Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 4, 2024

Dear Friends,

What a blessing you are! I was thrilled to see that so many of you responded cheerfully to Our Catholic Appeal (OCA) 2023. I celebrate you for your support! In 2023, our parish topped the chart as the Most Improved Parish for the number of new contributors. We came in third as the Most Improved Parish by dollars raised. Please know that I am very proud of you! You are always in my prayers!

Now I request that you prayerfully consider contributing to OCA 2024 at the earliest possible date. It is all in your hands now. Please, let’s move quickly to fulfill our OCA 2024 contribution and participation goals. If you do, I will not have to talk about it on any more Sundays. Meeting our goals early will allow me to focus on a lot of really good stuff waiting to happen at our parish. Will you help me? I count on each and every one of you! Remember, you promised: “Our goal is to help you achieve your goal”!!!

If you have not yet seen the Exhibition on the Eucharistic Miracles compiled by the Holy Teen Sensation Blessed Carlos Acutis, now is the time for you to do so, as the exhibition will only be with us until 12 February. I pray that this time of grace will help increase our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and enhance our participation in our Eucharistic celebrations.

We have been tremendously blessed with so many talents. Let us celebrate our unity in diversity, rejoicing in the God who created us and makes it possible to come together to worship Him despite our varied origins. What a blessing! What splendid talents we share! What richness we bring! Let us enjoy this International Festival Day, giving joyful praise to God for all that he is doing in our lives.

I want to congratulate Jesse and Laverne Michalk, the recipients of the Family of the Month for January 2024. They have been with St. John’s since moving to Viera in 2005. Since then, they have been deeply involved in the various ministries of the parish. We thank them for their love and dedication. We are blessed to have their daughter Dawn and her husband Michael Hurley with us, too.

We are deeply saddened at the tragic murder of Fr. Bob Hoeffner, his sister Sally, and two others in Palm Bay, FL. Two police officers were injured. Fr. Bob had served as pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Palm Bay for 18 years until retirement in 2016. Just last year we celebrated his 50 years of priesthood. May their souls Rest in Peace!

As we step into the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B, we cannot fail to hear Job’s lament: “Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?” Then we hear, in Mark’s Gospel, that Peter’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. Our life is full of challenges indeed. We too might find our lives sapped of passion, zeal, and vigor. Oftentimes, we experience staleness, even in our faith life. But what gives us confidence to face this life’s drudgery? Jesus! He walks among us preaching, healing, driving out demons, and comforting us through the Eucharist, the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Healing, the many ministries in our church, and through you and me. Spreading the Good News of Jesus and taking his healing presence to the world is an obligation placed on us as baptized members of the Church. St. Paul is a great example of one who took this obligation seriously. In his zeal to carry out his mission, he says: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel of Christ” (1 Cor 9:16).

On Friday, the 2nd of February, we celebrated the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It was also the anniversary of the dedication of Our Lady of Sorrows Courtyard, which is so faithfully maintained by our CCW sisters. We thank them for their dedication to this ministry.

This weekend, we celebrate the feast of St. Blaise, the saint we turn to for help with throat-related illnesses. May St. Blaise intercede for us as we seek to be healed of all diseases related to our throats. And just so you know, 4 February is the feast of St. John de Britto.

Have a Blessed Week!

With love,

Fr. John