In his third Encyclical, Fratelli tutti , Pope Francis addresses his renewed call to universal fraternity “to all people of good will, regardless of their religious convictions.” Amid the “noisy potpourri of facts and opinions” present in today’s world, the Holy Father suggests respectful dialogue and proposes that we answer with “a new vision of fraternity and social friendship" to build a better, more just, and peaceful world, with the contribution of all: people and institutions.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On this Labor Day weekend, on which we Americans have traditionally rested from work and spent time with family and friends, often in backyard cookouts, I wish to share a few thoughts with you. I wish to reflect with you about the Lord’s Day and its focus on worship, rest, and solidarity as well as our baptismal call to live as God’s co-workers, building up the Kingdom of God through the work of our hands, minds, and spirits.
St. Francis reminds us that we should always “start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Last fiscal year, our parishioners donated $50,000 to our St. Francis Fund Collection. In response to the needs of the many less fortunate in our neighborhood— turning to us, when there is nowhere else to turn.
Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, who retired in May 2019, celebrates his 50th Anniversary of Ordination as a Priest on Sunday, June 7. During the week leading up to his Jubilee, the bishop responded to some questions put to him by The Valley Catholic.
On May 1st, the Diocese will mark one year since Pope Francis accepted Bishop P.J. McGrath’s retirement, and I succeeded him as Bishop of San Jose. I had served as Coadjutor Bishop of San Jose since the previous summer, allowing for my introduction to the Diocese, while working closely with Bishop McGrath over many months.
The current times are challenging for all of us, including our own parish. We rely on your generous stewardship, in good times and in bad, to meet all of our financial responsibilities. The Sunday collection March 15 ($3,340); March 22 ($4,582) is the principal source of our income that pays for maintaining our facilities, staff salaries, insurance, leases, and loan payments. I assure you that we have already implemented and are prudently planning to drastically reduce our expenses until life gets back to normal.
As you know, the current times are challenging for all us, including our own parish. We rely on your generous stewardship, in good times and in bad, to meet all of our financial responsibilities. The Sunday collection is the principal source of our income that pays for maintenance, salaries, utilities, insurance and the salaries and benefits for our parish staff. I assure you that we are prudently planning to reduce expenses until life gets back to normal. Please consider using our electronic giving program linked on the left side of our parish home page. We also encourage you to mail your Sunday offertory envelopes to the parish office. Thank you for support of the mission and ministry of St. Francis of Assisi Parish.
Having been a Pastor for 22 years, the experience we are currently undergoing is indeed uncharted waters. In one sense, for the time being, St. Francis of Assisi Parish will be very different. It will not be business as usual. The celebration of the Eucharist is the heart of our Catholic life. Be assured that the clergy and staff will not abandon you. We will be present to continue our essential mission, although in new and challenging circumstances. Bishop Cantu exercised wisdom and prudence in suspending Sunday Mass for the safety and health of our Catholic Community. We will come out from this with a stronger and more vibrant faith in God's loving concern for all his children. Please visit our webpage often. It is our best way to communicate with you. We are just one click away.
In 2018 the California Bishops wrote Hope and Healing: A Pastoral Letter on Caring for Those Who Suffer from Mental Illness Addressed to All Catholics and People of Goodwill. Within our parish, several gathered in August 2019 to reflect on the letter. One mother said, “I wish I had read this when my son was younger.” A teacher exclaimed, “This is so practical! It’s not flowery!”
A Cursillo (pronounced KER SEE O) is a three-day learning, sharing, experience of living in a Christian Community. The word “Cursillo” is Spanish, meaning “a short course.” Cursillo is an abbreviation of the full title: CURSILLO DE CHRISTIANDAD, which means “A Short Course in Christian Community Living.” During the three-days of a Cursillo Weekend, a person not only hears what it really means to be a Christian but actually gets to experience the joy of building and being a part of a genuine Christian Community.
As good stewards of the treasure you entrust to us, we are taking steps to “clean-up” our envelope mailing and distribution list. For all those who currently are receiving envelopes and did not use them in 2019, we will be removing you from our mailing list. This will reduce our expenses significantly.
A simple habit of the daily practice of MEDS can help balance the stressors of your life. MEDS stands for Meditation-Exercise-Diet-Sleep. Some fear meditation, disliking silence, solitude, and being still. Others resist because of anxieties about adequate time or expert technique. Trappist monk Fr Thomas Keating offered a refreshingly simple process for Meditation through Centering Prayer
On this Feast of Mary, the Mother of God, we are given a model and example of unshakable faith. She who faced every “river of difficulty,” by placing her life in the hands of God’s promise, is with us always as our mother, blessed of all women, blessed of God, blessed of the whole Church. Let our confidence not be shaken; let our resolve never waiver, and let our hopes not be dashed by the “rivers of difficulties” we may need to cross in this year ahead. Let us continue to remain close to Mary, as our inspiration and our hope— she who is the humble servant of the Lord, elevated by the grace of God, who brought into the world the one who is Jesus, our Savior and our Lord.
The stigma associated with mental illness is now called “sanism.” Just like racism or sexism, it is a form of oppression and discrimination. And there is a lot of sanism and misinformation surrounding mental illness still present within our society. It’s up to us, the mental health community, to educate others and set the record straight.
The County Public Health Officer has requested that we make some temporary adaptions to our celebrations of the Eucharist, to foster the health of our worshiping communities. For the duration of the Flu and Cold season, Bishop Cantú has asked all parishes to adapt the following temporary liturgical adaptations: 1. The Blood of Christ will not be offered during Holy Communion; 2. Holy Communion will be distributed only into the hands of communicants: 3. We will not hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer; 4. The Sign of Peace should be adapted so as to allow for a greeting that does not involve shaking hands or touching.
Today’s Gospel brings to mind a Letter of His Holiness, Pope Francis to Priests, delivered this past August on the 160th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney. He focused on three main points: gratitude for their service to Christ and to the People of God; encouragement to continue to work toward the mission of the Church; and a reminder to praise God even through the most difficult times. It is this third emphasis that reminds me of the profound words exchanged by St. Dismas and Jesus.
In one sense, our own country has been going through something similar—some say it really all began thirty years ago on April 20, 1989 in the town of Littleton, CO, at Columbine High School. It was on that spring morning, when two teenagers killed 12 fellow students, one teacher and injured 21 others with a rifle, a shot gun, and a semi-automatic pistol. Someone can do the math on how many other students and teachers have been murdered in cold blood over the last three decades. I couldn’t do it.
Maybe we need our own sycamore tree—a new way of seeing. A different perspective. We need to do what Zacchaeus did—find ways to embrace a different perspective of seeing, embrace a different view. Maybe we simply need to ask Jesus to help us see the world as he sees it, as he sees you, me, and every person. In the person of Zacchaeus, we are given this timeless lesson: Do not be afraid to start over. This time you’re not starting from scratch. You’re starting from experience.
Thank you to everyone who supported the mission and ministries of our parish during the month of September. Our average weekly collection was $18,869. You also generously donated to various important causes in our September (2nd Collections) in the amount of $20,136 ($4,027 a week.) This brings our September total to $22,896 a week. We budgeted our Sunday Offertory income for the first month of the new fiscal year (13 weeks) at $260,000 and received $259,545. Any additional income helps us to pay-down our $2.3 million debt. As you know, we are totally dependent upon you all our parishioners for our livelihood.
Every once in a while, (or sometimes, quite often) we hear about one of our favorite people behaving badly. Maybe it’s a co-worker who we find out has been seriously abusing her corporate expense account. Maybe it’s a friend who suddenly is spending all sorts of alone time with someone who is not his wife. Maybe it’s a family member who begins verbally abusing his or her spouse and children in public.