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My dear Parishioners,

Life has continually taught the lesson that if you don’t climb a mountain, it is very difficult for you to view the plains. Yet climbing a mountain is never easy. It is usually full of challenges to deal with, obstacles to overcome, and stress to endure. The temptation is always to find the easy way out, and yet, time and time again, experience has shown that the easy way out is never a good way out, in the long run. And so, when Peter tried to limit the possibility of Christ redeeming us, as we read in the gospel of this 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, year A (Matthew 16:21-27), Jesus told him, “Get behind me, Satan” because you are thinking like men not like God. You are looking for the easy way out not the way that will accomplish the will of God. You are interested in your comfort not in enduring the discomforted for the sake of God’s Kingdom on earth. You want the good stuff but not the responsibility that comes with it and you want to be on the receiving end not on the giving front, etc. This is the way of man but not the way of God. The way of God is the way of responsibility, of service, of giving, of gratitude, of self donation, of sacrifice for God’s people, of commitment to evangelization, of devotion to God, and of dedication to the Church. Whatever, therefore, dare to stand between us and these ways of divine thinking should immediately receive the reprimand, “Get behind me, Satan”; you are not of God.

For some reason, our USAN program is coming along much more slowly than I had ever anticipated to the point that I am very concerned. It is a threat that could disrupt so many programs we have in place to make our Church great, viable, sustainable, responsible, and a beacon of faith, in this part of the world. Last year, the Archdiocese granted us two grants—to replace the roof in the parish center and to mount internal circuit cameras all over the Church’s property—something that is very unusual, granting two grand-awards to one parish at the same time. This year, again, the Archdiocese has given us the grant to retrofit the boiler in the Parish Center from oil to gas and another one to pay for the livestreaming mechanism in the Church. I strongly believe that this is a way the Archdiocese wants to appreciate what we have been able to do in these past few years—fulfilling our obligations to the Archdiocese and to all our vendors and being responsible stewards in the Lord’s vineyard.

Yes, it is never easy to climb a mountain, but when we do, the joy of seeing the whole plain makes it worth it. Our motto and mantra are “Forward ever, backward never”. Therefore, as we enter this Fall season, I am calling upon all our parishioners to come together and let us use the ways of God’s thinking to build a stronger bridge for our parish; to commit ever more strongly to our parish programs; to take greater responsibility for the financial health of our Church; to participate ever more fully in our devotional and spiritual activities; to booster our social and familial celebrations as a community, and to offer our support, at all levels, to make this parish stronger, healthier, more visible, more viable, more welcoming, and a true home Church for all of us. I truly believe that we are equal to this challenge, and I am grateful to God for it. It is my prayer that the powers of heaven may be our protection, that the wisdom of heaven may be our guidance, that the riches of heaven may be our provision, and that the strength of heaven will be our sustenance. Amen.

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