I would like to thank you again for being such wonderful parishioners, each a blessing to this vibrant community! Your enthusiastic participation in so many of our programs and ministries is humbling, but my sincerest wish is that more of you will make the commitment to belong in a more meaningful way. One such opportunity is the Christ Renews His Parish Retreat weekend. Over 700 members of our parish have attended and, as a result, have formed lasting spiritual relationships with sisters and brothers they never knew they had. Please consider this beautiful weekend as a gift both to yourself and our parish community! The women’s CRHP retreat weekend is February 15 and 16, and the men’s is the weekend of February 22 and 23.
This Sunday, as we celebrate the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Church also celebrates “World Marriage Day.” We don’t need to be reminded that married life requires an enormous amount of sacrifice and dedication to make it work and is filled with daily challenges, but please know that you are in my prayers! And while Valentine’s Day promotes love for the people in our lives through cards, flowers, and chocolates, we might do well to be reminded that the relationship between husbands and wives is so much more. They are the salt and light of our families, spreading the light of Christ to the world. The Gospel of Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount urges us not to lose the salt that is unique to each of us. Pope Francis wrote in Amoris Laetitia, “The couple that loves and begets life is a true, living icon – not an idol like those of stone or gold prohibited by the Decalogue – capable of revealing God the Creator and Savior. For this reason, fruitful love becomes a symbol of God’s inner life (cf. Gen 1:28; 9:7; 17:2-5, 16; 28:3; 35:11; 48:3-4).” (AL 11).
This week we will celebrate the long-awaited International Festival. Please come and be part of this enormous effort to give glory to God in splendor of our diversity. So many valiant men and women have contributed their time, talent, and treasure to make this event not only for entertainment but, above all, to give thanks to God for his audacious adventure in sharing love with humanity. The United States is one very special country where the different colors, hues, and shades of humanity shine forth gloriously.
Next weekend, we will reflect with Bishop John Noonan on the theme: “What God has prepared for those who love Him.” It is the time of the year where we will get an opportunity to reflect on how much your generosity does in taking the message of the Gospel to the people in need and, most especially, how it impacts the people of our county and the Diocese of Orlando. You must have already received a letter from the Diocese. I request you to pray about how you might assist the Diocese in their ministries.
Have a Blessed Week!