December 31, 2023

Dear parish family and friends,

Happy New Year to you and your beloved families!

As we welcome 2023, we face a world marked by ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, deep political divisions in the United States, and the multifaceted challenges posed by migration. In these times of uncertainty and strife, I am reminded of Pope Francis’s words from his message on the World Day of Peace 2023: “Every step in the direction of peace is like lighting a candle in the darkness of conflict and division.”

This New Year, let us be guided by these profound words. We are called not to despair but to light candles of hope, dialogue, and reconciliation in our daily lives. We find strength in our faith, knowing that God is our refuge and fortress, an unshakeable pillar in times of turmoil (Psalm 46:1). He is the Alpha and the Omega, orchestrating the universe with infinite wisdom and love (Revelation 22:13). Though we often grapple with understanding His ways, we rest in the assurance of His omnipotence and benevolence (Isaiah 55:8).

In response to the world’s cries, let us embody the virtues of our faith – hope, love, and compassion. I encourage each of you to engage in actions that reflect our Christian calling:

  1. Pray for Peace: Let us fervently pray for an end to conflicts, entrusting the afflicted regions and their people to God’s merciful hands.
  2. Bridge Divides: In our polarized nation, be beacons of unity and understanding. Engage in conversations with a spirit of respect and empathy, seeking to heal divisions.
  3. Aid Migrants: Embrace the strangers among us, offering them the support and kindness they need. Volunteer, donate, or simply extend a welcoming hand to those new to our community.
  4. Nurture Our Parish: Let our parish be a community where everyone finds solace, support, and unconditional love, reflecting Christ’s light in the world. In this spirit, I encourage everyone to be more generous in supporting our Church’s weekly collections. Together, let us be the merciful face of God to all in our community and beyond.
  5. Cultivate Positivity: Commit ourselves to being more positive, avoiding negativity. Let us bring joy and gratitude into our interactions rather than criticism and complaints. May each of us be a reflection of Christ’s love and light in our dealings with others.
  6. Promote Reconciliation: Actively seek and promote reconciliation in personal, community, and global relationships, embodying the peace Christ calls us to.

Furthermore, let us also embrace this year as an opportunity for personal and communal growth. Consider setting spiritual resolutions, such as deepening your prayer life, engaging more actively in parish life, or practicing daily acts of kindness. Each small step we take in faith brings us closer to the heart of God and strengthens our community.

In conclusion, my dear friends, let us move forward with optimism and determination. Let the challenges we face be opportunities for growth, the divisions a call for unity, and the uncertainties a chance to deepen our trust in God. May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, and may the Blessed Mother’s loving protection guide and inspire you throughout this year.

Blessings in Christ,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham