05-20-2018Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Congratulations to Jimmy Touzeau and Francisco Vargas, who were ordained as transitional deacons Friday, May 18. (Transitional deacons are seminarians who are ordained on the way to priesthood, as compared to our permanent deacons.) Many of you will remember Deacon Touzeau when he was assigned as a seminarian here the summer of 2015. Please continue to pray for him and his classmate as they complete their last year of seminary and prepare for ordination to the priesthood during the summer of 2019. Congratulations, Deacons!

This Thursday, May 24, is the liturgical Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians – our actual parish Feast Day. Come join us that evening in historic Old St. Mary's at 5:30pm for a special Mass. How wonderful to honor our Blessed Mother during the month of May in many different ways, including the Feast Day of our parish.

Believe it or not, fifty days have passed since we celebrated the glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. As we reflect back, remember that it is the historical event of the Resurrection that is the hinge of everything. It means Jesus is who He said He is – the longed-for Messiah/Christ. The resurrected Christ was witnessed by literally hundreds of people, who then went to their deaths to tell the whole world. Now it's Pentecost 2018. Now it's time to continue to get the Word out!

We note that the Apostles, in order to prepare themselves to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, gathered by Jesus' instruction in prayer with the Virgin Mary in the Upper Room (see Acts 1: 14; Luke 24:49). To stay together was the condition laid down by Jesus in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; the foundation of their harmony was prolonged prayer. This is a challenging lesson for every Christian community. Sometimes we think that our missionary effectiveness depends primarily on careful programming and its subsequent intelligent application through a concrete commitment. The Lord certainly does ask for our collaboration, but before any programs or other initiatives that we (or any parish) could offer, the action of the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary first. It must be His will; and that will is only discovered through staying together as one in profound, silent prayer.

"The People of God … extends today to the point of surmounting every barrier of race, culture, space, and time. … [In] Pentecost the Spirit, with the gift of tongues, demonstrates that His presence unites and transforms confusion into communion.

"Human pride and egoism always create divisions, build walls of indifference, hate, and violence. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, makes hearts capable of understanding the languages of all, as He re-establishes the bridge of authentic communion between earth and heaven. … The Church, gathered with Mary as at her birth, today implores: 'Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love!' Amen." (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI)

Let us always pray for each other – Father Wilson