In this year dedicated to mercy, we have a great opportunity today to ask our Lord for the grace to imitate His loving mercy. As He has redeemed us through His cross, so let us ask for that grace to be more merciful in our relations with our own family members and to open our hearts to the needy in our community. All of us are from immigrant stock. Let us always remember that the Holy Family of Nazareth seeking asylum in Egypt remains for us the model of all immigrant families who are fleeing violence and seeking the peace that only God can give.
Generations of Faith
This week we begin our public presentation of the Generations of Faith Campaign. This is special fund-raising campaign of our Diocese which occurs every ten years. This campaign will serve three major purposes: (1) support the sick and retired priests of our Diocese; (2) offer help to the poor parishes; (3) support the development of the Youth Ministry in our Diocese. The desire to help the elderly and sick priests who have served the parishes in our Diocese helps us to face our responsibility for the priests in our own Parish, both Father Jaime and Father Peter. The Hispanic community wants a priest to say Mass in Spanish and the Chinese community wants a priest to say Mass in Chinese. So Father Jaime has left his family in Colombia to be with us and Father Peter has left his family in Mainland China to serve us here in St. Michael’s. If something happens to either one of these priests or if one of them gets sick, who will care for them? Our Bishop believes that we are all responsible for our priests and he is trying to care for those who have served us, like Monsignor Wetterer, and develop a program that will help us prepare for the future needs of our priests. For this campaign, I ask every parishioner to participate generously. We will explain this campaign at Mass and ask that you pray and make the necessary sacrifices to support this effort.
As we begin the Easter Season, we must express our thanks to God for all the blessings that He has given us. Bishop James Massa, one of our Auxiliary Bishops, celebrated the Easter Vigil Mass for us. Twenty adults were baptized and with another twenty-three adults received both their First Communion and Confirmation. On Easter Sunday, fifteen children were baptized thus enabling our family at St. Michael’s to continue its growth. For the second year in a row, our catechists and you our Parishioners have brought new people to our Lord. May we continue our missionary efforts so that all of Flushing will be blessed with the knowledge that Jesus is their Lord.
The celebration of the Last Supper and our Good Friday Stations of the Cross and the celebration of the Passion of our Lord Jesus has given us the opportunity to deepen our Lord’s love for all people especially the poor and the sick (cf. Sunday’s Tablet, p. 31). I want to thank all our volunteers who have made great sacrifices so that our Holy Week services were able to serve the needs of our Parish community and help our Flushing community to get a deeper understanding of how we celebrate Holy Week. And we all must thank the Police Department for their help and guidance as we walked through the streets of Flushing.
Easter is the celebration of the life that God has given us through the death and Resurrection of his Son Jesus, our Lord and Savior. We believe that Jesus, who was crucified and died on Good Friday, rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. The Resurrection of Jesus is the basis for the Catholic belief that all Christians will share a glorious heavenly life with God (e.g. Phil 3: 20-21; Rev. 21: 1-22:5).
Jesus promised all people eternal life with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit if we follow his example and are guided by his teachings. To help us follow him Jesus formed a community of disciples, the Catholic Church, so that we could help one another live as God’s family. Before he returned to the Father Jesus gave his followers the command to help others know him.
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days, even to the end of the world”(Mt. 28: 18-20)
Let us pray that we will do everything possible to accept our Lord’s invitation to be with God for all eternity and make every sacrifice possible so that our families may also be faithful to our Lord. And let us respond generously and courageously to our Lord’s command to share his Gospel with all the residents of Flushing.