A Farewell Message from Fr. Omar
Today, the Universal Church celebrates Pentecost Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Spirit. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, Christ’s Paschal Mystery was brought to completion. It was this day that the Church came to be this great force in the hearts of those gathered in the Upper Room that day and filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be Christians, followers of Christ and apostles―one sent forth. The Bible tell us that fifty days after the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt, Moses received the Ten Commandments from God in Mt. Sinai; now, fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we Christians celebrate the birth of our Church, when Jesus sent His Spirit over His disciples to empower their lives to live by His word.
For over two thousand years, the Church and all its members have been gifted with the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, and as St. Paul tells us today in the second reading, “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” This manifestation of the Spirit can be detected by recognizing one or all of the seven gifts brought by the Holy Spirit. They are:
· Wisdom is both the knowledge of and judgment about divine things and the ability to judge and direct human affairs according to divine truth.
· Understanding is penetrating insight into the very heart of things, especially those higher truths that are necessary for our eternal salvation—in effect, the ability to see.
· Counsel allows a person to be directed by God in matters necessary for his or her salvation.
· Fortitude denotes a firmness of mind in doing good and in avoiding evil, particularly when it is difficult or dangerous to do so, and the confidence to overcome all obstacles, even deadly ones, by virtue of the assurance of everlasting life.
· Knowledge is the ability to judge correctly about matters of faith and right action, so as to never wander from the straight path of justice.
· Piety is, principally, revering God with filial affection, paying worship and duty to God, paying due duty to all people on account of their relationship to God, and honoring the saints and not contradicting Scripture. The Latin word ‘pietas’ denotes the reverence that we give to our father and to our country; since God is the Father of all, the worship of God is also called piety.
· Fear of God is, in this context, filial or chaste fear whereby we revere God and avoid separating ourselves from him—as opposed to submissive fear, whereby we fear punishment.
On these gifts of the Spirit, the Church has flourished through time under the Apostolic Succession, which started with St. Peter and the Eleven remaining Apostles until Francis, our Pope today and all his bishops. This is the same Spirit that brought me here, to the Church of the Little Flower almost two year ago, and that now is moving me to serve a different part of the Body of Christ in this great Archdiocese of Miami. Now the Holy Spirit needs me at St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church. I give thanks to God for allowing me to serve, teach, console, heal, and enjoy you. I go to my new assignment with a heart filled with your love and support. I encourage you to always grow in faith and knowledge of God; it is the only way to love God profoundly, and He deserves to be love by us in the most pure, loyal and intense way. Thank you everyone for taking me in so swiftly and loving me so dearly. This community of love will always have a special place in my life and heart. I only hope that you will receive and love Fr. Andrew as you did with me, and that you will continue supporting your Pastor, Fr. Manny with respect, love and dedication.
You will always be in my prayers, and I hope to count with yours as well. You have a Father and a friend in me.
Peace and blessings,