My Dear Friends:
Last week, we officially launched our Centennial Campaign as we begin our three-year journey towards Little Flower’s 100th Anniversary. I am overwhelmed by all the positive feedback I received and all the pledges that have already been made. Our $13 million goal is indeed ambitious as are all the projects we intend to undertake, but we embrace this challenge as we look to leave a legacy for generations to come just as our founders did nearly a century ago. Once again, I encourage you to pray about what kind of 3-year pledge you want to give, and please return your pledge card either to the parish office or by dropping it in any of the collections taken up at Mass over the next month. I am confident that the generosity of the community will shine during this campaign as it has during the last week as the first $100,000 came in with another $1 Million verbally pledged.
For those of you who weren’t here last week or for those of you who would like to see my message from last week again, here are a few excerpts from my homily from last Sunday:
Ninety-seven years ago, a young Irish missionary priest came to this part of South Florida with a dream to start a parish and build a grand church in honor of the newly canonized St. Therese. Coral Gables was barely a suburb, but 220 parishioners awaited him to start this impossible adventure of building a legacy of faith in this corner of God’s vineyard. Much like the sons in today’s gospel, Monsignor Thomas Comber and the first parishioners of the Church of the Little Flower heard the call to “go out and work in the vineyard today.”
The dream of Monsignor Comber and those first parishioners to build a majestic church went undeterred because of the love they had for their new parish. As St. Therese would say: “It is true that Love knows no such word as “impossible,” for us it deems “all things possible, all things allowed.” If we look to the Annunciation of the Lord, when the Archangel Gabriel told our Blessed Mother that “nothing is impossible for God.” We should all know that the word impossible does not belong in the vocabulary of a faithful Christian.
Now as we prepare to celebrate our parish centennial, we must ask ourselves what our legacy will be? The work of our Lord and of this parish must continue for centuries to come. It’s up to us to continue the legacy our founders left us. The work of the gospel cannot be stagnant. We would be doing our parish a disservice if we just sat back and rested on our laurels instead of laying the foundation for the next generation. And that is precisely the next great adventure that we are going to begin today: build on the legacy that was left to us and lay the foundation not only for the next generation of parishioners but for those who will come after them as well.
As we draw closer to the century mark, these bold endeavors that we set out to do compel us to launch what we are calling our Centennial Campaign that will benefit both our church and our school since we are all members of one parish here at Little Flower. This campaign will require a sacrificial gift from all of us so that we can leave a lasting legacy… I am calling on all my parishioner to be bold with your sacrificial gift and to take your queue from the widow in the gospel who gave to God from what she did not have. For as at St Paul tells us in the second reading today: “complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing.” (Phil 2:2)
Our Parish Council and Centennial Committee have set an ambitious goal to raise $13 million over the next three years. We are almost halfway to a goal that I am certain we will achieve and perhaps surpass because the word impossible does not exist in a parish dedicated to the Little Flower. God will repay your generosity a hundredfold. St. Therese tells us: “We can never have too much confidence in the good God…As we hope in Him so shall we receive.”
Along with the temporal aspects of this Centennial Campaign, I also call on each of us, as I have done over the last four years, to deepen our love for the Eucharist. Here at this altar, at the end of each Mass, we receive the missionary call to go forth and spread the Good News. Today we officially begin our journey to our Centennial that we will celebrate in October 2026. May the Good Lord find us that day on fire with his Spirit and ready to begin another century of being missionary disciples here in Coral Gables. St. Therese wanted to shower roses upon us from heaven as is illustrated in the beautiful stained-glass window over the entrance of our church. For almost 100 years, and we pray for many more, we have definitely seen the graces of the Little Flower spending her heaven doing good on earth!
St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, pray for us as we embark on this great endeavor all done for the glory of our Lord!
God bless you all,