Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy:
The month August is here and it is the last month of summer break! I hope everybody is enjoying it so far?
Last weekend I wrote in my letter how vibrant our parish community is. And yes, we really are! I thank the Lord, first of all, for the unending blessings poured out upon us and secondly I thank you all, all of you dear parishioners, for your generosity and involvement in many ways you can. There are quite a few of you who came up to me this past weekend and express ideas on how to make this community more vibrant. I tell you that what you all think of are in a work-in-progress. A few months ago, I mentioned in one of my letters that there is a so-called new ministry we added on (or a “committee” for some who might want to call it that way). It is called “Fund Raising Task Force.” This is one of the new ministries we now have. This ministry has been meeting for quite a few times in these past few months. Ideas of events on how to raise funds were being brought up. The members of this ministry and I are all excited for the implementation of these events. It is going to be soon, one after the other, depending on our parish calendar. For me it is exciting because it is not only that we raise a few bucks for our parish’s needs, it will also be a community building and fellowship among one another. And that is a real beauty in our parish if we stop and think about it. It is beautiful to see all of you coming together in an event or events and mingles with everybody, of every race and culture. To mention some of these events, if not all: there will be talents shows, dance lessons, dinner dances, 50/50 raffles, golf outings, food expos, walkathons, pilgrimages and many others. I encourage you to always take home a bulletin with you and check out upcoming events that we will be posting as soon as dates have been decided. As we speak, there are a few upcoming events in place so far (of which I already have mentioned in last week’s bulletin and will keep them posted every week so you will not forget.)
As many of you have experienced it, I am pretty sure that you would agree with me when I say that, “challenges or hardships come along with the blessings we receive.” And just as I share with you some of the blessings we are bestowed upon as a community, allow me to share with you also some of the challenges I now face as a pastor of our community. Many of you have seen me and worked with me (for eleven years to be exact) as a parochial vicar or assistant to the pastor. (By the way, pastors and parochial vicars are of the same function because we are all ordained as priests. So, don’t get me wrong.) When I was a parochial vicar I didn’t have to make decisions myself for the community. And that makes the difference as to being a pastor and parochial vicar, the decision-making. As priests we have the moral obligation to take care the spiritual welfare of the people and to take care the treasures of the Church, and as a pastor or leader of the flock I have the responsibility to oversee the whole thing and have the final word. And let me tell you that making decisions is not an easy job. It takes a lot of prayer, consultations with the assistants or parochial vicars, staff members, parish councils and most importantly, it must always be in conformity with the scriptures, church doctrine or teachings and traditions. In other words, it is about orthodoxy. At present, many of you are not used to seeing me as a pastor now. And some of you think negatively about some policies. So, for example if we have a “no picture taking” policy at baptisms, first communions, confirmations and weddings, it is not because of me. It is not about me making that up because I am the pastor and that I am a changed person now, stricter, and, I can do what I want. NO! It really is about the Liturgy. It is for the good of the people of God. It is for all of us to stay and keep focused on the sacrament or sacraments being celebrated. It is about helping us how be in the right track towards what we do at church. The real presence of the Lord Jesus Christ is here! If we don’t know about it yet, we entered into prayer the moment we begin our celebration with the sign of the cross until the sending forth. And we know from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that the Liturgy of the Eucharist is the “highest form of prayer” (- CCC 1375 on the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.) If we pay close attention to all the words or what the priest says at mass, we find out that we pray for everybody and everything. And because of that we want you to really be in it, to be in prayer and really pray well without any distractions whatsoever. And to those of you who know me well, you know how I love taking pictures and to be in it, too. And experience says that when we take pictures we want them to come out as good pictures (with the right angle, lighting, etcetera.) And guess what? You are not the only one who got distracted but you are a distraction yourself to others. Try to take pictures when you cross the street or while driving… guess what would happen…you will get into accident! It is the same thing at our celebrations in church.
Brothers and sisters, I pray that before we talk against our priests, or pastor in particular, we first try to understand the reasons behind church policies. (And, this is also true in many other things.) It is all about having the right attitude in coming to church. Let us ask ourselves first why do we exert effort to come to Church? And we know so well the answer to that question: we are called to come to worship God in spirit and in truth, to pray and to get nourished in Word and in Sacraments. And that’s the core of it all. We hear it from our other Christian brothers and sisters when they knock on our doors as their own way of evangelizing the Word of God: “Are You Saved?” Well… in our personal relationship with God let us ponder on that same question “Are We Saved?” Truth be told, we will not really get to know about it until we get there, but for now, what we can do for sure is we can prepare ourselves for it by having the right attitudes.
As we celebrate this Sunday of the Transfiguration of the Lord, we may do well by coming to our senses and ask if we are on the right track towards salvation. Let us work on our transfiguration and be converted to attain eternal life. It is never too late to change. God gives us a chance all the time to come back to him when we get a little distracted along the way. I tell you that in this world there is a lot of temptation to get sidetracked from. Once that happens, get back on and God is forever willing to forgive and lovingly embrace us.
God bless you all!
Summer or Winter Makes No Difference!
As you know, we are now following our summer Mass schedule, Saturday 5 pm, Sunday 8 am, 10 am, 12 noon, and 7 pm. That schedule would normally change in September and we would then follow our winter Mass schedule. However, this will no longer happen. We have decided to keep our current Mass schedule throughout the entire year. Our Mass schedule will continue as it is, Saturday 5 pm, Sunday 8 am, 10 am, 12 noon, and 7 pm. Summer or winter will make no difference, the Mass times will remain the same!
Weekday Mass Schedule
Starting September 1st weekday masses schedule will be the following:
Monday – Friday at 7:00am and 8:30am
Saturday at 8:30am
Please pray for the sick:
Paul Calefati, Elaine Staltari, Othelia G. Laurena, Jean Karycinski, Dorothy Darcy, Erlinda Jacinto, Presentacion Sorio, Leonora Loyola, Eric Bautista, Lilian Kryczkowski, Ellen Iorio, Jessica Pavone, Ian Malesiewski, Ruben Catipon, Angela Salvador, Clarita Salvador, Teresita Cordon, Vincent Mastria, Maria Svaligmac, Bill Macchi, Craig Rutkowski, James Seaman, Makenzie Cadmus, Manuel J.Juson, MD, Gina Marquez, Rose Maschucci, Maurita Reyes, Daniel Tamayo Santos, Marie Ronzitti, Lucia Vanderburg, Betty Scerbo, Philip Scerbo, Alejandra Ancheta, Cindy Popolo, Mario Banaag, Oscar Alladin, Antonio Roldan, Ricardo Valdez, Erma Chidichimo, Esperanza Galarza, Carmen Tuazon, Nick DeBello, Susan Ranola Rivera, Conrado “Boy” Tanada, John Broderick, John Hnath, Joanne Diaz, Ligaya Tan, Concepcion Del Rosario, Leonarda DeCarlo, Dolores Steinhauser, Eugenio Cacananta