Baptism of the Lord

Thanks be to God, we had a beautiful celebration of the Birth of Christ at Assumption. What an incredible blessing it was to be here for my first Christmas as a pastor. The liturgies were top-rate, thanks to all of our ministers and choir members. And, how exquisite does the decorated church look?! I think that’s the Christmas card for the parish next year; and maybe, for some of you. Hope you enjoyed the crèche, poinsettias, Christmas trees, lights, garland, and candles…and took a picture of it all! They will be taken down this week because the Christmas season ends with today’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Why liturgically do we make such a big jump in the life of Jesus from the Epiphany at His birth to His Baptism as an adult on consecutive Sundays? The Navarre Bible commentary provides the following answer which gives tremendous insight into the mind of the Church for these Sundays in January:

In its liturgy the Church remembers the first three solemn manifestations of Christ’s divinity:

The adoration of the Magi (Mt 2:11)

The baptism of Jesus (Lk 3:21-22)

The first miracle our Lord worked, at the wedding at Cana (Jn 2:11).

In the adoration of the Magi God revealed the divinity of Jesus by means of the star. At his baptism the voice of God the Father, coming “from heaven”, reveals to John the Baptist and to the Jewish people – and thereby to all men – this profound mystery of Christ’s divinity. At the wedding at Cana, Jesus “manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him” (Jn 2:11).

So, the Church is focusing last Sunday (Epiphany), today (Baptism of the Lord), and next Sunday (wedding feast at Cana) on the divinity of Christ being revealed in these three events. It’s very clear in today’s Gospel that the Father revealed that Jesus is His Son: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Lk 3:22).

We might take for granted the divine nature of Christ. But, this feast – along with the other two – highlights not only the first manifestations of Christ’s divinity, but it helps us reflect more deeply on a divine person taking on a human nature. “Come then and see new and astounding miracles: the Sun of righteousness washing in the Jordan, fire immersed in water, God sanctified by the ministry of man” (St. Proclus of Constantinople, bishop). God sanctified by the ministry of man!

The last line of that quote should get us thinking, again, about the incredible reality of the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ. But, it also leads us to ponder why Christ was baptized in the first place. In his human nature, he was “sanctified by the ministry of man”, no doubt. John’s baptism brought sanctification to the body and pointed to Christian baptism which sanctifies the soul. “I baptize you with water, but one mightier than I is coming…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”.

Each of us who have followed Christ’s lead and have been baptized with the Holy Spirit has also had the Father say the same words about us: “you are my beloved (child); with you I am well pleased”.

–Sincerely in Christ

Fr Greg

A New Year’s Epiphany

Here are excerpts from an excellent, Biblical reflection on the event of the Epiphany from catholicmom.com. Enjoy!

Up until now, all has been quite humble.  A donkey-ride to a dusty town south of Jerusalem.  Hotel rooms all booked up.  Giving birth in a stable and laying the baby in an animal’s feed trough instead of a cozy cradle.

Into this scene of obscure poverty suddenly bursts an exotic entourage from a far-off land.  Dignitaries in dress uniform lavish the newborn with expensive gifts that seem out of place in the humble surroundings.

This event is so significant that it is accorded its own feast in the Roman liturgy, celebrated traditionally on Jan 6, immediately after the twelve days of Christmas.  This solemn feast is called Epiphany, a word that means “manifestation” or “appearance.”

For a fleeting moment, what seems to be no more than another crying baby of an indigent family “appears” for who He really is–the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The gifts he is given, prophesied in Isaiah 60:6, tell the story: gold fit for a king, incense for the worship of God, and myrrh, bitter yet precious, for the hero who will lay down his life for his people.

There are several important things to note about these prestigious visitors.  They are Gentiles, not Jews.  From the very beginning of his human existence, then, Jesus is clearly not just the Jewish messiah who has come to deliver the people of Israel from foreign oppression.  No, he is the universal king, the ruler of all, who has come to tear down the hostile wall dividing Jew from Gentile, nation from nation.

If you’ve ever wondered what the word “Catholic” means, here we have it.  Derived from Greek words meaning “according to the whole,” it means that Christ did not come to establish some local religious sect for a select few, one “cult” among many.  No, the Church he founded is “catholic” or universal, spread over the whole world, welcoming the whole human race into one nation, one family, under one King.

Something else is to be noted about these illustrious visitors.  As Gentiles, they are pagans.  In fact the term “Magi” is clearly linked to the word “magic.”  It was not in the Bible that they normally looked for wisdom (otherwise they would have known to go straight to Bethlehem).  But in reward for their ardent though perhaps misguided search for truth, God led them to Christ anyhow, in His great mercy…

St. Justin said that there are “seeds of the Word” scattered throughout the world.  But seeds are meant to sprout, grow, and bear fruit.  Hearing the full gospel and partaking in all the means of grace are ordinarily needed to make that happen.  All peoples of the world have a right to this “Catholic” fullness.  And it is our obligation to share it.  Paul VI said it well: “others may be able to be saved without hearing the gospel, but can we be saved if we neglect to preach it?”

This column is offered as a reflection on the scripture readings for the Feast of the Epiphany, cycles ABC (Is 60:1-6; Ps 72; Eph 3:2-3; 5-6; Mt 2:1-12), and appears here by permission of the author.

Copyright 2015 Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D.

 

Christ is born!

Fr Greg

Christ is Born!

The following is taken from the Office of Readings (Liturgy of the Hours) for the Feast of the Holy Family:

From an address by Blessed Paul VI, pope
(Nazareth, January 5, 1964)

Nazareth, a model

“Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder the simple appeal of the way God’s Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning. And gradually we may even learn to imitate him.

Here we can learn to realize who Christ really is. And here we can sense and take account of the conditions and circumstances that surrounded and affected his life on earth: the places, the tenor of the times, the culture, the language, religious customs, in brief, everything which Jesus used to make himself known to the world. Here everything speaks to us, everything has meaning. Here we can learn the importance of spiritual discipline for all who wish to follow Christ and to live by the teachings of his Gospel.

How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God’s truths. But here we are only on pilgrimage.

Time presses and I must set aside my desire to stay and carry on my education in the Gospel, for that education is never finished. But I cannot leave without recalling, briefly and in passing; some thoughts I take with me from Nazareth.

First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value. We need this wonderful state of mind, beset as we are by the cacophony of strident protests and conflicting claims so characteristic of these turbulent times. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.

Second, we learn about family life. May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family’s holy and enduring character and exemplify its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings, in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children—and for this there is no substitute.

Finally, in Nazareth, the home of a craftsman’s son, we learn about work and the discipline it entails. I would especially like to recognize its value—demanding yet redeeming—and to give it proper respect. I would remind everyone that work has its own dignity. On the other hand, it is not an end in itself. Its value and free character, however, derive not only from its place in the economic system, as they say, but rather from the purpose it serves.

In closing, may I express my deep regard for people everywhere who work for a living. To them I would point out their great model, Christ their brother, our Lord and God, who is their prophet in every cause that promotes their well-being.”

Christ is born!

Fr Greg

Humility, Poverty and Trusting in God

Pope Francis’ preparation for Christmas: humility, poverty, and trust.

[From zenit.org. December 15, 2015]

The Church, Pope Francis says, must be three things: humble, poor and trusting in the
Lord.

The Pontiff stressed this during his daily morning Mass at his residence Casa Santa
Marta, reported Vatican Radio, noting that the Church’s mission is in following the
Beatitudes, and that its riches are in the poor.

Reflecting on the first reading from the Book of Zephaniah in which Jesus rebukes the
chief priests and warns them that even prostitutes will precede them into the Kingdom
of Heaven, Pope Francis observed that still today temptations can corrupt the witness
of the Church.

“A Church that is truly faithful to the Lord,” Francis said, “must be humble, poor and
trusting in God”.

Humility

To be a humble Church or a humble person, the Jesuit explained, one must be
prepared to say: “I am a sinner.” Humility, Francis underscored, is not “a pretense” or
“theatrical attitude.”

True humility demands that the Church and every one of us takes a first step and
recognizes one’s sinfulness, and is not “judgmental, pointing to the defects of others
and gossiping about them.”

Poverty

Poverty, which “is the first of the Beatitudes,” Francis noted, is the second step. To be
poor in spirit, he explained, means that one is “attached only to the riches of God.”
Given this, he added, we must say “no to a Church that is attached to money, that
thinks of money, that thinks of how to earn money.”

The Pope recalled the martyrdom of the Deacon Lawrence, an heroic witness in the
first millennium who assembled the poor before the emperor saying they represented
the real gold and silver of the Church, and he warned against some ancient customs
which demanded monetary offers from pilgrims in order to pass through the Holy
Door.

“As is known,” the Holy Father mentioned, “in a temple of the diocese, to pass
through the Holy Door, naively they said to people that you had to make an offer: this
is not the Church of Jesus, this is the Church of these chiefs priests, attached to
money.”

Trusting in God

The third step for this humble Church, Pope Francis said, is to always trust in the Lord
that never disappoints.

“Where is my faith? In power, in friends, in money? It is in the Lord! The legacy that
God promised to leave us is of a humble and poor people who trust in the name of the
Lord. Humble because it knows it sins; poor because it is attached to the riches of
God; trusting in the Lord because it knows that only He has its good at heart,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded with the prayer, that “as we prepare for Christmas,” we have
“a humble heart, a poor heart, a heart that trusts in the Lord who never disappoints.”

–Sincerely in Christ,
Fr Greg

Rejoice in the Lord

Every third Sunday of Advent, the Church rejoices. This is known as “Gaudete Sunday”, which uses the Latin word for “rejoicing”. But, we’re still in the season of Advent, a penitential season. We are still in preparation for the coming of the Lord.

In this way, the Lord is not here. Why are we rejoicing? Because “the Lord is near”.

Have you ever taken a trip and become excited as you neared your destination? Maybe it was a long car ride or flight. Or, maybe it was a drive home after sitting in traffic on 295?! Seeing a road sign that the destination was only a few miles away picked you up. Or, hearing from the flight crew that they’re starting the plane’s descent on the city to which you’re going got your heart pumping a little bit more. Reaching your home street should always be a source of excitement and comfort! In each of these situations, a sense of rejoicing that you are near carries you into the home stretch and helps you endure the remaining part of the trip.

This is what the Church is doing for us today by giving us “Rejoicing Sunday”. She reminds us the reason for the season which is the coming of the Lord. “The Lord is near!” While we will still endure the remaining days of Advent, we are uplifted by the announcement that the Lord is close. As we pass the halfway point and head for the home stretch, the Church gives us encouragement. “The Lord is near!”

For some, hearing that Advent is halfway over may be more of an alarm than a sound for rejoicing. They might be asking what the crowds asked John the Baptist, “what should we do?”

If you feel that you haven’t been tuned into Advent yet and want to finish strongly, the first thing I would say is what St. Paul wrote, “have no anxiety at all”.

This in general is easier said than done, I know. But, be at peace. The Lord has given us much practical advice through the sacred authors in today’s readings for the remaining part of our Advent journey:

1.) PRAY EVERY DAY: “make your requests known to God by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving”

2.) DONATE TO THE OUTREACH CENTER: “whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise”

3.) GO TO CONFESSION: “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”.

The third suggestion is most fitting now as we are now in the Year of Mercy. I look forward to this year with you! We hope and pray that it will be a year of mercy and rejoicing in our parish during the jubilee.

This is a special Gaudete Sunday for me because I rejoice in each of you and in being your pastor. “I shall say it again: rejoice!”

–Sincerely in Christ,

Fr Greg

Advent is preparing the way

First place! It has been many years since we Redskins fans can say that our beloved team is first in our division in early December. And, we are actually surging, with some analysts saying that we are playing our best football of the season. This is exciting! Now, I know, it is possible that this can go south, especially with the Cowboys coming to town tomorrow night. We all might be calling therapists Tuesday morning…! But, things do feel differently now, and we are starting to believe that the culture on our team is changing. We have more talent now (thanks to our new General Manager), and a coaching system that utilizes the players well. No matter what happens in December, we are an improved team on the rise!

What strikes me most for the improvement is their preparation. They have said that their practices during the last few weeks have improved dramatically. Practice makes perfect, right! They have practiced harder with more intensity, and with a focus on correcting mistakes. These things should have been there all season, of course, but it takes time to kick bad habits. This has been a losing franchise for so long in part because they have had losing habits. But, that has changed now. Their preparation has been stronger which has led to significantly better performances two of the past three games. And, their victories have led to more confidence. Apparently, they had a players-only meeting the night before the Giants game in which they said that they were capable of great things, and that they can beat anybody if they played together as a team. That’s a winning attitude, and it showed in their victory last week. At least for this week, they are basking in the glory of first place and in being the talk of the town (and a little of the nation).

Now, I’m writing all of this for two reasons. The first is that I can! (It’s been like 20 years since we’ve been in this situation). The second is for the Advent parallels we can make.

Advent is a Season of preparation. We are preparing for the coming of Christ. We are preparing for glory. Baruch’s prophecy about the Messianic Age in today’s first reading uses the word “glory” six times! How do we prepare for such glory?

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain shall be made low” (Luke 3:5-6).

The Redskins have recently taken their preparation seriously and intensely. Can we take Advent seriously, and do at least one thing this season that reflects a change of heart? The ‘Skins have filled their valleys of despair with confidence. Can we be filled with confidence in God? They have lowered their mountains of individual pride and become team players. Can we lower our mountains of pride by going to Confession at least once during Advent?

During Advent, God calls us to change our ways… to make straight his paths. He wants to turn our losing habits into winning ones. He wants us to win victory! He wants us to share fully in His glory! Hopefully, it will be a Season of victories for us and Grace. At the same time, a December to remember with many victories on the field would be nice, too.

–Sincerely in Christ, Fr Greg

The Origins of Advent

First Sunday of Advent

What is Advent?

Advent, which comes from the Latin word for “arrival” or “coming,” is a period of preparation for the birth of our Lord. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and is the start of the Christmas season, which lasts through the Baptism of Our Lord. The first Sunday of Advent also marks the beginning of the liturgical year, the Church’s “New Year’s Day,” at which time we change the cycle of readings we are using at Mass. Advent is a time of joyous anticipation, but also of penance and preparation for the great Christmas feast. The liturgical color of the season is purple, a sign of penance, which is also used during Lent. The Church discourages excessive ornamentation, boisterous music and even weddings during Advent, in order to foster a sense of quiet hope.

Who established Advent?

Thomas J. Talley, in The Origins of the Liturgical Year (Pueblo Publishing Company), sees the beginning of an advent season in the Fourth Canon of the Council of Saragosa in 380. In 567, the Synod of Tours established a December fast. And in 581 the Council of Macon ordered an advent fast for the laity from the Feast of St. Martin (November 11) to Christmas. This took the name of St. Martin’s Lent. In the seventh and eighth centuries, lectionaries (books containing the scriptural readings for the Liturgy of the Word) provided for six Sundays in Advent. According to the Harper Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, edited by Richard P. McBrien, Gregory the Great, who died in 604, was the real architect of the Roman Advent. Gregory fixed the season at four weeks and composed seasonal prayers and antiphons. Gaul (France) enriched the season with eschatological elements. And the fusion of the Roman and Gallican observances returned to Rome by the 12th century.

What is the Advent wreath?

The Advent wreath is one of our most popular Advent traditions. Its origin is in preChristian Germany and Scandinavia where the people gathered to celebrate the return of the sun after the winter solstice. The circular wreath made of evergreens with four candles interspersed represented the circle of the year and the life that endures through the winter. As the days grew longer, people lit candles to offer thanks to the “sun god” for the light. For us, the lighting of the Advent candles represents the promise of the coming of Jesus, the light of the world. To make an Advent wreath, begin with a Styrofoam circle, available at craft shops, and cut four evenly spaced holes into which you will place the four candles. Traditionally there are three purple candles and one rose candle (for the third Sunday), but blue candles can also be used. Purple reminds us to turn our hearts toward God; rose is a color of joy. Place fresh evergreen branches over the Styrofoam. Replace them when they dry out in order to preserve the symbolism of the vitality of God’s love. Encourage children to participate as they are able, by gathering branches, placing the candles and so on.

reprinted from www.americancatholic.org

Two Judgments-One Soul

One of the new happenings at Assumption that I forgot to mention in last week’s
bulletin is the young adult group. We had our first social event a couple weeks ago,
and then our first Bible study last week. What a great group! They are good, fun, and
smart people. At Bible study, we discussed today’s readings for over an hour. They
had tremendous insights and questions about the themes of the readings: death,
judgement, and life after death. I think we’re all really excited about this group!

Every November, as we come to the end of the liturgical year, the Church gives us
readings that focus on the end of time (“eschaton”). The adult group didn’t think that
we are in the end times, but lamented that there are many who do think that. Jesus
says in today’s Gospel that He doesn’t even know when the end will be!

Regarding what we will face when we die, the Church teaches of two judgments: 1) a
particular judgment, and 2) a general judgment. The first is when we each die…when
our “time is up”. The second is the end of the world… when time itself ends.

These two judgments are summed up pretty well by
www.catholicstraightanswers.com:

Particular: “As Catholics, we believe that when a person dies, the soul separates from
the body. He then stands before God in judgment. Remember that the soul is really
‘who’ we are: while the body lies in death, our soul– who we are– lives on and returns
to the Lord for judgment. The Catechism clearly teaches, ‘Each man receives his
eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular
judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of Heaven–
through purification or immediately, – or immediate and everlasting damnation’
(#1022).

Let’s dissect this teaching: When we die, our soul stands in judgment immediately.
We will have to account for our lives, for the good that we have done and for the sins
we have committed. We call this the particular judgment because it is particular to
each person…

General: At the end of time, our Lord will come again to judge the living and the
dead… Here again the Catechism teaches, ‘In the presence of Christ, who is Truth
itself, the truth of each man’s relationship with God will be laid bare. The Last
Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done
or failed to do during his earthly life’ (#1039). Here is a judgment not only of the
individual standing alone, but also as a member of society and before the whole
community of mankind. Those who have already died and have been judged will
remain in Heaven or Hell; those who have not died will now be judged and enter
Heaven or Hell.

…Whether we consider the particular judgment or the final judgment, we must be
ready to face judgment. Archbishop Fulton Sheen stated, ‘For when the curtain
goes down on the last day, and we respond to the curtain call of judgment, we will not
be asked what part we played, but how well we played the part that was assigned to
us’ (Moods and Truths, 75).

Finally, a solid answer to the question that some have as to why there can be a general
judgment and a particular judgment, is given at www.catholic.com:

“The purpose of the general judgment is not to re-determine one’s standing with God
but to reveal the full ramifications of all our good and bad deeds in relation to other
people. Although we will know instantly all the good and the bad we have done at our
particular judgment, only at the general judgment will we see what effect the way we
lived had on others and thus truly understand the ultimate significance of our moral
acts.”
–Sincerely in Christ,
Fr Greg

Big Weekend for Assumption

Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This is a big weekend in our parish. First, we distributed over 200 Thanksgiving baskets with turkeys to families in our neighborhood yesterday through the generosity of St. Pius and Our Lady of Mercy parishes. Second, today is the awesome feast of Christ the King! Third, Cardinal Wuerl installs me today as your pastor. Last but certainly not least, my Mom is here this weekend! (I think parishioners are most exciting about that).

I’ve written before that it’s an incredible honor to be stationed at Assumption as your pastor. Today, it becomes official as the Church presents me as pastor through the Archbishop. One of the things I will do is renew the promises I made at my ordination to the priesthood. These words were significant then but are even more so now because they are specifically related to you.

Here is one of the questions the Cardinal asks me to which I answer, “I do”:

Are you resolved that you will bind yourself ever more closely to Christ the high priest who for us offered himself to the Father as a spotless victim, and that with Christ you will consecrate yourself to God for the salvation of your brothers and sisters?

Like vows in Holy Matrimony, these promises are intimidating. With the help of God, I am to be so bound to Christ the High Priest that I am consecrated (“set apart”) for the salvation of your souls! His mission is now my mission here. We hear in today’s Gospel for the feast of Christ the King that Christ’s mission on earth was to “testify to the truth”. That‘s what his mission was. That’s what his kingdom on earth looks like. May his mission be fulfilled here, and may He make our parish into a kingdom (Rev 1). Specifically, may He help me to testify to the truth, and may you belong to the truth and hear my voice.

None of us priests are worthy or capable of this, and those of you who have gotten to know me know that it is most true in my case! But, God is good, and He knows who He has called. Someone said the other day that God has blessed us with many graces even before I was installed as pastor. These were left over from Fr. Ivany! Seriously, though, in these first few months here especially, I have tried to continue his great work of the past three years…the work that God did through him. God has blessed us indeed throughout our Jubilee Year, and the graces will hopefully continue. On top of all of this, Thursday is Thanksgiving Day! But, really, as disciples of Jesus Christ, every day should be thanksgiving (especially if we are daily Massgoers). I give thanks to Almighty God every day for my life, faith, family, vocation, and now being pastor at Assumption. I give thanks to God for each one of you, and for being not only part of this extraordinary parish family, but its father.

–Sincerely in Christ,

Fr Greg

Important Parish Announcements

 

A parishioner recently told me, “after your installed (as pastor), I hope you get your act

together” when it comes to notifying the parish of important, new matters and events.

This was half-joking, half-serious. We both laughed, but I will take this opportunity

to heed that great advice.

We have a new and improved parish website! Please go to http://assumptiondc.org to

see the clean, fresh look of our parish online. The site contains a current parish

history, bulletins, homilies, and other cool info about the parish and outreach center.

Ryan Hehman’s last day as Director of the Outreach Center was October 30. We are

so grateful for his generous and dedicated service to our guests, staff, and volunteers

the past year and a half. Pray that God sends us a new Director who will continue the

amazing parish tradition of outreach.

Parishioners are happy to hear that healing Masses will be celebrated each month, but

then immediately ask for the schedule of dates. Here they are:

December 12, 2015/ January 9, 2016 / February 6, 2016/ March 5, 2016/

April 2, 2016 May 7, 2016/ June 4, 2016/ July 9, 2016 / August 6, 2016/

September 10, 2016 October 1, 2016/ November 5, 2016 / December 3, 2016

We are also happy to announce that we will offer “Revival Nights” in our parish

monthly (except July and August) in 2016: Here is that schedule:

Jan TBD/ February 15, 2016/ March 3, 2016/ April 18, 2016/ May 23, 2016

June 20, 2016/ September 19, 2016/ October 17, 2016/ November 14, 2016

December 12, 2016

Starting in Advent 2015, we will offer daily Mass (Mon-Fri, Sat) in the church at

12:10 pm. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will begin at 11 am with Benediction

at 12 noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Our year-long 100th anniversary celebration is kicking into a higher gear.

Community Sundays have been well attended. The pictorial directory will be

available soon. Planning for the celebration on August 14, 2016 with Cardinal Wuerl

is well under way. After that special Mass in the church, we will have a formal,

elegant reception under a tent (with air conditioning!) on the parish grounds.

Many of you have received a card from me which indicates that I offered a Holy Hour

for you (and your family) and your intentions. Since I arrived here in August, I have

been going through the 2011 parish directory and offering my daily Holy Hour for

Assumption parishioners. People have been grateful. But, they have also been

confused about the dates. It just takes me a little while to mail out the cards! I am

happy and honored to pray for you! Please pray for me.

This is nothing new, but I have been visiting the sick and homebound of our parish

every month. What a joy and a privilege to spend time with such holy and faithful

people! Please contact me if you know someone I can visit.

Finally, I have been doing “street evangelization” in the neighborhood the past few

months. I have met many good and friendly people, and invited them to our beautiful

church. My latest gig has been playing basketball with the youngsters on the courts

next to Malcom X School. They have been quite surprised to see that this pastor can

ball! Hopefully, it will help to spread the word about our unique and lively parish.

I rejoice in the goodness of God for each one of you, and for all the good He is

providing us.

–Sincerely in Christ,

Fr Greg