Transfigured in Faith

02-28-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson

Often, we have questions about our Catholic faith. Even lifelong Catholics sometimes have unanswered questions about things like God’s existence, why bother going to Confession and Mass, why we believe that a Consecrated Host is actually Jesus, and more that we know maybe a little bit about or have heard about from other people, but we can’t quite make sense of it all. This creates a kind of “spiritual dissonance” within us. Rather than look up the answers with good, Catholic resources, we often let the questions fester and go about our lives, perhaps afraid of the answers. Understanding more about the existence of God and the divine origins of the Church might have serious implications for how we are living our lives. While ignorance may be “bliss,” as the saying goes, it won’t get you to heaven or give you true peace here in this life.


Into the Desert...

02-21-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This gift of time we call Lent has the potential to supercharge our faith, hope, and love…only if we will humble ourselves and open our hearts to Our Lord. If you’re still wondering what to do this year (or if you totally forgot) it’s not too late! Start right now. Some ideas based on Jesus’ words from Ash Wednesday: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Think of one thing from each category and do each thing well. The holy rosary is always a great choice. Perhaps commit to a weekly or bi-weekly Holy Hour of Adoration in front of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Even better, consider daily Mass two or three times a week. Whatever you choose, the important thing is to stop what you are doing and get busy with the affairs of God, giving Him your time. With humility, you can’t go wrong.


Invitation – Rediscover Jesus

02-14-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our annual Church-wide retreat has arrived! All the Baptized around the world enter into the cleansing desert of Lent this Ash Wednesday, February 17. Mass times with distribution of ashes: 6:30am, 8:20am (school), 12pm-noon, 5:30pm (livestream), and 7pm in Spanish. A slight modification this year: In order to limit speaking within a close distance, the priest at Mass will say the penitential phrase only once out loud for everyone just before the distribution of ashes. Ashes will then be imposed on the forehead in silence. Recall that ashes are not a sacrament, so if you are uncomfortable receiving them, there is no obligation to do so. God sees our repentance without ashes.


World Day of the Sick

02-07-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It’s almost that time again – our annual, Church-wide period of retreat and reflection called Lent. Ash Wednesday is Wednesday, February 17. As long as we’ve celebrated Easter, the Church has set aside a period of time to properly prepare us for it.

Through Lent, we better come to experience what is known as the Paschal/Passover mystery of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. “For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7). In Exodus (chapter 12) we read how the blood of a sacrificed lamb spread on the doorpost of the homes of the Israelites caused the tenth plague of Egypt – the death of the firstborn – to literally “pass over” their houses. So now, Jesus, the true Lamb, has been sacrificed. His Precious Blood covers you and me as temples of God in order to forgive us and to save us from the eternal death, which we deserve because of our sins. For so great a gift beyond value, our preparation to celebrate this mystery is a small thing to ask.


Built of Living Stones

01-31-2021Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“The anniversary of a church’s dedication is celebrated with the rank of a solemnity.” – Roman Pontifical, Rite of Dedication of a Church, 27.

Each year, Holy Mother Church invites us to recall the day our church buildings were consecrated and dedicated to divine worship. So many of you made the building of this marvelous place possible through significant prayer and sacrifice only six years ago. The twelve consecration candles surrounding the inside of the church will be lighted for our Masses. These symbolize the twelve gates of the new and heavenly Jerusalem – the Church as the Mystical Body and spotless bride of Christ. The crosses below them are where the Bishop anointed the walls with the sacred chrism oil, as you and I are anointed at Confirmation.


Good Saint Joseph

01-24-2021Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

First, just a liturgical note that next week our parish will celebrate the anniversary of the dedication of our parish church at all Masses in place of the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time. This annual celebration is a great solemnity for a parish and allows us to renew our local mission as disciples of Jesus Christ.

By now, you hopefully have heard that the Pope has proclaimed the Year of Saint Joseph. Here are a few questions and answers from a Catholic News Agency article you might find helpful in understanding what this means and how to take advantage of it. Saint Joseph, pray for us! – Fr. Wilson ———

Pope Francis announced a Year of St. Joseph from December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021. The Pope said he was establishing the year so that “every member of the faithful, following his example, may strengthen their life of faith daily in the complete fulfillment of God’s will.”

Why did the Pope declare a year of St. Joseph?

Pope Francis noted that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the Saint’s proclamation as Patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX on Dec. 8, 1870. Pope Francis said the coronavirus pandemic has heightened his desire to reflect on St. Joseph, as so many people during the pandemic have made hidden sacrifices to protect others, just as St. Joseph quietly protected and cared for Mary and Jesus.

“Each of us can discover in Joseph -- the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence -- an intercessor, a support, and a guide in times of trouble,” the pope wrote. He also said he wanted to highlight St. Joseph’s role as a father who served his family with charity and humility, adding, “Our world today needs fathers.”

What special graces are available during this year?


The Antidote for What Ails Us

01-17-2021Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Recent events in our nation’s capital have been difficult for everyone to comprehend. I’m sharing a few words with you from Steve Bollman, founder of That Man Is You (TMIY). His observation, “There won’t be a political solution to a spiritual problem,” I think zeros in on our true problem. We have a spiritual sickness. The cure is the same as it always has been – saints. The antidote for what ails us is for you and me, disciples of Jesus Christ and true members of His Body, to become holy – to become real saints. Let us begin by praying and truly endeavoring to die to ourselves and to conform our lives to the life of Jesus Christ. – Fr. Wilson


“…As I watched the events unfold, I clearly remembered words I spoke 15 years ago when TMIY was first founded: ‘There won't be a political solution to a spiritual problem.’ Those words are more true today – especially in our current political environment – than they were 15 years ago.

“God has made it abundantly clear to me that He expects us to follow the same path Don Bosco followed. Although Don Bosco lived during incredibly tumultuous times, …God clearly told him: ‘I only want you to speak the truth of the Gospel and help poor boys that are in need.’ …


The Glory of Baptism

01-10-2021Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we celebrate Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan, let us reflect on the glorious teaching of Christ through His Church about this all-important Sacrament. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church, and made sharers in her mission. “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the world.”

1223 … Jesus begins his public life after having himself baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan. After his resurrection, Christ gives this mission to his apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20).


Your Light Has Come

01-03-2021Pastor's LetterFather Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Christmas continues with our celebration of the Epiphany of Our Lord. Our churches and chapels are decked out in holiday splendor, all for the birth of this singular Child who would change – and has changed – everything.

I would be remiss if I didn’t offer my deepest gratitude to each and every person who helped make our somewhat-modified Christmas celebrations so outstanding and spiritually enriching. Thank you to all our musicians in both English and Spanish languages, who helped make our music so spiritually uplifting. Hours and hours of practicing go in to bring us such beautiful music. Thank you to our St. Joseph Altar Guild, working diligently behind the scenes to keep our churches spotless and ready for worship. Likewise, we are grateful for all our Mass coordinators, who are our volunteers who set up for Masses. Many thanks to our lectors who proclaim the word of God, our extraordinary ministers who help the priests and deacons distribute Holy Communion, our ushers, and those who clean and prepare behind the scenes so well that you and I never know the amount of work it takes. What looks so effortless is far from it! And thank you to the best altar servers a priest could ask for!


J. M. J.

12-27-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Nativity/Birth of Our Lord is a feast day so powerful to experience and equally important to ponder that merely one day’s celebration is not sufficient. Instead, we celebrate what is called the Octave of Christmas. “Octave” means “eight” and refers to the eight full days from Christmas Day through January 1, the feast of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Masses for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God are: Vigil, Dec 31 at 5:30pm (English) & 7:00pm (Spanish); and Jan 1 at 11:00am (English). These celebrations allow us to thank God for the past year (or maybe to thank Him that the year is passed!) and ask for His blessings for 2021, along with the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary.

This weekend we celebrate Holy Family Sunday. Yearly, we are blessed to ponder the example of the family life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the shining model for all Christian families. If you are called to the vocation of Christian family life, then use this celebration to ask the Holy Family to bless and guide you in your vocation. Are you a husband and a father? Then, strive to be the best one ever. Why settle for less? Are you a wife and mother? Then, endeavor to be the best one who ever lived. Again, why settle for less? Are you a child? (Including teens on this one!) Be a light to your family, helping to show them the way as did the Child Jesus, who eventually became the “Teen Jesus.” We cannot settle for being anything less than a saint, because only saints go to heaven. Praise God for His mercy, grace, and forgiveness to help us when we fall to start again and again on the path to the holiness of life. Be a light wherever God has placed you.


O Come, Let Us Adore Him!

12-20-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Well, Christmas is just about here. You’ve no doubt seen our “elves” already at work, just beginning the transformation of our St. Mary’s church and campus into a place of Christmas splendor. After the 4th Sunday of Advent has ended, they will finish with a joyful flourish!

I realize that it is an understatement to say that it’s been quite a year. No one could have dreamed of the way things went. In the midst of all of the uncertainty, fear, sorrow, loss, and pain, we still have a secret to the joy that cannot be taken away. It’s an open secret available to anyone who will open their hearts even just a little to the incredible event that we celebrate. The long-awaited fulfillment of God’s promise to truly save us. Not merely giving us what we want on our Christmas lists or taking away aches and pains, but to be saved. Your Savior has come.


Gaudete Sunday

12-13-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We continue to pray for a swift and safe end to all the problems caused by the pandemic. In the meantime, please remember who we are: we are always and everywhere – whether online in comments and social media or out and about in the community – disciples of Jesus Christ. Therefore, let each action and word be not your own, but His. If someone has a conversation with you or me about any topic, will they come away from the conversation knowing we are a faithful disciple?

There are, as you likely know, a few vaccines preparing to roll out. Some people have wrongly suggested that certain vaccines coming available were made with tissue taken from aborted fetuses. Here is the “official word” on the morality of the current vaccines:

“To clear any confusion or concerns regarding COVID vaccines and future production, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has released the following memo from Greg Schleppenbach, associate director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities:

“Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine involved the use of cell lines that originated in fetal tissue taken from the body of an aborted baby at any level of design, development, or production.


Confirmation November 17, 2020

12-06-2020Pastor's Letter

See the St. Mary HOC confirmations here.