Two weeks ago, we thought about that amazing encounter between Jesus and Peter on the beach by Lake Galilee

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

May 19, 2019

Two weeks ago, we thought about that amazing encounter between Jesus and Peter on the beach by Lake Galilee, where Jesus re-commis­sioned Peter to 'feed his sheep': to show love and compassion and pastoral concern for those who were in need. This is a commission that rests on each one of us to varying degrees because each one of us is called to a life of love, and care, and compassion: to support, encourage, and help those who are feeling feeble and vulnerable and to stand with others in their pain.

The gospel this morning is indeed the  perfect  complement  to  the gospel two weeks ago because it goes to the very heart of what it means for us to follow Jesus.  In this  gospel, Jesus  sums up  Christian  teaching in a couple of short, simple sentences: "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another."

"Love" is the essential word of today's reading. The mutual love of the Father and the Son provides the foundation for both Jesus' love for his disciples, and the love that he commands the disciples to have for one another. However, Judas' heart is eroded by greed: he moves from light into shadow-land, into the night. Hate replaces love, and betrayal replaces committed friendship. Love-in the scriptural sense, caritas or agape-refers to a self-sacrificial love for others that lifts them up without regard to our own status.

It is this love that will be the source of the disciples' joy and the condition of their intimate friendship with the Lord. Our life in Christ manifested in our love for him and for others, shows that we are friends of Christ today, living in imitation of him in the world . As John (15:15) tells us that the  Lord  loves  us  and  that  we  are not  his  servants  but his friends because we know what his mission is about, we know his teaching and his truth and only friends would know this.

We pray: Lord, I am the focus of your indiscriminate love. Grant me a profound appreciation of this limitless gift. Transformed by this love, may I in turn show unrestricted loving to others--especially to my enemies!

-Fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

Yes, Skipping Sunday Mass (Without a Good Reason ) Is a Grave Sin

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Yes, Skipping Sunday Mass (Without a Good Reason ) Is a Grave Sin

Of the roughly 68 million people who identify as Catholic in the United States, only about a third go to Mass on any given weekend. This is obviously a big problem!

It's a problem for a number of reasons, not least of which that Mass is a source of necessary grace for our souls. But there's another serious reason that many self-identified Catholics may not fully understand: If a Catholic knows that Mass attendance is required on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, has Mass nearby he can attend, does not have a "grave cause" to miss Mass, but still skips Mass, he commits a grave sin.

Yes, you aren't just a bad Catholic, you're committing a sin you will need  to confess in Reconciliation for the sake of your soul.

Mass isn't just a nice thing to do if you're particularly religious or "super Catholic"; rather, it's the cornerstone of any authentic Catholic life. In fact, of the five precepts of the Church (what the Catechism calls the "necessary minimum" for being a practicing Catholic), attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation is the first one! This requirement is also made explicit in the Code of Canon Law (CIC 1247Jf).

Of  course,  as  mentioned   above,  it's  not  a  sin  to  miss  Mass  if  you  have a  good   reason;   for   example,   if   you   are   sick  or  have   to   care   for   others. If you are in that situation, know that you are still an integral part of the Church, that the Church prays for you, and that the Church covets any prayers you can offer.

What if you are one of the millions of Catholics who regularly skips Mass without a good reason? What should you do? The first thing you should know is that the Church still wants you! You can always come back - and you should for the sake of your soul.

If you  are ready to re-commit to the Catholic life, including weekly Mass attendance, you should go to Confession to get a fresh start. Remember, if we repent, Jesus is always willing to receive us back.

So we encourage all Catholics: go to M ass!

"Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives.

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Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

April 28, 2019

"Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives.

Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.

I hold the keys to death and the netherworld."

With those words of encouragement, the' Lord takes away the fears of the apostle John. He  has  been  condemned  to  hard  labor  at  the  stone  quarries on the island of Patmos; it is there in the midst of physical torments that he experiences the presence of the Lord offering him hope and relief . It is precisely there that he receives the major revelation contained in the Book of Revelation. The Lord in his mercy offers him a vision of what is to come, and of the final battle between good and evil.

We live in a world of conflict and aggression where at times we doubt God's presence and mercy. There is so much pain and trouble around us that at times we can be tempted with the idea that God does not care, that he is indifferent to our struggles, but his love for us is everlasting. We are never abandoned to the violence of this world. God's love is always there supporting and encouraging us and this happens because his mercy knows no limits. It is up to us to open our hearts and accept God's mercy. We cannot conquer the world by our own forces, but together with the Lord we will be able to conquer any situation this world presents to us. We are strong in the Lord.

Let us echo the words of the psalmist in proclaiming that: His mercy endures forever.  If God is with us, who can be against us!

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.



"Jesus' resurrection offers firm evidence that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

April 21, 2019

"Jesus' resurrection offers firm evidence that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God. He is the one who through His resurrection redeems people from their sins. We, as Christians today, following the footsteps of the apostles, are called to be witnesses to the truth of the resurrection. Our witness must be authentically rooted in the gospel, which God send s His messengers to preach. Brothers and sisters, Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being; the cry for unending life, which is a part of the person, is indeed answered." (Pope Benedict XVI  Benedictus, 128). What makes the resurrection significant for us Christians is that the resurrection  demonstrates to us the power of the true God. That God raised His son from the dead reaffirms who Jesus said he was: "The son of M an must be delivered into the hand s of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again." Jesus was raised from the dead through the power of God.

Another significant part is that the resurrection creates a pathway between heaven and earth. "O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angel s rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead , is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages." (St. John Chrysostom, Easter Homily). The creation of the pathway in which I speak, is the most significant element of Christian praxis of the resurrection; it is the pathway for the new life in Christ, in service of  our brothers  and sisters.

St Paul affirms that Christ is "declared to be the Son of God with power ...by the resurrection from the dead ." In the waters of baptism, we died with Christ so the we may rise anew to be followers of Jesus and enjoy the  fullness  of Christ's resurrection. Christ as the Son of God has the authority through the resurrection to redeem us from our sins. In addition, the resurrection  is significant for us Christians because it  affirms  everything  Jesus  taught  to be true. The Gospel of John clearly states: "Everyone who looks to the Son of God and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." Jesus' teaching concerning his people, forgiveness, his mission, hell, and heaven are all true.

As Saint Augustine writes, " 'Resurrectio Domini, spes  nostra' -the resurrection of the Lord is our hope." (Sermon 261:1). With these words, the great Bishop explained to the faithful that Jesus rose again so that we, though destined to die, should not despair, worrying that with death life is completely finished; Christ is risen to give us hope.

-fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

Blessed Palm Sunday! Holy Week has begun

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

April 14, 2019

Blessed Palm Sunday! Holy Week has begun. This week we commemorate, in a special way, Christ's passion, death, and resurrection. On Thursday we commemorate his institution of the liturgical celebration of his death and resurrection, namely the Eucharist and Priesthood . On Friday we commemorate his sacrificial death on the Cross. On Saturday evening we commemorate his resurrection from the dead.

As we commemorate these mysteries we recall especially the humility by which Jesus accomplished them. Though he is God, Jesus emptied himself and became a man. Though he is king, he rode on a donkey. Though he is master, he took the form of a slave.

Jesus is the master of humility. We who wish to follow him need to imitate his humility. 

Humility entails, first and foremost, obedience to the truth. We need to live according to God's wisdom. Only then may we come to know the truth about ourselves and the gifts God has given us.

The opposite of humility is pride. Out of pride Adam and  Eve refused to follow God's wisdom. As a result, they brought  sin into the world. Jesus overcame sin by his humble obedience to God even unto death on the Cross. Because of his humility Jesus was able to accomplish what human pride cannot, namely our reconciliation with God.

The world does not know the truth because it does not value humility. But we who follow Jesus in humility know the truth. We are committed to it. We admire the saints who sacrificed everything for it. The Lord calls us to do the same.

By our Baptism we have died to this world and have been given new life in Christ. Through our liturgical celebration of the Lord's passion and death, we grow in that new life. Moreover, the grace of the Eucharist moves us to work humbly for the building up Christ's body, the Church, so that more people will come to know the forgiveness of sin and new life in Christ.

-fr. Greg Maturi, O.P

God uses his power to show the depth of his mercy and love for us all.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

God uses his power to show the depth of his mercy and love for us all.

April 7, 2019

In the crucifixion narrative, God displayed his profound love for humanity, expressed by Jesus' passion and death on the cross. The fact that God willed that His only begotten son dies a criminal's death, the lowest death any human being could experience, is indeed a sign of God's plan for our salvation. Christ's death on the cross was vicarious, that is, Christ suffered and died on behalf of a sinful generation so that they might have the opportunity to receive everlasting life. As John 3:16 reminds us "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Christ's death on the cross is redemptive; his death redeems us from the bondage of all that which divides and thus unites us with our heavenly Father. Jesus came into the world to redeem humanity through his passion and death on the cross.

We have all sinned. We have all experienced irresistible shame. Even if the sin is not discovered, our own self-accusatory voice can be so loud in our head that it drowns out the gentle voice of Jesus, telling us to begin   ; again; to repent and sin no more. Hence, if we cannot believe ourselves forgiven, how will we ever be able to move out of what the philosopher Ivan Illich describes as "our self-imposed cages"? Mercy when we receive it helps us show mercy ourselves.

Lord, you who opened the ears of the deaf and the eyes of the blind, let me hear your words of forgiveness; let me see and believe in the possibility of a better life-a life of redeeming grace. The story of the adulterous woman brings us in touch with the body of Christ, of Jesus who is risen from death, and of Jesus who is all present among us to lead us to the father's forgiveness. Brothers and sisters if we sincerely trust in the Lord, He will not disappoint us. The Lord invites us today to restore our hope, faith, trust, and love in God our merciful, most kind, and ever forgiving Father. I implore you dear friends in Christ, to think about those areas in your life, where you need to experience love, mercy, and healing. If you seek the Lord, like the adulterous woman, with openness to God's grace and mercy, he will not fail your heart's desire. This is what the resurrection account is all about! Out of depth of His love for us, Jesus offered his life as a sacrifice to save us, and in particular Jesus came to reconcile us to God. Jesus is the bridge between God and us.

-fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

Whoever is in Christ is a new creation:

the old things have passed away;

behold, new things have come.

How optimistic or pessimistic are we? What is our attitude toward life and others? Because we are one, unless we suffer from some psychiatric issues, we can only have a prevailing mood in our lives. We can either allow pessimism to control and shadow all our behaviors, moods, and relationships, and then we have a hard time discovering the good around us, or we can allow a positive and grace filled attitude to reign in our lives, and then our eyes are open to discover God's presence and gifts.

Each person's life is salt-and-peppered with all kinds of events. Those events at times leave a lasting impression on us. Nobody can claim that their lives are free from painful and tragic events. How we deal with those events, however, is where we can make a difference in our life. If we allow those events to leave lasting consequences on our attitude, if we allow those events to pockmark us in a permanent way filling our hearts with grudges and feelings of unworthiness, if we cannot let go of the past, Christian optimism will never be present in our lives.

During this  Lenten season, we are all invited to reflect on our deepest attitudes, to discover within ourselves the hurts and grudges we have been carrying all along. We are all invited to recognize the reconciliation which Christ offers to us, the healing touch of a God who loves us beyond all telling.

As we rediscover the deep meaning of our baptism as a process of union with Christ, let us be willing to address the negativity and pessimism in our lives and approach the One who can reconcile us with God and with ourselves. Let us listen to the words of the apostle Paul who reminds us that 'the old things have passed away' and 'new things have come.'

And remember that Christian optimism is not a Pollyannaish optimism, but it is an optimism born of the fact that we have been redeemed by the blood of the Cross; and through baptism Christ has called us into a new life and given us a final destiny and purpose to share eternal life with him in heaven.

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P

4th Luminous mystery of the Rosary.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

March 17, 2019

Today's Gospel recounts the mystery of the Transfiguration (4th Luminous mystery of the Rosary). Jesus went up the mountain to pray along with Peter, James, and John. While He is praying, the face of Jesus changed in appearance, his clothes became dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appeared and conversed with Him.

The Transfiguration reveals Jesus as the fulfilment of the Law and the Prophets, represented by Moses and Elijah. He is the Messiah of the Jews and the fulfilment of the covenant. All that God sought to accomplish in the Jewish people becomes a reality in Jesus who is, in His person, personal union between God and man.

The Transfiguration reveals the divinity of Jesus. Though fully man, He is also God, who lives in the splendor of eternal light. He is the Son of God in whom the Father is well pleased. All united with Him in His humanity, through the grace of the sacraments, will share in His divine glory. That union includes death and resurrection. Only those who bear the Cross may hope to wear His glorious crown.

Jesus wanted to show His disciples the goal of following Him. Though they would encounter hardship, persecution, and suffering, they will win the prize of victory. It is not an easy road. It requires continual effort. But the Transfigured life that awaits them will make the struggle worth it.

Abraham foreshadowed the call of a disciple of Jesus. God called Abraham to leave this world and journey to a new, promised land. God sealed His covenant by sacrifice. We hear about it in today's 1st reading from the Book of Genesis. The animal sacrifice symbolized how Abraham would die to this world and live according new life. His change in name-from Abram to Abraham-symbolized this new life. God would always be with him to help him.

At Baptism God made a similar covenant with each oi us. He promised to give us new life. The name we receive at Baptism symbolizes this new life. It means leaving this world of sin and journeying to the promised land of heaven.

Such a journey is impossible without the grace the Lord gives us in the Eucharist. It is the bread of life-food for the journey. It is a pledge of future glory. Only the grace of the Eucharist allows us to attain the Transfigured life in the midst of life's oppositions.

-fr. Greg Maturi, O.P

In the wilderness Jesus did not engage with the devil's temptations.

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Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

March 10, 2019

In    the    wilderness     Jesus    did    not    engage     with    the    devil's temptations. He simply quote the Word of God in scripture. God's Word has power, even over the demons. Jesus' experience teaches us that there is , nothing wrong with being tempted. It's how we react to the temptation that matters. Pope St. Leo the Great tells us that "Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without  strife."  The  temptation  of  Jesus  throughout  his  ministry  was widely  held  in early  Christianity. The  Letter  to  the  Hebrews  tells  us, "For do we not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. " The source of grace for us is the word of God. On Ash Wednesday  the  invitation  was  to  believe  the  good  news  and  repent. That  is where  we  may  find  life  and  strength  to persevere.  We remain followers of  Christ not because  of bishops, but because of Jesus Christ.

The word  of  God  in His  gospel  remains  life-giving  and  strong. Jesus I shows us that temptations  happen  often to take us off  the path. But as the Palmist reminds us "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto ' my path."(  Psalm 119:105) At a time where scandals of the Church have left us broken,  tested,  and dismayed, it is the spirit who led Jesus into the  desert  (tempted) keeps him  strong there,  will  do the  same for  us . who believe. As St. Teresa of Avila rightly states "His Majesty [the Lord ]   '

rewards great services with trials, and there can be no better reward, for out of trials springs love for God."                                    

-fr. Peter Damian, O.P

Lent

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Lent

As outlined on the U.S. Conference  of Catholic Bishops' website  on

Lenten  fasting  and  abstinence,  fasting  is  obligatory  for  all  who  have completed  their  18th year  and have  not  yet  reached  their  60th  year. Fasting allows a person to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may be taken, not to equal one full meal. Abstinence  (from meat) is obligatory for all who have reached their  14th year. Fridays in Lent are obligatory days of  complete  abstinence  (from meat)  for  all who  have  completed their 14th year. Abstinence  means not eating meat. All persons  14 years and older are bound by the law of abstinence. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are Days of both Fast and Abstinence. If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) as the . . 'paschal fast' to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare  ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily his Resurrection.

Through our works of prayer, fasting, and abstinence, let us heed the prophet Joel's exhortation to return to God with our whole heart (2:12). Lent is a penitential season and as such religious practice such as daily Mass, reception of the Sacrament of Penance, the devotion of the Stations of the Cross, works of charity and justice, and acts of self-denial are highly encouraged.

Fasting allows one full meal, but a light breakfast and lunch are not forbidden. All adults, 18 up to the beginning of their sixtieth (60) year, are bound by the law of fasting. Pastors and parents are to see to it that children, while not bound to the law of fast and abstinence, are educated and introduced to an authentic sense of  penance.

It is recommended that on Fridays, when abstinence is not required by law, acts of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety are suggested. Abstinence from meat is especially recommended but under no obligation by law.

See the articles in the bulletin for information on Holy Week schedule.

We live today in a world of great violence, of terrorism, of increasing litigation.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

For many people, even those who identify themselves as Christians, this may be one of the most difficult passages in the Gospel. We live today in a world of great violence, of terrorism, of increasing litigation - suing and counter-suing, violence and murder, of vicious vendettas often stirred up in the tabloid press. Even in our country, we have become a divided nation and so intolerant of each other. We have a hate problem that we cannot deny nor ignore. Every day we witness the horror of political attacks on immigrants, hateful and demeaning rhetoric from white-nationalist militias against Blacks, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and the LGBTQ communities, and the slaughtering of the unborn.

As Christians it is easy to get discouraged and even  fearful as we consider circumstances in our nation and world. But God is up to something - God is up to love. And He is still calling His [you] people into that great plan. Jesus invites us today to respond to the world as he did - loving, blessing, praying and offering. We are called to do this not only where there is something of which we approve, but in all circumstances. The love of which Jesus speak of is not just emotion: it is a commitment of the will. It is extravagant and limitless, and it includes us all, good and bad alike. This is the true love that frees up our country's gridlock of hatred. As St. Francis de Sales said, "In mensura sine mensura est amor, ut amor" - 'The measure of love is to love without measure.' It is an active loving based on going the extra mile.

God is very serious about His love for the world. His greatest commandment is love. This is the core of Jesus' teaching, which he himself practiced. The Golden Rule which is often expressed as "Do not do to others what you would not want done to you" is expressed here in positive terms. Now it's time for the Church to be His vessel of love to the least, the last, the lost! Lord, I am the focus of your indiscriminate love. Grant me a profound appreciation of this limitless gift. Transformed by this love, may I in turn show unrestricted  loving to others-specially to my enemies!

Forgiveness is never easy. Loving our enemies and  those  who  hurt  us  is never easy. But Jesus usually does not ask us to do the easy thing; he asks us to do whatever brings about the most love. Crossing racial, cultural, socio-economic, or even emotional barriers to share God's love can seem scary. As John writes "there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear." (1 John 4:18). But instead of fear, let God's love penetrate your heart with compassion. Jesus calls us to follow the model of God himself: "Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate." As followers of Christ, we see things in a completely different way and we want to behave differently. Pray then, that He may help you to focus on His indiscriminate love. And grant you a profound appreciation of this limitless gift. Transformed by this love, may I in tum show unrestricted love to others.

Perhaps words of the late Mother Teresa are appropriate here: "Love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me."

Now, let us to respond to the world as Jesus did - loving, blessing, praying and offering. Amen.

-fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD!

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD!

The words of today's Gospel reading always leave us with a feeling of uncertainty about ourselves and  our own  Christian life. We are able to discover the beauty of Jesus' words but at the same time they leave us with a sense of 'unaccomplishment'. Do we really feel like Jesus is setting goals too high for all of us, an unattainable dream? How can we find blessing in poverty or in hunger? How can we find blessing in sorrow or in tolerance of hate?

The real challenge behind Jesus' words is the question: How much do you trust in God? How much do you wholeheartedly believe that God takes care of his children and specifically you?

The issue of trust is fundamental in our life and faith. Faith is more than knowledge. It is grounded in trust - trust that there is a God who loves and cares for us, trust that God sent his only begotten Son into the world to show us the way, trust that there is a life after death and that we will share in Jesus' resurrection. Saint Paul reminds us in today's second reading, that if Jesus has not been raised from the dead, our faith is in vain, and we are still in our sins.

In whom  do we place  our trust? The prophet Jeremiah proclaims and warns us that "cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord ."

If we but believe that the words  of Jesus in today's Gospel reading are impossible to realize in our lives, we need to question ourselves: In whom do we trust? If we trust in God, those words become goals to realize in our lives, and we trust that God's grace will enable us to achieve them. If we only trust our own strength and the human realities around us, those words become unreachable goals for our life. Our faith tells us that we are called to holiness, and the beatitudes become the path to achieve closeness to the Lord.

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P 

Luke tells us that Jesus was being pressed by yet another crowd of people.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

Luke tells us that Jesus was being pressed by yet another crowd of people. They didn't yet know just who he was but they had surely heard of his miracles and teaching. They were crowding around him to hear the word of God.

The story of Jesus' ministry to this point has him preaching and teaching in the Temple. This is the first account of Jesus going out among the people, into the streets, meeting them where they were and entering into their everyday lives. Jesus gets into Peter's boat, summoned him and asked him to put out a way from shore so the people could gather on the shore and listen to him. After speaking, he told Peter to go out to the deep water and let down his nets for a catch. Now, Peter and his partners had already finished a very hard day's work and like many of us who have tried our hand at fishing, he had come up empty. They had already washed their nets in preparation for the next day and were surely exhausted, disappointed and ready to just give it up for the day. But Peter, in an act of obedience says, OK, if you say so I'll do it. Nothing more than that, just simple obedience to Jesus.

I certainly have times when I am totally worn out, tired of dealing with rude people, parishioners' who demand more than I can ever hope to deliver, and at the end of those days there is always something like hospice or hospital emergency awaiting me at the end of the day. It is specifically in those times that I hope Jesus doesn't call me and ask me to do even more before I rest! There are times when I hope the ringing phone isn't one of my clergy colleagues or a brother asking me to do something right away. It won't surprise you that when the call comes and I'm required to stretch just a bit more before the end of the day, God always seems to bless those efforts. Sometimes it is the blessing of holding the hand of a very sick person. Sometimes it is the blessing of sharing a meal with the homeless and sometimes it is the blessing of entering into another's sadness and grief. I believe those blessings are indeed as great as a fisherman's boat overflowing with fish. I admit that I only recognize some blessings in hindsight but they are always there. I would suggest that it is in the times when we have given ourselves over to worldly problems and done everything we can to control our lives that we are most likely to be pressed into the work of living out the Gospel.

Acting on Jesus' command, the nets are raised and are overfilled with fish. So many that another boat is needed to hold the  catch. Needless  to say, the fishermen  were  astonished and certainly had to have a feeling of discomfort and uncertainty, as one would _expect after witnessing a miracle. Peter's response to the miracle of abundance was to protest that he is unworthy  because he is a sinful man.

In our first reading we see the Prophet Isaiah is in the presence of God and is being called by God to take a message to God's people. Isaiah protests and says "Woe is me! Iam lost, for Iam a man of un clean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!" Both Isaiah and Peter feel the magnitude of their unworthiness. A seraph cleanses Isaiah's lips with a burning coal and Jesus has a cleansing word for Peter. Whatever troubled their hearts was let go as God set them on a new course and empowered them for new work in the kingdom. Peter, James, John and others leave everything they have and follow Jesus. They dropped everything they were doing, walked away from their possessions and families and followed Jesus. Through out years as a Dominican Friar, what I've learnt is that following God's call is not a single event, it is a life long process filled with much failure punctuated with occasional bright points of success. God's call to follow can be as subtle as something that moves us to ask questions. It can be the pain and agony suffered by federal workers that spurred Food Banks and community organizations to compassionate action two weeks ago. I believe that we are called to continue Jesus' ministry to bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, and to let the oppressed go free. The message in Luke's Gospel is not so much one of acceptance of, or recognition of a call, it is one of obedience. A call to discipleship is something that God has both commanded and enabled. Simon Peter and the others saw something in Jesus that moved them to hope and to do his bidding. Lord, this is what it comes down to: Do I trust you?

-fr. Peter Damian, O.P

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

before you were born I dedicated you.

Today's second reading, taken from Saint Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, presents to us a text we have heard on many different occasions, mostly at weddings. This text, like the rest of the letter, was not intended for newlyweds. It is a letter addressed to a community in the midst of great division and turmoil; a community that is trying to find its place in the midst of a pagan world.

Many in the Christian community in the Greek city of Corinth were paying too much attention  to the different  manifestations  of the Spirit through different gifts. And in doing so, they were forgetting the main purpose of every Christian community and individual life; to manifest to the world the manifold love of God through the daily life of its members.

Saint Paul is making clear to them that all of God's gifts without love are empty and worthless. Love should be at the core of the Christian community and its efforts. He goes so far as to say, ”If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast, but do not franc love, I gain nothing.” Even the ultimate sacrifice of surrendering our lives, if done without love, is meaningless.

Love is not a romantic expression for Saint Paul. Love is the ultimate imitation of Christ. In love we find the fulfillment of our election. It is because we are the elect, the chosen ones by God's mercy that we are to proclaim to the world the deep meaning of our election. We were elected to love. Lille Saint Paul reminds us, love never fails.

We are to be known in the world as the people who believe and proclaim love. Love that is a reflection of the love God has manifested in our life through our election in Christ. Love is the only path to perfection. Love is the way of life for a Christian in the world, because everything else will pass away, only love remains.

—fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.

What did Jesus see as his main mission in life?

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Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

What did Jesus see as his main mission in life?

In this Sunday's Gospel (Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21), Jesus himself gives us the answer to that question. He tells us his principal  mission in  life. It was  ”to bring  glad tidings to the poor ....to proclaim liberty to captives and recover( of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” The word must become active and fulfilled — not just letters on paper, but energy in the heart, to proclaim and live out the love of God of neighbor. This will be his life.

For St Leo the Great, “The proof of love is in the world. Where love exists, if words great things. But when it ceases to act, it census to exist.” Jesus accepts the stranger, the outcast, heals the sick, gives hope to the despair, forgives sinners, and even accepts your faults. The love and care that God shows for humanity is  a  love without bounds. What Jesus did, he now asks and command us to do. We are

called to show God’s unceasing love for all people, which enables us to more fully see God’s presence in the world. We cannot truly say we love God, yet finds it difficult to do what he commands.

The truth is, I must take personally what God says here. He says: ‘You are the one I choose today to bring good news to the poor and oppressed. The Holy Spirit is sport you. I am sending you!’ Jesus saw these statements as giving him his identity.

Do they give me mine? If we want to know the true state of our love for God, we need to go by more than just feeling, we need to examine our response to the poor and hurting who cross our path and come to our attention. And we cannot

go only by our feelings to determine if we are truly loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. That takes an examination; it takes an honest assessment of how we are treating the poor and oppressed. Holy Spirit of God, you are the living force in the words of the Gospel we proclaim. You are the wind on which the message about Jesus is borne to others. Our agenda is to proclaim you. This is worth all the trouble that this life can bring. Amen.

—fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

The Work of the Spirit



Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

The Work of the Spirit

There are Different kind of spiritual gifts but he same Spirit: there are different forms of service but the same Lord: there are different working but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is give for some benefit.- 1 Cor 12:4-7

As I was reading the periscope above, I was thinking about  all  the ministries at Holy Rosary Parish. The faces of many ministry leaders came to mind beginning with the ministry of the brothers of our Dominican Community and others such as the Knights of Columbus, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, the Pro-Life ministry, the Heritage Girls, the Faith Formation Programs, the Young Adult and Youth Ministry, the Music Ministry and the Children's Choir, the Wednesday Lunch, the Sunday Coffee, the ministry of all who help with the cleaning and decoration of the Church during the liturgical seasons, the COOL group, the Finance  and Pastoral  councils,  the Lay Readers,  and many  others. I have been amazed to see how the Spirit is  working  for  a common benefit,  the common good of the whole parish. This is very important for leaders in ministry to keep in mind: the Work of the Holy Spirit is for the common good of the Parish and the Church. Sometimes ministry leaders have the temptation to think or believe that their leadership is at the service of just a particular group within the Parish or the Church. When this way of thinking becomes the way of operating, the community of believers are at risk of becoming an anti-testimony of the Gospel message that proclaims that Jesus gave his life for all.

I have seen the dedication of so many leaders and volunteers here at our parish and I am very grateful for all the support I received while I was Pastor. I encourage all of you to continue listening to the voice of the Spirit and to have the Christian freedom Jesus came to give us on the Cross to allow the Holy Spirit's movement and work continue in the present time. I especially encourage you  to support our recent established ministries: the Young Adult, the Youth Group, and the Children's Choir. Also, I invite you to welcome the new Faith Formation Director who is coming to serve the Parish, Mr. Phu Nguyen. I also encourage you to continue supporting the Faith Formation programs of the parish.

As many of you might know by now, my service as pastor came to an end last Tuesday. I am very  grateful  to all of you!  I assure  you of my prayers  and I ask you to please pray for me and  for  every  priest  in the  world.  I invite  you to offer your support to Fr. Alberto as he serves  as administrator,  and to Fr. Peter Damian and Fr. Hung Tran as they rems in ministry here. I also invite to welcome your future pastor when the times comes. May the Lord continue the work of salvation through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. May our Lady of the Holy Rosary continue interceding for us all!

—fr. Jorge Rativa, O.P.

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord brings to an end the Christmas season

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Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord brings to an end the Christmas season. But you might wonder though what does the Baptism of the Lord have to do with Christmas. How do they fit together? Jesus at the moment of the baptism by John the Baptist was no longer the sweet child of Bethlehem or the baby worshiped and gifted by the Magi. On this occasion we encounter Jesus as an adult, a man in the fullness of his life. How are all these celebrations connected?

In order to understand this, we have to deepen our understanding of Christmas to a more theological vision. What is Christmas all about? It is about the public manifestation of the Incarnation. The eternal Word, the second person of the Holy Trinity, through whom all came to be, broke the infinite barrier between God and creation and became human like us. God is now with us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. God has inserted himself into the heart of human history to save and redeem fallen humankind. The cycle of sin and death begun by our first parents is broken forever with a firm promise o1 forgiveness and resurrection.

These three events by heavenly manifestation confirming the truth of the Incarnation tell us that God was pleased with these three occasions. The shepherds around Bethlehem were the first to receive the good news. ”Do not be afraid. Listen I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by all people, Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” At the feast of the Epiphany we encounter the Magi who have come from far away because God's news has been manifested to them. Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.” And the revelation is completed at the moment of the baptism: ”heaven was opened and the holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ’You are my beloved Son,’ with whom I am well pleased”’.

Simply put, all three celebrations: Christmas, Epiphany, and the Baptism of the Lord are tied together with one theme and enable us to better contemplate and understand the deep meaning or the Incarnation. ”God loved as so much that he sent his only begotten son to save us.”

—Fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.

They knelt down and paid him homage.

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Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

I find the Epiphany story to be exuberantly colourful, dramatic, and indeed mysterious. The dramatis personae are familiar to us: the wise men from the east, Herod, Mary and her child. Also familiar are the star that intrigued the wise

men and guided them to Bethlehem, and the gifts that these strangers brought: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (what do these symbolise?).

Today, we too are being invited to become part of this story. Perhaps we can accompany the wise men and ask to share in the manifestation (epiphany) that they experienced in Bethlehem. Their journey, like our own lives, involved highs and lows, times of insight and doubt, a dream calling them forward (star) and the deception of worldly values (Herod). But at the end they were enlightened in the presence of the child Jesus and “they knelt down and paid him homage" Will we do likewise?

Homage was the reason and purpose of the quest of these magical kings. We have a need to worship, too. Make no mistake about it, people today worship something. It might be a new house, a boat, a car, their families, or just themselves. But for us, worship of the Lord God must be primary. We need to realign our thinking as to what worship really is—acknowledging the lordship of Christ in our lives. Joy, happiness, and peace are peripheral benefits of that meeting with God, and service for Him is the outcome of it. If we can’t find the time to give Christ honour and glory, then the search continues until we find fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

Friends in Christ, the star started the magi on the journey and then guided them to the end, like our faith. The star which shone at our baptism is the promise of God to guide us through life. Faith grows through the ordinary events of life. What can seem ordinary happenings can be extraordinary grace—the birth of a child in your family and friends.

—fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

“And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.” —Colossians 3:15

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

“And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.” —Colossians 3:15

As we come to the end of the year and the beginning of a new one, the Church invites us to celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph today, and the celebration of the 52nd World Day of Peace on January 1, 2019.

His holiness Pope Francis begins his message for the celebration of the world day of peace by saying: “Peace be to this house!” He reminds us that in sending his disciples forth on mission, Jesus told them: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you” (Lk 10:5-6).

Bringing peace is central to the mission of Christ’s disciples. That peace is offered to all those men and women who long for peace amid the tragedies and violence that mark human history. The “house” of which Jesus speaks is every family, community, country, and continent, in all their diversity and history. It is first and foremost each individual person, without distinction or discrimination. But it is also our “common home”: the world in which God has placed us and which we are called to care for and cultivate.

Also, in the letter to the Colossians, Paul reminds the community of faith of some basic values to keep the relationships among them and their families in peace: “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.” (Col 3:12-14)

As we celebrate the Holy Family today, let us recognize in them that Jesus came to them and through them to all the families in the world to bring his peace. As we come to the end of this year and the beginning of a new one, the Word and the Church are inviting to end and to begin in peace. Maybe can do that by working on those areas of our lives we know are not at peace and allowing Christ to be the source of our peace. Only Christ can offer real peace. Only his presence gives us the assurance and all we need to let go of the year that is ending and to welcome the new one. On behalf of the Dominican Friars and the Parish Staff, have a peaceful new year!

—fr. Jorge Rativa, O.P.

We are at the 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas is right around the corner.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

We are at the 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas is right around the corner. This year we have a very short Advent season. Only two days for the fourth week of Advent. Is it worthwhile to still celebrate Advent? What and why are we still celebrating?

It does not take much effort to look into our world and see the violence and chaos all around us. We open the papers every morning to find news of war and violence everywhere. And we do not have far to go from home to find the same dark reality around us. We are in a mess, we are a mess.

In the midst of all this chaos and violence, we encounter the voice of God in this season calling us to hope. Is hope a Pollyannaish reality or is it a real season for us to find peace and solace?

In the Advent season, and later into Christmas, we are reminded that God came and interrupted history. The birth of the Messiah implied that God was not a passive witness to our tragic reality, but that God decided to intervene in it. God erupted into our human history to give us a reason to hope, a reason to overcome despair, and continue believing that we are not alone. Now God is with us, Emmanuel. The seemingly unattainable God became one of us to show us the way, to show us how to hope and not despair. The apparently endless cycle of cynicism, corruption, and open violence has been exposed at its roots, and a healing balm provided for us. The eternal Word of God, through which all was created, came to us to show us the way to bring healing to our divided world and to creation as a whole.

There is reason to hope. We are not alone in our pilgrimage through this life. God has become our sojourner. There is a reason to hope. We are not alone fighting against the world and its powers, we do have someone with infinite powers who reminds us that we can conquer because he is our hope and strength.

Let's listen to the voice of Advent, to the silent message of Christmas. God is with us, never to abandon us. Now we hope and smile knowing that the One who loves us is with us. At times we forget this fundamental truth. That's the reason why we need to be reminded year after year in the Advent and Christmas seasons.

Enjoy this Advent and Christmas season and learn to listen to its powerful message. God is with us. God loves us. We are no longer alone. God came to us in the human person of Jesus. The unreachable God became our intimate lover. And it is in the warmth of this love that we learn how to hope.

—fr, Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.

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