March 17, 2024

Dear brothers and sisters,

As we begin the Fifth Week of Lent, the Scriptures speak to us with profound depth and urgency. This Sunday, Jesus imparts to us a powerful truth: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” (Jn 12:20-33)

This statement embodies the essence of our Lenten pilgrimage—a journey of self-emptying, surrender, and the promise of ultimate glory in Christ. Allow me to illustrate this truth with a poignant story.

In a stormy night in Philadelphia, a weary couple sought refuge in a small hotel. Despite the hotel’s full capacity due to town conventions, the manager displayed remarkable compassion. He offered them his own room for the night, prioritizing their comfort over his own.

This act of selflessness didn’t go unnoticed. Two years later, the manager received an unexpected letter from the same couple, William Waldorf Astor and his wife. Enclosed was a round-trip ticket to New York and an invitation to visit them. Upon arrival, Mr. Astor revealed a magnificent building—the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. He offered the manager the position of manager of this prestigious hotel, as a sign of his appreciation for the man’s kindness and selflessness.

This story, steeped in history, serves as a testament to the truth of Jesus’ words above: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it produces much fruit”. The manager’s selflessness and sacrifice blossomed into an opportunity of a lifetime, illustrating that true greatness often arises from acts of genuine, humble service to others.

As we reflect on this story and Jesus’ powerful words, let us ponder: What sacrifices are we willing to make for the sake of others? Are we ready to let go of our own comfort and convenience to further God’s kingdom here on earth?

The Gospel metaphor of the “dying grain of wheat” speaks to the core of our Lenten journey. Jesus, through His suffering and death, brings life and liberation to a sinful world. Similarly, when we “die” to our selfishness and “rise” to new life in Christ by embracing crosses, uniting our struggles with His, we participate in His redemptive work.

Think of Mother Cabrini, whose noble sacrifices in her tireless service to the marginalized and forgotten in our own New York City still captivate the world. The fascinating movie about Mother Cabrini, currently shown in US theaters, beautifully portrays her life and mission, serving as a powerful testament to the truth of Christ’s teaching.

As we approach the passion and resurrection of our Lord, let us heed His words: “Whoever serves me must follow me… My Father will honor the one who serves me.” May our Lenten sacrifices bear witness to the spirit of selfless love that Christ calls us to embrace.

With my personal blessing,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham

March 10, 2024

Dear beloved parishioners,

As we gather on this Fourth Sunday of Lent, known as Lætare Sunday, our hearts are called to rejoice amidst our journey of penance and reflection. Lætare, meaning “Rejoice,” signifies a moment of light within our Lenten pilgrimage, reminding us of the joy and hope that the Resurrection of Christ brings. The priest’s use of the rose-colored vestment today symbolizes the light of Christ that penetrates the somberness of Lent with the promise of Easter.

In our readings at Mass today, we are enveloped in the profound message of hope and divine mercy, a theme deeply resonant throughout the Sacred Scriptures and the teachings of our Church. This message is beautifully encapsulated in Pope Francis’ “Misericordiae Vultus” (“The Face of Mercy”), where he describes God’s covenant with humanity as a “history of mercy.” This narrative of divine compassion and tenderness is a love story that culminates in the Incarnation of God’s Son, Jesus Christ—Mercy Incarnate.

The Holy Father reminds us that Lent is a “privileged moment” to live more intensely through the experience of God’s mercy. It is a call to each of us to encounter Jesus, who extends His mercy, inviting us to embrace it fully. In the words of St. Benedict, a spiritual giant of our Church, this season of Lent urges us to do “something extra,” a gesture beyond our routine sacrifices, that opens our hearts to receive this divine mercy.

The Lenten theme of repentance, centered on the conversion of the heart, cannot be explored without a profound reflection on the nature of our hearts themselves. Conversion entails more than a superficial change; it is about allowing our very hearts to be transformed by God’s mercy. When faced with hurt or misunderstanding, for example. our instinct may be to react or to harbor resentment. Yet, what if we chose instead to let that hurt pierce us, leading us to a deeper understanding and to the merciful Presence of God? It is in suffering through the hurt, acknowledging it, and then seeking reconciliation, that we truly experience God’s mercy.

Thus, we must pay special attention to our hearts. Let the challenges and the hurts we encounter not lead us to reactivity, but to a deeper conversion—a transformation fueled by mercy and humility. These virtues are potent remedies against any inclination away from God’s love and the fullness of life He offers. Let us also contemplate the mercy of God, not only as an abstract concept but as a tangible reality manifested in the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist. These sacred encounters provide a profound experience of God’s forgiveness and love, drawing us closer to Him and to one another.

Therefore, I invite each of you to ponder: What “extra” can we do this Lent to open our hearts more fully to God’s mercy? How can we embody this mercy in our actions, our thoughts, and our interactions with others?

On a personal note, as you read this letter, I am in Phoenix, Arizona, giving a Retreat to a parish on the theme of God’s mercy, following an invitation from the Vicar for Priests of that diocese, a former colleague of mine in Rome. Subsequently, I will travel to Orange, California, to lead another Retreat for priests and lay leaders of that diocese on the same theme, at the invitation of the Bishop of Orange. Be assured that you are in my prayers during these missions.

I encourage you to save the date for our own Parish Retreat next Saturday with Father Joseph Gibino, Vicar of Evangelization and Catechesis of our diocese. This will be a wonderful opportunity for us to come together as a community and deepen our understanding and experience of God’s merciful love.

With heartfelt prayers and blessings,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham

March 3, 2024

Dear friends in Christ,

As we mark the midpoint of Lent during this third week, we are reminded that our journey of penance and reflection is far from over. Lent challenges us to break free from our spiritual routines, urging us to embrace change and to seek a renewal that propels us towards the ultimate goal of perfection in the image of our heavenly Father, as urged by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:48).

In this season of transformation, the Church wisely guides us towards prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, three pillars that support our quest for spiritual perfection. Yet, while prayer and fasting are embraced with enthusiasm, almsgiving frequently remains the less trodden path, often overlooked and underappreciated. This omission is not for lack of need or opportunity but perhaps stems from a misunderstanding of its value and the joy it brings.

Almsgiving, fundamentally, is the act of giving to those in need, whether through monetary donations, food, or other goods. This practice is a profound exercise in detachment, reminding us that material wealth is not our ultimate goal. More than a personal discipline, almsgiving is inherently social, emphasizing the relational nature of our faith. It is an expression of love, a visible sign of our commitment to the welfare of others, mirroring the self-giving love of God. In doing so, we live out the commandment that what we do for the least among us, we do for Christ Himself (Mt 25:40).

The Gospel reading for the third Sunday of Lent, John 2:13-25, presents Jesus cleansing the Temple, an act of zeal for His Father’s house. Jesus’s actions disrupt the routine, challenging the status quo and calling for a return to authentic worship and devotion. This passage invites us to consider our own practices of faith, including almsgiving, as expressions of our zeal for God’s house. Just as Jesus sought to purify the temple, we are called to purify our intentions and actions, making them true offerings to God.

Choosing whom to support through almsgiving can seem daunting given the myriad of worthy causes. Yet, it is precisely in making these choices that we can find a deeper connection to our faith and the world around us. By aligning our almsgiving with our passions and concerns, we can make meaningful contributions. My personal commitment to the Annual Catholic Appeal is driven by a deep appreciation for its impact on our local Church’s mission, including support for parishes, seminaries, schools, and outreach programs. Having benefitted from the Church’s generosity myself, I understand firsthand how such support can change lives. This experience fuels my passion for giving, making my contributions not just acts of charity, but integral parts of my spiritual practice.

Almsgiving, therefore, is more than a duty; it is an opportunity to draw closer to Christ, who showed a special preference for the poor. It is a witness to fraternal charity and a work of justice pleasing to God, as highlighted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 2462). Let us embrace almsgiving with renewed vigor, allowing it to transform us and bring us closer to the perfection to which we are called.

As we continue our Lenten journey, let us seek to disrupt our routines, inspired by the Gospel’s call to authentic worship and devotion. May our practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving help us to follow more closely in the footsteps of Christ, who has shown us the path to true perfection.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham

February 25, 2024

 

Dear faithful parishioners,

As we gather on this Second Sunday of Lent, our hearts and minds are immersed in the profound mystery and wonder of our faith, illuminated by the Gospel of the Transfiguration of Jesus. This sacred event is not merely a historical account; it is a living testament to the hope and encouragement available to us, especially during trials, sufferings, or moments of weakened faith.

In the Gospel, we witness the extraordinary transformation of Jesus on Mount Tabor, where He shines with divine glory. This Christophany, revealing Jesus as the Son of God, surpasses even the greatest prophets, Moses and Elijah. It is a foretaste of the heavenly glory that awaits those who faithfully follow God’s will, reminding us that our current struggles are part of a larger, divine narrative.

Reflecting on this narrative of transfiguration of Jesus, I am reminded of a touching story shared by Dr. Peggy Hartshorn, president of Heartbeat International (www.heartbeatinternational.org). It’s about a woman, amidst the turmoil of deciding on an abortion, who experiences a profound revelation. During an ultrasound, she sees her unborn child, perfectly shaped and moving in her womb, and, in a miraculous moment, reaches out to touch the monitor. Mirroring her gesture, her baby stretches out its arm, their hands meeting across the screen. This powerful moment of connection transforms her decision, leading her to choose life. She kept the baby.

This story beautifully parallels the transformative power of the Transfiguration. Just as the woman glimpsed the mystery of life within her, the Apostles glimpsed the divine mystery of Jesus. These moments of revelation open our eyes to a reality much larger than our everyday existence, offering a transformative perspective that reshapes our understanding and actions.

Our sacramental life in the Church mirrors this transformative journey. Each Sacrament is an encounter with the divine mystery that profoundly changes us. In Baptism, we become children of God; in Confirmation, temples of the Holy Spirit; in Reconciliation, we are restored to righteousness. These are not just rituals; they are personal transfigurations that shape and mold our spiritual journey, akin to the Apostles’ experience on Mount Tabor.

In the Holy Mass, through the miracle of transubstantiation, we encounter the living Christ. The transformation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus is an invitation for us to touch this mystery with our faith. Each Mass is a source of strength, reflecting the way Jesus’ Transfiguration fortified the Apostles.

Let us, in times of doubt or despair, remember this profound connection. The woman’s touch on the ultrasound screen was a touch of a greater mystery, much like our touch of the divine in the Sacraments. This touch has the power to transform our understanding, our actions, and our entire life’s journey.

As we continue our Lenten journey, let us remain focused on Jesus. His Transfiguration serves as a beacon of hope and strength, reminding us of the glorious transformation that awaits us. Let us embrace every sacramental encounter with open hearts, allowing these experiences to transform, encourage, and strengthen us, especially in moments of darkness and fear.

In Christ’s transformative love,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham

February 18, 2024

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As we embark on the first week of Lent, we enter a profound 40-day journey coinciding with the springtime – a season of rebirth and new life that we witness in nature around us. This sacred time invites us to deepen our spiritual growth, renew our relationship with God, and progress in our path to holiness.

Like the catechumens preparing for their initiation into the Church at Easter, we are all called to undergo a conversion, examining our lives and sins in the light of God’s grace. As Catholics, we are called to pray, fast and abstain, but it’s crucial to reflect on how these practices enhance our prayer life, generosity, and sanctity. Our Lenten observances should lead to true conversion and a richer life in Christ; otherwise, they risk becoming mere rituals.

In fact, Lent isn’t solely about penitential practices; it’s also a season of joyful spiritual feasting. I’d like to share with you some inspiring thoughts from William Arthur Ward that I found particularly meaningful:

Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ within them.

Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of life.

Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.

Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.

Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.

Fast from anger; feast on patience.

Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.

Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.

Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.

Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.

Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.

Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.

Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.

Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.

Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.

Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that sustains.

Fast from instant gratifications; feast on self-denial.

Fast from worry; feast on divine providence.

And finally, fast from sin; feast on the abundance of God’s mercy!

Pope Francis, in his message for Lent, reminds us that this season is a time to refocus on God’s mercy. Lent leads to the triumph of mercy, liberating us from what diminishes our worth as God’s children. This understanding of Lent can be truly freeing, helping us shed attitudes and behaviors that stifle our spiritual growth and realigning us towards those that foster our development into the individuals God envisions us to be – people of the Resurrection.

As your pastor, I carry you and your family in my daily prayers, especially at the Altar. May this Lenten season be a time of transformation for you all.

Faithfully yours,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham

February 11, 2024

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The holy season of Lent will begin with this week’s Ash Wednesday celebration. This season offers us, as Catholics, an opportunity to engage in the meaningful tradition of self-denial. It is a time when we consciously choose to abstain from certain pleasures and habits, not merely as an act of discipline but as a profound gesture of aligning ourselves with the sacrificial spirit of Christ. This act of “giving up” serves multiple purposes: it teaches us self-control, redirects our focus from material pursuits to spiritual enrichment, and most importantly, signifies our repentance for our sins and our longing to walk more closely with Christ.

I am reminded of a poignant story about a father who encouraged his children to go beyond the usual practice of giving up sweets for Lent. He urged them to renounce a sinful habit instead. Halfway through Lent, he inquired about how they were doing with their Lenten promises. One son, who had vowed to stop fighting with his siblings, replied, “I’m doing pretty good, Dad—but boy, I can’t wait until Easter!”. This response, while endearing, reveals a partial understanding of the true essence of Lent. Lent is not just a temporary pause from sin; it’s about a profound and lasting conversion. It calls for a complete transformation of our lives to embody the ways of Christ, abandoning sin not just for a season but forever.

I’d like to think of Lent as a time to recognize and relinquish the control that certain behaviors or inclinations have over us. It’s about allowing God to take the reins of our lives. The concept of “detachment” is often discussed during this period. It implies that by being less occupied with worldly matters, we make more room for God in our lives. Apart from the traditional abstinence from meat on Fridays, Lent provides a chance to give up various other things: excessive television watching, compulsive gossiping, unhealthy eating habits, or any vice that impedes our spiritual growth, like laziness, procrastination, lack of passion or zeal, or the tendency to exert control or influence over others, etc. It’s about identifying our personal struggles and focusing our Lenten discipline on overcoming them.

Contrary to being solely about sacrifice, Lent is equally a time for positive transformation and growth. It can be about adopting better habits: responsible use of money and time, moderation in food and drink, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, enhancing personal organization, reducing internet usage or dependency on social media, or engaging in daily prayer and Scripture meditation. These practices are not only beneficial for our physical well-being but also immensely nourishing for our souls.

The austerity of Lent, however, does not preclude us from experiencing joy and celebration. It’s about pausing our relentless pursuit of pleasure and allowing ourselves to be surprised by joy in its purest form. When we experience these moments of happiness, we recognize them as gifts from God. Thus, Lent is not solely about renunciation; it’s equally about incorporating acts of goodness into our lives and the lives of others, aligning with the teachings of Jesus.

A significant aspect of Lent is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I encourage you to visit our parish or other churches to partake in Confession. Remember, God’s transformative work in our lives begins when we open our hearts to His grace. As St. Paul reminds us, “now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). Let us not delay in embracing this sacred opportunity.

Wishing you a Lenten season full of joy and renewal, I remain.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham

February 4, 2024

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As we gather this weekend for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we are reminded by the Gospel of the profound example set by Jesus (cf. Mk 1:29-39). Amidst a day filled with teaching and healing, the Lord still found solitude for prayer and communion with God the Father. This powerful moment in Scripture highlights the essence of our faith journey: seeking a deeper connection with God and nurturing our relationships with others, even in our busiest times.

This message of spiritual connection and strengthening our communal bonds resonates deeply as we approach the Lunar New Year on February 10, 2024. Celebrated by millions of Asians around the world, including our Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and other Oriental brothers and sisters, this festive occasion symbolizes a time of joy, thanksgiving, and family reunion. As we welcome the Year of the Dragon, an emblem of wisdom, strength, and fortune, let us be inspired to infuse these virtues into our spiritual and communal lives.

I am delighted to extend heartfelt New Year wishes to all. We eagerly anticipate celebrating with a Solemn Mass of Peace in English and Vietnamese next Sunday, February 11, at 3 PM. Our church will be adorned with cherry blossoms and spring flowers, reflecting the vibrant spirit of Asian cultures. This celebration will incorporate cherished traditions such as the Remembrance of Ancestors, the distribution of New Year Blessing Parchments, and the Blessing of Elders and Families, each embodying the values of respect, gratitude, and community central to both our faith and cultural heritage.

The Lunar New Year traditions are a beautiful tapestry of family, culture, and values for our Vietnamese brothers and sisters. Typically, families gather at their ancestral homes to celebrate. They engage in ceremonies honoring their ancestors and elders, reinforcing the bonds of respect and gratitude. Children and grandchildren express their wishes for happiness, longevity, and prosperity to their elders, receiving blessings and “lucky envelopes” in return.

For Catholic Christians, the Lunar New Year celebration is also a poignant time for reflection and interior renewal. Just as Jesus in the Gospel withdrew to pray and reconnect with the Father, the New Year offers us a sacred opportunity to reflect on our relationship with God and our loved ones. It’s a time to embrace forgiveness, set aside past grievances, and commit to living more fully in God’s love, wisdom and harmony.

In the spirit of the Year of the Dragon, let us challenge ourselves to embody the virtues it represents. May we harness the dragon’s wisdom to deepen our understanding of God’s Word, its strength to bear our trials with grace, and its auspicious nature to spread blessings within our community. As we exchange traditional greetings and best wishes, let our actions and words be a testament to our commitment to live in harmony with God’s teachings and to cherish the relationships He has graced us with.

May this Lunar New Year be a time of abundant blessings, joy, and peace for you and your loved ones. You are all in my special prayers and will be remembered at the altar during this festive season.

Wishing you a blessed New Year filled with the peace and love of Christ.

Happy New Year / “Chuc Mung Nam Moi”,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham

January 28, 2024

Dear friends in Christ,

As we enter the fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, our hearts and minds are drawn to the Scriptures of this Sunday Mass, which speak poignantly to the human condition of anxiety. I am particularly inspired by St. Paul’s counsel for us to be free from anxieties and focus solely on the Lord (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:32-35) and by the story of Jesus liberating a man possessed by an unclean spirit (cf. Mark 1:21-28), a poignant symbol of the paralyzing fear and anxiety we too often face.

It is undeniable that anxiety is a present reality in our lives. Like a pervasive shadow, it can cripple our spirit and hinder the joy of living. At its best, anxiety distracts us from our relationship with God and the truth that He is “Lord of heaven and earth” (Matthew 11:25). At its worst, it is a crippling disease, taking over our minds and plunging our thoughts into darkness. Essentially, anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us.

While anxiety is a natural human experience, it is not what God wants for us. He desires us to live lives characterized not by fear and worry, but by faith, hope, and peace. St. Paul the Apostle advises us “not to be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, to let our requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Our journey to overcoming anxiety begins with a shift in focus. We are called to fix our thoughts on Jesus and the eternal promise of heaven (cf. John 14:2-3). This shift in perspective allows us to see our earthly fears in the light of God’s eternal love and power.

Scripture scholars tell us that the phrase “Be not afraid” appears 366 times in the Bible– a daily reminder of God’s constant presence and care. The stories of Saints who have walked before us are a testament to the transformative power of faith in the face of fear. Saints like Martha, Mary Magdalene, Catherine of Siena, our Holy Martyrs, John Paul II, Teresa of Calcutta and others, each faced their unique fears and anxieties by placing unwavering trust in the Lord. Their courage and strength came from a deep-seated faith and understanding of God’s omnipotence.

To confront our own anxieties, we must first deepen our commitment to Christ, finding security and peace in Him. Prayer is indeed the key to overcoming or coping with anxiety, for it reassures us of God’s presence and reminds us of our need to rely on His strength, not on our own. As St. John Vianney said, “God commands you to pray, but He forbids you to worry.”

Serving others shifts our focus from self-centered worries to the needs of those around us. Setting a time limit on our worries and learning to live one day at a time are also practical steps that can greatly alleviate the burden of anxiety.

I leave you with the profound words of St. Teresa of Avila, which resonate with the peace and strength found in our faith: “Let nothing disturb you, nothing cause you fear. All things pass; God is unchanging. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God needs nothing else; God alone suffices.” May her words guide and comfort you in times of anxiety.

In Christ’s love and peace,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham

January 21, 2024

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As we gather for the Holy Eucharist on this Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Holy Scripture readings at Mass present a tapestry of divine calls and human responses. These ancient texts are not merely historical accounts; they are living words that speak directly to our lives today, inviting us to consider the urgency and immediacy of God’s call and our response to it.

In the Book of Jonah, we meet a prophet who initially fled from God’s call, only to ultimately embrace it and witness the transformative power of God’s word in Nineveh (cf. Jonah 3:1-5, 10). In his letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul urges us to live in the present moment, recognizing the fleeting nature of this world and the eternal significance of our actions (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31). In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus calls His first disciples, who immediately leave their nets to follow Him (cf. Mark 1:14-20). These powerful narratives all convey a singular, transformative message: God calls us to conversion and a renewed way of life.

This month of January, dedicated to the sanctity of human life, deepens our reflection on these Scriptures. We are reminded of the sacredness of every human life, from natural conception to natural death. Being pro-life is not a mere moral obligation but a profound expression of our Christian faith, reflecting God’s boundless love and the inherent dignity He bestows upon each person. It is a concrete call to action, a commitment to safeguard the vulnerable and voiceless, especially the unborn.

On a personal note, this weekend holds a deeply emotional significance for me. This past Friday, January 19, marked the third anniversary of my father’s passing. In Vietnamese culture, this anniversary is traditionally seen as the end of the mourning period. It’s a time when life’s normal rhythms are supposed to resume. Yet, for me, the passage of time hasn’t brought closure. The loss remains fresh, like a wound that has not fully healed, challenging the notion that time heals all wounds.

Coincidentally, this year the Annual March for Life in Washington, DC, falls on the same day as my father’s anniversary. As a staunch advocate for life, my father always found great consolation in that event, rejoicing to see hundreds of thousands of Christians, Catholics, and others converge in the nation’s capital to affirm the sanctity of life. He prayed countless Rosaries for the unborn children and for all mothers and fathers in difficulty, with the hope that society will one day become civilized enough to embrace all life. His pro-life stance was not just a matter of faith but a deeply personal conviction. As I recall his memory, I find solace in continuing his legacy, standing for the protection and dignity of all human life.

I invite you, dear brothers and sisters, to join me in recommitting to this vital cause. Let us be grateful for every life and strive to build a culture of life and love where everyone is accepted, welcomed, and protected. This commitment means advocating for the unborn and caring for the marginalized, vulnerable, and those in need of our love and support.

May the Word of God this Sunday inspire us all to respond to the divine call with the same promptness as the Apostles showed. May this month’s focus on the sanctity of human life serve as a constant reminder to pray for the protection of life, particularly that of the unborn in the womb. And when you pray for the defenders of life that you may know, I ask that you also remember to include my dad, John Thu Pham. Thank you!

In Christ’s love,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham

January 14, 2024

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As the last shimmer of the Christmas season fades, we gracefully enter Ordinary Time. This period, often undervalued, is a unique opportunity for profound spiritual growth and renewal. Ordinary Time, contrary to its name, is far from mundane. It’s a season rich with the structured rhythm of our faith, unfolding the life of Christ and His teachings. Named from “ordinalis” in Latin, meaning “numbered,” it invites us on a methodical faith journey. From the first to the thirty-fourth Sunday, with Lent beginning on February 14 and the subsequent Easter season, Ordinary Time encompasses the entirety of Christ’s mystery, unlike the seasons of Christmas or Easter, which focus on specific aspects of His life.

An interesting symbol of Ordinary Time is the color green in church vestments and decorations, representing new life and growth, reminiscent of spring’s vibrancy. This season, particularly post-Pentecost, mirrors the early Church’s expansion under the Holy Spirit, spreading the Gospel globally. Thus, Ordinary Time is “ordered” towards growth, renewal, and development, mirroring the dynamic evolution of our faith and community.

In this season of growth, I am thrilled to share exciting news that reflects our faith journey. Last year, I outlined a vision to expand our sacred space and enhance our parish community. Thanks to your generosity and commitment to our weekly collections and the Annual Catholic Appeal, this vision is now a reality. I am elated to announce the commencement of our new glass atrium’s construction, along the previously underutilized church corridor adjacent to the rectory’s side garden. More than an architectural addition, this atrium, extending from the existing greenhouse linking the side vestibule to the lower chapel, represents our collective spiritual growth, offering a welcoming space for meetings and prayer.

Following extensive collaboration with skilled architects, engineers, parish staff, diocesan officials, and Bishop Brennan’s final plan approval, I have entrusted this important project to Victoria Construction Company. Their history of excellent work assures us of a harmonious blend with our beloved church, enhancing its aesthetic appeal without significant structural changes.

Furthermore, I am pleased to report the completion of the stained-glass window frame restorations on our church’s facade. Their renewed splendor, now more visible thanks to new tempered glass coverings, is a testament to our enduring spirit and commitment to heritage preservation. The ongoing restoration of the remaining windows in the two towers symbolizes our physical and spiritual renewal journey.

As we progress through Ordinary Time, embracing opportunities for change, growth, and deepening our relationship with Christ, let’s also welcome these positive parish developments. Each step in Christ’s public ministry, each day of Ordinary Time, and each phase of our parish’s enhancements are interconnected, leading us towards a greater appreciation of our faith and mission.

In conclusion, let’s view this time not as a return to routine but as a chance for deeper, more vibrant faith. May this season guide us to live a life marked by enthusiasm and generosity.

With my blessings and prayers,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham