July 2, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

As we gather on this Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we are called to reflect on the theme of discipleship—following Christ, and the demands of Christian life. Today’s liturgy reminds us of the challenges and sacrifices that come with being true disciples of Jesus, urging us to prioritize our commitment to Him above all else, including family ties or worldly concerns.

This time of year is traditionally a season of joy and celebration within the Church. We witness Ordinations, Religious Professions of Vows, and commemorate Priestly Anniversaries, highlighting the beauty of the vocation to the priesthood and religious life as an admirable and noble way to follow Christ. These moments testify to the courageous individuals who embrace lives of selfless service.

Living out a vocation is not an easy journey. It demands great challenges, sacrifices, and an unwavering commitment. In a world where religious faith and Christian values are often disregarded, our priests and religious face adversity that is not for the faint of heart. Yet, despite the obstacles, they continue to serve with unwavering commitment, fidelity, and sacrifice. We are truly blessed to have such men and women among us, dedicated to serving God’s people.

In this time when priestly service, in particular, may sometimes go unappreciated, we must never forget to express our gratitude and love for our priests. They exemplify the selfless love of Christ and embody His teachings in their daily lives. While they all have parents and families to care for, a private life and personal needs that have to be met just like anyone else, they choose to be fully available and dedicated to the people of God instead, who sometimes make great demands on them. Let us uplift these unsung heroes through our prayers, encouragement, and acts of kindness, drawing strength from their examples as we embrace the demands of discipleship.

Fostering vocations within our community is crucial. Seminarians and young candidates discerning a call to religious life are signs of hope for the Church. The multitude of Ordinations across America testifies to the attractiveness of Christ’s call. It brings me great joy to announce that our own parish will soon celebrate the Ordination to the Sacred Order of Deacon of Randy Nguyen, one of our dedicated seminarians, on July 9th. This occasion will be a moment of great joy and gratitude for our Diocese of Brooklyn and our entire parish.

I am humbled and edified by your love and appreciation for vocations, dear parishioners. Your unwavering support, love, and prayers for our priests, deacons, seminarians, and religious are deeply cherished. By fostering vocations in various creative ways, you contribute to the growth and vitality of our faith community.

As we also commemorate Independence Day this week, let us honor the freedom and independence of our beloved nation. The vocation to priesthood and religious life, for instance, embodies a remarkable sense of freedom—a willingness to leave behind worldly pursuits and embrace a life of sacrificial love for God and His people. Just as our forefathers fought for the freedom of our nation, our priests and religious fight for the freedom of our souls.

Therefore, on this occasion of celebration and gratitude, let us remember and honor those who fought for our nation’s independence, as well as those who tirelessly fought for the freedom of our souls; many even gave their lives in witness to their faithful discipleship.

May God help us to grow in our journey of discipleship, inspired by the examples set by the many people who have made our nation and our Church so great.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham