As many of you already know, on Monday night, I fly to Tel Aviv to lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land for 12 days with 48 parishioners. I am very excited about finally being able to lead another pilgrimage, especially to the Holy Land. Pilgrimages are journeys to sacred places to deepen our faith through prayer and experience. People have been taking pilgrimages for centuries and as a result they have been inspired into a deeper relationship with Christ and his Church along paths of new discovery.
The Holy Land is the “promised land” where God led Moses and the people of Israel. It is the site where Jesus Christ was “made flesh and dwelt among us!” From Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee, from Bethlehem to the Holy City of Jerusalem, we will see with our own eyes the places made holy by our Lord. During this time away we will have the opportunity to reflect upon God’s love for us at the sites connected to the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. These places will stir our hearts, deepen our faith and increase our knowledge of Christianity and our Catholic heritage. We will carry the whole parish in prayer as we go from place to place.
I am aware that so many parishioners wanted to go on this trip but could not come for many different reasons so we are inviting all parishioners to join us virtually by following our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SaintSimonLosAltos or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/stsimonparish/. Each day we will share photos and prayers from the holy sites and our hope is that you can pray for us as we pray for you each day. While I know it is not the same as being there in person, I hope that you can journey with us virtually and live through our experience.
Last weekend, we kicked off our High School Youth Ministry. It was wonderful to see eighteen teenagers gather and play games and share a little faith with each other. It is so good to have the youth back on campus after so long. We will continue to meet monthly with the High Schoolers and ask you to encourage your teens to join us. I am delighted to say we will host our first in-person High School retreat in three years! It will be held on November 4-6, 2022 and we have an awesome leadership group in place. We have designed the retreat around the teens schedule, it is located close-by and they will have time for reading and homework. More information here.
On October 25-27, John Angotti and I will co-lead a Parish Mission on the Eucharist called “Sharing God’s Love.” We will hold three sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in a dialogue approach similar to “Wine & Word” where we will chat back and forth about the different aspects of the Eucharist. John will play and sing beautiful songs that illustrate our points. Then on Saturday, October 29 we will turn the 5pm vigil Mass into a teaching Mass where we will pause periodically throughout the service to illustrate the moments of profound significance. After Mass, we will enjoy a pasta dinner and drinks together followed by a concert by John to celebrate the saints in our lives as we prepare to celebrate Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day. You can even come dressed up in your Halloween outfits! Please mark your calendars for our Fall Parish Mission—Sharing God’s Love and come to a deeper understanding of the Eucharist.
Finally, this weekend throughout the world we celebrate Priesthood Sunday and we will have a blessing at all Masses led by the Scouts. Our deepest desire as priests is for you to come and join us for Mass in person and together, we will celebrate the gifts of God’s love in our community. We all need a little more love! Thank you for the support you give each of us priests. We are very grateful for the love you shower upon us, and we promise to continue to serve you with all our hearts in the year ahead.