Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 30, 2023

Dear Friends,

What a blessing you are! I thank God continuously for you and for all our families, and I pray that we may continue to be beacons of peace, love, and joy.

The Grotto work is finished except for a few items for which we are still waiting, especially the statue of St. Michael the Archangel, the benches, and the votive candles. Supply chain issues kept these from being available on time. So, I request you to be patient. We will get there soon. Meanwhile, know that you can bring your (beach) chairs or cushions in order to comfortably sit, pray and enjoy some peace. I saw one of our parishioners at 10 p.m. one night praying the Rosary while sitting on his beach chair right in front of Our Mother. What a beautiful sight!

“God’s Heart our Dream 2.0” Campaign is still very much alive! Our project is not yet paid for in full, and therefore I need to continue to rely on your generosity. A special request to those, including our new parishioners, who have not yet had the opportunity to be part of the expansion of our campus and the Grotto: please consider participating in the Campaign. Campaign sign-up cards are available in the Church narthex and in the office. Please join in and experience the joy of being part of this beautiful endeavor.

On the 4th Sunday of Easter, as we continue to remember and celebrate the Resurrection, the Church invites us to reflect on Jesus our Good Shepherd, the one willing to lay down his life for us. At the end of Lent, we had the opportunity to witness this truth in action. The Sacred Triduum brought this reality to us very vividly. St. Peter (1 Peter 2: 20b-25) tells us succinctly: Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example to follow in his footsteps.

Are we able to trust our Shepherd and follow him? There are bound to be times of struggle, confusion, wavering, wandering, and temptation to leave the flock. In such moments, do not lose sight of the fact that you follow a shepherd who willingly bore our sins. He took them into his body. He placed them with himself upon the cross that we might be freed from them. So, turn to him when doubt pulls you away. Return to the one who is the shepherd and guardian of our souls.

This Sunday is also designated “World Day of Prayer for Vocations.” Please take this occasion to pray for vocations to the Permanent Diaconate, the Priesthood, and the Consecrated Life. Our parish has already been blessed with some vocations. I encourage all who are able, especially our young men and women, to consider following the Lord, our Shepherd, into a life dedicated and consecrated to His service.

We whole-heartedly welcome Fr. Arul Raj Gali, C.S.C., to our St. John the Evangelist community. Please remember that he will do a presentation on the “Challenges Facing Families Today” on Monday, May 1, 2023 at 6 p.m. in Holy Cross Hall. Please do come and enjoy the presentation and get to know how to handle the challenges we face at this critical time.

I would like to thank Kathleen Badger for leading the different teams who ensured that everything flowed well last Saturday for the Celebration and Blessing of the Grotto, and the Picnic. I want to recognize and thank those who made it all happen: our Kitchen Crew, the Parish Life team, CCW, CRHP, the Knights of Columbus, the Scouts, the Clergy and staff; the liturgical ministries, including the Choir, the Art and Environment team, the Altar Servers, the Altar Guild, the Altar Linen team, the Sacristans, the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, the Lectors, the Ushers, the Greeters, the Media team, the Digital Media team, and the Knights. Special thanks also to Charles Miller, who created the photographic record and beautiful video of the Grotto construction. He was there most days during the Grotto’s development, keeping a detail photographic record of the building process.

Our thanks are also extended to all who supplied bottled water, sodas, and cookies. You are the magnanimity of God himself.

Have a Blessed Week! With love,

Fr. John