It’s time to be bold! It’s time to be bold in our faith! Can you even imagine what our parish would look like if we were bold in our faith life? The time is NOW for us to be bold and passionate in our faith life! Every day God grants us and blesses us with a glorious purpose according to God’s divine will for creation. You and I are called to love God, know God, and serve God in this lifetime NOW here on this earth. Do we acknowledge that God has blessed us, and how do we truly show our gratitude and thanks to God for all of His blessings He has bestowed upon us? Every prayer, and I do mean every prayer that I have petitioned, or offered has been answered. I’m just waiting to see when our parish community will get bold and passionate in its faith, and to see it manifested in a life of Christian stewardship and evangelization with our 440 registered families. I tell God every day that I truly do His divine will within my life, and that I continue to shepherd the flock He has entrusted to me. We will all have to stand before the Judgment seat of God and explain our passionate or “lukewarm” practice of our faith. For this new month of October, let’s all take a risk and be bold in our faith life!
On Sunday afternoon of September 18 at the Ford Park Arena, I attended the Mass celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese of Beaumont, which our parish community belongs to. I must admit that I was very impressed to see over 3,000 people attending this historical event. It was great to see the good turnout of deacons, diocesan priests, religious order priests, bishops from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Illinois. Overall, it was a splendid revelation of the universality of the Roman Catholic Church by seeing the various cultures and different socio-economic backgrounds. The liturgy itself represented everyone who worships and serves in the Diocese of Beaumont. By the grace of God the Diocese of Beaumont has existed for 50 years and now we must pray to embrace the challenges we must face as a Church today and for the future. There is no doubt that God blessed the event of our 50th Anniversary celebration. For those from our parish community, who were able to attend this historical event, I hope that you enjoyed this blessed event because a 50th Anniversary celebration only happens once in a lifetime. It is my hope and prayer that this 50th Anniversary will be the beginning of the renewal and revitalization of the faith in our Diocese of Beaumont.
This weekend the Diocese of Beaumont gathers on September 18, at the Ford Park Arena Complex for a special Mass and celebration of 50 years as a diocese. Pope Paul VI established the Diocese of Beaumont back in 1966 and we were one of two Roman Catholic dioceses created in the United States following the Second Vatican Council. We have had as shepherds Bishop Vincent Harris (1966-1971), Bishop Warren Boudreaux (1971-1977), Bishop Bernard Ganter (1977-1993), Bishop Joseph Galante (1994-2000), and currently Bishop Curtis Guillory, S.V.D., since 2000. We have seen many changes here in Port Arthur since the diocese was established. In this city we have gone from 1 Catholic high School and 6 Catholic parochial schools to only 1 parochial school. One parish created (Queen of Vietnam Church, 1977) and one parish merged; Sacred Heart and St. Mary in 2006. Port Arthur’s population was over 66,000, and to date it is over 53,000. It may appear that I’m focusing on obvious declining statistics, but we need to address the changes and face the challenges. In 1966, St. James parish had over 1,500 registered households with 5 priests assigned, a convent with over 14 religious sisters assigned, and a parish school that had grades Kindergarten through Eighth. Today in 2016, we have one priest and one deacon assigned, no religious sisters assigned, and the parish school has been closed. Following the closing, the school building was demolished and we currently only have about 440 registered families in our parish. Let us work together and pray together to renew, revitalize, and strengthen the faith here in our parish, in the city, and in the Diocese of Beaumont. May we cooperate with God’s will in carrying out the mission that He has entrusted to us. May God bless and renew the Diocese of Beaumont as we celebrate the past 50 years and the many years to come.
This weekend’s Gospel from Luke offers insight and reflection on several parables offered by Jesus. What is the wisdom Jesus is attempting to get us to comprehend in this weekend’s Gospel? The first question is why is Jesus associating with sinners? The next question is what is the purpose of the parables of finding the lost sheep that strays from the flock, the woman who discovers the lost coin, and the parable of the prodigal son? All of these parables tie into the teaching of finding those lost souls who are repeat offenders in sin, yet fostering reconciliation. I remind us all that the Church is not an institution for the righteous and perfect, but instead the Church should be recognized as a hospital for the sin-sick souls and souls who are lost. The Church is to be seen as an instrument of God’s love, mercy, and reconciliation, rather than a place that condemns and judges. It is not a coincidence that behind us is the Christus St. Mary’s Healthcare Center that offers physical wellness and healing, and here at St. James Parish we offer Jesus Christ, the divine physician, who heals our wounded and broken souls. Our mission here at St. James Parish is to seek out the lost souls and welcome those who feel lost or wounded in their souls-that all will receive the healing and renewing love and mercy of the Lord.
During the month of September, the Roman Catholic Church, honors Our Lady of Sorrows. The Memorial Feast Day of Our Lady of Sorrows, takes place this year on Thursday, September 15th. On Wednesday, September 14th, is the Feast Day of the Exaltation of the Cross. Are you familiar with the Sorrows of Mary? Here are the Seven Sorrows of Mary:
The Prophesy of Simeon in the Temple when Mary and Joseph brought the Infant Jesus there; the Flight of the Holy Family to Egypt to escape King Herod’s wrath; the loss of Jesus in the Temple area; Jesus meets His afflicted Mother Mary as He carried His Cross; the Crucifixion and death of Jesus on the Cross; taking the body of Jesus down from the Cross; the burial of Jesus in the tomb. Also during the month of September there are several important feast days: The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Sept. 8), St. Peter Claver (Sept. 9), St. Matthew the Evangelist (Sept. 21), St. Padre Pio (Sept. 23), St. Vincent de Paul (Sept. 27), The Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael (Sept. 29), and St. Jerome (Sept. 30).
According to CatholicCulture.org the recipe for the month is St. Michael Waffles, or Gaufres, which is popular in France. May all have a blessed and productive month of September and that we be blessed through the prayerful intercession of Holy Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows.