The Lenten season is upon us and for the next forty days we have an opportunity to grow in better relationship with the Lord Jesus and the church. The season is just a very short six week period; a season of prayer, repentance and trying to live a better Christian life. There are so many opportunities that the church offers, as an approach, to journey from Lent to the glory of Easter.
One of these ways is to attend and participate in our parish Lenten mission (Feb 22-24, at 7 p.m.) which will be presented by Fr. Tom McCarthy. Fr. Tom is an Augustinian friar, works as the Vocation Director for the province and will be preaching at all of the masses next weekend, as a way to “entice and invite” all of us to the mission. The annual Lenten penance service is part of the mission and will happen on Tuesday, as the theme of his mission is “The Sacraments, the Treasures of Our Faith”. Also, this could be a great way to invite someone you know, perhaps one that may have fallen away or have been hurt; please consider extending an invite to someone you know. Please plan on attending the mission!
Last weekend I presented the “State of the Parish” address as a way to share good news about the life of the parish over the last year. I hope that you were able to look at the financial report that was an insert in the bulletin as well as the schedule of collections that we’re calling “ year at a glance”, again as a way to help communicate when and how these monies will be collected. I’m very grateful for the leadership (parish, finance and visioning committee, along with the parish staff) that help animate the mission of our faith community. If at any time you have a concern, observation or question please feel free to talk to me or anyone on our parish staff. In the very near future I’ll be asking you to pray for the annual United in Ministry appeal and if you can make a pledge for the next year.
Please refer to and hang on the bulletin insert this weekend. It has all of the scheduled events that will be happening in Lent this year. Please consider attending any one of the Ash Wednesday services, although it is not a holy day of obligation, as well as the Friday Stations of the Cross and soup supper. Also, we’re hosting a Lenten parish mission; it promises to be good, mark your calendar (Feb. 22-24, starting at 7 p.m.).
I’m away this weekend; I’m attending a vocation/ discernment retreat at Villanova, sponsored by the Augustinians. Please keep me in your prayers and know that I’ll keep you in mine.
After some days of self-care (AKA vacations), I am happy to be well rested and ready to wait for the Lenten season which is around the corner. Allow me to share with you a bit of my vacation. In those days I had the opportunity to visit a few places in Mexico. To start with, I visited Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. There I had the opportunity to pray, attend mass, and to remember you in my prayers. After that I went all the way south of Mexico to the island of Cozumel and Playa del Carmen to spend a few days resting and in solitude. Those places are so beautiful, I was amaze to see the clear-blue waters of that area. I had the opportunity to go helmet diving and snorkel. What an experience! In that area there is so much culture about the Mayas, and many beautiful places to visit. After my time there I visited another state in Mexico, Veracruz. I took this time not only to rest, but also to pray and to visit new places. What a beautiful time I had there. Now it is time to start preparing for the visit of our Pope to the border and to start getting ready for Lent.
Together with Fr. Alex, Deacon Dave, and the entire parish staff, we would like to welcome new and returning students, faculty and staff for the 2016 spring semester. We hope that you find a home here and if there's anything that we can do please let us know. Welcome!
Lunch bunch is in full swing; we invite you to stop by, during the week, for a deliciously prepared meal! Thanks to Bonnie and her great volunteer staff who help make this ministry so successful and inviting to the university community.
Tis the season for good news! Next weekend I'll be offering the 2nd annual "State of the Parish" address at all of the weekend masses. I'll be sharing good news through the lens of miracles, milestones and mission; three ways in which the presence of God has been present in our parish community. Please pray for me as I prepare; thanks!
Last Sunday, with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Church closed the Christmas season and started Ordinary Time. This second Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Gospel relates another manifestation of who Jesus is at the wedding at Cana. Last weekend I preached that all the life and ministry of Jesus was a manifestation (epiphany) of the power and glory of God. Some theologians group three main events as part of the Epiphany event: the Magi, the Baptism of the Lord, and the changing of water into wine at the wedding at Cana. This last event is the first public sign that Jesus performed and that is recorded in the Gospel. This sign tells us about the gift of abundance to all who welcome Jesus into their lives. From now on we will see that God's glory is revealed in many signs of abundance.
I've seen this sign of abundance in this community. Every time there is a project to help the needy, there is Newman. I have seen it in my own office, I haven't finished opening the gifts, cards, and messages that you all gave to me and Fr. Ray. You all have generous hearts, and this is a sign of God working in your lives. May God continue to transform us into His love more and more.
Today the church celebrates the Baptism of the Lord, the end mark of the Christmas season. It all went so fast, didn’t it? The invitation that was posed at last weekend’s mass, as a way to intentionally start the New Year, were the ABC’s of faith. An easy way to both understand the live those very simple resolutions are as follow:
B: be a light and a blessing
These simple, every day, quite ordinary expressions of faith can be a great way to both strengthen and witness God’s love in a sometimes dark and broken world. The book that I mentioned, written by Fr. Richard Rolheiser, is called Sacred Fire and is a great read!
Happy New Year! Feliz Año Nuevo! This weekend we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. In the Epiphany, God revealed His Only Begotten Son to the nations by the guidance of a star. We hear in the Gospel that the "magi from the east" followed the light of the star. This light from heaven guided them. This same light of revelation that manifested "the newborn king of the Jews" to the wise men. What an example for all of us to follow this light that takes us to the Light! Perhaps, we can be a light that guides, protects, and reveals God's divine Presence through the goodness of who we are. Let’s shine brightly for all so we all can see this "newborn king of the Jews" dwelling within us and among us. Such a light we behold!
Merry Christmas! Christmas Eve is the beginning of the very short Christmas season that concludes on the feast of the Baptism of Jesus. During this festive time we are invited to celebrate the birth of Jesus in our homes and hearts once again; that He may be born anew and that He might bring his light and love to our world!
As we look to the New Year, I’d like to offer a few resolutions:
The day we have been waiting for is around the corner. We hear Christmas carols on the radio and in every store we walk in. There is joy and love in the air. Christmas is truly a feast of love and espoused relationship.
God espouses us, and we enter into an intimate relationship with our divine Creator and Lord. This weekend we hear in the Sacred Scriptures that the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary to conceive the Savior of the world, inspired Elizabeth to extol Mary and the fruit of her womb, and prompted the unborn John to leap for joy.
This same Holy Spirit overshadows, inspires, and prompts those who believe to set out in haste to touch others with divine Presence. St. Augustine says that "to fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek God is the greatest adventure; to find God is the greatest human achievement." On behalf of Fr. Ray and I, we want to wish you all a Blessed Christmas. May the Lord within your hearts be born again! Feliz Navidad!
Fr. Alex Ureña, Pastor