Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Jerome,

Pax Christi semper vobiscum!

Members of the new Parish Council were elected after the evening Mass on the Feast of the Holy Archangels last Wednesday. We invoked the Holy Archangels to protect, inspire and guide our Parish Council members so they can serve our parish well through their participation in the life of the Church by choosing to be collaborators with our parish staff while we aim at accomplishing the mission of Jesus Christ for us all. The Council members have committed to serve our parish for three years as an advisory board to the Pastor in terms of pastoral planning, developing pastoral programs, improving pastoral services, and evaluating the pastoral effectiveness of various programs that are already in place at St. Jerome’s. As an advisory board, they ought to reflect, listen, observe, and participate in the life of the parish according to each member’s capacity and their willingness to serve as a bridge in disseminating accurate information to our local church.

It is customary that we associate the blessing of pets during the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi. We will be doing that again on Monday, October 4th,  after the evening Mass. For the sake of order and convenience for those who would like to have their pets blessed, we shall celebrate the Mass by the main entrance of the church. In that way, we can keep our social distancing and to  avoid any possible clash of pets with each other. Just a short note on the commemoration of Saint Francis, I hope that we do not simply associate his patronage with pets and creatures of nature. Rather, let us remember and imitate his obedience to the Will of God by leaving his material possessions for the sake of God’s Kingdom. What always amazes me with Saint Francis was his ability to stay connected with God and in return to use that same connection for others to encounter God. The initial phase of the foundation of the Franciscan Order when his first companions were inspired by his way of life serves as a good reference for us, as we ought to inspire others also to know and to encounter God. Our generation needs  modern-day people like Francis who are capable of leaving all temporal things behind for the sake of the heavenly realities. 

Also, I announced last weekend that our Torch Procession in honor of the Blessed Mother will be every Friday evening during the month of October. We shall also pray a mystery of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Mother before each Sunday Mass. Our sole purpose is nothing but to remind ourselves about the importance of being connected with the Mother of God and the saints.  On the other hand, our devotional expressions vary according to each one’s encounter with our spiritual companions. As Catholics, our devotional practices are the visible manifestations of our love for our spiritual sisters and brothers who already share the beatific vision as a reward for their loyalty and love for God and neighbor. We are taught by the Church that we cannot sustain our spiritual life on our own. In addition to frequenting the Sacraments, we need the prayerful assistance of the Mother of God and the Saints. This Blessed Communion between us and the heavenly realm is our sure hope that the destination of our earthly pilgrimage shall end in heaven. The Blessed Mother who loves us and adopts us as her children assures us of her presence. Our devotional practices simply ratify our openness and willingness to be enveloped by her love and protection. So, I invite you to come and pray with us. It will be an opportunity for us to experience the Blessed Mother’s presence in these times of uncertainty, for she only assures us of God’s love for us.

Finally, I will keep you posted over the upcoming days and weeks about the Holy Father’s invitation to reflect on the Synod and Synodality. The Pope’s initiative comes from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the Church as we listen, discuss, reflect and discern on how we shall stay in communion with each other; participate in the life of the Church and accomplish the mission that is entrusted to us by Jesus Christ. The solemn opening of the Synod will take place in Rome on October 9-10 while all the Dioceses worldwide will launch this first phase of listening and dialogue on October 24th. This will be a two-year process that will conclude at the Vatican in October 2023 with the assembly of bishops from around the world. 

As we continue to experience changes in all aspects of our parish ministries, I can only say that gratitude is the best response, for it is in our willingness to be a part of the journey that will bring us spiritual; growth.

See you next weekend.

Sincerely in Christ and Mary,