On behalf of the parish community, I would like to thank Lani Gore, Nick and Nikki, the members of the Events Ministry, Knights of Columbus and all the volunteers who helped with the Parish Picnic last weekend. Thanks for your commitment and personal sacrifices that made the event so successful. The feedback I received from parishioners indicated that it was a beautiful, relaxing, friendly and memorable occasion. My special appreciation to those who donated food and other items in support of the event.
Charity and Development Appeal (CDA)READ MORE
Welcome to the season of Lent as we begin Ash Wednesday this week. The word “Lent” is an English translation of the Latin term “Quadragesima,” meaning forty days, referring to the 40 days of Lent. We begin Lent on Ash Wednesday by receiving ashes on our forehead as a sign of repentance from our sins and to remind us that we were made from the dust of the earth and will return back to dust. The Church requires all Catholics to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Also, all Catholics from the age of 18 to 60 years old are encouraged to maintain a certain level of self-discipline such as fasting and abstinence during the season of Lent. The goal of self-discipline is not to punish ourselves but to consciously deny ourselves of certain desires, or make some sacrifices that will help strengthen our relationship with God. Apart from fasting, we are also encouraged to develop some new good habits like going to Mass, setting aside times for daily prayers, reading our Bible, watching Catholic movies, participating in charity works, etc. Please check our parish bulletin and website for the Ash Wednesday Mass schedule.READ MORE
This weekend, we observe Commitment Weekend for the Charity and Development Appeal (CDA) for the Diocese of Phoenix. During all of our Masses this weekend we heard Bishop Olmsted invite us to participate in the Appeal. Through your participation last year, the Diocese was able to fund 70 charities and ministries that serve the poor and the needy. Your gift to the Appeal has significant, real-life impact and transforms the lives of thousands of people across the Diocese.
I invite you to consider participating in the CDA this year. Most of us might have already received the Appeal invitation directly from the Diocese within the past week. Thank you if you have already participated this year. If you have not already participated, I invite you to please pick up an Appeal envelope this weekend and fill in the pledge card. There are four ways to give your donation this year: Online, by text message, by pledge card and by phone call. The instructions on how to give using each of the four methods is described on your pledge card. The completed pledge cards will be collected during the Mass. Please feel free to take an Appeal envelope home for a family member or friend, and have them mail or return it to the parish office during the week.READ MORE
I am so excited to inform you that we are now past halfway, $1.9M (56%) in cash payment toward our goal of $3.5M for our New Church Building Campaign (Living Our Faith, Building Our Home). We are also slightly past midway in our three-year campaign. This is a very commendable achievement. With just $1.5M (44%) to go in the campaign, we are close to witnessing our dreams of the new church come true soon. To clarify to our new parishioners and visiting friends, we started our three-year building campaign in April of 2018 with the goal of $3.5M, a loan of $3.5M and a cash fl ow support of $300,000, for a total of $7.3M. Our building timeline is to break ground in the summer of 2021, and move in during 2022. Initially, it appeared like an ambitious dream, but now I am quite optimistic that it is a dream that is within our reach.READ MORE
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
This weekend, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord when the child Jesus is presented in the temple (Luke 2:22-29). The feast, observed on February 2, is also one of the five glorious mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Traditionally, the feast is celebrated with everyone holding a lighted candle during Mass. Hence the Mass in commonly known as the Candlemas Day. The candle light is symbolic of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. During all of our Masses this weekend, we will observe the holding of a lighted candle while the priest blesses them all.
In addition to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord today, the Catholic Church also celebrates the World Day for Consecrated Life. This observance was instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1997 to be celebrated in conjunction with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Consecrated life, also known as religious life, is a way of life in which priests, nuns and some lay people dedicate their entire life to God and publicly take the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience within a religious order approved by the Church. In professing the vows and living within community, the members strive to model the life of Jesus more closely in their service to others and the Church.READ MORE
This week we observe the National Catholic Schools Week (CSW) in all the Dioceses in the United States. Catholic Schools Week is an annual celebration of Catholic education in the US, being observed beginning with the last Sunday in January. The celebration this year, running from January 26 to February 1, will mark the 46th anniversary of the event. The theme for the 2020 Catholic Schools Week is “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” This theme embodies the core values found in Catholic schools across the country. Those values are to train the child academically, morally, spiritually and socially so they can become future servant leaders, faith-filled disciples and good citizens. The overall goal of the CSW is to showcase what makes Catholic schools distinctively different from other schools and to help schools connect with prospective families looking to find the right school for their children, donors, educators and other community members.READ MORE
You may have noticed we have not made many announcements concerning our new church building campaign (Living Our Faith, Building Our Home) in the past six months. The main reason for the break was to enable us to focus on our participation in the active phase of the Diocesan Capital Campaign (Together Let Us Go Forth~ Juntos Sigamos Adelante) which ran from July to November last year. We also wanted to avoid any confusion of talking about two different campaigns simultaneously. Even so, a number of us have been working diligently, behind the scenes, keeping our building campaign on track.READ MORE
Thank you all so much for your prayers and support, especially during my installation as Pastor of the parish last Sunday. I am very grateful. I look forward to your continued prayers and support in this new responsibility. A number of our parishioners have asked me to explain the difference between Parochial Administrator and Pastor, and what is involved in having the Via Christi Society provide the pastoral leadership to the St. Benedict community for the next ten years.
A Parochial Administrator is a Priest who is appointed by the Bishop to take care of the pastoral leadership of a parish when the office of the pastor is vacant. He holds this position on a temporary basis until a new pastor is appointed by the Bishop. The Parochial Administrator has the same rights and responsibilities as any Pastor (Canon 539 & 540, 1).READ MORE
On behalf of the parish community, I welcome Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted to St. Benedict. He is here this weekend for my installation as Pastor during the Sunday 11:00 am Mass. I thank the Bishop for his confidence by entrusting me with the responsibility of serving the St. Benedict Parish community. I also want to thank all of our parishioners for their love, care and support throughout this past year. I continue to rely on the grace of God, your prayers, and support as I move on to the next stage of my ministry with you here at St. Benedict.
This weekend we are celebrating Epiphany. This special feast commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Baby Jesus. Epiphany simply means the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the gentile world. One common question many people ask about the celebration of Epiphany is: “If the Magi were called ‘wise men’ because they followed the star to find the child Jesus, is it okay then to believe in ‘horoscope’?” The answer is NO. Horoscope is a form of idolatry - a sin against the First Commandment: “I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) Horoscope readers need to ask themselves whether it is the stars, or God, in charge of their lives? Believing that the stars control our lives contradicts our belief that God is in charge of our lives. The Church states clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:READ MORE
Christmas Thank You
We thank God and thank you all for a wonderful Christmas celebration. My special thanks to all those who participated in the Angel Giving Tree. I was speechless when I saw the outpouring of gifts and the overwhelming response of our parishioners to the needs of those around our community. I thank the Art and Environment ministry for the beautiful Christmas decorations. Also, thanks to the Choir and the Liturgy team for wonderful Liturgies during the Christmas. This Christmas was a very memorable one for me and I pray for more joyful celebrations with you all in this community.
Holy FamilyREAD MORE
A very big thank you to our St. John Bosco School community for the beautiful Christmas Program and the Our Lady of Guadalupe play during the week. Thanks, also, to the teachers and staff who helped organize the different Christmas events with the school this year. Wishing our SJB community a wonderful Christmas and a Blessed New Year. I would also like to thank everyone who participated in our Advent Penance Service last Tuesday. The turnout was wonderful and the visiting priests appreciate your warm welcome and prayers.
In the First Reading today, we hear how God sent the prophet Isaiah to ask King Ahaz to ask for a sign from God. Why did Ahaz refuse to ask for a sign? He said, “I will not put God to the test.” He prefers to do what God wants for him, rather than to challenge God. At this time as we prepare for Christmas, suppose we have Santa play the role of God and our children play the role of King Ahaz. What do you think we would hear as their responses? Most likely requests for material gifts, right? But what about us, the adults, if God were to ask us to make a request for something this Christmas, what would you ask for? It is amazing how materialism has taken over the meaning of Christmas these days.READ MORE
This weekend we celebrate Gaudete Sunday. “Gaudete” is a Latin word for “rejoice.” Today, we light the rose-colored candle on our Advent Wreath, symbolic of our expression of joy on this Gaudete, or Rejoice, Sunday. We are invited to reflect on the things that make us truly joyful. What brings us joy? Is it our job, family, faith, money, good health, sports, or something else? We are also invited to go beyond identifying what makes us joyful during this Advent season, to determine how we can share our joy with those who are in need around us. The tradition of giving gifts at Christmas is a way of sharing our joy, not only with those who are in need, but also with our family and friends. I thank all those who have participated in the Angel Giving Tree. I saw many precious gifts brought in to the parish to be shared with many of our friends around our community. Thanks, also, to our parish choir for the beautiful Christmas concert this past week. We await the St. John Bosco School Christmas Program, coming up this Wednesday, December 18. These are an indication that we are truly a people of joy!READ MORE
As we set up our Christmas decorations during this second week of Advent, Pope Francis invites Christians all over the world to be conscious of including the nativity scene in our decorations as a sign of our joyful proclamation of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. In his Apostolic Letter titled “Admirabile Signum,” Latin term meaning, “Enchanting Image” which he signed last Sunday, the Pope stated, “With this Letter, I wish to encourage the beautiful family tradition of preparing the nativity scene in the days before Christmas, but also the custom of setting it up in the workplace, in schools, hospitals, prisons and town squares. Great imagination and creativity is always shown in employing the most diverse materials to create small masterpieces of beauty. As children, we learn from our parents and grandparents to carry on this joyful tradition, which encapsulates a wealth of popular piety. It is my hope that this custom will never be lost and that, wherever it has fallen into disuse, it can be rediscovered and revived.”READ MORE
I thank God and would like to thank everyone for the wonderful Thanksgiving celebration during the week. I was particularly happy to see a good attendance at the Thanksgiving Mass to thank God first before our family celebrations. My special thanks to St. Vincent De Paul Society, the Knights of Columbus and all those who donated turkey and food items for our Thanksgiving outreach this year. Through your generosity, our parish community was able to put food on the table for so many families in and around our community this year. May God continue to bless you all as you willingly share your time, talents, and treasures with those in need.READ MORE