July 23, 2023

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I write to you today, still in the beautiful afterglow of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our beloved Patroness. The sense of spiritual renewal and unity that pervaded the whole celebration was palpable and truly reflects the beauty of our diverse and loving parish community.

Together with Father Michael McHugh, Father Hung Tran and all members of our parish community, I’d like to express our deep gratitude to those who have contributed their time, talent, and resources to make the celebration such a resounding success. The collective effort that went into the catechization of our sixty-seven adults and children, the organizing of the Triduum of Prayers, the stunning decoration of both our beloved church and parish hall, the impeccable planning and execution of the procession, liturgy, and reception, the coordination of various ministries and groups, and the splendid sacred music, was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

To the unsung heroes among us who spent many hours practicing songs and performances, cooking and preparing the marvelous array of international foods and drinks, and to those who rolled up their sleeves to help with the set-up and clean-up before and after the reception, I extend my sincerest thanks. The generosity and devotion you demonstrated truly gave glory to Christ and was undoubtedly pleasing to the Blessed Virgin. Together, you have proved that it is possible for diverse people to work together, to overcome any boundaries that might seem to limit us, and to live up to the illustrious history of our parish, a visible microcosm of the universal church.

Moreover, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the unique privilege and blessings we have received through the presence of Cardinal-designate Christophe Pierre, the Personal Representative of His Holiness, Pope Francis. His presence, twice in just two years, signified the affection and spiritual closeness of the Pope himself—an occasion of grace that few other places in the United States have had the privilege to receive. Additionally, the participation of Bishop Brennan, our Diocese’s Chief Shepherd, alongside Bishop Ray Chappetto and Bishop Octavio Cisneros, further enriched our joyous event. Their willingness to join us and mingle with our parishioners to the end demonstrated the deep care and love they hold for our community.

It has been heartwarming to hear how many of you were deeply moved by the beauty, reverence, and love accorded to Our Lady. I was particularly impressed by the wonderful display of tantalizing food and drinks, and the spectacular performances of our Spanish Children’s Choir, Mariachi Youth Band, Vietnamese Dance Troup, Hispanic Folkloric Dance Troup and Mexican Chinelos, and the talent of our two Masters of Ceremony. A lot of work has gone into the preparation for that entertainment program, and we are grateful to all who performed.

Of course, the highlight of the celebration was the Rite of Consecration by Bishop Brennan during Mass. Witnessing such a public expression of faith and commitment was a powerful experience. To the newly consecrated members of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I encourage you to continue being faithful disciples of Christ and true children of Mary through your fervent participation in the life of our parish.

As we meditate upon the Parable of the Weeds in this Sunday’s Gospel, we are reminded that despite the presence of evil in the world, the Kingdom of God continues to grow and flourish. So, let us persevere in our faith and commitment, not allowing discouragement to set in, but instead, seeking the grace of the Lord to grow in our faith journey.

Once again, thank you all for the love, commitment, and unity demonstrated during our Feast Day celebration. It is in times like these that I am especially proud and grateful to serve as your priest and pastor. Let us always remember that we are a community united under the mantle of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, continuing to give glory to Christ, her Son.

Yours in Christ,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham