Greetings and happy fourth Sunday of Easter: Good Shepherd Sunday! I also welcome you all to this month of May, the month dedicated to the honoring of Mary. We need Mary more than ever now.
The reading this Sunday tells us about the shepherd who cares for His sheep. The Good Shepherd ensures for the well-being of his sheep. He saves the lives of his sheep from wolves, predators, and from any danger. He will even lay down his life for his sheep. It tells us about the caring God we have, a God that doesn’t want us to lack anything: The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. We need this shepherd now more than ever.
In this pandemic situation, there are many stories of good shepherds: the doctors, nurses, police officers, paramedics, first responders. Everyone who puts his our her life at risk to save others. That’s what the good shepherd does. To these our heroes we say, "thank you!" Are we willing to imitate the life of Christ and be a good shepherd like Him?
It has been a long tradition for Catholics to honor Mary in a special way in the month of May. Yesterday being May 1st, the US Catholics Bishops and Canadian Bishops reconsecrated the two countries to Mary. During this period of pandemic, we seriously need the intercession of Mary.
I write to call all the families in our parish and individuals to gather together everyday in their different families to pray the Rosary and seek for the intercession of Blessed Virgin Mary. There is no doubt that this pandemic has made family members spend more time together with each other. And though this extra "quality time" has come with it's challenges, it has also opened up opportunities. Among these is the opportunity to deepen our spiritual life, draw closer to God, and pray together as one family as it says “the family that prays together, stays together." Let the family gather together this month to pray the Rosary and ask for the intercession of Mary our mother.
Mary is our Mother. This we see clearly in the Gospel of John 19:26-27 at the foot of the cross. When Jesus gave his mother to the human race through John, the beloved apostle. “Mother behold your son, son behold your mother." This became one of the best gifts we received from Christ. And Mary became the Mother of all. A Mother that knows the feelings of her children and always there to help them. We can see this at the first miracle Jesus performed at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-12). Mary, noticing the frustration in the guests' faces, went and complained to her Son, “they have no wine” and to his disciples she said “do whatever he tells you." Mary’s action becomes the action of a go-getter for she is an advocate, a helper, and intercessor. Let’s as a family call upon Mary to intercede for us for the healing from this coronavirus pandemic and for the salvation of all the world.
Dear parishioners, it has been more than a month that we have not worshiped together in the Church. Please know that we are closely united in the spirit. Out of sight is not out of mind. I had my first staff meeting through Zoom last Wednesday. It is amazing what technology can do! I know that not every parishioner is connected to Facebook and our webpage and everyone is not internet savvy. We discussed other ways we can reach out to parishioners. As a result of this, you will be receiving a phone calls from us in the coming week or so. The phone call is to check on you to find out how you are doing and to assure you that you are not alone.
Our parish social ministry office has been doing an amazing work during this pandemic. Ms. Judy Miccio and her many volunteers have been working hard to reach to our parishioners in need of our help. I especially extend my gratitude to those parishioners who contributed or donated to this ministry. Your help is a help many people. May God bless your generosity. In keeping up with demand, we are still in need more food donations or monetary donations to continue our operations and help those who come to us with their needs. Please continue to check the bulletin, our facebook page, or webpage for ways to assist.
As we all are facing this difficulty together, I thank all those who send in their collection envelopes or those that give through e-giving. Thank you for your continuous support to our parish. Our major source of income is our Sunday collections and we have been hardly hit as a result of this pandemic and I know that some of our parishioners are going through the same. So many have lost their jobs or other forms of livelihood and there is a great deal of financial anxiety and worry over scarcity that matches or even exceeds our fears over the disease itself. I am praying very hard that this pandemic will end soon and can people get back to work. In the meantime, if you are able, please consider supporting our parish through e-giving or sending in your envelope.
Finally, I thank everyone for your continued support and generosity to our parish through your material support, prayers, presence, and myriad other contributions. I also want to take this opportunity again to extend my condolences to those who lost their loved ones to this deadly virus. Please know that we are praying for you at this grieving period and for your loved ones to rest eternally with God in heaven.
We continue to pray for those who are sick, that through the intercession of Mary, our mother, they will be healed soon. We also pray for all those serving on the frontlines of this pandemic. God’s hand is upon you. We all are in this together and do not feel alone in this struggle. Reach out to us and let us know how we can help. May God continue to protect you and your family.
May Mary, the Mother of Christ and our Mother, continue to intercede for us especially in this pandemic situation.
Mediatrix of all graces and Mother of the sick, pray for us.
At your service and His,