October 29, 2023

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

In these times of turmoil and violence in the Holy Land, our hearts are heavy as we witness the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians, caught in a long-standing and complex conflict. Our thoughts and prayers extend to every victim, their grieving families, and all those ensnared in this vicious cycle of violence.

As we come together to celebrate the Eucharist on this 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time, the liturgical Scriptures profoundly resonate with our current situation, challenging us to live out Christ’s greatest commandment of love, even in the most turbulent of times. In the first reading from Exodus, we are reminded of God’s unequivocal call to protect and cherish the underprivileged (Ex 22:20-26). St. Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, applauds their faith in Christ and the mutual love it has kindled among them (1 Thes 1: 5c-10). The Gospel of St. Matthew, however, brings us to the core of Jesus’ teaching: to love God wholeheartedly and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mt 22:34-40). These Scriptures, in harmony, urge us to a love that transcends borders, recognizing the divine image in each person, affirming the sanctity and worth of every human life.

The horrific escalation of violence in the Holy Land, ignited by the ruthless attack by Hamas terrorists and intensified by Israel’s severe retaliatory actions, has caused unimaginable suffering on both sides. The world grieves for the innocent lives lost, the families broken, and the communities ravaged. In the midst of this, many of us find ourselves in a tangled web of emotions and allegiances, further complicated by our polarized global political climate. There is a palpable sense of ambivalence. Many people grapple with the tension of supporting Israel’s right to self-defense while simultaneously empathizing with the Palestinians’ struggles and hardships.

In this, the teaching of Jesus on love and neighborliness becomes not only timely but also profoundly challenging, demanding of us an extraordinary courage. To love amidst conflict calls us to rise above our biases, to acknowledge the inherent dignity in every person, irrespective of their nationality or faith. It is a vehement call to denounce violence in all its forms, recognizing its capability only to perpetuate more violence and its stark contradiction to the Gospel.

As disciples of Christ, we are impelled to condemn violence and uphold justice. This responsibility transcends our personal opinions on the conflict, reminding that Israelis and Palestinians alike are our neighbors, created in God’s image. The command to love our neighbor knows no borders; it is an urgent call to justice, peace, and reconciliation for all.

The situation in the Holy Land is deeply entrenched in history and pain, and it does not lend itself to simple or quick solutions. Yet, we must not lose hope. The teaching of Jesus challenges us to believe in the transformative power of love. Let us pray for the strength to renounce hatred and revenge, choosing instead the path of justice, mercy, and reconciliation.

In Christ’s peace,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham

29 DE OCTUBRE, 2023

Estimados hermanos y hermanas en Cristo,

En estos tiempos de turbulencia y violencia en la Tierra Santa, nuestros corazones están pesarosos al ser testigos del sufrimiento de tanto israelíes como palestinos, atrapados en un conflicto largo y complejo. Nuestros pensamientos y oraciones se extienden a cada víctima, sus familias en duelo y todos aquellos atrapados en este cruel ciclo de violencia.

Al reunirnos para celebrar la Eucaristía en este 30º Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario, las Escrituras litúrgicas resuenan profundamente con nuestra situación actual, desafiándonos a vivir el mayor mandamiento de amor de Cristo, incluso en los tiempos más turbulentos. En la primera lectura del Éxodo, se nos recuerda el llamado inequívoco de Dios a proteger y cuidar a los desfavorecidos (Ex 22:20-26). San Pablo, en su carta a los Tesalonicenses, elogia su fe en Cristo y el amor mutuo que ha encendido entre ellos (1 Tes 1: 5c-10). Sin embargo, el Evangelio de San Mateo nos lleva al núcleo de la enseñanza de Jesús: amar a Dios con todo nuestro ser y amar a nuestro prójimo como a nosotros mismos (Mt 22:34-40). Estas Escrituras, en conjunto, nos instan a un amor que trasciende fronteras, reconociendo la imagen divina en cada persona, afirmando la santidad y el valor de cada vida humana.

La terrible escalada de violencia en la Tierra Santa, desatada por el brutal ataque de los terroristas de Hamas e intensificada por las severas acciones de represalia de Israel, ha causado un sufrimiento inimaginable en ambos bandos. El mundo llora por las vidas inocentes perdidas, las familias destrozadas y las comunidades devastadas. En medio de esto, muchos de nosotros nos encontramos en una maraña de emociones y lealtades, aún más complicada por nuestro clima político global polarizado. Hay un sentido palpable de ambivalencia. Muchas personas luchan con la tensión de apoyar el derecho de Israel a defenderse, mientras simultáneamente empatizan con las luchas y penurias de los palestinos.

En esto, la enseñanza de Jesús sobre el amor y la vecindad no solo es oportuna sino también profundamente desafiante, exigiéndonos un coraje extraordinario. Amar en medio del conflicto nos llama a superar nuestros prejuicios, a reconocer la dignidad inherente en cada persona, independientemente de su nacionalidad o fe. Es un llamado vehemente a denunciar la violencia en todas sus formas, reconociendo su capacidad para perpetuar más violencia y su flagrante contradicción con el Evangelio.

Como discípulos de Cristo, estamos impelidos a condenar la violencia y defender la justicia. Esta responsabilidad trasciende nuestras opiniones personales sobre el conflicto, recordándonos que tanto Israelíes como Palestinos son nuestros prójimos, creados a imagen de Dios. El mandamiento de amar a nuestro prójimo no conoce fronteras; es un llamado urgente a la justicia, la paz y la reconciliación para todos.

La situación en la Tierra Santa está profundamente arraigada en la historia y el dolor, y no se presta a soluciones simples o rápidas. Sin embargo, no debemos perder la esperanza. Las enseñanzas de Jesús nos desafían a creer en el poder transformador del amor. Oremos por la fortaleza para renunciar al odio y la venganza, eligiendo en su lugar el camino de la justicia, la misericordia y la reconciliación.

En la paz de Cristo,

Mons. Cuong M. Pham

APRIL 30, 2023

This week begins the Month of May, a time set aside to honor Mary, the Mother of God. We encourage all families to practice some form of devotion to the Blessed Mother, such as praying the Rosary together, offering flowers, lighting votive candles in church or honoring her images at home. These devotions remind us to imitate Mary’s virtues in our own lives.

This coming Friday, May 5th, is the First Friday of the month. There will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament after the 8AM Mass for silent adoration until the 12PM Noon Mass. That same evening, there will be a Holy Hour of Adoration at 6:30PM, followed by a Holy Mass at 7:30PM, both in Spanish.

This coming Saturday, May 6th, 59 of our children will receive their First Holy Communion, and 25 young people will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, administered by His Excellency Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. We ask that you keep them, their families and catechists in your prayers.

We are happy to report that, to date, 56 parishioners have pledged a total of $22,560 to the Annual Catholic Appeal, of which $17,372 has been collected. Any donations above our parish’s goal of $67,815 will be returned directly to us for physical improvements that will benefit us and our future generations. We sincerely thank those who have already donated so far and invite everyone else to participate with us. You will have the opportunity to make a pledge next weekend when the Direct Appeal takes place.

For more information on this and other parish news, please take home a copy of our weekly bulletin or read here on our website. 

February 19, 2023

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The holy season of Lent will begin with this week’s Ash Wednesday celebration. In Lent, it’s customary for us Catholics to give up something that we do a lot of and that we find pleasure in doing.  This “giving up” is done as a discipline for learning self-control, to free our minds from the chase after material things.  It reminds us of Christ’s sufferings and what our true pleasures are as followers of Christ, and it is above all an act of sorrow over our sin.

A story is told about a father who had urged his children to move beyond giving up candy to giving up some sinful habit that marked their lives. About halfway through Lent, he asked the children how they were doing with their Lenten promise. One of his young sons had promised to give up fighting with his brothers during Lent. When his father asked how it was going, the boy replied, “I’m doing pretty good, Dad—but boy, I can’t wait until Easter!” That response shows that this boy had only partly understood the purpose of the Lenten “giving up.” Lent is about conversion, turning our lives more completely over to Christ and his way of life. That always involves giving up sin in some form. The goal is not just to abstain from sin for the duration of Lent but to root sin out of our lives forever. Conversion means leaving behind an old way of living and acting in order to embrace a new life in Christ.

Sometimes we don’t notice how certain things we do have gained power over us and dictated our actions. In Lent, we discover these things and give them up so that God can be in charge. The term “detachment” is often heard during Lent. It means that when you are less preoccupied by “stuffs”, you will have more room for God. As Catholics, we are required to give up meats on Fridays during the season.  However, we can also give up other things. For some people, Lent is an opportunity to make an effort to give up television, phone chatting, gambling, impulse shopping, dance clubbing, indulging in sexual vices, shouting emotional outbursts—anything that relates closely to a particular sin that is especially sticky for them. Whatever that is, it is where their Lenten discipline need to be centered. For others, Lent is a time for making changes to their habits.  For instance, using money or time more responsibly, eating and drinking in moderation, going to bed earlier and getting up earlier, becoming more organized and tidier, spending less time on the internet, speaking slowly and respectfully, praying and meditating on Scriptures daily, adopting a charitable cause, going to church more frequently, etc. These positive things are not only good for the body; they are also excellent for the soul.

Some people use Lent for taking the complexity out of parts of their lives. They pare down their busy schedules and concentrate on activities that matter most. Others look for a specific area of their life in which they use power over others, and then try to find ways to use less power in doing it. If you happen to be a control person, you can change the way you approach things and people.  You can look at how you verbally treat another person and try to put yourself in their shoes.  There can be so many things to do, but it is best to choose one thing at a time. Then, as that takes hold, give up another thing, as the Lord inspires you.

Lent’s somberness and starkness does not mean that we cannot celebrate or feast. It does not mean we cannot eat a hearty meal, or enjoy a good game or movie, or get a good laugh from a funny moment. Rather, in Lent we put a stop to our fevered pursuit of pleasure, and instead let it seek us. Then, when the moments of joy do come, we would recognize them as a gift from the loving God. Thus, Lent is not all about giving things up. It’s also about adding good things to our lives or to others’ lives—the kind of good things that follow on what Jesus asks of us.

The best thing you can do for yourself in Lent is to return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Check out the Confession hours in our parish and other churches and motivate yourself to go.  Remember, grace is built upon nature, God’s transformation of your life can only take place if you open the door to it.  Wait no longer, dear brothers and sisters, for “now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor 6:2).

                                                                                         Faithfully yours in Christ,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham

October 23, 2022

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This past week more than 200 Vietnamese American priests who are ministering throughout the United States gathered in Dallas, Texas for a four-day Convocation for Priests, which occurs every three years. The theme for reflection was “Emmaus IX: Love One Another With Mutual Affection.” (Romans 12:10). While it was a highly anticipated event for me, the Convocation was even more special for our Father Hung Tran who participates for the first time as a newly ordained priest.

This special Convocation, similar to the one that was held two weeks ago in Huntington for the priests of our own Diocese of Brooklyn, fostered community and brotherhood among Vietnamese American priests, some of whom are stationed in remote parishes or serve as the only priest of multiple mission churches in rural towns across the fifty states. The gathering included diocesan priests as well as priests who are members of various religious orders. The opportunity to spend four days together in spiritual talks, prayer and fellowship was well-received by all. Father Hung and I enjoyed very much the reunion with our friends who have studied and served with us over the years, as well as those who have given us inspiration in our priesthood.

The keynote speaker, Bishop Thomas Thanh Nguyen of the Diocese of Orange in California, addressed the theme “One in Christ’s Priesthood: Priestly Fraternity in Service of Unity.” He urged the priests to reflect on our unique relationship with Christ and our common bond as brothers in the priesthood, offering practical suggestions for us to stay focused in and to seek fraternal support. I myself was invited to lead a discussion on “The Canonical Rights and Obligations of Priests: Ministering in Today’s Complex and Challenging World”, which was among the most animated activities as priests enthusiastically shared their incredibly diverse pastoral and administrative experiences. Other presentations included “The Eucharistic Revival”, “The Catholic Priest and Social Media”, “Journeys of Vietnamese Priestly Fraternity”, and “Air Force Chaplaincy Program: Ministering to Our Military Men and Women”. The experience of the gathering itself was awesome, and the incredibly delicious Vietnamese meals each day was the icing on the cake.

For me, the most moving experience during this Convocation was the Evening of Eucharistic Adoration on Tuesday, during which the memories of priests who passed away in the last three years were lovingly recalled. As the image of each deceased priest appeared on the large screens in the dimly lit, silent church, and a priest stood up to give a moving testimony about the deceased’s life and contributions, my heart was filled with gratitude and pride. The witness of these “spiritual giants” no doubt strengthened my own resolve to be faithful to my unique calling. It was in that intensely prayerful gathering around the Lord that I discovered the transforming energy of priestly fraternity.

Throughout the Convocation, Father Hung and I reminded each other to pray for each of you, each family and each group of our parish. We lifted your hopes and fears, blessings and concerns, to the Lord at the Altar, knowing that many of you have also been praying for us. We appreciate all your emails and messages of encouragement. I am convinced that this joyful and holy experience will bear copious fruit in our ministry among you!

Yours in Christ’s peace,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham   

16 de octubre de 2022


mis hermanos y hermanas en cristo

La semana pasada, más de 200 sacerdotes estadounidenses de origen vietnamita que están ministrando en los Estados Unidos se reunieron en Dallas, Texas, para una Convocatoria de Sacerdotes de cuatro días, que se lleva a cabo cada tres años. El tema de reflexión fue “Emaús IX: Amense unos a otros con afecto mutuo.” (Romanos 12:10). Si bien fue un evento muy esperado para mí, la Convocatoria fue aún más especial para nuestro Padre Hung Tran, quien participa por primera vez como sacerdote recién ordenado.

Esta Convocatoria especial, similar a la que se llevó a cabo hace dos semanas en Huntington para los sacerdotes de nuestra propia Diócesis de Brooklyn, fomentó la comunidad y la hermandad entre los sacerdotes vietnamitas estadounidenses, algunos de los cuales están estacionados en parroquias remotas o sirven como el único sacerdote de múltiples iglesias misioneras en pueblos rurales a lo largo de los cincuenta estados. La reunión incluyó a sacerdotes diocesanos, así como a sacerdotes que son miembros de varias órdenes religiosas. La oportunidad de pasar cuatro días juntos en charlas espirituales, oración y compañerismo fue bien recibida por todos. El padre Hung y yo
disfrutamos mucho el reencuentro con nuestros amigos que han estudiado y servido con nosotros a lo largo de los años, así como con aquellos que nos han inspirado en nuestro sacerdocio.

El orador principal, el obispo Thomas Thanh Nguyen de la Diócesis de Orange en California, abordó el tema “Uno en el sacerdocio de Cristo: Fraternidad sacerdotal al servicio de la unidad.”. Instó a los sacerdotes a reflexionar sobre nuestra relación única con Cristo y nuestro vínculo común como hermanos en el sacerdocio, ofreciendo sugerencias prácticas para que nos mantengamos enfocados y busquemos apoyo fraterno. Yo mismo fui invitado a dirigir una discusión sobre “Los derechos canónicos y las obligaciones de los sacerdotes: el ministerio en el mundo complejo y desafiante de hoy,” que estuvo entre las actividades más animadas, ya que los sacerdotes compartieron con entusiasmo sus experiencias pastorales y administrativas increíblemente diversas. Otras presentaciones incluyeron “El renacimiento eucarístico,” “El sacerdote católico y las redes sociales,” “Viajes de la fraternidad sacerdotal vietnamita” y “Programa de capellanía de la Fuerza Aérea: Ministrando a nuestros hombres y mujeres militares.” La experiencia de la reunión en sí fue increíble, y las comidas vietnamitas increíblemente deliciosas de cada día fueron la guinda del pastel.

Para mí, la experiencia más conmovedora durante esta Convocatoria fue la Noche de Adoración Eucarística del martes, durante la cual se recordaron con amor los recuerdos de los sacerdotes que fallecieron en los últimos tres años. A medida que la imagen de cada sacerdote fallecido aparecía en las pantallas gigantes de la iglesia silenciosa y tenuemente iluminada, y un sacerdote se ponía de pie para dar un testimonio conmovedor sobre la vida y las contribuciones del difunto, mi corazón se llenó de gratitud y orgullo. El testimonio de estos “gigantes espirituales” sin duda fortaleció mi propia determinación de ser fiel a mi llamado único. Fue en ese encuentro intensamente orante en torno al Señor que descubrí la energía transformadora de la fraternidad sacerdotal.

A lo largo de la Convocatoria, el Padre Hung y yo nos recordamos el uno al otro orar por cada uno de ustedes, cada familia y cada grupo de nuestra parroquia. Elevamos sus esperanzas y temores, bendiciones y preocupaciones al Señor en el Altar, sabiendo que muchos de ustedes también han estado orando por nosotros. Agradecemos todos sus correos electrónicos y mensajes de aliento. ¡Estoy convencido de que esta gozosa y santa experiencia dará abundantes frutos en nuestro ministerio entre vosotros!

Suyo en la paz de Cristo,

Mons. Cuong M. Pham



Sunday Announcements – September 4, 2022

This Monday is Labor Day, a federal holiday. There will be only one Mass at 9AM in the upper church. Please note that following the Rosary after Mass, the Church and the Rectory Office will be closed for the rest of the day. 

This coming Wednesday, September 7, will be the last day to register children for our Religious Education Program this fall. All children who have not made their sacraments must receive religious instruction.  Please contact our parish office to register your child as soon as possible. 

On Saturday, September 24, at 11AM, there will be a special Wedding Anniversary Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert Brennan at Resurrection-Ascension Church in Rego Park, Queens. All married couples regardless of the anniversary year are invited to renew their vows. They may also bring family and friends to witness their exchange and continued commitment to one another. The deadline to register your participation will be this Friday, September 9. Please contact the parish office for more information.

On Saturday, October 22, the Diocese of Brooklyn will have the biannual Pilgrimage to the National Shrine and Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC. You are cordially invited to join Msgr. Pham, the priests and lay faithful of our parish in this one-day Pilgrimage to the nation’s Capital to honor the Mother of God, and to pray for our nation, our community and families. Please refer to the Pastor’s Letter in this weekend’s bulletin for detailed information. Space is limited on the bus and may be reserved on a first come, first serve basis.


Our parish is in great need of faithful men, women and youth to serve as ushers at the English Sunday Masses. Ushers offer the people who come to church a sense of welcome and belonging. They also assist with the collection of offerings and enhance the reverence of the Mass. If you want to serve the Lord in this pleasant ministry, please leave your name and number at the parish office or speak to one of our priests. 

We are happy to report that, to date, 185 parishioners have pledged a total of $64,107 to the Annual Catholic Appeal, of which $56,341 have already been collected. We thank those who have donated and invite all to consider joining us to support our local Church. Donation envelopes are available at the church entrances for your convenience.  

For more information on these and other parish news, please take home a copy of the weekly bulletin or read here on our parish website.

28 de agosto de 2022

Queridos hermanos y hermanas en Cristo,

A medida que nos acercamos al final del verano, permítanme una vez más llamar su atención sobre algunos recordatorios amistosos con respecto a las etiquetas de nuestra iglesia con el fin de fomentar un mayor sentido de reverencia en la Casa de Dios y un mayor respeto mutuo en la comunidad de adoración:

– ¡POR FAVOR VEN A TIEMPO! – Si constantemente llega tarde a Misa, se está perdiendo los Ritos Introductorios y la Liturgia de la Palabra muy importantes. Si llega lo suficientemente tarde, ¡ni siquiera cumple con su obligación de Misa dominical! Excluyendo emergencias imprevistas, llegar tarde a misa regularmente es simplemente una indicación de mala planificación. Cuando llegamos a la iglesia temprano, podemos tener tiempo suficiente para recordarnos y prepararnos en oración para la Misa. Al evitar la distracción causada por el movimiento y el tráfico innecesarios en la asamblea, especialmente la apertura y el cierre constantes de las puertas de la iglesia, agregará a la oración de la Misa y ayudar a todos a estar más enfocados en su encuentro con el Señor.

– ¡POR FAVOR VESTIR LA ROPA APROPIADA! – Encontrarse con el Señor mismo en Su Casa no es como ir al supermercado o al parque. Insto a todos a vestirse bien para la Misa, dándole a Dios el respeto que se merece. No significa tener que usar ropa cara. Simplemente significa usar nuestro “mejor domingo” sea lo que sea para cada persona. Y, por supuesto, venga siempre con ropa modesta. Esto es especialmente importante para aquellos que sirven como ministros litúrgicos, es decir, lectores, monaguillos, sacristanes, ministros extraordinarios de la Sagrada Comunión, músicos, ujieres, etc., ya que son representantes de la Iglesia y nuestra parroquia.

– ¡POR FAVOR NO TRAER COMIDA O BEBIDA! Las únicas comidas y bebidas que deben tener lugar en la iglesia son las de la recepción de la Sagrada Comunión. Aparte de eso, la iglesia simplemente no es un lugar para comer y beber. Mascar chicles, por supuesto, siempre es inapropiado en la iglesia. En nuestra parroquia, muchas personas han tenido la buena costumbre de llevar comida enlatada y/o ropa y juguetes usados ​​para compartir con los pobres. Esto fue bueno cuando tuvimos una Despensa de Alimentos activa en la Capilla St. Margaret Mary. Ahora que la Capilla y su despensa de alimentos se han cerrado, no traiga dichos artículos a la iglesia ya que no tenemos suficiente personal o voluntarios para deshacerse de ellos. Si tiene buena ropa para donar, comuníquese con St. Mary’s Church Clothing Drive al (718) 529–6070 o visite su sitio web en https://stmarysclothingdrive.com para programar una recolección gratuita en su hogar.

– ¡POR FAVOR OBSERVE EL SANTÍSIMO SILENCIO! – Dado que la iglesia es un lugar de oración, siempre se debe guardar silencio. El saludo de nuestros amigos y vecinos es apropiado para después de la Misa fuera de la iglesia o en el vestíbulo para no perturbar la oración de los demás. Esto es particularmente cierto en el tiempo de transición entre nuestras Misas del domingo.

– ¡POR FAVOR MUESTRA LA MAYOR REVERENCIA! Al entrar a la iglesia, debemos hacer una genuflexión o una reverencia profunda hacia Nuestro Señor en el Santísimo Sacramento en el Tabernáculo antes de tomar asiento. Es una forma de reconocer y reverenciar al Dueño de la Casa, el Anfitrión del Banquete de la Vida al que estamos invitados.

Como alguien que escucha las quejas de todos con respecto a la etiqueta de la iglesia todo el tiempo, a menudo me siento desafortunado porque es simplemente imposible para mí estar al tanto de todo lo que sucede mientras trato de concentrarme en guiar a la comunidad en oración. Desearía que hubiera menos distracciones en la iglesia. Sin embargo, cuando ocurren, también pienso en ellos como peldaños hacia la santidad. Ya sea un par de niños ruidosos, la apariencia extraña de un compañero feligrés, la voz inaudible del sacerdote o diácono, el canto desafinado de alguien detrás de usted o la falta de cortesía de parte de alguien que bloquea su entrada a el banco, que todo pase. La paciencia, la tolerancia, la cortesía y los buenos modales serían más útiles que expresar quejas al pastor. Y si descubre que es una de las fuentes de distracción para los demás, no sea demasiado duro consigo mismo. Solo trata de mejorar la próxima vez por el honor de Dios.

Agradecido por la admirable reverencia y el respeto que la mayoría de ustedes ya muestran en la iglesia, la Casa del Señor y nuestro hogar espiritual común, quedo

Devotamente suyo en Cristo,

Mons. Cuong M. Pham

July 10, 2022

Dear brothers and sisters,

Next weekend, July 16/17, we will celebrate our parish’s patronal feast, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is certainly one of the most important annual events in our community.

Mary, the Mother of God, has a multitude of titles under which she is invoked for various needs.  When our parish and school were founded, our founding fathers entrusted the community to Our Lady under a most appropriate title.  Through the past 182 years, we have invoked Our Lady’s protection and guidance under this title.  She has responded with motherly protection and love in every instance.

The title “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” first derives from the experience of the prophet Elijah who, on Mount Carmel (located in present-day northwestern Israel), challenged the worshipers of false gods to a contest (see 1 Kings 20-40).  They were to call on their gods and Elijah would call on his God, and whichever God was able to light the fire to begin the holocaust offering was proved true.  Elijah taunted his competitors, but of course their gods could not deliver.  After drenching his own wood and holocaust with 12 buckets of water, Elijah called on the Lord who, at once answered with fire.  The God of Elijah was victorious.  Ever since the time of Elijah, the mountain has been considered sacred and hermits have always occupied a spot on the mountain where they devoted themselves to a life of austerity and prayer.

When the Carmelite Order was established many centuries later in the Church, the priests adopted Our Lady of Mount Carmel to represent their spirituality – both Marian and deeply contemplative.  Since the 15th century, popular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has centered on the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, also known as the Brown Scapular. Traditionally, Mary is said to have given the Scapular to an early Carmelite named Saint Simon Stock (1165-1265) as a sign of her divine love and protection. There are a host of promises that go with the pious wearing of the Brown Scapular, the first of which is eternal salvation through the intercession of our heavenly Mother.

A 1996 doctrinal statement by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments states: “Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is bound to the history and spiritual values of the Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and is expressed through the Scapular. Thus, whoever receives the Scapular becomes a member of the Order and pledges him/herself to live according to its spirituality in accordance with the characteristics of his/her state in life.” In a nutshell, the Scapular is a both Marian sign and a pledge. A sign of belonging to Our Lady; a pledge of her motherly protection, not only in this life but also in the next. As a sign, it is a conventional sign signifying three elements of belonging: first, association with a religious family particularly devoted to Mary and especially dear to her – the Carmelite Order; second, consecration to Mary herself, being devoted to her and trusting in her Immaculate Heart; third, motivation to imitate Mary’s virtues, above all her humility, chastity, and spirit of prayer.

Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has always been a hallmark of our parish. At present, it remains an important devotion among the majority of our parishioners of Italian, Hispanic, Vietnamese, Czech and Filipino backgrounds, as the Carmelite Order and its lay associations are particularly strong in these cultural groups.

I invite you to mark your calendar for the festive events published in this bulletin leading up to next weekend’s celebrations. It is our hope that you and your family will be able to join us at the 5:00PM Outdoor Procession and Solemn Mass, followed by a special celebration in the Institute that will feature a great program of music, dances and international food for everyone. Together, let us honor Our Lady in ways that are dear to her heart, and invoke her blessing upon our parish and all our families.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham