Hope, Prayer, Service, Gratitude

This is going to be one of those “catch all” letters. 

Hopeful signs.  In our area, the COVID numbers continue to move in the right direction.  There are still cases occurring and we have friends and neighbors who are ill due to COVID but we have cause to be optimistic and grateful to God.  Please remember that we are still under certain restrictions set both by the government and the Archdiocese.  You will notice that here at the parish, we are not yet allowed to return to all of our normal practices.  Thank you for your continued understanding and patience.  Keep Praying!

Needed Help.  Parents dealing with children with disabilities have many challenges.  These families need our continued prayers and support.  SJV offers special support for these children and parents.  Our Director of Youth Formation, Carolina Sayago, has both experience and training in helping children with disabilities and their parents.  Our parish offers special assistance in the religious formation of children with these challenges.  We also offer emotional and spiritual support for families and parents.

Reverence.  We will soon be celebrating the First Communion of 215 of our children.  What a blessing!  This is a good reminder to all of us that these little ones need us to be good and exemplary models for them in how we approach the Lord!  Our reverence to the Lord is made manifest in how we live our lives but especially in how we act and conduct ourselves at Holy Mass.  Our reverence reflects the honesty and sincerity of our belief that Jesus is truly God and that He is truly present to us in the Holy Eucharist.  It is difficult to reconcile an authentic belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and true reverence for God when we arrive late, leave early, come inappropriately attired, give in to distractions, fail to actively participate, act cross (frown, scowl, roll eyes, unkind and uncharitable words), engage in needless chatter, do not regularly attend Mass, treat the Mass and the Eucharist in too casual a manner, etc.  Jesus is Lord and the Eucharist is His body and blood given for our salvation!  All honor and glory to God.  Always!

Serviam – I Will Serve.  One of the hallmarks of our Christian Faith is love in action.  As we celebrated at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, Our Lord gives us an example of service in the washing of the feet of the apostles and calls each of us into service, to put our love into action. That is the Mandatum (the Command, Mandate) where Maundy Thursday derives its name.  Service is part of our worship and discipleship.  Our parish offers many opportunities for Christian service.  We offer opportunities to serve to poor and needy, the young and the old, the sick and those in trouble, one another in community and parish life and Our Lord in our worship.  The ministries in our parish require thousands of people to serve each week.  As we are slowly coming back from the pandemic, the needs for servant disciples is growing.  The three main areas where help is needed are in our liturgical ministries (ushers, lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, choir, etc.) our catechetical ministries for youth and adults (catechists, helpers, group leaders, etc.) and in our social service ministries (Joseph’s Coat, Emergency Services, ESL, home missions, tutoring, etc.).  Where is the Lord calling you to serve?

“In Appreciation”.  We see this phrase very often and in many different situations.  We respect and acknowledge that none of us can do everything all by ourselves and we are grateful recipients of  help from others that enables us to have the things we have and to do the things that we do.  As Catholics, we know that every good thing we have comes from God and without God we do not exist.  We express our appreciation to the Lord by offering Him our thanks, our praise, our worship, our service, our sacrifices and a tithe of our material possessions.  We no longer bring livestock and produce to be placed at the altar but we do offer a sacrifice of our financial wealth in appreciation for all that the Lord has done for us.  In giving to the financial support of the church, we make our gifts as deliberate, proportional and sacrificial offerings that reflect both God’s goodness to us and our appreciation to Him.

Oxygen for our souls.  Just as our physical bodies need nutrition, hydration, oxygen, exercise and rest to be healthy, so do our souls need prayer to be vibrant and healthy.  A healthy prayer life consists in both communal prayer and personal prayer.  We cannot exist only on one kind of prayer any more than our bodies can exist without food, water and rest!  We need to exercise our souls in prayer.  We need the spiritual oxygen that comes from private prayer, devotional prayer, liturgical prayer and communal prayer.   Pray every day!  Pray at set times during the day (morning, bedtime, at meals).  Have particular devotions (the rosary, novenas, scripture reading, Eucharistic Adoration). Have both private prayer and communal prayer (praying with your spouse, family or prayer group) as well as faithfully at Mass. Use sacramentals to aid in your prayer (holy water, crucifix, statues, icons, holy cards).  Pray formally (set prayers) and informally (conversationally), in offering Adoration (I love you), Contrition (I’m sorry), Thanksgiving (thank you) and Supplication (please).  The only wrong way to pray to God is to not pray to God.  He is always there and ready to hear and answer our prayers! 

Pray for me as I will for thee that we may merrily meet in heaven! 
~St. Thomas More (1478-1535).

In pace Christi,
Fr. Troy