05-29-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Charlie Goraieb

Dear Friends,

A blessed Memorial Day weekend to you. Although not formally declared a National Holiday until 1971, the custom of honoring our deceased military originated after the Civil War. It is right and fitting for all of us, who have benefited from the sacrifices made by these fallen soldiers, should honor them in gratitude for their patriotism and courage. Next weekend is Pentecost, the day on which we commemorate the Holy Spirit descending upon the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room. Like Easter - which finds its origins in the Jewish Feast of Passover, the events of Pentecost fell on the Jewish Feast of Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks. Originally intended to celebrate the harvest, this feast evolved into a celebration of the reception of the Torah, God’s Holy Word.

And just like our Easter springs from and gives deeper meaning to the salvific events of Passover, the Feast of Pentecost does the same for Shavuot. We not only have been given the Holy Word of God, but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, who guides us - and the whole Church into all truth.

Because Pentecost brings to a close the Easter Season, the Church invites us to celebrate the formal Vigil of Pentecost, which mirrors the Vigil of Easter. It is much shorter and does not include the conferring of the Sacraments of Baptism or Confirmation, but there are special readings and music for this Mass. You can also obtain a Plenary indulgence by attending the Vigil on June 4 (and, of course, complying with the standard requirements for the Indulgence). I hope to see many of you there at the 5:00pm Vigil Mass. Whether you come on Saturday or Sunday, if you have a red shirt or blouse, please wear it to signify your embrace of this great Feast.

In identifying the top priorities for OLMC, the Pastoral Council put Youth Ministry near the top. Many Catholic youth are undergoing a crisis of faith. A recent Pew study showed that a stunning 50% of our youth leave the Church. That statistic is even more disheartening when we consider how much money and effort went into providing a Catholic education and formation for these young men and women.

The reason for these defections are varied and complex, but, sadly, a common response from the youth themselves is that they just do not believe what the Church teaches. They are not inspired by our view of the human person, morality, our relationship to a Divine and Loving Father or their Redemption by Jesus, His Son. We can wring our hands in dismay or we can try to do something about it. I prefer the latter approach.

Miguel Nuñez will be starting his full-time ministry at OLMC on June 6th as our Youth Minister. Miguel comes with a wide range of experience working with Junior High and High Schoolers. We will be using the Life Teen model, which means that the 5pm Mass on Sunday night will eventually become more focused on the youth. We also are in need of men and women to become part of the core teams that will mentor and guide the youth. Please pray for Miguel and his ministry, for the youth and for what God might have you do to be a part of this vital mission of the Church.

A blessed weekend to you and your family, Fr Charlie Goraieb