As we approach the joyous celebration of Pentecost, I am moved to reflect on the theme of unity in faith that resonates in this Sunday’s liturgy. In the Gospel reading from John, we hear Jesus earnestly praying to the Father for unity among his disciples. Additionally, the Acts of the Apostles reveals the early Church’s powerful display of unity in prayer after Jesus ascended into heaven. These profound biblical accounts serve as examples for us to contemplate and emulate within our own parish community.
Once again, I am filled with immense joy and gratitude for the unity that permeates our spiritual family. Our parish community is a tapestry of diverse cultures and languages, yet we stand together as one body in Christ. The richness of our varied spiritualities, devotional practices, and talents enhances our collective journey of faith. Each one of you, with your unique gifts and perspectives, contributes to the beauty and strength of our parish. Visitors who have joined our community have marveled at the unity they witnessed.
Together, we have worked diligently to cultivate a spirit of unity within our community. We recognize that no one can exist alone and that the mission of Christ is achieved through collaboration. It is therefore crucial that we continue to nurture and protect this precious gift by avoiding anything that hinders our unity, such as indifference, rivalry, negative criticisms, gossip, and even laziness in our commitment to church activities.
One tangible way we can express our unity is through active participation in our worship and liturgical celebrations. The Mass is the heartbeat of our faith, a sacred gathering where we encounter Christ and receive His grace. I invite each of you to engage more fully in our liturgies. Let us respond to the prayers with enthusiasm, sing the hymns with fervor, and embrace the beauty of the liturgical rituals. As we pray together, let our voices rise as one, creating a harmonious symphony of faith and love.
When we gather, let us foster an atmosphere of hospitality and warmth, ensuring that everyone feels a sense of belonging. Practicing common sense church etiquette, such as arriving on time, dressing modestly, greeting one another with a smile, making space for another in the pews, limiting needless movement during Mass, receiving the Eucharist with reverence, and being mindful of our conduct during the Mass, communicates a powerful sign of our unity and respect for the sacred space we share.
Furthermore, our unity extends beyond the confines of our parish. We are called to support the causes and needs of our Church as a united body. Let us be generous with our time, talents, and resources, recognizing that by working together, we can achieve great things for the glory of God.
As our parish community continues to grow, it is vital that we extend a warm welcome to all, particularly young adults and young families who are newcomers to our neighborhood. Let us demonstrate to them that our church community, despite its diversity and size, is truly an intimate family where the Lord’s desire for unity is earnestly embraced.
As we journey through this month of May, a time dedicated to our blessed Mother Mary, I commend you to her intercession. Know that you are remembered in each Holy Mass, the true source and summit of our Christian unity.
With heartfelt prayer and affection,
Msgr. Cuong M. Pham