Third Sunday of Easter, April 23, 2023

Dear Friends,

WE DID IT AGAIN, ST. JOHN’S! The Grotto is complete! Kudos to you all! I am deeply grateful to God for enabling us to rally together to create such a fabulous place in which to honor our Mother Mary. In the Grotto, we also relish Mary in her role as the Mother who leads us to Jesus. We can trace with her the iconic moments of Jesus’ way to Calvary and embrace the CROSS with her, as we make it an indispensable means to our Salvation.

I thank each and every one of you for your breathtaking generosity and unstinting support of this project. As we moved along the road toward the Grotto project, God sent very generous and joyful donors, small and large. Their sponsorship of the key elements of the project gave me the

ability to plunge into the project with much confidence and trust. Many visitors came forward joyfully to offer their mite, and there were many deceased members of our community in whose honor people contributed. I thank each and every one of you and your families near and far who desired to be part of this act of love.

“God’s Heart our Dream 2.0,” is still very much alive: our project is not yet paid for in full. Thus, I continue to rely on your generosity. But for the moment, let us CELEBRATE and GIVE THANKS TO GOD. Alleluia! I truly trust and pray that our new Oasis of Prayer and Peace will be a place for all to encounter Jesus through Mary.

Today we celebrate the 3rd Sunday of Easter. We continue to dwell on the glorious theme of the Resurrection of our Lord, the hinge pin on which our faith turns. Peter continues to remind his listeners that the one they killed has been raised up by God. In the Gospel, Luke tells us of the spectacular post-resurrection appearance of Jesus, which is remarkably linked to what we do every time we come to celebrate the Eucharist. In the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Luke describes how Jesus appears and walks with them as they converse about all the things that just happened to Jesus in Jerusalem. Although He spoke to him about how His death and resurrection and been foretold in the scriptures, they still had no clue as to who He was. It was only as Jesus broke bread with them that they recognized him. Their eyes were opened at this great gesture of the breaking of the bread. This is what happens for us at every Eucharist: we see the real presence of Jesus as He says: “Take and eat, this is my body; Take and drink, this is my blood.” How privileged are we to commune with Christ at every Mass! Can we, like the disciples of Emmaus, invite Jesus into our hearts and home, saying: “Stay with us, Lord?”

As I wrote last week, Fr. Arul Raj Gali, C.S.C., one of our Holy Cross Priests from India will be with us. Because his expertise is in family-related matters, I have invited him to do a presentation on the challenges facing families today. This will be on Monday, April 24, 2023 at 6 p.m. in the 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 wholeheartedly welcome Fr. Arul Raj Gali to our community.

I take this opportunity to thank God for the many ways He has led us through the grace-filled season of Lent, Holy Week, and the Paschal Triduum, and of the Easter Celebrations. In particular, I thank our wonderful team of volunteers for how joyfully they played their parts to make our activities and liturgies so meaningful and alive during this time:

  • All the ministries that provided soup suppers and led us in prayerful meditation on the Stations of the
  • The kitchen crew and the Parish Life team, who indefatigably support all of our community
  • The Art and Environment team, who gave so much time, effort, and creativity in making sure that our sacred space and narthex were meaningfully
  • The choir and the musicians for the time they put into rehearsals, the special events, and the liturgies so that we might give reverent and joyful praise to
  • The liturgical ministries, including 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
  • Vincent, the Deacons, and the Staff for their untiring work in supporting all of our events and celebrations.

In addition, I offer special thanks to those who contributed to the purchase of flowers and other materials necessary for the liturgical life of our parish.

Finally, my thanks also to you, our faithful and generous parishioners, for your continued encouragement and support and most especially your faithful presence at all our liturgies and special events.

Have a Blessed Week! With love,

Fr. John