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