Dear Faith Family,
I just wanted to take an opportunity to thank all of you for your support in Youth and Young Adult Ministry. A couple weeks ago we had our annual “Fairways to Heaven” fundraiser and again it was a huge success. The numbers will be announced soon, but I can tell you that the support at the event was evident in your willingness to be present.
Thank you all for the support that you’ve given our ministries. Even for those who were unable to make it to the fundraiser, I appreciate all of your support. The dream of getting a new youth center is quickly becoming a reality and it is all thanks to all of you.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.
Youth and Young Adult Minister
Dear Parish Family,
In the last few days I have heard several people express how happy they were that Lent had begun. They all shared the same desire to make the much needed time to reflect on their life, make the necessary changes for the better and add extra prayer time with our Lord. As I heard this I couldn’t help but rejoice at this treasure of the Catholic Church. As St Paul reminds us in the second reading, our citizenship is in heaven, and Lent gives us opportunity for us to prepare our souls.
In today’s Gospel when Peter, John and James accompanied Jesus to the quiet mountain top to pray they were witnesses to Jesus transfigured in his glory, in dazzling white garments and shining like a light, they then heard a voice from heaven saying “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
As we Journey through our lenten season, I encourage you to make this your focus of the week, find some quiet time and Listen to Him. How will we hear God’s voice? If we open our hearts to God’s inspiration, little by little through the Holy Spirit, he will strengthen our hearts with his divine love. Faith begins with a love for all things of God, and a growing desire for his love that nothing else can satisfy. We know his words in the Scriptures, listen to them with new ears. We will hear Gods voice in the breeze of the wind, the roaring of the sea, or the laughter of a child. Feel his touch in the warmth of the sunlight, or the gentle caress of our loved ones. We will see his face in all those we encounter (yes even in those whom we may find difficult to love). He surrounds us in his loving embrace. He never abandons us, it is us who choose to leave his love. When we choose sin. When we are tempted to give up and give in, let us look to Jesus transfigured in his Glory and see in him the future that is promised to us, not only at Easter but in the fullness of God’s Kingdom.
My Dear Parish Family,
Welcome to Lent! You may have already started your Lenten practices, or perhaps you are still pondering what you should do this year in preparation for the great feast of Easter, the glorious high point of our entire Church Year. Last weekend a flyer entitled Lent, 40 Days to Encounter Jesus, Be Disciples was given out. It is still available in the church lobby and parish office and is an excellent resource which suggests many, many opportunities for a grace-filled Lent. Take one home, look it over with your family or friends, and mark your calendar with some of the events. Rethink your attitude toward Lent regarding Prayer, Almsgiving and Fasting and follow some of the suggestions listed in the flyer or create some positive practices of your own.
Regarding Prayer, consider adding silence to your prayer life. Silence is something our modern culture struggles with but greatly needs. Try to find a place and time to sit silently in the holy presence of God for even a few minutes every day (with cell phone turned off!), perhaps in your car before work or school or in some quiet spot at home. St. Teresa of Calcutta often said, “In the silence of the heart God speaks.” Make a silent space for God to speak to you each day.
Regarding Almsgiving, our English word alms comes from a Greek word for mercy. The Gospels of St. Luke, which we hear proclaimed at Sunday Mass this year, are full of the message of God’s constant and unconditional mercy. Jesus commands us, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6: 36) During Lent, besides giving to the poor, we might challenge ourselves to go deeper and examine our attitudes and behavior towards those who trouble us most. Our “alms” to them could be the offering of compassion and tender care.
Regarding Fasting, we might focus on feasting during Lent as well. We can do this by choosing not to do some things (fasting) and then choosing to replace them with other things (feasting). For example, if we choose to fast from criticizing others, we can feast on giving compliments and praise.
Let this be our best Lent ever!
The “Elect” are those who will be initiated at the Easter Vigil (April 20) through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. This year we are blessed to have five Elect. The Book of the Elect and their photos are displayed in the church to the east of the baptism pool.
On Sunday, March 3, they celebrated the Rite of Election with Bishop Barron at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Ventura along with many other catechumens from our region. They were recognized for the progress they have made as disciples of Jesus. Their godparents testified on their behalf as they stood before the bishop who declared, “Elect of God: the Church, in the name of Christ, calls you to the sacraments at the next Easter Vigil!” Lent is the Elect’s final and intense period of preparation for the sacraments.
Please pray for them throughout this season as we all prepare for the glorious celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection.