In our Gospel reading today, Jesus invites us to reflect on how we handle the challenge of pain and suffering in our lives. We are told that when Jesus informed his disciples of his impending passion and death, they were worried and afraid. Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked him for looking forward to his passion. Peter was thinking in a worldly way when he saw suffering and crucifixion as something to be avoided at all costs.
Our Christian life is like two sides of a coin: the cross and the crown. Jesus reminds us today that we are not his true followers if we try to embrace only one side, the glorious side, and reject the other, the suffering side. “If any want to become my followers, he must deny himself, take up the cross and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)READ MORE
In the month of June, our Diocese introduced, “Rising with Christ,” which outlines phased guidelines for the full reopening of parish life and Catholic schools. The strategy was to reopen the parishes and schools in three phases. Phase One started in June when Mass attendance was permitted to increase to 25% sitting capacity of the Church along with other necessary precautionary measures. We are still within Phase One of the reopening strategy.READ MORE
The Gospel reading this weekend focuses on the theme of “identity.” In particular, the identity of Jesus and the identity of the Church. Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am, and who do you say that I am?” In applying this question to our lives, we need to ask ourselves, what have I learned from others about God, and what is my personal conviction about the identity of God and my relationship with him? This is very crucial because it is one thing to know about God, it is another thing to have a personal relationship with God. Every Christian is called to be an evangelist, to preach the Good News of the Gospel to others. The challenge is, we cannot preach effectively to others about God if we do not have a personal encounter with the Risen Lord. The disciples and early Christians did not have a complete Bible or organized theological doctrines like we do today. They evangelized by simply sharing stories of their personal experiences and encounters with Jesus Christ, and brought others closer to God by committing their whole life to him. This is what we are also invited to do today, to share with others our personal experiences and encounters with God.READ MORE
I thank everyone who attended the Memorial Mass for Fr. Bob last night, both in person and virtually. My special thanks to the Liturgy Ministers and Staff for the Liturgy planning. Fr Bob’s family also asked me to extend their appreciation to you for the Mass and for your prayers. I am glad the family in Uganda was able to participate virtually at the Mass last night. After Mass, the attending parishioners were invited to live-stream greetings to Fr Bob’s family on camera. They were particularly happy that they were able to put a face to the names in the parish community.READ MORE
Our scripture readings during the Liturgy this weekend are very timely. They all address inclusivity and exclusivity, and specifically the issue of discrimination against foreigners. The first reading from the prophet Isaiah talks about how foreigners who believe in God are to be received. The reading ends with this final message, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.” In the second reading, St. Paul addresses the problem of the division between the Jews and Gentiles, and in the Gospel we hear how Jesus granted the prayers of a foreign woman who refused to give up in spite of rejection.READ MORE
We welcome our St. John Bosco school community back from the summer break as we begin this academic year on Monday, August 17. In a special way, I welcome all our new SJB families. Unfortunately, as a result of the pandemic, we are beginning this this school year in an extraordinary way. In compliance with the Diocesan directives, the K-8th grade students will attend their classes virtually from home, while the preschoolers will attend on campus. We hope to have all be together on campus again on our target date of September 8. God willing, at that time, we will then offer a “hybrid” format with some students attending in person and others remaining virtually in real-time.READ MORE
Several images are used in the first reading and Gospel today to describe how God can appear to people in need in unexpected ways under the least expected circumstances. God is always present, even in places we may not think to experience him. It takes faith and persistent prayers to discover his divine, hidden, presence. In our first reading, when God appeared to Prophet Elijah, he did not reveal himself out of thunder, lighting, fire or earthquake as expected. Rather, God appeared in a gentle breeze. Through all of the chaotic signs, Elijah remained patient and faithful, waiting for the Lord. His patience and persistent prayer pays off . After the fire, there was a tiny whispering sound and the Lord passed by.READ MORE
Our school administration has been busy all summer preparing for the fast-approaching reopening of school. The teachers returned to campus earlier this week to make final preparations for their students and classrooms. They began celebrating Mass here at St. Benedict followed by a beautiful Staff Retreat and Reflection on campus, carefully following sanitary and social distancing guidelines, of course. They will continue their virtual classroom training next week, taking advantage of the initial IT system upgrades put in place over the summer. Our investment in technology is paying off handsomely.READ MORE
This weekend registration opens online for all of our Religious Education programs, including Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Journey of Faith, JAM and EPIC. St. Benedict's has opportunities for all of your children and teens to strengthen their understanding of our Catholic faith and develop a closer relationship with God. When you give your children the gift of intentional faith formation, you are showing them the importance of living a faith-filled life and building a strong foundation based on God’s love. Due to the uncertain times with the pandemic, sessions will look different than they have in past years.READ MORE
The Gospel reading this weekend invites us to reflect on the reality of hunger in the world, especially with the current impact of the pandemic. Recent studies have shown that more than enough food is produced to feed the global population, yet more than 690 million people, that is one in nine, go to bed on an empty stomach every night, and an estimated 821.6 million people are considered undernourished or starving globally. WHO and UNICEF reported in 2019 that an estimated 2.2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water and over half of the global population, or 4.2 billion people, lack safely managed sanitation services. Recent statistics indicate that after steadily declining for a decade, world hunger is on the rise globally. This is compounded even more by the current impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.READ MORE
Imagine! If you were to have a vision, and God or an angel appeared to you and asked you to make a request for just one thing in life. What would you ask for? Would you ask for health, protection, wealth and prosperity? In our first reading today, Solomon was given such a rare opportunity to ask God for one thing in life. As a young king, Solomon had many legitimate needs. He needed wealth, military might, fame, security, prosperity, long life and happiness. But when God asked him to ask for one thing, he asked for wisdom from God to make right decisions in life. He knew that with God’s wisdom comes every other good thing he needed and desired.READ MORE
Congratulations and thanks to Debbie Smith for accepting my invitation to serve as president of the Parish Finance Council for this fiscal year. Debbie has a wealth of experience in business and financial management and has served as a member of our parish finance council for over one year. I assure her of my support and look forward to serving with her through this fiscal year.READ MORE
There have been predictions in recent times that many Christians will lose their faith by the end of this unprecedented pandemic. Studies have shown that most people who lose their faith during the time of crisis do so because they cannot imagine how a good God will allow bad things to happen to good people. At times like this we may ask, if God is all-powerful and all-loving, why doesn’t he intervene in the situation in the world today? Why doesn’t he remove bad people or prevent them from harming good people? Why can’t he prevent evil from the world?
In response to such questions in the Gospel today, Jesus used the parable of the wheat and weeds to explain that God is very patient and loving to both the good and bad people. He gives everyone enough opportunity to repent before the end of time. If we pay very good attention to the parable, and especially in the context of the other two parables that Jesus gives in the Gospel today, we will realize that the wheat and weeds actually reside side by side within each of us. Although we are created in the image and likeness of God, our free will causes us to be imperfect. The question we need to ask ourselves then is, “Am I perfect?” If the answer is no, then the next question is, “Should God destroy me because I am imperfect?”READ MORE
Thank you to the Knights of Columbus! On behalf of the parish community, I would like to thank the outgoing Grand Knight, Doug Gasser and outgoing officers of our parish Knights of Columbus Council. I thank them for their excellent service to our parish community, the Church and the society through the year. Two historic achievements made by the Knights last year, among many others, include winning the State Knights of Columbus Star Award and the change of name from St. Benedict Council to Fr. Bob Binta Council.READ MORE
I thank the families who have responded to my invitation to participate in the Offertory Gift Matching opportunity. Over 50 families from our parish have participated as of this week! Thank you again for your generous support to our parish, especially at this very challenging time. I invite those who have not yet participated to please try and do so within this week. If you are hearing this for the first time, I am glad to inform you that a generous Catholic family from outside our parish has come forward and offered to help St. Benedict through this financial challenge.
This family is offering to match, dollar-for-dollar, every new weekly/monthly gift OR increased weekly/ monthly online gift to our parish offertory – up to $29,700. That’s a generous gift that will really help our parish. Will you help us take advantage of this generous offer? Here’s instructions on how you can help – it’ll only take a couple minutes, and you would be doing your parish a huge favor.READ MORE
We will celebrate the feast of our patron saint, Benedict, tomorrow, Saturday, July 11th. It is a blessing to be identified with one of the greatest saints in the history of the Catholic Church. The impact of the life of St Benedict on the Church and the world through many centuries is a clear example of Jesus’ parable in the Gospel this Sunday about how someone’s life can be like a rich soil that nourishes seeds into fruitfulness. His Monastic Rule became the norm for monastic living throughout Europe and a guide for evangelization and civilization of many European countries in the Middle Ages.READ MORE
I wish you all a Happy Feast Day as we celebrate the feast of our patron saint, Benedict, on Saturday, July 11 this week. Given the current crisis from the viral pandemic, we would like to observe the feast of St Benedict this year as a Parish Day of Prayer. We will begin the day with Mass at 9 am, followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and ending with Benediction at 12 noon. The Mass and Benediction will be live-streamed on our parish YouTube channel. I encourage those who are not able to attend the event in person to join us online and also to recite a Rosary or off er other prayers. In addition to your personal prayer intentions, we ask everyone to include the following as our community intentions:
1. For healing of the sick, especially those affected by the Coronavirus and for an end to the pandemic.READ MORE
I wish you and your family a happy Fourth of July as we celebrate our Independence Day on Saturday this weekend. Obviously, this may be about the most low-keyed fourth of July celebration in decades due to the new restrictions put in place to control the spread of the Coronavirus. Despite the current tension rising from the spiteful political campaigns that we see on television, street protests and economic challenges due to the viral pandemic, the fourth of July celebration is a constant reminder that the labor of our past heroes will never be in vain. What binds us as one nation is stronger than what divides us. Let us remember to pray this weekend for all who work for peace, unity and justice in our country. In a special way, let us remember to pray for the heroes of this country who gave their lives to give us the freedom and prosperity that we enjoy today and for those who risk their lives every day to protect us.READ MORE