Solemnity of Pentecost, May 28, 2023

Dear Friends,

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost.  Pentecost marks the beginning of the Church, the day on which the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles to embolden them in their commission to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16: 15).  Since then, the Holy Spirit has been the main character in the life of the Church, making the presence of Christ available to all the world.

Thanks to His  powerful presence, the work of the disciples of Jesus continues uninterrupted.  This does not mean there are no challenges involved in the ministry of the church.  Therefore, given our nature and proclivity to sidestep our Christian call to responsible discipleship, it is good to ask the Holy Spirit to renew in us his gifts.  We ask to be reinvigorated and re-inspired regarding our duty to proclaim the Gospel – “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.”

 In the Pentecost Sequence during Mass this weekend, we invoke the Holy Spirit to come down on each and every one of us as we resound with one voice, “Veni, Sancte Spiritus,”  “Come, Holy Spirit, come!  And from your celestial home shed a ray of light divine!”  For those of us who are still praying the St. John’s Parish Community Prayer, you are, in effect, proclaiming this everyday:  “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love...."  This Pentecost, may we become a new creation burning with the love of the Blessed Trinity.  Come, Holy Spirit!

After the celebration of the Solemnity of Pentecost, the 50 long days of the Easter Season comes to an end.  We now pick up the Ordinary Time which we put in pause mode when the Lenten Season began.  Beginning the Monday after the Pentecost (29th May), we resume with the 8th Week in Ordinary Time.  You will now see a lot of the color Green in our liturgies.  For those praying The Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours), we start with Week IV.  Ordinary Time continues until Evening Prayer I (Liturgy of the Hours) of the First Sunday of Advent, 3 December 2023.

This past weekend (21st May), we had a blood drive.  Thanks to all those who responded to our request.  Hank Poletto, who coordinated this effort on behalf of the Knight of Columbus, wrote to me:  “We really outdid ourselves.  We had 29 people volunteer to give blood.  That is a new high for our parish.  I want to thank all that donated this precious gift.”  This is a great sign of the goodness that is within us. Keep up the good work!

On Monday, May 22, 2023,  Joy and Tony Ramirez completed hosting the second batch of the Faith and Money Matters session.  Congratulations to those who persevered, completed the course,  and received the certificate.  I am very proud of them for committing to financial discipleship.

I take this opportunity to thank Terri Tagye, who has been leading the RCIA ministry for the past several years.  She had guided, led, and nourished the faith of so many who have embraced the Catholic Faith.  On behalf of the parish and all those who have benefitted from her service and ministry, we express our gratitude her as she completes her term.  She will always be remembered for her enthusiasm, commitment, and her excellent knowledge of Scripture and the Traditions of the Catholic Church.

At this end of the academic session, I thank all the Catechists who helped in the Faith Formation program for our children from K through 12th grade, as well in the sacramental preparations for First Reconciliation, First Communion, and Confirmation. They play a huge role in imparting the Faith to our children.  Before they take a break for summer months, I thank them for their faith, their love of God, their commitment, and their passion to hand on the Faith. We sincerely hope that more and more of you, our parishioners, will volunteer to serve in this ministry.

As we commemorate the Memorial Day weekend, let us be grateful to those valiant men and women who had fought and laid their lives that we might enjoy our freedom. May their souls rest in peace!

Did you know? Memorial Day is one of the few days flags are ordered to fly at half-staff then full-staff. While Memorial Day has generated community traditions, it has also generated traditions for how the government observes the day and according to that the flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon, according to Gettysburg Flag, to honor men and women who have fallen in the line of duty.  At noon, the flag should be briskly raised to full staff to salute all of those who have served (according to the article by LAUREN MATTHEWS AND JENNIFER ALDRICH).

Have a Blessed Week!

With love,

Fr. John