Fall Festival Success

What a blessing it has been to celebrate our Fall Festival with so many wonderful people, in such good weather and under the extraordinary leadership of the Knights of Columbus. Thank you all for your dedicated service.

This last September 21, on the Feast of St. Matthew, we started the celebration of our 40th anniversary as a parish. It will be a year-long occasion to give praise to God for the gift of our faith family, especially the charter members of our community and the many active households who work and pray hard to keep the faith and pass it on.

One of the highlights of this anniversary year will be the publication of a Pictorial Directory for the year 2017. It will be a fitting and grateful tribute to our ancestors and current parishioners for having received the call to minister to others as Jesus did. I hope you take the necessary steps for your picture and that of your loved ones to be included in it. In the near future phone calls will be made to parishioners with the invitation to schedule a photography appointment. Christmas is just around the corner. Give yourself and your family this memorable gift!

Blessings and Peace!

Fr. O

Venezuela Visit/Green & Media Teams

Dear parishioners: I just came back from what I call, my first 3-day missionary trip to my home country Venezuela. It clearly had 3 distinctive goals:

1) Marched in solidarity with my people in a national protest against the leftist and dictatorial government which has led the country into an economic, social and political chaos.

2) Joined my family in the celebration of my sister’s 70th birthday. She is my mom’s primary care giver and they need during these hard times all the encouragement, love and support they can get.

3) Handed over the $7500 worth camera-scanner bought here with parishioners’ donations for the diagnosis and treatment of eye cancer. The rate of incidence at this particular Oncological Center in Caracas is of about 130 adults and 50 children per month. This Pictor Plus scanner is helpful in detecting other eye deceases or conditions besides cancer and facilitates the elaboration of statistics for future research. The oncologist who received the scanner was extremely grateful for our gift to the center and believes they are the only ones in Venezuela with such state-of-the-art equipment. This scanner will literally save hundreds of people with life threatening conditions in a country where the availability of resources is very poor. I believe this form of assistance to the health care system of Venezuela is safer than medicine. This latter form lends itself to manipulation and uncertainty in the proper way of delivery and handling. Needless to say, I am extremely proud and thankful for the generous donations of so many parishioners whose goodness of heart is evident. May God bless you abundantly.

Also, I would like to make an appeal for anyone who would like to be part of two very important parish teams: the Green and the Media Teams. We have already collected several names of volunteers for the Green Team whose main purpose is to foster a culture of care for the environment and put into practice ideas conducive to such purpose. New comers are welcome. Please consider volunteering your time for this worthy cause so dear to my heart and the Pope’s as well. Our first meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 21st at 7:30 pm in the Parma Room.

On another note, we are seriously considering the purchase of two screens and projectors to be used mainly during our weekend Masses. We feel the time is right for this to happen in light of the upcoming renovations of our sanctuary. This costly investment ($23000) would only make sense if we have the man power necessary to operate it. Many feel such a way of leading the congregation in worship is awesome: to be able to follow the song lyrics, possibly the readings and prayers, not looking down at a book but looking up, enhances the liturgy and people’s participation tremendously, and I agree. But like I said, we need laborers in the vineyard of the Lord.

Would you be willing to be part of a first ever Media Team here at SJN that, with the proper training would commit itself to putting together all the data necessary in the system so that it could be projected during Mass? The minimum number of people necessary for this committee is 10, two per Mass. This would call for a twice-a-month commitment per person. However, the more participation the easier the task to manage all the Masses. If this is something you feel you are being called to share your gift, knowledge and talent please consider prayerfully volunteering to be part of this team. Be a trail blazer. You may call the parish office and contact Blanca Rocha, our Pastoral Associate.

Thank you. Peace!

Fr. Octavio Muguerza

Taking care of the Lord’s House

Dear Parishioners,

“If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor.” (Psalm 127:1) I pray that this Scripture passage spurs you—just like it did for me, to continue laboring joyously in the up-keep and beautification of our Church (the Lord’s House) and its surrounding parish grounds. I believe the time is right for us to implement some remodeling of our Altar area and Blessed Sacrament Chapel—face lift, if you will; as well as some much needed remedies to keep the Lord’s House intact.

With the support and assistance of the Pastoral and Finance Councils of the parish, we have contracted the services of Dario Buchelli, a highly recommended architect used by our archdiocese. Dario was in charge of the recent renovations of the Assumption Seminary and the Antonian HS chapels. An Ad Hoc Committee from the parish has been formed to help me in overseeing, giving me suggestions and guidance on 3 projects.

1. Church and Chapel Renovations: Encasing the Tabernacle in the rock wall, replacing the existing carpet, changing the wooden tops of the altar and ambo, making the area ADA compliant. In the chapel, we’re looking at upgrading the actual Monstrance Repository to a Eucharistic Tower. One single unit composed of the present altar as the base; and the space for the monstrance and tabernacle to be above it, but not on top of it. It is a very unique concept, which theologically speaking, is very fitting.

2. Automatic Door Opener for the church: Several parishioners had expressed through the Pastoral Council, as well as directly to me the desire to have this type of door available for the benefit of our beloved elderly and disabled brothers and sisters. Thanks be to God; we finally have come to the point of making it a reality.

3. Family Center: Some recent work underneath the Family Center has revealed some major disrepair. The sewer and water pipelines have deteriorated greatly over the course of almost 40 years. It is imperative that we replace all pipelines underneath the Family Center to stop leakage and prevent further damage.

We do not yet have the projected cost for Church and Chapel Renovations project. The estimated cost for Project #1 is approx. $50,000 and for Project #3 is $45,000. We will not undergo any kind of capital campaign for these projects, but I pray that after we present more specifics about the final projects, many will feel moved to be part of the “building of the Lord’s house” through a more generous use of our monthly pink envelopes (Special Project and Maintenance). Let us all remember…If we take care of the Lord’s House, He will take care of ours… I trust you will be very pleased with the improvements.


Fr. Octavio Muguerza


Over the past two weekends you may have heard me mention at Mass about the chaotic situation my home country, Venezuela, is living. The Communist government of Maduro, the President, is not only wanting to impoverish the country (food and medicine is scarce everywhere) but is also trying to stop the Opposition from acting on its constitutional right to call for a Referendum of the President himself.

I trust my people of Venezuela will continue to fight till the end but in the meantime Christ compels me to come to the aid of those deprived there of their basic goods for their sustenance; as you can imagine, my own family is at risk as well. For this purpose, a second collection to purchase medicines and medical supplies will be taken on the weekend of July 10 here at SJN. Any donations in kind such as baby formulas, canned goods, etc. are also welcome. You may bring them to the office during working hours or before any of the Masses on the July 10 weekend. Checks can be made payable to St. John Neumann.

I have made the necessary contacts to ensure that our merchandise will arrive there safely. It is not easy because even the government, in front of the UN and OAS has denied the need to receive any aid for Venezuela and sometimes confiscates charitable shipments. In the meantime it is the people who suffer the consequences of this diabolic action. I realize many other nations in the world are going through similar circumstances, Syria, Ecuador and Mexico being some of them. My heart and prayers go out to them.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and generosity. May the Lord always provide for all the needs of your family and bless our efforts to reach out to those in need. Peace!

Social Outreach of the Catholic Church

I have extended an invitation to Msgr. Adolfo Valdivia Aguirre to come to St. John Neumann Church on the weekend of May 14-15. 2016. Father Valdivia Aguirre will speak to you about the work being done by Unbound (previously known as CFCA), and how this provides a trustworthy way to actively participate in the social outreach of the Catholic Church and answer the Gospel call to serve the poor. Founded by lay Catholics, Unbound is an organization that has served more than 600,000 children, youth and elderly in 20 developing countries since 1981-empowering them to make more choices in their lives, live with dignity and reach their potential. Unbound’s unique sponsorship program is highly personalized. It matches a child, youth or aging person at a project overseas with a sponsor in thee U.S. who cares about and encourages that person. With a monthly contribution, a sponsor helps provide much-needed nourishing food, medical and dental care, the chance for a child to go to school, livelihood programs for families and much more. All of these efforts are directed at affirming the family of every person in their local community. Please join me in welcoming Father Valdivia Aguirre to St. John Neumann Church. 

Sincerely yours in Jesus Christ, 
Rev. Octavio A. Muguerza

Happy Easter

Dear parishioners:

This year of mercy has been incredibly fruitful and life-giving. We are not yet half way into it and its prospects look very good.

I feel we are already reaping the merciful harvest of sacramental forgiveness and charitable works of mercy. On the one hand, as a priest, is so uplifting to hear so many heart-felt confessions. I can’t help but feel the call to be holier and more generous in my priestly service. On the other hand, our PMO’s are a constant prodding from God to reach out to those in need. Like early in March our encounter with the family who will move into the house we helped build under the Habitat for Humanity umbrella was so fulfilling. It reminds me of the Scripture passage from 1 Peter 4, “Love covers a multitude of sins”. Early in April our visit to this orphanage for games and lunch with the children brings lasting fruits of love, care and companionship.

This man God raised from the dead is God Incarnate, alive among us through his Spirit. May this Easter season be for each and everyone of us a thrilling experience of the presence of the risen Christ in our midst. Like our beloved Pope Francis reminds us, may we never get tired of forgiving and being merciful because God never tires of being so good to us unconditionally.

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Alleluia! Happy Easter!

Fr. Octavio

Called to be Holy through Mercy

My dear parish family:

A new year is here; a new opportunity to show our heavenly Father that through his Spirit we received in Baptism we can show the tenderness of Jesus’ mercy to the world. Responding to Pope Francis’ call taken from the Bible: “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36), we have already started the first of 12 PMO’s (Parish Monthly Outreach) last December. I ask you to please keep track every month in the bulletin of the upcoming PMO. You really make a difference when you show up. Not only do you build us all up at SJN but also you touch the heart of someone in need.

Also during Lent I am asking all parishioners to read and reflect on a wonderful booklet entitled “The Holy Year of Mercy (YOM)”, published by the Word Among Us. It is an excellent resource recommended by Archbishop Gustavo. You can do this individually or in a small group to get the most out of it. If you belong to the small faith community program “Longing for the Holy (LFH)”, that can be your YOM group also. If you don’t, that is ok.

We can form small faith communities only for the purpose of reflecting on the 8 sessions proposed by the YOM booklet without any further commitment. Ideally I would ask the YOM communities to meet 4 times in the Spring (more specifically during Lent, if possible), and 4 times in the Fall (Sept-Nov). This is going to be the standard pace for the YOM program. If any group wishes to do all the 8 sessions without any breaks that would be fine too. Just be attentive to the times in the year when we’ll be called to gather all together in praise and worship.

Due to the celebration of this Jubilee of Mercy the pace for the LFH communities has changed somewhat. We no longer have to conclude in March this season started last September and entitled “Christian Morality”, as was originally planned, but we can finish anytime later in the Spring. Each group is free to decide on their own how they wish to incorporate the YOM program with the LFH, but not every LFH group is expected to do the YOM program; only if they wish. Our next LFH season on Prayer will begin in the Spring of 2017.

We will be giving further notices, clarifications and announcements in the near future. For now let us rejoice that our Catholic faith is so rich and fulfilling. It meets all our needs while challenging us to continue walking that extra mile for our brothers and sisters in need. I personally thank you for following your baptismal call of love and service because by doing so we can all experience more easily the tender mercy of God’s holy servant, our Lord Jesus Christ.

May God bless you and your loved ones!

Fr. Octavio