3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2014
My brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus,
January is always the coldest of the year though God gives us seasons to praise Him. Yes, in despite of the frozen weather we still having a great hope for spring to come and it will come very soon. I am so blessed to be among you here at St. Boniface and St. Mary Czestochowa experiencing God’s grace for us. Recalling myself over twenty years ago that I used to sit in the shade on many hot days hoping for a little wind passing by that would satisfy me. I can share with you this: I can wear more clothes for the cold but when it is too hot you can only take off as much. I am thanking God for His abundance blessing over me and His continuing doing so.
In the past six months at our communities I already have seen great work of your generosity to the parishes and going beyond to reach out to others. For example: we have few collections plus unexpected collection for the victims of the natural disaster in Philippine. Both parishes were responding well; at St. Boniface you have given close to $4,000 for the victims of typhoon Haiyan in Philippine and helping the Sisters of the Holy Cross as well at St. Mary Czestochowa you have shared over $1,000. We realize that how small our communities are but it does not stop our generosity. Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” At the little hallway leading to the sacristy in the back of St. Boniface, there are bags of food for the local food shell. I am amazed of what you are doing. At St. Mary Czestochowa the Men’s Club joined with the Knight of Columbus brothers last Sunday cooked breakfast and all the proceeds would go to local food shell. Again I am amazed of what we do here in both parishes to reach out to others. The Bible related, “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” Lk. 6:38
In the last two Tuesday evenings, I have the opportunity to meet with both parish councils and they were great meetings. My hope is to establish a Charitable Fund separate from our current Operations Fund for the purpose of reaching out and more charity works. I would like to move the Mass Stipend into this account. For those who do not know what Mass Stipend is, I find this definition from A modern dictionary of Catholic: offering given to a priest as alms for his maintenance, in return for which he promises to offer a Mass for the donor’s intention. The stipend is not given as a price for the Eucharistic Sacrifice. It is rather a voluntary donation whose origins go back to the early Church, when stipends were made during Mass and later on outside of Mass. Any priest who celebrates and applies Mass to a particular intention may receive a stipend. When a priest accepts a stipend he incurs a grave obligation in justice by virtue of a gratuitous contract, and he is bound to apply the Mass according to the conditions imposed and accepted. Once the Mass has been celebrated I would like the stipend to be transferred to the Charitable Fund for the works of mercy. My logic is this – if we are asking God to be merciful to our loved ones then we ought to be merciful to our brothers and sisters through the act of charity. I am your pastor and one of my main duties is to sanctify the faithful. Indeed, I am offering the Holy Masses on Sunday at both parishes for the faithful departed of St. Boniface and St. Mary, please join me on this regard.
As we establish the Charitable Fund account, I wish each month that we have a second collection for the charity works of our parish. It will be on the third or fourth weekend of each month. This fund will be reported back to you and annually to the Archdiocesan as well.
May God continue to bless us abundantly as we continue to share our resources with our brothers and sisters. I learned the phase, “The Eucharistic celebration will not be complete if we see our neighbors go sleep with empty stomach.”
Rev. Joseph-Quoc Vuong