Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I want to begin this eBulletin with a huge thank you to Tamami Honma for all her hard work in recruiting and preparing all the bands, musicians, and singers for last week’s Concert for Peace. It was simply a fantastic concert on every level. I cannot say enough about the San Francisco Brass Band and…

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The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

When I was a young boy I had a friend who was ambidextrous. When writing, he could take the pen and begin a sentence with one hand and finish the sentence with his other hand without telling the difference in his handwriting. I wanted to do the same so I started to write with my…

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Most Holy Trinity Sunday

I am currently finishing a book called “Living in the Flow” by Sky Nelson-Isaacs. It is a book about the intersection of quantum mechanics and faith. One of the questions it attempts to answer: Is the Universe friendly? In a faith community, we would ask it differently: Why do bad things happen to good people?…

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Pentecost Sunday

Today as you read this email, we will be in the middle of the graduation Mass for Saint Simon Parish School. It is always a special occasion to graduate a class from elementary school but this year even more so because these young men and women have endured over two years of covid restrictions that…

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Ascension Sunday

This week has been another shock to our system as we heard the horrifying news of the massacre of 21 innocent children and teachers in Robb Elementary School, Uvalde, Texas. It is devastating to watch the damage done to that whole community. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of those who were…

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Sixth Sunday of Easter

Over the last few days, the Mental Health Ministry team called Hope & Wellness Ministry and Michelle Nealon, Joan Mibach, and I attended the first National Catholic Mental Health Conference at the Jesuit Retreat House, Los Altos. It was an excellent conference, and I am sure that I will be preaching and teaching more about…

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Fifth Sunday of Easter

Last week all the priests of the Diocese of San Jose gathered in San Juan Bautista for our Annual Clergy Study Week. It is always good for us to take time away and engage in some formation as priests. It is  the only time every year that we get to spend time together in fellowship.…

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Fourth Sunday of Easter

Celebrating Mother’s Day is always a wonderful opportunity to express our affection for our mothers and demonstrate our love for them if they are still alive. But it can also be a difficult day if we have a broken relationship with our mother as it seems everyone else is celebrating a harmonious relationship. It can…

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Third Sunday of Easter

I am currently reading a book by the great Irish poet and theologian, John O’Donohue called “Beauty” and it speaks of how we can discover divine beauty in all things. At this time of year when spring is unfolding its grandeur, there is so much beauty to be seen that it is not hard to…

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Second Sunday of Easter

After a week of incarceration and isolation in my room, I finally tested negative for Covid-19 and I am on the mend. While my energy is not 100% yet, I am feeling much better and I am back to quasi-normal. Thank you for your prayers. I will continue to take it easy for a few…

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Easter Sunday

For the last several weeks I have given the retreat, From Here to Eternity: How to Live and Die Well. Through those sessions I explored in detail what our faith tells us about what happens when we die and indeed what happens in the dying process. I outlined the needs of the dying and how…

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Sixth Sunday of Lent

As I begin this eBulletin article, I want to thank Kim Karmirantzos for her hard work and dedication to our Parish in her role as Pastoral Associate for Community Engagement and Communications. She has done a fantastic job over the years and worked especially hard over the last two years during the COVID pandemic. She…

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Fifth Sunday of Lent

On Tuesday, we continued with our Lenten retreat called From Here to Eternity: How to Live and Die Well. During this third session, I again talked about death as the birthing process into eternal life and our roles as midwives to our loved ones. To this well, we need to know more about the dying…

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Fourth Sunday of Lent

Last Tuesday, we continued our Lenten retreat called From Here to Eternity: How to Live and Die Well. During this second session, I emphasized that death is more a birth into eternal life than the end of our earthly life. As such, then our role as disciples of Christ is to help those dying to…

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Third Sunday of Lent

Last Tuesday, we started the Lenten retreat called From Here to Eternity: How to Live and Die Well. During this first session, I covered our Catholic belief in the resurrection and the communion of saints and how those affect our approach to death itself. If we know we are destined for eternity life, then the…

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Second Sunday of Lent

I just arrived back from St. Monica’s Parish in Santa Monica, CA where I presented to them the Cairns on the Second Mountain of Life retreat that I gave at St. Simon’s last year. It was very well received and lots of people came to the sessions each night. It was a particularly healing trip…

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First Sunday of Lent

All of this weekend and next week, I am away giving a retreat at St. Monica Parish, Santa Monica, CA. It will be the retreat I gave last year here at St. Simon, Cairns on the Second Mountain of Life, with some modifications to localize it. St. Monica Parish is a mega parish with over…

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Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Over the last several weeks, I have shared some insights about the mental health continuum and how important it is that we become aware of what contributes to good mental wellness. Last week, I shared how traumas can often cause us to slide down the continuum, sometimes without us becoming aware of it.   I…

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Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

As we continue our short 4-minute series on the mental health ministry Hope & Wellness, we will now focus our attention on how we move from the wellness part of the mental health continuum to the illness part of the continuum. While it is more complex than we will lay out, there are some basics…

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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

On Friday, February 11, the Church celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of the Sick. It is a recognition of the importance to pray and care for those who are ill in our community and in our world. Jesus always had a preferential option for the sick and constantly…

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew…I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy,…

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Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I recently read an article about the distinction between our private lives and our public lives and it affects the community at large. I found it provocative and I want to share some of it with you as we reflect on the power of community. Fr. Ron Rolhesier says, that “No one is an island;…

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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Over the last many months, many of us have heard about the Global Synod on Synodality but we have heard little in our own local Diocese of San Jose. What we do hear seems to be confusing! So let me spend a few moments trying to explain some of the different aspects of what will…

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Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

I am not sure if you have ever visited the famed John Muir National Forest. It is about 1.5 hours away depending on traffic and has some beautiful old sequoia trees some of which are 1,000 years old. It is a beautiful national treasure along with many other places to hike and enjoy nature.  …

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Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

I just arrived back from Ireland today and it was a bittersweet experience. Bitter because of the nature of the trip—to preside at the memorial service for my brother Paul so all our family and friends back there could gather and mourn the loss. Sweet because it was good to be back in Ireland surrounded…

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Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

What can be said of 2021? It was a tough year for all of us for sure and yet it was also full of grace and light. As Charles Dickens once said, it was the best of times and the worst of times. That is certainly true for many of us—2021 was a great year…

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Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus

Recently when I visited the students in our school classrooms, one of the children asked me what was my favorite season of the liturgical year? I immediately said it was Christmas. I explained that it is not only because I love to decorate my home with lots of Christmas trees and lights, but also because…

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

As I write this bulletin article, my room is full of cards, flowers and baked goods from families and parishioners of St. Simon Church and School.  Also, my inbox is full of countless emails. The outpouring of love since the loss of my brother, Paul, and my spiritual director, Fr. Dave, has left me speechless.…

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Third Sunday of Advent

They say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” In my experience, that is so true. If we do not want to see beauty, we will NOT see it. Even if we do want to see beauty, it is hard enough to see it! Yet we ought to try hard to see the…

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Second Sunday of Advent

As you already know this week has been a difficult week for me. On Monday night my mentor-friend and spiritual director, Fr. Dave Ayotte, died after a yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer. Then on Tuesday afternoon, after a 6+ month battle with pancreatic cancer, my closest brother and best friend, Paul died. It was the…

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First Sunday of Advent

I hope you had some quality time with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holidays celebrating the many gifts we share as a nation, as families and as a community. It has been a strange and difficult year with the pandemic lingering longer than anyone would have guessed and the long-term effects of this pandemic…

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Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Last week at all Masses, the Finance Council presented the financial report for the year ended June 30, 2021 and it was also sent via email to all parishioners.  It is important that we all read the financial update carefully and be aware of the great work we have accomplished in the last year in…

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Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Times

As you might remember from the retreat on the Eucharist we just completed that one of the important aspects of the liturgy of the Eucharist is music. It is not just an optional element but a constitutive element of the whole liturgy. While we have four processional songs (gathering, preparation, communion, and recessional) music is…

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Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

On Tuesday night, we concluded our retreat, Living the Eucharist: Circle of Life. We reviewed the four previous movements of the Gathering, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the Sending Forth. Then we focused on the challenges that come from these sessions especially in light of the pandemic and the…

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Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

On Tuesday night, we continued our retreat, Living the Eucharist: Circle of Life. After having gone through the three previous movements of the Gathering, the Liturgy of the Word, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we moved onto the last movement of the Sending Forth. The center of the first Gathering movement was humility and…

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Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I just got back from our Annual Clergy Retreat and it was good to be away praying together. We all realized how much this past 18 months of pandemic has taken out of us and how much we need to come away and renew ourselves in Christ. Thank you for your patience while we were…

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Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

On Tuesday nights at 7:00 pm, we continue the retreat on Living the Eucharist: Circle of Life.  This week, we went through the second movement of the Eucharist about the Liturgy of the Word. We walked through the critical elements of this movement and how God comes at us in the four different scripture passages:…

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Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

On Tuesday nights at 7 pm, we continue the retreat on Living the Eucharist: Circle of Life. Last week, we went through the importance of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist; not only in the consecrated bread and wine, but also in the Word proclaimed, the people gathered, and in the priest. This…

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Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

On Tuesday night, I started our new retreat series called Living the Eucharist: Circle of Life and I had a real audience. It was lovely to have people in the Church as I presented. After giving 26 retreat sessions over the last year during the pandemic, this was the first session to have people with…

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Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Tuesday, September 28, at 7-8pm, we will start the new Retreat series called Living the Eucharist: Circle of Life. There will be in-person live audience and we will also livestream it for those who cannot come in person.  On Wednesdays, I will host a zoom call to break open the material a little more…

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Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Last weekend it was wonderful to see so many parishioners gather for the Fall BBQ. It was the first time that many of you had been on campus in person since the beginning of the pandemic and for many more the first time you had seen each other in person. There was such excitement and…

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Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Times

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attack on the United States and the collapsing of the World Trade Towers on 9/11/01. Over the last week, we have seen these images replayed on television and we remember what occurred then and how it affected so many lives since. Most of us remember exactly…

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Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

As I write this article, I am in Lourdes on pilgrimage with my brother Paul, his wife Maria and a number of other parishioners from St. Simon along with the Order of Malta’s annual pilgrimage to Lourdes. We arrived late Wednesday after a long day of travel which was hardest on the Malades (those who…

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Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus saves his harshest words for the Pharisees and the religious leaders of his time. When they challenged him, he would regularly accuse them of being “hypocrites” as they consistently say one thing but did another.  Jesus was brutal on them and in Sunday’s gospel; he is particularly harsh. Why does he do this? Mostly…

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Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week, St. Simon School welcomed back all our students to in-person learning. It was so exciting to see so many kids on campus again.  I was delighted to see them playing in the schoolyard and learning in the classrooms again. We are off to a great start. Of course, we need to remain vigilant…

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Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The summer break is over; school starts this week for many of us, but for others it has already started! For some students, this is great news and for others it is a disappointment. But for all the parents I know, it is welcome news. Most everyone I know is excited to have their children…

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Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

While it is great to be back home from vacation, it was a disappointment to see an increase in COVID cases with this new Delta variant. On Tuesday, we were notified of the new Santa Clara County health order for wearing masks for all indoor activities again. This does not change our current policy here…

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Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today is the last day of July and it is the Feast Day for St. Ignatius Loyola. Jesuits all over the world will be celebrating this day with great reverence this year as it is his 500th anniversary. On this day, it is worth noting that Jesuits have made a huge impact on our Church…

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Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel, we read that Jesus raised his eyes and saw a large crowd coming to him (cf. John 6: 1-15).  This image caught my eyes. As I have reflected on it, I accepted that Jesus was already longing to be with the crowd. By raising his eyes, Jesus was ready to welcome and…

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Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

THE COVID-19 -PANDEMIC AND SILVER LINING IN ST. SIMON COMMUNITY By Fr. Christopher Bologo INTRODUCTION: The havoc Covid-19 pandemic has caused the world is unimaginable. By my calculation, it will take five to ten years for the full impact of the pandemic to be known. The damage is to the economy, people’s spiritual lives, politics,…

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Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Tijuana Ministry Update – July 2021 St. Simon Parish has traveled with the Tijuana Ministry immersion mission program for ten years.  About 350 members from our parish, along with others throughout our Diocese, have traveled to the La Morita area on the far outskirts of Tijuana where we encounter, serve, and work with the poorest…

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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

As I head out on vacation and celebrate my first-year anniversary, I wanted to thank you again for a wonderful year as your pastor. The more I reflect on this last year, the more I am amazed at what we accomplished together. It has been truly a blessing. From the multiple iterations of Mass, inside…

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Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

There are times in our lives when we need inspiration to live closer to Christ’s call to love. One way to be inspired is to go on pilgrimage. A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place to deepen our faith through prayer and experience. People have been taking pilgrimages for centuries and they have…

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Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I always find Father’s Day a bittersweet experience for me. On one hand, it is sweet because I remember the love that my father shared with all of us as a family. On the other hand, it is bitter because my dad died twenty-five years ago, and I still miss him. I still marvel at…

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Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Finally, we received some good news from the State and County government about the COVID-19 restrictions effective June 15, 2021. Most of California has returned to the lowest yellow tier allowing us to return inside for worship more fully. Consequently, I am delighted to say effective June 15, we will move all daily Masses (6:30am…

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Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

On Saturday morning, the St. Simon class of 2021 will graduate. Many of these students have been at St. Simon School all ten years of their elementary school and they have a tight bond. Fortunately, I have gotten to know the class quite well through the process of the Sacrament of Confirmation. They are a…

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Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, and we try to say something about the doctrine of the Trinity. I believe that Hilary of Poitiers said it best when he spoke about how the Church “defines” the Most Holy Trinity as attempting to define something that is it not containable in…

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Pentecost Sunday

On Thursday, May 20, 2021 the Jesuits began a celebration recognizing the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius’ conversion experience and the start of the Jesuits as we know them. It marks the beginning of a yearlong celebration of the Society of Jesuits and the contributions they have made to society and the Church.   On…

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7th Sunday of Easter

The priests of the parish just arrived back from San Juan Bautista after spending the week with all the clergy of the diocese for our Annual Clergy Study Week. This was the first time we have gathered as clergy in over 17 months and it was a great week for all of us. We needed…

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6th Sunday of Easter

On Thursday, I visited the pre-K at the school, and I read a book to the students and their mothers. The children’s book was called “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch and beautifully illustrated by Sheila McGraw. I had never read it before and I was not prepared for the ending; I cried like a…

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5TH Sunday of Easter

Recently I read an article from Fr. Ron Rolheiser speaking about anger and how prevalent it is in our society today. He says, “That most of us operate, however unconsciously, out of anger and this shows itself in our constant criticism of others, in our cynicism, in our jealousy of others, in our bitterness, and…

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4th Sunday of Easter – Good Shepherd Sunday

Today is often called Good Shepherd Sunday because we hear from the Gospel of John in which Jesus reminds us that he is the “Good Shepherd” who never abandons his sheep. He assures his disciples, and us, that there are others who claim to lead the sheep but will run away at the first sight…

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3rd Sunday of Easter

In our culture we have an abundance. We have so many things at our disposal that it can be hard to know what to pay attention to. Even within one of these many things we can be inundated with choices. A great example is sports: we have an abundance of choices depending on our inclination…

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Second Sunday of Easter

The mystics maintain that there are two primary paths of transformation in this life. The first is the path of prayer and love and the second is the path of suffering. Most people want the first path but get the second path. Unfortunately, most of us are not well equipped to respond to the path…

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Easter Sunday

Christ is Risen! Alleluia! It is so hard to believe that we have been in lockdown for over a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on our personal and professional lives, it has also devastated our economy and it will take us a long time to recover. But…

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Palm Sunday

I recently read that we will never fully penetrate the mystery of God’s revelation in Jesus until we realize that most of Jesus’ life was hidden; even his three “public” years were invisible to most people. On Passion Sunday we enter into Holy Week, the holiest of weeks for Christians, as we celebrate the three…

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5th Sunday of Lent

Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of our Diocese and it opens a year of celebrations recognizing the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the Diocese of San Jose. Last night we began with a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. The pandemic limited our attendance at the Jubilee celebration to…

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4th Sunday of Lent

It is hard to believe that one year ago this week, our County of Santa Clara was the first county in the nation to “Shelter in Place.” With no precedent for this action, we were all in shock and afraid to even leave our homes. We were told it would be for 3 weeks and…

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3rd Sunday of Lent

Even though the pandemic continues, we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with vaccinations reaching our elderly, our teachers and more essential workers. This week we heard that every adult will have vaccinations available to them by the end of May. What a relief! On top of this news,…

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2nd Sunday of Lent

Last week, we began our Lenten series on Forgiveness: A Journey from Hurt to Freedom and I began by walking towards the “first cairn of this Second Mountain” namely, to become more self-aware of our need for forgiveness in our own lives. One of the critical steps to understanding unforgiveness in our lives and why we remain…

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For the last several weeks I have given the retreat, From Here to Eternity: How to Live and Die Well. Through those sessions I explored in detail what our faith tells us about what happens when we die and indeed what happens in the dying process. I outlined the needs of the dying and how we can help them to manage those days well. More importantly I gave a pathway for us to help our loved ones who are dying to die full of gratitude and joy. When they are suffering that seems impossible, but it is not. It does require discipline and a clear practice. There are certain things that help and other things that do not. I encourage you to watch these sessions and learn for yourself. We only die once, so we only get one shot at doing it well. We will accompany and watch many other people die. If we can learn a little more about it then we can do it well which will be good for them and for ourselves. Over 1,600 people have viewed the sessions and it is hitting the right note. Watch the session by clicking the link here

 

As we head into Easter weekend, I want to first wish you and your family a Happy Easter! Christ is alive! This is the profound message of Easter. God’s love wins over all pain, suffering, illness and even death. In the end, God redeems Jesus beyond all his suffering and pain of the cross. He is alive in you and me!

 

After Jesus rises from the dead, he tells Mary Magdalene to inform the other disciples. “Tell them to go back to Galilee and I will see them there.” Why go back to Galilee when they were all in Jerusalem, the center of their religion? Galilee is not just a physical location. It is, first and foremost, a place of the heart. Galilee represents for the disciples the beginning of the road of discipleship. They walked and talked with Jesus in Galilee. Galilee was the place where their hearts were burning on fire for Jesus and where his message of love started. So going back to Galilee was “going back to where it all began.” We must do the same. 

 

Often in our own lives, we experience Good Friday moments – our own moments of pain and suffering. Maybe it is not the same intensity as Christ’s suffering.  However, in the moment when we are experiencing pain and suffering, it feels as intense! The whole world is experiencing suffering because of the COVID pandemic and now the war in Ukraine. To experience the resurrection then we, too, need to go back to our place of faith. We go back to our place of faith in our heart. Where did we first experience Jesus Christ in our life? Where did we first experience God’s love for us in our own lives? Go back to Galilee!

 

At Easter, every year as a community, we go back to celebrating the beginning of our faith story. We go back and we look for those moments in our lives that were sparkling moments of God’s love, God’s care, and God’s assurance to us that he is there. Equally important, we help others go back to their Galilee. Often others will help us get there when we are in a bad place. Look at the disciples; they had to encourage each other to go back. Mary Magdalene had to encourage the other disciples and Peter had to convince the others to go with him.

 

This Easter Sunday, we celebrate the risen Christ in our lives as we go back to our Galilee and we help others go back to their Galilee. I hope we can help each other come back to Church and celebrate together as a community that Christ is Risen! Alleluia! 

 

Regrettably, I will not be at any of our Easter services as I tested positive to Covid-19. Fr. Chris and Fr. Thuc will be celebrating the Easter services. We want to remind everyone to be attentive to symptoms yourself and do not attend Mass if you are feeling ill. For everyone’s safety, I have been in isolation in my suite since Thursday and will continue to do so until I test negative. I have mild symptoms and am fully vaccinated and boosted. 

 

Please know, I will keep you in my prayers over the next few days and ask you to do likewise for me. I am finding this particularly difficult as I was so looking forward to seeing you in person. On behalf of the whole parish and school staff, I wish you a blessed Easter and may Christ be present in your home and in your life today.

 

God Bless,

 

Fr. Brendan