarnation and birth. Looking at the scripture readings, spiritual reflections, art and music of Advent and Christmas, the emphasis is placed on Jesus as the Messiah and Savior. The name Jesus (Heb: Jeshua) means “God Saves”. The title Messiah (Heb: Messiach, Grk: Christos) means “anointed...

Have a Holy Advent

Dear Friends in Christ: Next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the new liturgical year! So here is my annual reminder to slow down and prepare your hearts for Jesus. The way to have a beautiful Christmas is to have a holy Advent. Like Lent, Advent is a penitential season. We are to prepare for the coming of Jesus at the end of time and secondarily we prepare for the celebration of Christmas by first calling to mind and repenting of our sins. Hence the purple vestments. Advent is also a season of joy, but a joy...