Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends and Parishioners of Saint Jerome,

Pax Christ semper vobiscum!

Once again, I would like to thank our parish groups for their hard work during the Kermes fund-raising last weekend. It was another great Food Sale event. As I mentioned, the success of events such as these depend always on our communal collaboration. We will have more Food Sales planned for the upcoming weekends. It would be a noble gesture to show our appreciation and support for our volunteers.

I also want to thank our Covid-19 Reopen Team. We know that it is always incredibly challenging to organize one liturgical event after another due to the sanitization guidelines that are required before and after the event. Please show our Team members your appreciation by being collaborative with the guidelines and safety instructions for the prevention of any possible virus contagion. Our collaborative effort is an expression of charity and prudence each time we choose to be consciously obedient to the guidelines in the church before, during and after the liturgies. Also, we are looking for anyone who is not vulnerable to the disease to join the group and help sanitize the worship space after the liturgies. It would be easier for the Reopen Team to have enough volunteers at each Mass. We need more manpower. Please talk to one of our volunteers if you would like to be listed as a part of the team.

There are some members of our parish who have moved away from the neighborhood during the last few months. Mark Lewis and Anne Marie Lewis and family moved to the suburbs in June. Mark was our Finance Council chairperson. Anne Marie was our cantor during the 10:00am Sunday Mass. Also, their son John proclaimed the Word at our English Masses. They were great supporters of our parish ministries. We did not have the opportunity to give them a proper farewell due to the Covid-19 situation. Please remember them in your prayers as they make themselves a new home in a new faith community.

Also, Sister Nancy Feldmann was recalled by her community in Iowa last July. She belongs to the congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She was part of our parish for almost thirty years, and I believe that the prayers of her community also supported the pastoral work of Saint Jerome Parish.

One of our homeless neighbors who was sleeping under the bushes by the school building entrance, was hospitalized during the week. We know the reason: he was consuming too much alcohol. There are three of them who share the area and the same condition. It is a sad reality for many of us to see them spend their lives in alcoholism. Individuals and families who are dealing with this issue can surely testify.

Sometimes, it is easy to condemn and to judge. We are not going that route. Rather, I would like to call the awareness of our community to encourage them to choose a better path, a better decision. Talk to them. Show them love. Give them food. Offer them clothing. Make them feel that they are part of our community and pray for them. They are human beings just like us. They have feelings. Perhaps they struggle to come out of that dark hole of addiction. They cannot do it on their own. We will never know until we show them some concern and compassion.

A month ago, someone called to my attention that these homeless fellows were urinating on the walls of our buildings. Well, probably because there are no facilities in the area. So, I proposed to my staff to rent a porta-potty to educate them instead. We will put the toilet between the school building and the old convent on Morse Avenue. I think that this is the least we could do for them, not because we would like to condone their choices; but rather, we would like to send them a message that we care. Maybe a change of heart may begin from there. Who knows? I encourage everyone to receive each of them as another significant person in the parish. It is always good to remind ourselves that seeing the poor as well as those who live in the margins of society, is in fact seeing the face of God.

The Gospel this weekend is interestingly challenging. “Do not be afraid, it is I,” says Jesus. What have been those fearful moments of our lives recently? We probably just need to get focused on the face of Jesus so as not be overwhelmed by the big waves and storms in our lives.

Mt 14:27

I am currently on retreat. I realized recently that I also need to center myself to the core that drives me to the ministry. Rest assured of my prayers for you all. I hope to return spiritually refreshed and loaded with positive energy. Have a great and blessed week.

Sincerely in Christ and Mary,