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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“What should we do?”

December 16, 2018

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

The people ask John, “What should we do?” His answer is surprisingly authentically ordinary: share with others; avoid extortion; be satisfied with your wages. We too, might ask how might I embrace the sacred in the ordinary? I am sure that during the course of this week, most of us see hundreds of people, as we walk through the mall, pick up our groceries, eat at restaurants, take care of personal errands, and do all the other things associated with daily life. Unless they are relatives or friends, we usually take no notice of the people who cross our path. They are just part of the scenery that surround us we move through our day. Those we do notice attract our attention for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it is their physical appearance or the clothes they are wearing. When someone grabs our attention, questions start coming to mind. Who is that person? Why is that individual acting that way? Where is that person from? Is this someone to avoid or someone worth meeting?

This Gospel begs the questions: “Who are we?” Do we testify to the light? In this season of Advent, this season of waiting for the light, my game plan is to prepare for the coming of Jesus by testifying to the light so that others might believe through me. So if you are like me, and can’t seem to get yourself in a waiting mode, or if you simply haven't begun your Advent preparation, I invite you to join me in modelling John’s ministry in our lives. John the Baptist lived a life of passionate commitment. His passion for justice and honesty spoke to the hearts of the crowds, tax-collectors and soldiers. What John did is something we are to do. As Christians, we are to attract the attention of people and then we are to focus that attention on Jesus Christ. We might say we are to get people to notice us so that they might notice the one we follow. As we await the birth of Christ, will I share what I have with others, especially those who are poor and on the margins of society?

John insists that preparing the way for the Messiah is not simply a matter of belonging to the Jewish nation, but comes about through justice, peace, anid love. John offers some practical examples. People should share clothing and food with those who have none as basic expressions of faith. These are things we must do to prepare to meet the Messiah. Today, St John asks us to consider our honesty and integrity; for we know that many are poor, at home and abroad, because of the greed of others. Christmas is a reminder of a challenge that all can live with the dignity we have come to regard as human rights. The Christ child who was born poor represents all the poor of the world.

—fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

Prepare the Way of the Lord.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

Prepare the Way of the Lord

The liturgy of the Church invites us to reflect on four themes through the Advent season: Hope, Faith, Joy, and Love / Peace. During this second Sunday we are invited to take a look at our faith.

The prophet Baruch, by proclaiming that Jerusalem will come out of her misery, is inviting his listeners to have faith in God, in his recreating Word. The prophet proclaims that Jerusalem's children will gather from everywhere and that the Lord will prepare the place where they are to dwell.

Saint Paul in his letter to the Philippians expresses his confidence in God "that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus." Paul's confidence is rooted in his experience of encountering the Risen Lord who entrusted him with the mission to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles.

In the Gospel, John is proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He is moved by faith to make this proclamation. and knows that he is there to prepare the way for the one who is to come, the Lamb of God.

Baruch, St. Paul, and John the Baptist were moved by their faith, their confidence in God's goodness, to proclaim the great works He was about to do in their midst. During this second Sunday of Advent, what is our faith in God moving us to proclaim? What are the great works of God that we are witnessing in our midst? How do these works take place in our lives? The acknowledgment and proclamation of God's works will help us prepare ourselves to understand better the Mystery of the incarnation and therefore, to celebrate it with grateful hearts.

In our parish, the works of God take place within different ministries. For this reason, beginning today, we are going to have a section in our bulletin called "Ministry Spotlight." The purpose of this section is for our parishioners and visitors to know what our ministries are about. It is also an opportunity to see how our parishioners are also moved by their faith. Our hope is that this same faith will move many others to participate and be part of our ministries.

-fr. Jorge Rativa, O.P

Advent, again! You might cry out.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Advent, again! You might cry out. We say Advent, but we are thinking Christmas. Most Catholics seem to lack the understanding of Advent as a separate Christian season; a time of the year with its own flavor and purpose. Advent is not Christmas, even if the business world tries to force us into a consumerism spree during this time.

What is Advent about? Advent is a time for waiting.  Like a pregnant woman waiting for the child to grow and develop in her womb, knowing that the process cannot be accelerated; Advent invites us to wait, but with purpose.

Usually we dislike waiting. It reminds us of waiting at the doctor's office, impatiently looking at our watches and counting the seconds. Advent is not that kind of stressful waiting. It is a time of relaxed waiting for the fullness of the Kingdom of God to become part of our human history.

Advent is a time to make a stop amid the rush of our lives and reconsider where we stand and where we are going. In Advent we are reminded of the sure fact that this world will come to an end and that Jesus will return to judge the world. But it is not a time of fear and trepidation. It is a time of relaxed contemplation of our own selves and to dwell in the all-encompassing commandment of love. Love is the ultimate measure of Christian life. Love is the all-encompassing commandment given to us.

Saint Paul in this Sunday's reading gives us an insight into what type of love we are invited to rediscover in this Advent season. "May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all." In this season of waiting we are encouraged to work on our love. Like pregnant mothers awaiting the delivery of the life within them, we are to spend time during this short liturgical season nurturing the love that already exists in our hearts, helping it grow and mature. So that when the Lord comes, we might be able to present him with the best of our gifts: a life overflowing in love of others and ourselves.

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.

"The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken."

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November 25, 2018

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

In  this  Gospel,  Jesus  speaks  about  the  days when  "the  sun  will  be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken." Whilst those images call to mind the end of time, they can also apply to our own lives.

We all have occasions when our personal world is shaken when things seem to be falling apart, and when sadness and pain darkened the joy of living. Even in our darkest hour, the Lord does not abandon us.

Jesus tells us to "learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates."

When our personal lives are in turmoil, we need to realize that God is at our gates. His eye is always upon us as He watches over us night and day, particularly so in our moments of deep sorrow, doubt, and pain. And He assures us that we will indeed have the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst, guiding, protecting, and strengthening us in spite of our necessary uncertainties in life on earth. Stay close to Him as we journey, we have nothing to fear. His gift to us is His presence with us 'till the end of the world.

-fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

Office of the Cardinal

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November 18, 2018

Archdiocese  of Galveston-Houston

Office of the Cardinal

My dear friends in Christ,

Pope Francis has urged all of us to not fall into indifference, but to become active instruments of mercy. Our Holy Father asks us to reflect on the life of Christ who is our model for corporal works of mercy. Through the Diocesan Services Fund (DSF) we are able to be instruments of mercy to thousands in our Archdiocese who are sick, poor, imprisoned, elderly or facing a crisis in their lives, such as the one caused for so many by Hurricane Harvey.

During and after this devastating storm, many of you were instruments of mercy to your neighbors, friends, and even strangers, offering comfort and compassion. I know many of you rolled up your sleeves and helped people rebuild their homes and businesses. I am proud of all of you for being God's hands to perform gestures of great love and compassion. Supported by DSF, Catholic Charities served as the Archdiocese's major disaster response organization, serving more than 15,000 people in the immediate aftermath of the storm. They are still at work offering long-term recovery services. San Jose Clinic, also supported by DSF, provided medical care to over 1,800 people.

The day-to-day  operations of DSF also need our support, and a few of the programs highlighted this year are Pro-Life Activities, Apostleship of the Sea and the Office of Vocations. Many of you may not be familiar with the mission of the Apostleship of the Sea, but it has been a vital ministry of our Archdiocese for more than a half century. Some 300,000 seafarers come into the Port of Houston each year and 60% are Catholic. They bring 80% of our goods that we consume into our city. Offering the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion along with pastoral counseling and compassionate support for those who often spend months at a time at sea, often more than two months, is part of our responsibility to welcome the stranger.

The mission of Pro-Life Activities is to protect the most vulnerable among us, recognizing the dignity of each human person from the unborn child, to the elderly at the end of their lives, to the prisoner on death row. Human life above all belongs to God and we should make every effort to defend it. This Office is offering a new program scheduled to launch this year, called Jerome's Hope, which will assist parents who have received a difficult pregnancy diagnosis or who have lost a baby and need counseling and pastoral direction. It is because of your DSF contributions that we are able to respond to needs like these and compassionately help those who are searching for answers, healing and hope.

When he was Pope, Saint John Paul II,  wrote  a  document  called  Pastores  Dabo Vobis (in English I Will Give You Shepherds ). This message helped to shape programs for priestly formation and vocational discernment. Our local Office of Vocations fulfills part of this important vision of increasing the number of men who are discerning to be our future shepherds. Through the celebration of the sacraments and pastoral ministry, these fishers of men become instruments of mercy for all of us.

I thank you for your gracious commitment to the DSF. With gratitude to God for your faithful discipleship and praying for God's abundant blessing upon you, I am

Your faithful Shepherd,

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo

Archbishop of Galveston-Houston

The deep reasons why Christ has been instituted the only and true mediator between God and humankind

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews presents to us this Sunday the deep reasons why Christ has been instituted the only and true mediator between God and humankind. The author, whose name we ignored, was most probably a member of the priestly class. His knowledge of the liturgical life at the temple in Jerusalem is amazing.

Once a year on the Day of Atonement, Yam Kippur, a lamb without blemish was ritually slaughtered at the temple by the High Priest. It was a complicated ritual which only the High Priest could fulfill after repeated purification baths and changes of vestments. The blood of the lamb was ritually collected and placed in a special bowl.

At the core of the Jerusalem temple was its main liturgical building, the Holy of Holies. This building, which was divided by a hanging partition of ornate cloth, was supposed to be an earthly representation of the celestial dwelling place, the heavenly sanctuary. Daily offerings of bread and incense were presented inside of the first part twice a day by some designated priest. But beyond the curtain, only the High Priest was allowed to enter once a year. Carrying the blood of the sacrificed lamb, which had been slaughtered for the forgiveness of his sins and those of the people, he would spray the inside area of the Holy of Holies. Later he would spray himself and the gathered people with the blood of the sacrificed lamb, reminding them that for that year their sins were forgiven. This ritual was to be repeated year after year.

Using this background of the liturgical life in the temple, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews presents to us the role of Jesus' death in order to achieve the forgiveness of our sins and our salvation once and for all. First of all he reminds us that Jesus, through his death, did not enter into a sanctuary made by hand s... but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf He makes also very clear that Jesus' sacrifice is a once and for all sacrifice. Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary; with blood that is not his own. Jesus on the other hand enters into the heavenly presence bringing the sacrifice of his own blood. In Jesus we have the unblemished lamb who shed his blood for our salvation. It is through his blood that we have received forgiveness of our sins. Humankind has been reconciled with the eternal Father through the freely shed blood of this incarnated Son.

The once and for all sacrifice of Jesus had put an end to the world of the bloody sacrifices of the Old Testament. Out of the pierced heart of Jesus a new reality is born, the realm of those justified by the blood of the cross.

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."–Mark 12:29

In the Gospel we find one of the rare meetings between Jesus and a teacher of the Law which is not confrontational. The man seems genuinely interested in Jesus’ answer to a question that was often asked by interpreters of the Law. Again, rather unusually, Jesus answers the question directly. In answering Jesus does not give just one commandment but two: Love your God with your whole heart and soul and Love your neighbor as yourself. Both answers are taken from the Law of Moses (Dt 6:4-5 and Lv 19:18 respectively).

First, in answering a question about which is the most important commandment, Jesus gives two commandments which, in His view, are quite inseparable; one cannot be kept without the other. We cannot say truly we love God and then refuse to love our neighbor. Jesus will make another modification. He will extend the meaning of ‘neighbor’ to include every single person and not just the people of one’s own race, religion, or family (cf. Lk 10:30-37). As Christians, we are called to Love God. We do that in a variety of ways, but perhaps the best way to demonstrate our love for God is by doing what Jesus tells us in today’s gospel, to “Love Thy neighbor.”

Speaking at the Last Supper, Jesus says to his disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” A few verses later he says the same thing in a slightly different way, “Whosoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.” In other words, Jesus wants us to express our love for him by being obedient to his command­ments. These gospel statements should absolutely clear up that there is absolutely no dichotomy whatsoever between loving God and obeying God. There is no disjunction at all between having a love relationship with Christ and keeping his commandments: Love your neighbor as yourself. That is, the commandment to love is more important than the commandments which concern the worship and sacrifices of the Temple. The Prophets of the Old Testament already had affirmed this (Hos 6:6; Ps 40:6-8; Ps 51:16-17). Today we would say that the practice of love is more important than novenas, promises, political party, sermons, and processions. The love that Jesus commands and that He showed his disciple was not a matter of sentiments and opinions, but rather a matter of action and decision. For Saint Gregory the Great “The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.” What Jesus did, He now asks and commands us to do.

Jesus accepts the stranger, the outcast, forgives sinners, and accepts your faults. The love that God shows for humanity is a love without bounds. 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. Because if God is truly our Father, we are all brothers and sisters, and we are challenged to show this in practice by loving unceasingly. We, disciples, should keep this law in our mind, in our intelligence, in our heart, in our hands and feet, because one cannot reach God without giving oneself entirely to one’s neighbor!

In fact, loving others as oneself can be difficult but the advocate—The Holy Spirit— will be the voice of God, of Jesus directing our action of loving—and we will never be alone. But why do you suppose we have been ineffective in loving our neighbor? The answer is simply, because we have truncated the good news to a sentimental and sloppy notion of love. We instead need to tie in biblical love. And until we restore obedience to our understanding of the Christian’s love relationship with Christ, we will continue to lose our voice in our city, home, and the world. As Saint Catherine of Siena once said “Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind."

—fr. Peter Damian, O.P.

Solemnity of St. Martin de Porres

October 28, 2018

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

On Saturday, November 3, 2018 at the 12:05 Mass, we will celebrate the Solemnity of St. Martin de Porres, the Patron of the Southern Dominican Province in the United States. This Mass will include the celebration of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick for the members of the parish who are in need of healing in their lives. It is a way to celebrate one of the gifts that St. Martin de Porres received from the Lord: the gift of healing. This weekend's Gospel reading is precisely about a story of healing: that of Bartimaeus, a blind man (Mark 10:46-52).

This account from the Gospel is particularly important especially at this time in the history of  the Church and of the world, when there is so much need for healing. As a Church - a people of faith in need of healing -we are invited to cry out "Son of David, have pit y on me" (Mark 10:47b), even when many others or the circumstances try to quiet us down. We need  to remember that Jesus himself  is the one who hears our cry and the one who calls us. In moments of darkness and blindness, as members of a wounded Church, we are called to support one another by echoing the words the blind mind heard: "Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you." (Mark 10: 49). In the midst  of  our blindness, wounds, and pain, we need  to hear Jesus asking us: "What do you want me to do for you?" (Mark 10:51). This is a very important question for us as a Church, what do we want the Lord Jesus to do for us in this particular moment of the history of the Church? Do we want to see? What are the physical, spiritual, . psychological, and emotional wounds that need to be healed in our lives?

As we continue moving forward in our journey of life and faith, and as we prepare to celebrate the Feast of St. Martin de Porres, we are invited to continue praying for the healing of the Church. Through the intercession of St. Martin de Porres, may the Lord Jesus, brings us out of darkness and set us free to continue serving him and one another as St. martin de Porres did. We look forward to see you joining us in prayer for the healing of the members of the Church this coming Saturday.

St. Martin de Porres, pray for us!

-fr. Jorge Rativa, O.P.

A letter from the Cardinal

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October 1, 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Annually, the next-to-last Sunday  of October marks the Church’s Eucharistic celebration for the Missions, World Mission Sunday.

In his message for this year's celebration on October 21, Pope Francis explains that "life is a mission." "Each one of us is called to reflect on this fact: 'I am a mission on this Earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world' (Evangelii Gaudium 273)," he writes. Focusing on young people, he notes: "In speaking to you, I also address all Christians who live out in the Church the adventure of their life as children of God."

I invite all of us in this archdiocese to see World Mission Sunday as a special moment to live out the mission we share as God's children, the mission to bring the Gospel to the whole world. I encourage you to be a "voice for mission" through your prayers and through the help that you are able to give in supp01i of the priests, religious and lay pastoral leaders who work tirelessly, day in and day out, proclaiming the Gospel, building the Church, and serving the poor in more than I ,I 00 mission dioceses in Asia and Africa, the Pacific Islands, and parts of Latin America and Europe.

The prayers and material aid generously given to the collection for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith on World Mission Sunday, the Pope explains, continue to suppo1i the "preaching of the Gospel to every nation,'' thus "contributing to the human and cultural growth of all those who thirst for knowledge of the truth."

"Mission revitalizes faith,'' Pope Francis reminds us, quoting Saint Pope John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio (#2). May your commitment to the Lord's continuing mission renew your faith and be a blessing in your life. And may you know of my personal gratitude for your generous response on this unique day for the entire Church, and throughout the year, as you are able.

Gratefully in the Lord

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo

Archbishop of Galveston-Houston

“Good Teacher, what must I do to share in everlasting life?”

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we have the story of a rich man, that is, a man who believed that his material wealth brought him happiness. No doubt he was a well-meaning man. “Good Teacher, what must I do to share in everlasting life?” “You know the commandments,” says Jesus and then proceeds to list only those commandments which involve our relations with others, omitting those relating directly to God: not killing; not committing adultery; not stealing; not bearing false witness; not defrauding; respecting parents.

However, the young man was not gratified. He tells Jesus that he has observed the commandments since he was a child. The young man desires to do more than to simply observe the commandments; he yearns for something lasting and deeper. Mark tells us that: “Jesus looked at the man and loved him.” What a commanding and yet gentle statement! This young man seemingly wished to surrender all to God and to truly live out the commandments of God. Clearly, Jesus is surprised by this young man’s deep and sincere desire and suddenly His heart was completed with love for this young man who hungers wholeheartedly for God.

Jesus turned and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." Obviously, this was not the response the young man was hoping for. After understanding what Jesus was truly asking of him, he became befuddled.

We can fully sense the young man desires truly to follow Jesus; however, he never expected to give up or surrender all including family and friends in order to be a true follower of Christ. So when Jesus challenged him to make God his one true possession and treasure, he walked away, sad and dismayed. He finds the price of discipleship was too unreasonable. He wanted the kind of lasting peace and happiness which money could not buy him. Jesus spoke to the trouble of his heart. The one thing kept him from truly giving of himself whole-hardheartedly to God. Whilst he lacked nothing in material goods, he was however possessive of what he had. He placed his hope and salvation in what he possessed. The command of Jesus to give up everything and follow Jesus is a challenge that seems daunting. What about us? Are we willing to give up everything we have to follow Jesus?

Jesus is challenging us today to make God our one true possession and treasure, and not to be dismayed. Treasure has a special connection to the heart. Make Jesus the center of our heart. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. The Lord himself is the greatest treasure we can ever possess. Giving up everything else to have the Lord as our treasure is not sorrowful, but the greatest joy. He alone can satisfy the deepest longing and desires of our heart. Are you willing to part with anything that might keep you from seeking true joy with Jesus? Selling all that we have could mean many different things--our friends, our job, our "style" of life, what we do with our free time.

Jesus challenged the young man because his heart was selfish. He was afraid to give to others for fear that he would lose what he had. Those who are generous towards God and neighbor find that they cannot out give God in generosity. We are told in the Gospel of Matthew “the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44).

Let us pray through the grace of God that, like the rich man, we realize that our “wealth” (or whatever it may be that is holding us back) is costing us a life lived in the kingdom of God. Jesus offers the way that guides our steps, the truth that enlightens our minds and the life that gives love which lasts forever. Our happiness lies in how we answer these questions! We have a choice. What will we choose?

—fr. Peter Damian Harris, O.P.

 

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord… The Mighty One has done great things for me,

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord…

The Mighty One has done great things for me,

and holy is his name.” —Luke 1: 46.49

The visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth ends with the Magnificat (Luke 1:39-56). Mary visited Elizabeth to share with her the good news of her pregnancy. Mary was moved to proclaim the greatness of the Lord because He was fulfilling his promise of giving a Savior to the world and she was the chosen one as the Mother. Certainly the Lord was going great things for her and for us.

As we celebrate the feast of our Patroness, Our Lady Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, we are called to be grateful because as Mary visited Elizabeth to share the good news, Mary still visits us every day particularly when we pray the Rosary, celebrate the sacraments, and come together as a community to share and celebrate our faith. We are witness of the great things God is doing for us in our parish. I would like to mention some of them that have taken place in this past year. After Hurricane Harvey, many people came to offer their financial support and many volunteered with Catholic Charities and other organizations. For this reason, our parish was the recipient of the Charity in Action 2018 given by Catholic Charities this past September. Also, in the last months, the St. Vincent de Paul Society conference received a grant to continue their mission of serving the poor.

This last year we started the Young Adult Group and it is flourishing un­der the leadership of a very dynamic Young Adult Council. We also recently started the AVIV Youth ministry along with the formation of the children’s choir. These ministries have come as a response to the invitation to the Synod: Young people, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment. Throughout the year, we have been helping the ministries to improve their presence and action in the life of the parish. This is always ongoing.

We also continue enhancing our Faith Formation Programs, recently we pur­chased an RCIA program to help us teach the Faith to those who want to become Catholic or in full communion with the Church. Some other things to be grateful for are: the painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe that came back restored; the lights in the parking lot are working, the cabinets built in the parish offices to provide more storage room, and the improvement of the lighting in the Church. We also added a couple of security cams in different areas of our Church.

We are also striving to enhance the liturgical celebrations in Honor of Mary by adding more music and solemnity to those occasions. This is our way to continue welcoming her and to listen to the good news she brings about her Son Jesus Christ. Her maternal presence and prayerful intercession among us are what have made it possible for us to enjoy the Great things the Lord has done for us for more than 100 years since the Dominicans came in 1913. I am very grateful to all the parishioners and friends of the parish that have com­mitted their time, talent, and treasure to continue making possible the mission to share the Good News as Mary did. Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us! Happy Feast Day!

—fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.

Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow his Spirit on them all!

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow his Spirit on them all!

Moses was not that wrong when he  wished  that  all  the  people  of  the Lord might be recipients of the Lord's Spirit. His wish was a prophetic wish unknowingly looking into a distant future, the days of the arrival of the Messiah.

After Jesus' ascension into heaven,  a new age was opened for those who believe in him. Pentecost marks the moment in which the flood gates of the life in the Spirit were opened for all those who believed  and were baptized. The early Christian community was well aware of the many gifts of the Spirit dwelling in the hearts of the faithful. Because of it, history was changed and a new age was opened for those who allowed the Spirit of God to dwell in their hearts.

Two thousand years later, how do we understand and live this happening? Has the life in the Spirit come to an end? Throughout the years of my ministry, I have found people who are scared of the possibility of the life in the Spirit. They would prefer a quiet and established religious reality, without surprises - all under control!

Sadly, those who sponsor such a way of thinking are denying the possibility of the greatest gift. Jesus himself had said to Nicodemus: You must be born from above. The wind blows wherever it pleases; you hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from and where it is going. This is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit. The Spirit of God, the soul of the Church, comes and goes according to his own plan and design, pushing the believer in the direction which only he in his divine wisdom has foreseen. The Spirit of God is not, and will never be controlled by human plans and designs. Like the wind, the Spirit blows wherever it pleases. Pentecost was only the beginning of the plan of the Spirit.

However, Pentecost has not finished; and the Spirit of God cannot be domesticated. If you spend some time studying the history of the Church, you will encounter many failed attempts to rein in the impetus of the Spirit. We always pretend to be in control, and we forget that we are fighting against a reality which is stronger than all of us. In today's Gospel reading we heard how the disciples wanted to stop others who were driving out demons in the name of Jesus because they were not part of their group of followers. Jesus stops them, daring them to expand their understanding of the broadness of the power of the Spirit. Whoever is not against us is for us.

How aware are we of the presence of the Spirit in our lives? How open are we to the working of the Spirit in our lives? Are we afraid of where the Spirit might lead us? Are we afraid of where the Spirit might lead the whole Church? Let us break away from the mentality of fear and let us arrive at a mentality of trust -trust in the Spirit who is the soul of the Church.

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.


But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

September 23, 2018

But they kept quiet because on the way

they had argued about who was the greatest. - Mark 9:34

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus has to have a discussion with his disciples about humility. When Jesus confronted them about their argument, they were ashamed. Sitting down, Jesus tells them this: “Anyone who wants to be first must be the last, and the servant of all”

- Mark 9:35 Oh, how often we think we are better than everyone else, even though we are not! The easiest way to avoid such an ego is simply to follow this message: Be the servant of all. We must not be preoccupied with who is the best or greatest. Rather, we should think about ways to serve our neighbor, and about how the power Christ is working within and through us. In last Sunday's gospel, we hear how Jesus summoned his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.11- Mark 8:27-35

The path that Jesus was inviting his disciples to share meant total love and self-giving. This kind of racial commitment that Jesus calls us to adopt for the sake of the gospel. Following Christ on the path of self-giving will not bring us worldly success, affirmation or accolades, but give true and complete witness to God's indiscriminate love and mercy to the homeless, immigrants, marginalized, poor, and to those who might not look like us. As a faithful disciple we are to be as concerned for others as we are with their relationship with God. Jesus reminds us in today's gospel that greatness is to be found in loving service of the weaker members of the community. Being a disciple is not the easy option. True discipleship is demanding, it requires our promised commitment to God's mission through self-giving and sacrifice.

Somebody once told Saint Ignatius that Francis Xavier was a very ambitious young man. Ignatius replied, 'He is not ambitious enough'. His later ambitions were gospel ambitions. Lord, we pray today that you may renew our desire to be like and for Jesus in the world.

-fr. Peter Damian Harris, O.P.

Faith and Works.

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Faith and Works

What good is it, my brothers and sisters,

if someone says he has faith but does not have works? (James 2:14)

This question indicates some tensions among the members of an early Christian community. Some Christians understood that only faith was necessary for salvation and therefore works were not important. In his response, James indicates that this is not a question of either/or but both. It is important to understand that in our Christian life, our works are faith in action. It is not necessarily that our works are per se the source of salvation, but that through our works we proclaim the one Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord, and participate in his mission.

One of the most important  Christian  works  is  teaching  the  faith  at different levels: children, youth, young adults, and adults. In teaching the faith, there is a mutual benefit for the teacher and the student, they both grow in their understanding of the faith and therefore, in faithful discipleship. We just started our CCE and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programs. These two programs are in need of teachers and volunteers in different areas. If you are interested, please contact Mrs. Eileen Hubbard at faithformation@holyrosaryparish.org or me at pastor@holyrosaryparish.org. Holy Rosary parish will greatly appreciate your time and generosity in passing on the faith to those the Lord is calling to follow him. Thank you!

—fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.

Praise the Lord, my soul!

praise the lord

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

An Invitation

Praise the Lord, my soul!


In less than a month, on October 7, we will be celebrating the feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, the patroness of our Parish. Even though our parish is named after the Holy Rosary, we celebrate her intercession and presence in our parish. It is very important to be aware of the two precious gifts our parish has received. On one hand, the gift of Our Lady, blessed virgin Mary; and on the other, the gift of the Holy Rosary. Maternal presence and prayer makes Holy Rosary a dwelling place where we can come to know, love, serve, and praise the Lord. This is clearly shown in the reverent celebration of the sacraments and the silence through  which God speaks to each one of us.

The Maternal presence of Mary and the prayer of the Holy Rosary, makes our parish a Marian place where many  people come to honor Mary and worship Christ. For these reasons, we are making an effort to enhance the liturgical celebrations in honor of Mary and of course those that refer to the mysteries of the Lord. As we have done in the past, we will continue inviting our parishioners to come and celebrate with us on these occasions. It is essential to be intentional about this maternal presence and the prayerful spirit that Mary brings with her.

At this time, I am extending an invitation to all our parishioners, friends, volunteers, and staff to join us on Sunday, October 7, to celebrate the Feast of our Lady of the Holy Rosary. On Sunday, October 7, we will celebrate the Masses in Honor of Our Lady; the main Mass for the Parish will be 11:00 a.m. We will also have a parish picnic from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the courtyard. The parish hall will also be available for those who prefer to be indoors. Children are welcome to bring flowers to our Blessed Mother on that day as well.

I appreciate your support, your presence and participation during this celebration. May Our Lady of the Holy Rosary bring us together closer to her.

-fr.Jorge Rativa,O.P