My Dear Friends,
It’s so wonderful to be back ministering to all of you this weekend. I want to thank you for your prayers during the last two weeks as I was quarantined in the rectory after testing positive for COVID-19. Thankfully, my case was mild, and I was relatively symptom free. I know that I am blessed because there are so many who have experienced far worse. I spent a lot of time resting and praying for all of you. My unexpected time away allowed me to pray for all the sick and vulnerable of our parish who have been at home during this pandemic. In a way, it allowed me to enter into a deeper communion with them. Never cease to pray for our sick and our shut-ins. They are a vital part of our community as they pray constantly for us and offer their sufferings for the good of the Church like our patroness St. Therese would always do.
This emphasis on the sick of our parish is timely since this coming Thursday, February 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, is World Day of the Sick. Pope Francis reminds us in his message for this day: “A society is all the more human to the degree that it cares effectively for its most frail and suffering members, in a spirit of fraternal love.” We must always be mindful of those around us who are sick, even the stranger. The Holy Father reminds us that we must always be close to the sick in our actions and in our prayers: “Such closeness is a precious balm that provides support and consolation to the sick in their suffering.” As is our custom in this parish, this Thursday at 8:00 p.m. we will have a Healing Mass with Anointing of the Sick. All the priests of our parish will be on hand to anoint those who are sick. A gentle reminder that if someone has symptoms of an illness that may be contagious, please stay home and watch the Mass on the livestream. We can go visit and anoint them at home as we have been doing throughout the pandemic.
I want to thank Fr. Omar and all the priests of our parish for covering for me during my time away. The work of the parish never stopped. I also wish to thank Father Phillip Tran who returned home to his first parish to help us two weeks ago. Fr. Omar did a magnificent job last weekend in pinch hitting for me during ABCD Sunday. We are still sorting through all the pledge envelopes we collected, and I want to thank you for your generosity to the charities of the Archdiocese which do so much to care for the sick and the elderly among its many ministries. If you have not yet made your pledge, I encourage you to do it today and return the envelope to an usher. I made my pledge when I returned to the office last Wednesday.
Again, thank you for all your prayers and good wishes. I am extremely blessed and thankful to be back.
God bless you all,