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Pastor's Message

Fr. James Okaror (Ed.D)

February 18, 2024

Pastor’s Message: Fr. James Okafor, Ed.D

Repent and Believe in the Gospel!

We solemnly started the season of Lent last Wednesday with the Ash Wednesday Mass. Most of us had the opportunity to receive the ashes. The three-cardinal works (Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving) we undertake are meant to cleanse and renew us just as the flood renewed God’s creation in Genesis (Genesis 9:8-15), as we read in the first reading. Also, in the second reading, Peter (1 Peter 3: 18-22) reminds us of the renewal brought about by the death and resurrection of Christ. Thus, the invitation to repent (change of heart) and believe in the Gospel Jesus gives us in today’s Gospel (Mark 1:12-15).

The three-cardinal works (Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving) are all grounded in the life of Christ. We ought to remember that the holy season of Lent is not all about what we abstain or fast from, but the virtuous acts those fasting and abstinence lead us to. For instance, as our Catholic tradition, we don’t eat meat on Fridays of Lent, but the question is: What virtue does this abstinence help me acquire? Am I doing it because it is the seasonal ritual or routine, or doing it to grow in the life of Christ within me? Let us ask the good Lord that all the works we undertake this season of Lent will help us to acquire good habits, which is the life of the gospel, the life of Christ. Amen.

We thank the families who have prayerfully participated in the Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA). Our second week of ADA puts us at $57,657. With 71 families having participated, we are at 41% of our parish goal of $210,000. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress we are making.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

February 11, 2024

Pastor’s Message: Fr. James Okafor, Ed.D

Be Imitators of Christ!

The readings of the Mass invite us constantly to reflect on different ways we can imitate Christ in our day-to-day lives. This Sunday’s first reading (Leviticus 13:1-2,44-46) and the Gospel (Mark 1:40-45), in common, discuss the disease of leprosy. Specifically, the first reading shows us how lepers were seen and treated in Jesus’s time. The lepers were treated with rejection and isolation. Within the context of this isolation and rejection, the leper in the gospel had the courage to go and kneel before Jesus to ask with faith for healing, not minding how the people saw him. The courage of the leper and the compassion of Jesus are points of reflection. Even though the leper was isolated and rejected by his community, he didn’t reject himself; rather, he had a steadfast trust in the healing power of God.

We can also face rejection and isolation in the discussion in different ways and levels, especially when we feel that people do not like us or do not appreciate what we do. Do we allow those things to influence us and make us look downcast and lose confidence in ourselves? On the other hand, do we belong to the group that isolates or rejects people because of how they are or understand things? If we want to imitate Christ as St. Paul invites us in the 2nd reading (1 Corinthians 10: 31-11:1), we must live above all kinds of rejection and isolation. We pray that God will always help us remember his love and compassion, especially in the face of isolation and rejection, and equally share the same love and compassion with others. Amen.

We thank the families who have prayerfully participated in the Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA). Our first week of ADA puts us at $50,007.74. With 57 families having participated, we are at 24% of our parish goal of $210,000. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress we are making.

 

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

 

February 4, 2024

Pastor’s Message: Fr. James Okafor, Ed.D

I continue to be honored and grateful to serve as your pastor and witness Christ’s love daily in our St. Frances Cabrini (SFC) parish community. As we journey together in this parish year of Eucharistic Revival and our diocesan pastoral planning process, I feel incredibly blessed to see how so many of you are growing in your relationship with Christ and witnessing His presence and love daily in our parish family.

Each year, the Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA) invites us to renew our stewardship commitment to our local Church and our parish, Supporting Our Mission Together. Your generosity toward the ADA sustains vital diocesan ministries that strengthen our families, parishes, and Catholic schools, foster a culture of vocations, provide faith formation, and reach out to those in need with hope and healing.

Here at SFC, we will also benefit from your support of the ADA. This year, our diocesan goal is $139,113, and our goal is to raise $210,000 which is the parish goal. Our hope is to use the rebate from the ADA to continue the projects inside our church. Our church needs new carpets, improved lighting, a modern sound system, and re-painting. I ask for your help to reach our parish goal. We have more than 2,000 families who are registered parishioners, and about 1,200 are active. If 50% of our active families give prayerfully, considering a minimum of $500, we will reach our parish goal. Some can offer more, and some less; our hope is each family in our parish will participate at the level of sacrifice to which your prayerful discernment leads you.

I sincerely thank each of you who have already committed to this year’s appeal. If you have not had the opportunity to do so, please prayerfully consider how you can support Christ’s mission in the Church by making a gift to the Annual Diocesan Appeal in love and gratitude for all the ways God has blessed you. Our sacrificial gifts and prayers unite us with the faithful from all the other parishes in our diocese to fulfill the Church’s mission by making Christ present and transforming lives in His love in our parish and throughout our Diocese of San José.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

January 28, 2024

A Message from Fr. Paul Soukup

Psalm 95 prays, “Oh, that today you would hear his voice, ‘Harden not your hearts,” and we echo that prayer in our response, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” That forms a wonderful prayer for us still early in the church year and preparing ourselves for Lent. It is both a wish and a spur to examine ourselves. What can serve to harden our hearts, to keep us from hearing the voice of God? Each of the readings today suggests an answer.

Moses, speaking to the people in the Book of Deuteronomy, tells them that fears keep them from hearing God. God’s encounter with them at Horeb so frightened them that they pleaded not to experience that divine power again. Our fears may not be so dramatic but they can keep us from God, fears perhaps not of the voice of God but of what God might ask of us.

In his first letter to the new Christian community at Corinth, St. Paul writes that anxieties can in effect harden us to the voice of God. We worry about what he calls the things of the world–all those things to do, bills to pay, meetings to get to, family relationships, caring for the children, deadlines to meet, things all to familiar to us. St. Paul also writes about our desires to please others and similar distractions. It’s not so much that we harden our hearts against God’s voice as that we fill our hearts up with so many other things that there is no room for God.

The Gospel of Mark offers a different perspective. Here we encounter an unclean spirit that does not want to hear the voice of Jesus out of self-interest and fear: “Have you come to destroy us?” That’s the voice of a self-centeredness, of a spirit so focused on its own interests that it cannot even consider the good of the person possessed. Thankfully, we don’t face those kinds of demons, but we know that we have our selfish moments, those moments that we cannot hear the voice of God because our hearts are consumed with ourselves. Or, in a different kind of self-regard, we have moments when we just don’t want to think about things that are too difficult. We hear ourselves echoing the unclean spirit, “What have you to do with us? We’re too busy, too fragile to hear you.” Sadly, that prevents us from even hearing the consoling voice of God.

Thankfully, God knows our deepest desires, as we pray them in Psalm 95, “Harden not your hearts.” In each of the ways we harden our hearts, God responds to us. For the people of Israel, frighted of the voice of God and for us who share those fears, God sends one from their own kin, one who can speak God’s word to us with God’s own compassion; God sends Jesus a savior. For us overwhelmed by the cares and anxieties around us, God sends Jesus, a savior, who counsels us, “Do not be worried about tomorrow . . . God knows what you need.” The God who cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field will care for us, too. In the face of the unclean spirits who distort our better selves, God sends Jesus, a savior, to rebuke the spirits. This is Jesus about whom the people marveled, “He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” Jesus will do for us what Jesus does for the man possessed; he will free us so that we can hear the voice of God.

Over and over again, God shows that the divine compassion is stronger than any hardened heart.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

January 21, 2024

A Message from Fr. Robert McKay

When we are severely challenged by life’s events, we come to realize how trivial events can engross us when compared to the mystery of life and death. There are three common reactions to life and death. First: You can’t take it with you — so spend it while you can. When you’re dead you’re dead and that’s it! Second: A hope that there may be life beyond the grave, not entirely sure! Third: The conviction that God holds each human life securely in his hand, so that death is just a passing-over into his loving presence.

We can all become rather set in our ways – certain ways of doing things and to stay with those ways. It can become rather difficult to change our routines or broaden our horizons a little, to open us up to areas of life that we would never otherwise have ventured into. However, we have all had experiences when we have been introduced to ways of being that have been very enriching and helpful.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his glory,” says Jesus. If our ultimate desire is to fit in with God’s plan for us, then everything else will fall into place. We all need conversion, no less than the people of Nineveh, or the people of Galilee. Repent, and believe is Jesus’ message for us today. Essentially Jesus is saying: “Believe that God who is my father and also your father; believe that he is near at hand, and that he is kind and merciful.” Saint Paul in the second reading today calls on us not to become engrossed in the world, not to give ourselves over completely to what does not endure and is not of ultimate significance. He reminds us that we should get our priorities right, to get a proper balanced view of things, so that what is of lasting importance can play its role — namely, our eternal destiny and how we stand in the sight of God.

Genuine Christian devotion keeps us grounded in reality, more keenly involved than ever in carrying out the tasks that have to be done here and now, because now is the day of salvation; now is the time, given us by God to pay him our thanksgiving through service. “Living in the moment” is considered a Christian spiritual discipline. It is a way of being present and attentive to the current moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Embracing the present moment can help us appreciate what’s given to us so that we can give thanks to God for all his goodness to us. A priest once shared this insight with me: “Of all the things I have learned and taught over the years, I can think of nothing that could be of more help to anyone than living in the now.”

The presence of God is infinite, everywhere, always, and forever. You cannot not be in the presence of God. There’s no other place to be. It is we who are not present to Presence. God’s horizon is always so much wider than ours. The call of Jesus to follow him always involves a call to allow our own limited horizons to be stretched to embrace God’s vision for our lives. What Jesus basically says to us is – seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then God will take care of everything you need in your life. Seek first the kingdom of God means to put God’s top priorities as your top priorities – build His kingdom by preaching the Gospel, reaching lost people, and making disciples. When you see God actively present in the now of your life, then you are living the words seek the kingdom of God.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

January 14, 2024

A Message from Fr. Joseph Tran

Meet Jesus and Transform Your Life

Christmas 2023 was closed with the Baptism of the Lord last Monday, January 7. We now enter the liturgical season of Ordinary Time during Winter until Ash Wednesday, February 14. Since Christmas, the days have been lengthening, they can still seem short and dark. Even when the sun shines, a chill fills the air like the past week. Naturally, politically and socially acknowledging, we have felt darkness, fears, and anxieties as we entered the new year 2024:

· the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan
· the escalation of wars in the Middle East and Eastern Europe
· the dire consequences of climate change

Sisters and brothers in Christ as Catholic Christians,

When we feel surrounded by darkness, Jesus—fully God and fully man, whom we receive at the Eucharistic liturgy, is all the more significant to give us hope and light to be faithful and perseverant in our vocations. Let us turn to the Word of God of this 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time to direct us to the true light and hope: “The living Word of God is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path” (Ps 119). The First Reading (Sam 3, 3b-10, 19) and the Responsorial Psalm 40 invite us to trust and continue to offer ourselves to God’s will like Andrew, Simon, and Peter, leaving their former lives to follow Jesus: “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.”

The names of two brothers, Andrew and Simon, the sons of John, would have been forgotten if they had continued their daily routine of fishing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. However, everything changed when Jesus entered their lives. First, Andrew, introduced to Jesus by John the Baptist, followed Him and stayed with Him that night. Then, he went to introduce and bring his brother to meet Jesus. Jesus changed Simon’s name to ‘Cephas,’ meaning ‘Rock.’ It was not just a change of name but a transformation of life to lay the foundation of the Church of Christ. Both were chosen as disciples, with Peter becoming the leader of the apostles and the first Pope of the Church.

Sisters and brothers in Christ,
Today, Jesus also invites us to “come and see” and meet Him by listening to His Word and receiving His Body in the Eucharist. Like the two brothers when they encountered Jesus, we too, transformed our lives. Pope Benedict XVI affirmed, “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, Jesus Christ” (Deus Caritas Est, No. 1). For us today, Jesus is not just a great historical figure but the living God whom we can encounter. Together as SFC’s faith community, we try our best to make 2024’s resolution to diligently meet Jesus through reflecting on the Word of God and receiving the Eucharist every weekend, even when we feel down to submit ourselves completely to the will of God.

Let us ponder an important question: Who are we? Often, we ‘identify’ our identity in what we achieve or fail to achieve. In doing so, we let our actions determine our worth. While our actions may align or conflict with our worth, our worth is not determined by our actions. Our worth is determined by something entirely different: the Sacrament of Baptism! Through it, God chose and called us by new name. As a result, the Father sees us as beloved children and looks at us with great joy. Not because of what we do or do not do, but we are ‘garmented with dignity’ as a beloved daughter/son of God.

Who are we? Through this Sacrament, Christ has embraced us; you and I belong to Him – the Living Body of Christ! Christ is here; He entered our lives, seized our souls, and will stay with us unless we deliberately turn away from Him due to our former sinful lives. He waits to restore intimate friendship with us like Andrew and Peter.

To conclude, I want to share this story. “Oh, God, the fire! This is not just a pile of broken iron!” a blacksmith exclaimed. A non-believer asked him how he could trust God despite illness and suffering. He replied, “When I make a tool, I take a piece of iron and put it in the fire. Then, I continuously beat it on the anvil to see if it can endure. I create a ‘work of art’ from it if it does. Otherwise, I throw it into the pile of broken iron! I can rejoice when I suffer for love because I know that God is using me. I know who I am!”
“Lord, please continue to shape me like iron on the anvil so that I become a wonderful ‘work of art’ for You, not because of what I do or do not do, but because I am Your child!” Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

January 7, 2024

A Message from Fr. Joseph Tran

Jesus: God’s Light Among Us – We: Jesus’ Light Among Others

In today’s feast, The Epiphany of the Lord, we celebrate the great manifestation of God in our midst for the second time in this season: Epiphany, meaning a ‘showing’ or ‘manifestation.’ We already celebrated the first on December 25, when God revealed himself to us, manifested in the form of a helpless, newborn infant. He is presented as born homeless and in poverty and surrounded by the poor and outcasts (that is who the shepherds represent). “God has pitched His tent, dwelling among humanity” (John 1:14).

In today’s feast, we see the same recently born baby in similar circumstances, but the material and social surroundings are hardly touched. The emphasis here, as we shall see, is different. Here are strangers, foreigners, and outsiders coming to give royal homage to this tiny child. This will be the aim of every Christian: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…; and behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matt 28:19-20).

Today’s Solemnity of the Lord’s Epiphany affirms God’s salvation is extended for people of every land: three kings offer Jesus. Gold – the most precious of metals, symbolizes Jesus, The King of kings; Frankincense – used in worship, symbolizes the Child’s Divinity; and Myrrh – used in preparing a body for burial, symbolizes Jesus’ Humanity.

We ask: “Did the story of the visitation of three kings happen like that?” Instead, we should be asking, “What does it mean? What is it saying to us?” The story’s truth is in its meaning and not in the related facts. Although Jesus is still an infant and in Bethlehem, we do not know how long after his birth this incident should have occurred. We are not told because it does not matter. It is not relevant to the meaning of the story.

33 Years Later, as the story unfolds …
‘What happened to the baby all those years ago?’ One of the three kings who visited the newborn King of the Jews wondered. Throughout his life, the King could not forget the journey 33 years prior; following a mysterious star that led him to the Bethlehem cave.

The question lingered: ‘Did that baby become the ruler of the people of Israel?’ It made the king restless. Unable to resist, once again, the King decided to embark on a journey to Palestine. The wise elders remembered the strange star in Jerusalem, but no one knew about the child born under that miraculous sign. In Bethlehem, people shook their heads, except for an old woman who informed the king: ‘No Jesus in Bethlehem, only Jesus of Nazareth, a man claiming to be the Son of God, was recently crucified.’

Disappointed, the king sadly joined the pilgrims returning to Jerusalem on Pentecost. Intruding into the crowd celebrating Thanksgiving after the Harvest, the king noticed a group of people. Curious, he pushed through the crowd to hear someone saying, ‘Just thought we’d encounter some drunken nonsense.’

But the king’s ears caught someone in the group speaking his language, clearly talking about Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified but miraculously resurrected. As if driven by an invisible force, the king interjected, asking, ‘So where is this Jesus now?’ Standing amid the crowd, Simon and Peter replied, ‘He is among us. He is within us. We are His mouth, eyes, hands, feet.’

As Peter spoke, a strong wind blew, and flames appeared again, descending upon the people. The king suddenly saw the star of Bethlehem, but this time, it split into many stars falling upon the crowd. In his soul, the king understood that each person must become a manger where Jesus is born and carry Him to those around them.

Dear SFC’s sisters and brothers,
The story connects the meaning of Christmas, celebrating the Incarnation with the Feast of the Epiphany. Simultaneously, it highlights the duty of all Christ’s followers to become Christ’s eyes, mouth, hands, and feet to bring His Gospel to the people we encounter and collaborate with daily life and responsibilities. Amen.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All!

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

Pastor’s Message Archives

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Oct-Dec 2023 Pastor's Messages (Click to view)

December 31, 2023

Pastor’s Message: Fr. James Okafor, Ed.D

Family Love, Unity and Peace!

The whole celebration of Christmas has been within the context of a family. Jesus, the son of God, was born into the family of Mary and Joseph. Within the Christmas octave, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family- the family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. In this feast, we celebrate the gift of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, who said yes to the will of God for the salvation of all of us. The Holy Family becomes a model to us in our families, either as a father, mother, or child.

Today’s readings invite us to reflect on our responsibilities toward making our families where love, unity, and peace abide. The first reading calls for profound respect children should give to their parents, especially in their old age. In the second reading, St. Paul calls for mutual respect in families to promote love, unity, and peace in a family. We become instruments of this love, unity, and peace through acts of kindness, forgiveness, tolerance, and patience with one another.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph trusted in the will of God in different life situations. The presence of God reigned in their families, an example we are called to emulate. As Mary and Joseph presented the child Jesus to the Lord in the Gospel, God’s blessings were showered upon them. Likewise, through prayer, we should continue unceasingly to present our families and ourselves to God. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

December 24, 2023

A Message from Fr. Paul Soukup

Even during this Advent season, we always seem to be in a rush. When we hear the Gospel account of the annunciation, we quickly skip to the end. This is a story we’ve heard before. Mary gives her assent and the rest – the birth of Jesus – follows immediately in our imagination.

But perhaps we start and end in the wrong place. We’ve rushed to a conclusion. What else happens in the story of how the birth of Jesus comes about?

We can try to imagine this from God’s perspective. God, who creates all things, creates this moment as well. Why would God want to ask Mary to become the mother of the Savior? Could not God save the world in a different way? No doubt. But in God’s creative plan the incarnation is part of the act of creation. The Second Person of the Trinity, through whom all things were created, intended to join creation to divinity from the very beginning. One could imagine that even if there had never been any sin, there would still be an incarnation. Mary and all of us are parts of God’s creation. This is one way to imagine God’s love.

But we can also consider a different divine perspective. In this perspective, there is a history of sin. And God, who beholds all things, sees creation, especially humanity, suffering because of its sinfulness. In this instance God who is love and compassion extends that love and compassion to what God has created. The Second Person of the Trinity chooses to become flesh and blood to redeem the world. This is not an impulsive decision. God prepares creation for this moment as we learn through the history of Israel. God enters into a covenant with Israel, and the people of Israel learn to be a people of the covenant, always in relationship with God. This is the culture or pattern in which Mary grows up. Mary is the daughter of the covenant; Mary is a daughter of prayer; Mary has a familiarity with God. So, when the angel Gabriel comes to her, Mary can speak to the angel and can overcome any fear or hesitation. Because God has chosen her, Mary can respond, as we know so will, “I am the handmaiden of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your word.“

In addition to placing the beginnings earlier, we can slow a bit at the conclusion. We might want to rush ahead to the birth of Jesus but that ignores what happens in the intervening months. The pregnancy, like all pregnancies, takes time. It changes Mary; Mary deepens in her response to God. Even the birth of Jesus is not the end of the story. The child must grow, the man must leave home, Jesus must proclaim the kingdom, and Jesus must come to his death. If we slow down enough to see ahead far enough, we find the shadow of the cross behind the angel Gabriel. But it is a shadow made possible only by the light of the resurrection. The mystery of the incarnation is the mystery of God‘s love. They mystery of the incarnation is the mystery of God’s creation. And God creates life.

This is what we celebrate on this Fourth Sunday of Advent. Reflecting on these mysteries prepares us best for the birth of the Savior.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

December 17, 2023

A Message from Fr. Robert McKay

The spiritual joy that is a hallmark of our Christian faith centers around our waiting for the coming of the Lord, and our entry into a life of eternal communion with God. Today’s readings are full of joy and hope. In the prophet Isaiah’s writings, he envisions Israel radiating as a joyful bride coming to her bridegroom. In St. John’s Gospel John the Baptist is pictured as one who came to witness to God’s light. St. Paul’s words to the Corinthians suggests that hope and joy are displayed when a community lives by Jesus’ values. As Christian folk we detect joy is when we realize deep-down in our hearts Jesus’ concerns and desires, and then strive to carry out what we perceive to be our authentic mission in life. Our aim is to make the goals of Jesus real in our lifetime.

Jesus adopted the words of Isaiah to describe his own life purpose. The prophet Isaiah speaks of one anointed and sent to bring glad tidings to the poor, healing for the broken-hearted, and liberty to captives. The joy of the prophecy is captured in the promise of restoration to an exiled and defeated ancient people to their homeland. Jesus insisted that Isaiah’s words were not merely for previous generations. They were for the present. They are for our present.

In today’s gospel, those two big questions are put to John the Baptist by the religious authorities, ‘Who are you?’ and ‘Why are you baptizing?’ In our search for our own personal truth, we ask the questions: ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Why am I doing what I am doing?’ How genuine are we in our sharing of Christian values? How we receive and respond to these questions manifests our willingness to display Jesus’ light in our world and experience great joy.

John was clear that he was not the Christ (the Messiah) because he did not try to be more than he was. Later he would say that he was not the bridegroom, only the friend of the bridegroom who rejoices at the bridegroom’s voice. Consequently, John declares himself to be the voice crying in the wilderness; he is not the Word, only the voice; he is not the light, only the witness to the light. When John was asked why he was doing what he was doing, he declared that he baptized to make known the ‘one who stands among you, unknown to you.’ He wanted to open people’s eyes to the person standing among them, to the Messiah in their midst.

In following John’s example, we could learn something about who we are at that deepest, most spiritual, level of our being? More personally, Who am I before God? Who is God calling me to be? Each one of us by virtue of our baptism is called to witness to the Light. Even though we are all far from perfect, we are, nonetheless, called to be witnesses to Jesus Christ. We must, in effect, take upon ourselves the attitude of the Baptizer; one thing we know for sure: We are not the Messiah. The Lord stands among all of us, but he remains unknown to many. Our calling is to make him known, to allow him to shine forth in our world through our lives. In what we communicate and how we communicate it, we allow the Lord to communicate through us. How we live explains why we live the way we do.

The love we enjoy with our family of friends, the pleasure of meeting new people, the awakening of talents we come to realize we have, the solidarity we feel in our local community when people willingly help their neighbors, the consolation we experience to be in prayer. The gospel is spoken to us here and now. As we hear God’s word sounded read it written, let it first “be fulfilled in our hearing of it.” O God, be with us, be our Emmanuel. Come to our poor inadequacy. Open our tired eyes. Unlock our hearts and minds.

Advent is a good time to reclaim our fundamental identity, our Christ identity. If Jesus is to be born anywhere today, it will be in each one of us. To light an advent candle is to say that God is alive, still Lord of this world, and, because of that, “all will be well, and all will be well, and every manner of being will be well.”

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

December 10, 2023

A Message from Fr. Joseph Tran

True Joy: Only Found in and through Jesus!

“In a certain city, there was a famous comedian. No matter how sad or difficult someone was, watching the comedian perform would make them burst into laughter. In the same city, there was also a renowned psychologist who could treat all kinds of mental issues. One day, an elderly man with a gloomy face came to seek advice. He said, “Doctor, I am an unhappy person. My life is filled with boredom. Is there any way you can make me happy?” The psychologist asked, “Are you lacking money?” The man replied, “Honestly, I am successful and quite wealthy.” The psychologist continued, “What about your family, wife, and children?” The man nodded, admitting, “I have a beautiful and virtuous wife, and lovely, well-behaved children.” After asking a few more questions, the psychologist suggested a solution: “I think you should attend performances by a famous comedian here in the city. Surely, you will find joy and forget your sorrows.” However, the psychologist was surprised when his client said, “Thank you, doctor, but I am actually the famous comedian you just mentioned!”

The story may sound paradoxical, but it reflects a truth. A person gifted with the talent to make others laugh can be a victim of boredom. Despite possessing all the advantages that many people desire, without an internal source of joy, how can one truly experience joy? Or when life is not joyful, how can one begin to find joy again?

Dear SFC’s brothers and sisters,
Today’s Gospel indicates clearly “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). Beginnings are important, and the beginning of Mark’s Gospel is no exception. This very first sentence reads like a summary of the entire Bible and Salvation of All. The word Gospel is derived from the Greek word “Euaggelion” as translated Good News. In the context of Jesus Christ, it holds a dual meaning: firstly, as the Good News proclaimed by Jesus Himself; and secondly, as the announcement of Jesus Christ as the Subject of the Good News by the Church. This highlights that Jesus is both the proclaimer and the object of the Good News. For that, Mark initiates the narrative in the Judean desert, where John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus Christ, the Messiah – God saves All.

Truly, Jesus is the Reason for the Season: Christmas as we’ve prepared since in Advent. It is crucial for us revisiting “the beginning” and heeding John the Baptist’s message on repentance to obtain again true joy. Repentance is the key of finding true joy that only Jesus who has come can bring. Thus, repentance becomes good news as it opens our hearts to Jesus. Take advantage of opportunities to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this season. Let God expand your capacity to receive him at Christmas. As Mark shows us in his Gospel, that’s where it all begins.

For conclusion, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in God.” Our only true joy exists when there is God’s love in our soul: God is Love. “Whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in them” (1 John 4:16). Only those whose hearts are filled with love and compassion can find peace in their souls and experience genuine joy. God’s Love has the Name: Jesus Christ – the Beginning and Ultimate Joy of every soul. Today and this week, pray to Jesus: “Jesus, help us to open our heart to you – our Beginning and Ultimate Joy as I await your coming! And it begins with our sincere contrition of heart.

May bless you all and may you have a holy and fruitful Advent. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

December 3, 2023

Pastor’s Message: Fr. James Okafor, Ed.D

Watch and Pray!

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. The Liturgy of Advent has many things in common with the Season of Lent than other liturgical seasons (Christmas, Lent, Easter, & ordinary time), especially when we look at the color of the vestments, the omission of the Gloria, and the penitential tones of some of the hymns. In the season of Advent, we celebrate not only the preparation for the coming of Christ but also His ever-abiding presence among us and his final coming when He will complete the work of redemption. During Advent, we celebrate these three stages of our salvation- past, present, and future.

Today’s readings connect us to these three stages of Christ’s coming: the promise made, which we read in the first reading in the book of the Prophet Isaiah. The incarnation through which he lived among us and left us with love be the center of what we do, which St. Paul describes in the second reading while praying that we will be ready and “not lacking in any spiritual gift” as we await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel invites us to WATCH! Our true watchfulness has to be grounded in consistent prayer life. Hence, this Season of Advent could help us to rekindle and strengthen our prayer life. What, then, is prayer? Prayer is simply a spiritual dialogue with God. It is an awareness of God’s presence. We express our prayers in different forms: adoration, thanksgiving, contrition/forgiveness, or petition/supplication.

How do we learn to pray? We learn how to pray by praying, especially by recognizing the ever-abiding presence of God in our lives. Where do we pray? Even though our Church or Chapel, with the presence of the Eucharistic Jesus, is a special place of prayer, we believe too that God is everywhere. Thus, we can pray everywhere: at home, in our car, at work, or school. When do we pray? We can pray every time, but most people pray in the morning and night to begin and end the day. Prayer increases our faith and strengthens our will always to do God’s will. Jesus, Mary, the disciples, and all the saints were men and women of prayer. Here at SFC, we have scheduled this Advent season different opportunities to help us deepen our prayer life. Let us ask the good Lord that we can grow in our prayer life during this Advent season. Amen. “Rejoice in your hope, be patient in your trials, but never cease praying” (Romans 12:12)

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

November 26, 2023

A Message From: Fr. Paul Soukup

Christ the King

Pontius Pilate, with his world view formed by Roman power politics, questioned Jesus about being a king. The term was not one that Jesus applied to himself. Indeed, he told Pilate “You say it.“ And yet we celebrate this feast of Christ the King.

Even if he does not call himself a king, Jesus does speak about the kingdom of heaven. For him, this reign of God held a central place in his preaching. Jesus pointed to that rather than to himself. When he does speak about a king, he does so in parables where the “king” becomes a character to help us understand more about this kingdom of heaven. And so, in these last few months we have heard parables about a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son to which no one came. We have heard about a king who needed to take stock to see whether he could engage a stronger force in battle. But we are just as likely to have heard about a farmer, a woman cleaning house, a merchant, or an estate manager. All of these play central roles in the parables with which Jesus helps us to understand the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven in the parables does not need a king.

The kingdom of heaven, in Jesus’ view, focuses less on a king than on what a king does. We meet a king in the parable about the end of the world that we hear today. This king sits in judgment and so represents God and God‘s power of revealing our lives. In effect, the parable holds up a mirror to our behavior. Those blessed by the king are those whose lives blessed others, those who loved their neighbor. Those cursed by the king led lives that, in effect, condemned others to hunger, thirst, loneliness, or abandonment. The first group enter into “the kingdom prepared for you.” The kingdom is a place adorned by love for others. The king’s judgment is as simple as that. But lest we become confused, the parable’s king provides specific examples. The blessed are those who gave food, water, clothing, shelter, healthcare, or companionship to a king whom they did not recognize. These things separate the blessed from the cursed.

When we celebrate the end of the liturgical year in this Solemnity of Christ the King, we should look less upon the title of a king—a title that seems somewhat foreign to us—and more upon what the king does. The king reveals our actions to us. The king does not use force. The king does not condemn. The king welcomes some, those who love their neighbor, and finds nothing familiar in those who did not.

When we celebrate Christ the King, we accept this view of the kingdom of heaven, of the reign of God. This view chooses not Christ a king upon a throne but Christ a king upon a cross. For from the cross we learn what true love of neighbor means. From the cross we understand where the compassion of Christ takes its meaning. From the cross we leave what defines the kingdom of God.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

November 19, 2023

A Message From: Fr. Joseph Tran

“Do Everything With Our Ability To Love” (Mt 25:14-30)

Last week, the story of the ten bridesmaids waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom was about constant readiness for the final coming of Christ. Next week, the 34th Sunday, we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. Today’s Mass at the last Sunday of Ordinary Time, we are reminded not just of the end of the liturgical year but of the end of all things and the preparations we need to make. The Second Reading reminds us that the Day of the Lord will come “like a thief in the night.” Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do but let us “stay alert and sober.”

And what should we be doing while we are alert and sober in anticipation of the Lord’s coming?

The Gospel passage pinpoints the ultimate purpose of our activities in the Parable of the Talents: DO EVERYTHING WITH OUR ABILITY TO LOVE. Literally, one talent with a very large sum of money, equivalent to thousands of dollars today. The parable contains words of advice for the interim period between Christ’s resurrection and his final return. It urges a responsible use of the goods the Master has entrusted to us so that we may be ready to face him when he calls us to account. That we must use our earthly life in such as way as to win Heaven.

The master knew the capacity of his servants: To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one — to each according to his ability.” He did not want to burden every one of them with the same responsibility, but according to capacity to receive. After a long time had passed, the master returned and settled accounts with his servants. The servant with five talents produced five more: the one with two produced two more. Consequently, both deserved their master’s blessing: “Well done, my good and faithful servant… Come, share your master’s joy.” But the one who buried his one talent: “You wicked, lazy servant!”

Brothers and sisters,
The meaning of the parable is crystal clear. We are the servants, not the owners of the talents. The talents are the qualities God has bestower on us: our time, our intelligence, our ability to love, our power to make others happy, our temporal goods… The journey of the master signifies the duration of our life. His unexpected return signifies our death. The settling of accounts is our judgment. The banquet is Heaven. The Lord frequently reminds us in the Gospels that we do not own what we have. We are stewards entrusted with God’s property. A day will come when we shall have to give an account of our behavior. The lazy servant did not serve his master because of an absence of love. Love motivates a person to give true service. Laziness is the result of a failure to love. The Lord uses this parable to reproach those who either fail to develop their given talents, or pervert their use for the sake of self-love.

Let us examine our whole approach to the gifts we have received from God. Do we think of ourselves as stewards, or do we live under the illusion that we are the true owners of what we possess? How do we use our time?

A story: After visiting the family of a classmate who had just had a car accident, little Linda returned home. Her father was angry upon learning that his daughter had just visited her friend’s funeral. He sternly looked at Linda and asked, ‘Why did you go to their house at this time?’ Linda replied, ‘Dad, I went there to help their family.’ Her father questioned, ‘But what can you do to help their family?’ Linda replied, ‘Dad, I can’t do much for their family. I just ran to hug her mother and cried, and her mother hugged me and cried with me.’ Linda’s answer made her father realize that although she couldn’t do much for the funeral, she did everything within her ability to comfort the grieving mother who had just lost her beloved child.”

Our Father God is always pleased to behold a finished work manifesting an effort to make use of time for the sake of self-giving love. May God help us. through our patroness St. Frances Cabrini to DO EVERYTHING WITH OUR ABILITY TO LOVE like Jesus. Amen

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


November 12, 2023

A Message From: Fr. Robert McKay

In our Gospel this weekend Jesus recommends to his hearers to be ready for the Last Day. His point is a simple one: “Stay awake.” In other words, be ready at all times for God’s rule to come upon you. The wedding story Jesus relates is symbolic. The Ten Virgins, or Bridesmaids, represent all Christians as they wait for Christ to return at the end of time in glory.

The story of the ten maidens and their lamps, however, perplexes interpreters. What is the symbolism of the “oil”? All maidens fell asleep – so why the message “Stay Awake”? The delay of the bridegroom is never explained, nor does he apologize for being late! Furthermore, would anyone have been so foolish as to forget to bring enough oil for a lamp? Above all there is this question: “Where is the bride?”

We should remember that a parable is not an allegory. An allegory is a story that has many points of reference to human experience but a parable has only one. The one point of this parable of the bridesmaids is readiness. Jesus was continuously telling people to wake up and stay awake. Usually only one virgin, the wife to be, comes out to greet the bridegroom. Here we have ten and we are told there were five foolish, and five wise maidens. Matthew wants us to focus on the bridegroom – clearly Jesus Christ. So we ask the question: Who will be worthy to walk with the bridegroom as his wife? The answer appears to be the wise virgins as they will recognize him and he will walk arm-in-arm with them into the wedding feast. The five foolish virgins will not be worthy to be wives.

Our next question is: what makes the wise wise and the foolish foolish? At the darkest time, the Bridegroom Jesus arrives and all are asked to go out and meet him. The time has come for the lamp to be lit so that the virgins can see the bridegroom and in turn the bridegroom can see the virgins. Light is needed – hence the lamps. Alas, the foolish maidens have no oil and ask the wise ones for some oil. The relevant issue was the thoughtless ones’ unreadiness for the delay. They were not prepared for living the life of the Kingdom.

The wise ladies advise them to go and buys some oil. It is at this moment that the foolish manifest their foolishness and the wise their wisdom. The refusal of the wise virgins to share may appear selfish. Here we are not talking really about lamps and oil but about people and life. This is the moment we can apply the story to our own lives. The truth of the oil is this: you have to have your own. Character cannot be transferred or borrowed. We must build it for ourselves.

Each person must supply oil from their own living out of the teachings of Jesus. Jesus directs us to our own inner resources. It appears that we all have to learn to do the will of God for ourselves. We need to receive Jesus into our hearts so that the Christ within us through grace can build us up from within. This will awaken within us our identity as children of God. As God’s children we want to commit ourselves to what God is calling us to be and to do. Integrating Jesus into our lives is transformation. Knowing the truth about Jesus is not enough. We are called to be like him – then the door opens!

As St. Augustine teaches “Watch with the heart, watch with faith, watch with love, watch with charity, watch with good works…; make ready the lamps, make sure they do not go out …; renew them with the inner oil of an upright conscience; then shall the Bridegroom enfold you in the embrace of his love and bring you into his banquet room, where your lamp can never be extinguished” (Sermon, 93).”

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

November 5, 2023

Pastor’s Message: Fr. James Okafor, Ed.D

The Motives Behind Our Actions!

One of the striking points the readings of today invite us to reflect on is to re-examine the intentions or motives behind our actions. In the first reading (Malachi 1:14b-2:2b, 9-10), the Prophet Malachi challenges the priests of his time for not giving glory to God’s name, turning aside the ways of God, and doing things for wrong motives, especially for self-glory. The message of the Prophet is also being addressed not only to those who share in the ministerial priesthood but all of us who share in the common priesthood of Christ.

Jesus, in the Gospel (Matthew 23:1-12), like the Prophet Malachi, challenges the religious leaders of his time, the Scribes and the Pharisees, for their hollow religiosity and pretentious life, doing things for self-glory and their love for titles, honor, and recognition. It is within this context that Jesus gave the teaching, “call no one on earth your father,” which has generated lots of questions on why we call our priests “Father.” We call our priests Father because they are like spiritual fathers to us. It is only a mark of respect.

In the last part of the Gospel, Jesus invites us to embrace the gift of humility: “The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Humility helps us to do things with the right motives- for the greater glory of God. Humility is never denying what we are, have, or know but acknowledging that each of our gifts is from God. Just as St. Paul praised the Thessalonians in the 2nd reading for their acts of faith and humility, we pray that God showers the virtue of humility in our lives, which will direct our motives to do things for the greater glory of God. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

October 29, 2023

Pastor’s Message: Fr. James Okafor, Ed.D

The Greatest Commandment

The Eucharist, the Sacrament of love, invites us constantly to appreciate the love God has for us, to experience this love, and to express it in our relationship with God and one another. The readings of this Sunday, among other things, invite us to reflect on the three dimensions of this love -the love of God, the love of oneself, and the love of neighbor -the greatest commandment. Jesus in the Gospel (Matthew 22:34- 40) invites us to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul. It is a total love without reservation. We must love God because he loves us first. Out of his love, he created us, redeemed us in his love, and will save us in his love. We show that we love him through our efforts to keep his commandments, “If you love me to keep, you will keep my commandment” (Jn. 14: 15).

The second dimension of this invitation is our love for our neighbor, which is grounded in our love for ourselves. It then presupposes that before we can love our neighbor as God wants us, we must genuinely love ourselves according to God’s love. The love of oneself is not limited to taking care of our physical needs, food, clothing, leisure, or other comforts but also our spiritual needs. When we have a balanced love of ourselves according to God’s will, we can use it as a yardstick to measure our love for our neighbor. The third dimension of the love God calls is the love for our neighbor. Who is this neighbor? A question like this was asked to Jesus in Luke 10: 29-37, leading to the Good Samaritan parable.

The parable helps to define who our neighbor is. Our neighbor goes beyond someone who lives in the same area or vicinity as us, but anyone who, anytime and anywhere, needs our help, and we can offer the help. As Paul was pleased with Thessalonians for their work of faith in today’s second reading (1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10), God wants to be pleased with us for our love for him, ourselves, and our neighbor. Let us ask the good Lord to help us to be instruments of his true love. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

October 22, 2023

A Message From: Fr. Paul Soukup

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Paul, the reformed Pharisee, and his companions, Silvanus and Timothy, strike what seems the right note in their greeting to the church in Thessalonika: “We give thanks to God always for you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope.” It is the prayer that we all want to offer for one another, and it seems quite different from the thinking of those Pharisees whom we meet in the Gospel.

Charitably, we might think that they had a genuine question about the Law of Moses: Could Jews support a foreign power by paying taxes? Was this a real moral dilemma for them? But we can reasonably suspect their motives—questions of paying taxes always seems to carry ulterior motives. And this question, however innocent, contained a deadly trap. Answer one way and the Roman occupiers could arrest Jesus for sedition; answer another way and the Jewish people could reject Jesus as a collaborator. Jesus manages to avoid the trap and to make this moment yet another revelation about the Kingdom of Heaven. Rather than a parable that invites us to puzzle over how God’s reign works among us (as we have heard for the last several weeks), Jesus uses an example to help us understand more about God’s claim on us, about how the Kingdom of Heaven works. But, like the parables, the central part of Jesus’ teaching occurs in what Jesus does not say.

“Whose image is this and whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s.”
“Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

If the image and the inscription mark out the coin as belonging to Caesar, then we might ask how we might discover what belongs to God. Where do we find the image of God? Where do we find the inscription of God?

Those listening to Jesus will know this immediately. The Scriptures teach us that we humans are made in the image and likeness of God. The Scriptures teach us that in the days of the Messiah, God will write the law in our hearts. If we are God’s image and God’s inscription, then we belong to God. We can give the coin to Caesar, but we must give ourselves to God.

The Kingdom of Heaven consists of God’s claim on us and of our acknowledging that claim. As we learned in each of the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven, God asks more than a coin—attending a wedding feast, working in the vineyard, offering the first fruits, going when we are sent. But as we also learned in each of those parables, though God asks more of us, God pays more than we can ask or imagine.

So, it does make sense for Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to give thanks always, not only for the Thessalonians, but for all the churches. They rightly recognize God’s image and God’s inscription: an inscription of faith written in our hearts, an enduring hope in our minds, and an image of love in service of one another. It is the image of Jesus, the image of the invisible God.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

October 15, 2023

A Message From: Fr. Robert McKay

Through the sacrament of baptism, we have been called to salvation and to take our place in the future kingdom of God. Our Scriptures today invite us to raise our sights, and our hearts, when thinking of the future. Beyond this present life, God has planned a great future for all of us.

Today our first reading, from the prophet Isaiah, speaks of God planting, caring for and protecting a vineyard. The vineyard is a symbol for the people of Israel and God’s loving care for them. The people – the vineyard – come to know God as: the creator of all; the one who delivers them from slavery; their guide and protector in the desert during times of physical and spiritual testing. Isaiah’s prophecy of the heavenly banquet is an invitation to think of our eternal destiny and prompts us to reflect on how we are doing in our preparation for life eternal. The banqueting atmosphere of welcome and warmth is a lovely image for a loving communion with God and with others towards which our lives are destined.

The Gospel picks up the familiar Old Testament theme – the vineyard. It is an invitation to us to think about the quality of our efforts in the vineyard. Jesus emphasizes that this wedding-banquet is open to all people. It is comforting to know that God wants every one of us to be saved. We do, however, need a wedding garment to take our place at the wedding feast. The wedding garment symbolizes our personal commitment to accept our place at the wedding feast and to possess a community spirit by sharing our well-being with others in the presence of God. Loving God is not a matter simply of saying “How nice!” Love is relationship in love. To love God is to step into the flow of God’s infinite loving, to say “yes”, which translated, means to practice justice, mercy, forgiveness, patience and truth. Our wedding-garment is being woven daily by the quality of our interaction with others. In this sense, we hold tomorrow in our own hands, as with the help of God’s grace we build our own eternal future.

St. Paul and the early Christian community believed that history is in God’s hands. He wrote encouragingly in today’s reading; I can do all things in him who strengthens me. Paul reminds us though that it is not all our own work – God’s grace prompts us to live a worthy life, despite our human weaknesses. Difficulties in present life were viewed as growth-pains, or a means whereby to purify our hearts from selfishness and sin. For the members of the early Christian household, no matter how hard the circumstances in which they found themselves, they could “do all things in Him who strengthens us,” by holding on to the hope of everlasting life. If only we realize that “eye has not seen, nor can the human heart imagine, what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor 2:9.)

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

October 8, 2023

A Message From: Fr. Joseph Tran

25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Dear SFC’s sisters and brothers in Christ,

Two monks were washing their bowls in the river when they noticed a scorpion that was drowning. One monk immediately scooped it up and set it upon the bank. In the process, he was stung. He went back to washing his bowl, and again the scorpion fell in. The monk saved the scorpion and was stung again. The other monk asked him, ‘Friend, why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know its nature is to sting?’ ‘Because’ the monk replied, ‘to save, to love and to care is my nature’ (source: The Daily Zen).”

This Sunday’s readings focus on God’s vineyard, where His tenants are entrusted to care, protect, and yield good grapes. The tenants in the readings fall short of the Lord’s expectations. The Lord asks, “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?” (1st reading). And “When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield rotten grapes?” (Gospel). The Lord sent prophets and even His Only Begotten Son to remind His people of their duty to serve and be fruitful, yet they rejected God’s messengers, including Jesus.

Dear SFC’s sisters and brothers, our SFC parish is God’s local vineyard. So, we are God’s tenants at SFC. Baptized, we are privileged to be called to work in the Lord’s vineyard. We are all called to be active members of the Body of Christ, particularly here at SFC. Each week, we are invited to gather together to hear the Gospel message and make it part of our lives. The Lord expects us to produce good fruit, fruit enduring. Let us collectively ask ourselves: How much better are we than the poor tenants in the Gospel? What kind of grapes do we, as a parish community, produce? Is our parish a true sign of Jesus’ presence and love in this part of our city? What kind of impact do we have?

William S. Burroughs states, “When you stop growing, you start dying.” We, as SFC’s tenants, must not yield sour grapes that no one can eat. If we are not genuinely ensuring that our vineyard produces rich grapes, not only for us, but for others to enjoy, then we fall short as “tenants.” Then what? Cardinal Newman encourages us: “To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” It’s never too late to return and live our true nature as God intended for each of us.

As St. Paul proposes in today’s Second Reading, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” The lists are quite a challenge for all of us. However, we are not alone. Jesus is among us. We have one another. We have the SFC community.

Bearing in ourselves God’s image and likeness, God’s nature is our nature. God is Love, so are we. Thus, to sting, to hurt, or to kill is not our nature but to save, to love, and to yield good fruits is. If we can live them out as our true nature, then, says St. Paul: “…the God of peace will be with you.”

May God bless us all as we strive to be faithful and generous tenants of His grace. Amen. 

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


October 1, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor, Ed.D

A Call to Repentance and Steadfastness

The readings of today, among other things, invite us to reflect on the fact that without repentance, change of heart, and steadfastness, we cannot win the gift of salvation God has given us. In the first reading (Ezekiel 18:25-28), the Prophet Ezekiel prophesied in the Babylonian exile. The Israelites were in pain and complained that all their woes came from the evils of their fathers. In this chapter, Prophet Ezekiel’s significant theological contribution is his emphasis on personal responsibility. He teaches that everyone is liable for one’s sin. If the wicked ones repent, they will be saved. However, if the just ones are not steadfast and do not persevere, they will not be saved.

In the Gospel (Matthew 21:28-32), Jesus, using his usual parabolic method, teaches us through the story of a man who had two sons and asked them to go and work in his vineyard. The first son said no later changed his decision. The second was quick to accept but did not fulfill his promise. The first son may be categorized as an unrighteous who repented and was praised, while the second son may be seen as the righteous who could not be steadfast in his promise. Our behaviors call us at different times to be steadfast in doing the good we do and to change our ways to areas contrary to the gospel we believe in.

Let us examine our lives and know those areas of our lives that need repentance or steadfastness. We must guide ourselves against two weapons of vice: the vice of overconfidence and the vice of despair. We need the virtue of humility, which St. Paul, through the example of Christ in the second reading (Philippians 2:1-11), invites us to imitate. The virtue of humility helps us know where we are spiritually, that is, being mindful of our weaknesses and strengths, thereby praying and asking God for the grace of steadfastness and repentance. Amen

Every October, the Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life Month. This month, we reflect more deeply on the dignity of every human person made in the image and likeness of God and to promote the culture of life and protect human life at every stage. In addition, October is also the Month of the Most Holy Rosary, and the feast of the Holy Rosary is on October 7th. Also, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on October 13th, 1917, for the last time to shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, urging them to “say the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.” Check the bulletin page 4 for the different programs planned for our October Devotions. Please find time to join the programs.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

 

Jul-Sep 2023 Pastor's Messages (Click to view)

September 24, 2023

A Message From: Fr. Paul Soukup

25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

I do not think that I have met anyone who does not react strongly to the parable we hear today, the parable of the workers in the field. Those workers all receive the same wage, whether they began in the morning or in the late afternoon. It just seems unfair to those who worked so long. Shouldn’t they receive more? Couldn’t the generous owner be generous to a few more people? At minimum, the parable does contain a warning that we should always read the small print— “you did agree to work for the usual daily wage, did you not?” At its maximum, the parable addresses much more than that: our expectations, God’s generosity, our habits of social comparison, and our sense of entitlement.

We know that God is generous, but deep down we expect God to be generous to us, not necessarily to others. And, though we don’t like to admit it, deep down we do compare ourselves to others. Economic experiments have shown that people are more satisfied with lower wages if they perceive that others around them earn the same wage. We deserve more than others, we think. While the parable does ask us to think about those habits, it also asks more of us.

Perhaps to our surprise, the parable asks us to reflect on the benefits of work. Those who spent the day in the sunlit vineyards gained something more than pay. The Hebrew Bible refers to Israel as God’s vineyard. To work in the vineyard is to be in a member of God’s people. The longer one works, the closer one draws to God. In St. Paul’s view, this is how we become joined to Christ, so that “Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death”. . . or, as the parable has it, by longer working hours or by shorter ones. The association with Christ matters. From that point of view, those who worked the long hours received the usual daily wage plus some additional benefits: the transforming lessons of work, the companionship of the fields, being in the vineyard itself, having a share in God’s project.

Working for that vineyard owner also reveals that God has nothing else to give but the usual daily wage—here measured not by coins, but by God’s love. The usual daily wage consists of a sharing in divine love and presence. So, being in the vineyard matters. God does not parcel that out since God’s gift of divinization remains open to all those whom God invites. It’s a complete package. “Why do you stand here idle all day?” the owner asks. Why did you not accept my offer earlier? That’s another good question for us.

As Isaiah points out, we do not always understand God’s ways, which are high above our ways. Another benefit of working long hours in God’s vineyard is insight: insight into God’s ways and insight into ourselves. That day’s work lets us pretty clearly see what we complain to God about and what we would like to change in God’s plan. Did we wait because no one hired us or because we didn’t hear the invitation to work?

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

SAVE THE DATE: November 11th at 5.00 PM for our parish Intercultural Mass & Dinner reception after Mass in honor of our patroness, St. Frances Cabrini. Feast day, Monday, November 13th. The celebrations will highlight the beauty of cultural diversity in our community.


 

September 17, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor, Ed.D

Letting Go From The Heart!

Forgiveness or letting go of pains caused by others is among the most difficult things asked of us Christians. The greater the pain, the more difficult it is to let go or forgive the one who caused it. It becomes a little wonder then to see the reasons behind Peter’s question to Jesus concerning how often he must forgive someone who wrongs us in today’s Gospel (Matthew 18:21-35). In answer to Peter, Jesus told the story of the Unforgiven Servant and, through the story, reiterated the fact that though forgiveness is difficult, it ought to be given and received continuously from the heart. Jesus emphasizes after the story, “So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

One of the obstacles to forgiveness is anger. Anger is a passion, an emotion that we all experience to some degree when we perceive ourselves as having been poorly treated or offended. Anger invariably transforms into hostility and hatred when it is nurtured and allowed to fester. Our first reading, Book of Sirach (27:30-28:7), invites us, “Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight… Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?” The anger in our hearts pushes us to think and feel that our offender does not deserve our forgiveness, but we must remember that “the vengeful will suffer the Lord’s vengeance, for he remembers their sins in detail.”

Letting go from the heart goes beyond mere words or lip service, but it invites us to withhold judgment against someone who has offended us, to renounce bitterness that destroys our peace, to break the silence of an enraged heart, and not to wish evil for someone who has offended us. Also, remembering our human frailty, failures, and weaknesses helps us excuse and forgive others from the heart. Most importantly, praying to God for the grace and strength to let go and forgive others from our hearts helps us experience the healing and freedom forgiveness gives us. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

SAVE THE DATE: November 11th at 5.00 PM for our parish Intercultural Mass & Dinner reception after Mass in honor of our patroness, St. Frances Cabrini. Feast day, Monday, November 13th. The celebrations will highlight the beauty of cultural diversity in our community.


 

September 10, 2023

A Message From: Fr. Joseph Tran

Building A Strong Christian Family Through Reconciliation

The 1st of September marks two months since my arrival here at SFC. During this time, I’ve had the privilege of learning more about our SFC parish and school community, and I’ve also had the opportunity to get to know all of you, beloved SFC parishioners. Each day, as I reflect, I humbly offer thanks to God for guiding me to SFC, a vibrant and faith-filled community where I’ve experienced growth in my own faith, hope and love through my priestly ministry. Truly, as the Apostle Paul reminds us, ‘we, all parishioners from one Christian community at SFC, can do all things through Christ who strengthens us’ (Philippians 4:13).

Today’s Gospel reading, Matthew 18:15-20, calls us to strive for unity within the body of Christ, even when we encounter differences, disagreements, and conflicts. Jesus lays out a clear pattern for resolving conflicts – one that emphasizes humility, confidentiality, and love. Furthermore, Jesus imparts upon Peter, His apostles, and each of us, His followers, the authority to ‘bind and loose’ (see Matthew 18:18). While most of us are not priests acting in the person of Christ to absolve sins committed in the sacrament of reconciliation, we are all called to forgive in our daily lives. When we extend forgiveness to others who have wronged us, we are assured that our Heavenly Father will forgive us, just as we pray in the Our Father. Jesus, through His life, death, and resurrection, grants us freedom, and He entrusts us with the sacred responsibility of forgiveness: ‘Whatever you bind and loose on earth shall be bound and loosed in heaven.’ What a profound privilege this is!

Dear brothers and sisters, in the week ahead, let us earnestly endeavor to be gentler, both with ourselves and with others, in our thoughts, words, and actions. We shall bind tightly our feelings of hatred, selfishness, condemnation, or judgment, and we shall release our burdens of painful memories and those individuals who have caused us hurt, through the act of forgiveness. By forgiving others, we unburden them from guilt or shame, and simultaneously, we free ourselves from the chains of resentment, hatred, and lingering bad memories.

The call to reconciliation and peacemaking is undoubtedly challenging, but take comfort in the knowledge that we do not face these trials alone. Jesus promises that wherever two or more gather in His name, He is present among them. Let us bind ourselves, our families, and our community closely to Christ through communal prayer, reflection on Scripture, and participation in the Sacraments, with a special focus on the Eucharistic celebration at SFC every weekend.

“Jesus, help me to forgive others today, just as you have forgiven me for all my trespasses against God and others, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times.” May the grace of our Lord guide us as we navigate the path of forgiveness and reconciliation, bringing us closer to the harmony and unity that He desires for SFC and His Church. Amen.

This Sunday, within the 9.30 AM Mass, we will commission these parishioners who are serving as members of the SFC Parish Leadership Team (PLT) – Melissa Shaffer, Doris Bebla, Maria Sarmiento, Carlo Pedron, Sam Nicholas, & Jeff Morrison. The PLT is a group of leaders the pastor invites to share in his parish leadership. The PLT is responsible for creating a culture of leadership in the parish; helping the pastor to oversee different ethnic groups, councils, and ministries. Let us continue to pray and support them.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

September 3, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor, Ed.D

Today’s Gospel (Matthew 16:21-27) continues the last week’s Gospel. Immediately after Peter confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus announced his mission as a Son who will suffer and die. Peter opposed it because he thought that Christ’s mission was for earthly glory, but Jesus shunned him and saw him as an obstacle to his mission, even calling him Satan- one who obstructs us from doing the will of God. In a very challenging way, Jesus invites us, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” The cross of our life remains the sufferings and challenges we face.

Examples of Jesus’ perseverance and persistent approach to his sufferings are models for us. Like Jeremiah in today’s first reading, Jesus, even though in his human nature, felt the pains of his different forms of suffering, remained steadfast in his unflinching trust in the will of his heavenly Father. Jesus connected his mission to do the will of God the Father to his cross, the cross of our salvation. In his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, he still affirmed his utmost desire to do God’s will, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”

As missionary disciples of Christ, our Eucharistic encounter with Jesus should help us to carry our cross and follow him. Following him means that we recognize his ever-abiding presence in our day-to-day life, especially in difficult moments, and that we will always entrust our life unto his hands and see his hands in our lives. Reflect quietly on those challenges that fill our days with anxieties of fears, worries, and doubts and stand on our way to carrying the mission. Ask the good Lord to shower you with the strength you need. Let these words of St. Paul in our second reading uplift us, “discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” Amen.

This Sunday, we commission during 9.30 AM Mass these parishioners as members of Stewardship Ministry: Pedro Guerra, Robert Dunn, Ana Ng, Blanche Khoshaba, Sarah Mudgett, Brian Burke, Jim Ortbal, and Roxanne Vane. The mission of the SFC Stewardship Ministry is to foster and promote stewardship as a way of life for all parishioners by sharing their gifts of time, talent, and treasure as missionary disciples of Christ. Also, the ministry will help to encourage all parishioners to participate in the stewardship of God’s given treasure through the Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA), weekly in-person or electronic giving, and other parish fund-raising events. We ask for your prayers and support for this ministry.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


August 27, 2023

A Message From: Fr. Paul Soukup

In most years, today, August 27, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Monica. However, because it falls on a Sunday, this year we mark the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time. In a wonderful juxtaposition, St. Monica has something to tell us on this particular Sunday.

What we know about St. Monica comes to us through her son, St. Augustine. She was born in present-day Algeria in 331, a daughter of a Christian family. She married Patricius and had three children. Through her example and prayers Patricius became a Christian as did a son and daughter. But Augustine, as he tells us in his Confessions, became restless in things of God: looking for God apart from Christianity, exploring the different religious groups and movements sweeping through the Roman world, while seeking a successful career. Augustine wanted to make his fortune through teaching rhetoric, climbing the social ladder, and obtaining a government appointment. Monica remained a constant point of reference for him, though, to the point that he could later write, she was the mother “who brought me to birth, both in her flesh, so that I was born into this temporal light, and in her heart, that I might be born into eternal light” (Confessions, 8, 17)

Monica plays the same role for her son as Peter does for the Church.

Throughout his early life Augustine more comfortably answered Jesus’ question, “Who do people say that I am?” He could report on what the Manichaeans said or what the Platonists believed—he dabbled in both. But the answer to Jesus’ second question, “Who do you say that I am?” comes from Monica. She professes the Christ and eventually her son follows his mother’s belief.

Just as the other disciples and the Church need Peter to point the way to belief, so we need Monica and people like her to help us see the difference between what others say about Jesus and who Jesus is. Monica proved steadfast and unwavering in her testimony so that Augustine could “be born into eternal light.” She is also proof that any of us can take on that role, helping others to know that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Where Peter led, Monica followed. And because Monica followed, so could Augustine. May St. Monica pray for us so that we can do what she did.

___

This Sunday, within the 9.30 AM Mass, we will commission these parishioners who are serving a three-year term (2023-2026) as members of the SFC Parish Pastoral Council: Tim Nguyen (Chair), Debbie Casey (Vice Chair), John Beltramo (Secretary), Ronda Clark (Ex Officio) Williard Danilo, Florence Fajardo, George Midwin, Rob Godar, Elizabeth Drew, Craig Taylor & Matt Shafer. Together with the SFC Pastor, the Parish Pastoral Council Members will meet to discern God’s plan for our parish community through parish pastoral strategic planning by creating different opportunities to listen and journey with the parishioners for the parish’s growth.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


August 20, 2023

A Message From: Fr. Robert McKay

After reading today’s Gospel story of the foreign woman pleading with Jesus for help and his response, we may have questions: How come Jesus seems to want to limit his ministry to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel?” Was he not concerned for the woman who pleaded for his help? The Gospel account tells us that the foreign woman didn’t give up and provided a perfect answer to Jesus’ apparent resistance to help. The woman was a Greek; she was quick to see, and she had all a ready wit. “Even the pups get the crumbs that fall from the master’s table!” Jesus’ eyes lit up with joy at such an indomitable faith; and he granted her the blessing and the healing which she so much desired. Her prayer was answered, and her faith praised.

In the various Gospel accounts, we observe Jesus’ willingness to receive pagans who came to him; and he predicted that in the future “many will come from East and West and will sit down at table in the Kingdom of God.” It seems that Jesus initially wanted to revive the faith of his own people so that later he could establish a “house of prayer for all nations.” Oddly enough, the rejection of Jesus in his time caused his more rapid acceptance throughout the Gentile world! God wants to embrace us, all people. As St. Paul points out in his letter to the Romans, that even the lapses and sins of humanity can be transformed into something good. “God has imprisoned all people in disobedience only to show mercy on all.” Our sins will not block us from a relationship with Jesus Christ – they manifest, in fact, how much we need him. Jesus came “To seek and save what was lost.”

As the encounter between Jesus and the woman in today’s Gospel reveals – our faith is handed on by direct contact, the sharing of trust, the witness of peaceful conviction, the bearing of one another’s burdens. Like the Canaanite woman we all turn to Jesus for help in our life situations. Our path of life, in faith, will not always be smooth. We will have our share of setbacks and obstacles, and face objections and perhaps even hostility towards our Christian faith. In those circumstances, “the Canaanite woman offers inspiration with her iron resolve coupled with good humor and ready wit” (Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland).

We are blessed to have our entire Parish School Community back on campus as of last Wednesday. Our SFC school is the largest ministry of our parish. We are very grateful for the school community’s participation in the parish’s programs. This Sunday, we have our Back to School- Mass at 9.30 AM to celebrate and pray for God’s blessings for a new academic year. Within the 9.30 AM Mass, we will commission these parishioners who are leading our Children’s Ministry and our weekly Children’s Liturgy of the Word, (CLOW): Ronda Clark, Malia Delvecchio, Sarah Mudgett, Meagan Wikramanyake, Liz Hickock, & Carol Alvarez. We thank them for their ministry to our children and pray for God’s guidance.

In addition, this Sunday is our Parish Ministry Fair, from 9.00 AM to 2.00 PM. The annual Ministry Fair allows everyone to explore different ministries in the parish and choose where God calls one to actively participate in parish life. We encourage you to stop by the school plaza to interact with representatives of the different ministries and ask them questions about what they do. Also, after 9.30 AM Mass, we will have breakfast in the hall for 55 families registered in our parish since January 2023. We welcome these families and look forward to their participation in the SFC community.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

August 13, 2023

A Message From:  Fr. Joseph Tran

“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Dear SFC parishioners,
I am writing to you from Carthage, Missouri, attending the 44th Marian Days at the Congregation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. I want you all to know that I am praying for you all – my beloved parishioners at SFC. During these Marian Days, the theme: “Jesus, the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb” (Lk 1,42) is focused on promoting the love and devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist, following the call of The National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year initiative by the U.S. bishops to renew the Church’s relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist.

Jesus Christ invites us to trust in Him in the Eucharist, just as Mary did, even amidst the storms and doubts in our lives. We can learn from Peter’s courage (see today’s Gospel Mt 14:28-29) to step out of our comfort zones and walk towards Jesus in the stormy sea, having faith and allowing Jesus to lift us up when we call upon Him.

Also this week on August 15, we celebrate her assumption into heaven, body, and soul. Mary serves as a model of faith, obedience, and trust in God’s plan, saying “yes” without doubting and embracing opportunities for growth and learning. As one family journeying together in the world toward Heaven, we begin the new school year on August 16. We get to come together as a family, praying for our children, parents, teachers, and school staff during this time. Let us live boldly as Christian disciples at SFC, stepping out of our comfort zones, and trusting in the Lord like Peter and Mary responding well by their lives to the Lord’s invitation: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Keeping Christ at the center of our homes and community, we can overcome challenges and grow in faith, hope, and charity through God’s grace.

To achieve these goals, we must encounter Jesus regularly. First and foremost on every Sunday, let us all – SFC’s families and members gather together at the Eucharist table as one faith family to pay homage to Jesus, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.” Let us seek the intercession of Mary, Mother of our Redeemer and our Mother, as well as Saint Frances Cabrini, our patroness. With Jesus by our side, we can navigate life’s challenges and storms with grace and courage. Amen

This Sunday, we commission during 9:30 AM Mass, these parishioners as members of our Hospital & Homebound Ministry (H&H Ministry): Grace Rivero, Douglas Rivero, Trang Tran, Jorge Tibon, Millie Medoro, Joe Medoro, Julie Midwin, Anthony Allegretti, Carlo Pedron, Dan Hughes, Lee Campbell, Maria Sarmiento, Lillian Konnyu, MJ Leung, Donna Holt, Atour Bakuniance, Sue Butler, Rebecca Valverde, Sam Nickolas, Maria Javier, Ngocdai Nguyen, Florence Fajardo, & Diane Warneke. The SFC H&H Ministry handles the pastoral and sacramental care of our sick, homebound, and hospitalized parishioners. Also, during 5.30 PM Mass this Sunday, we commission these parishioners as members of the Information & Technology Ministry (IT Ministry): John Donnelly, Ted Vucurevich, Nogcdai Nguyen, Cathy Campbell, Bebla, Erin Donnelly, Kamil Madoo, Teri Barnett, & Steve Crooks. The mission of the SFC IT ministry is to use proper communication and available technology to create a written and audio-visual presence in the parish liturgical celebrations and other parish gatherings. We ask for your prayers and support for these ministries.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of August 13, 2023, we have received $78,239 in pledges, which is 52% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


 

August 6, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Listen to Him!

This Sunday, August 6th, is the Feast of the Transfiguration. The prayers and readings of this Sunday are that of the Mass of the Feast of Transfiguration. Today’s Gospel (Matthew17:1-9) describes the events of the Transfiguration. Jesus used the moment and the mystery of Transfiguration to strengthen the faith of his close disciples in his passion. The Transfiguration occurred when Jesus and his disciples- Peter, John, and James- were praying on the mountain. Jesus’ moment of prayer served as a special moment he dialogued with God., The appearance of Moses and Elijah confirms the mission of Jesus as the Messiah who has come to fulfill the law and the prophets.

The events of Transfiguration overwhelmed Jesus’ disciples. Peter asked for three tents, one for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for Jesus, because he knew they would be covered if Jesus got one. While Peter was speaking, a cloud covered them, and a voice came from the cloud confirming the sonship of Jesus and inviting the disciples and all of us to listen to him. The voice of God during Transfiguration wanted to strengthen the faith of Jesus’ disciples to believe in the mission of Jesus to save us through his passion, death, and resurrection. Thus, it reminds us that faith begins and grows by listening and accepting God’s word in our lives (Romans 10:17).

The Feast of Transfiguration invites us to reflect on how God speaks to us. God solemnly speaks to us through the Eucharistic celebrations, but he also speaks through the dictates of our well-formed consciences, the events of our day-to-day life, and one another, especially those who live very close to us. The invitation to “Listen to Him” is the invitation to be attentive to different ways he speaks to us, especially during the difficult moments of our lives. God wants us to listen to him and allow his word to influence our choices. Let the good Lord open our hearts and minds to listen to him and allow this word to transfigure us. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of July 30, 2023, we have received $77,836 in pledges, which is 52% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


 

July 30, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

The Eucharist: The Priceless Treasure!

Last week, I was in Washington, D.C. to participate in the 4th African National Eucharistic Congress (ANEC), July 19-23, 2023. The theme of the congress is grounded in a response to the priestly prayer of Jesus, “That They May All Be One.” (John 17:21). The spirit-filled celebrations, talks, discussions, and devotions during the Eucharistic Congress reminded and inspired the participants to appreciate deeply the Eucharist as the priceless and invaluable treasure Christ left for his Church to celebrate and adore in his memory. The Eucharist remains, without any equivocation, the source and center of the life of the Church.

The Eucharist as a spiritual food, the sacrifice of Christ, and his ever-abiding presence could be described as a worthwhile treasure and fine pearls, which today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:44-46) describes a merchant investing in fully because of the worth. Likewise, our knowledge of the Eucharist as a priceless treasure propels us to invest fully in our understanding and appreciation of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Also, the Eucharistic presence of Christ invites us to prayerfully encounter Christ as Solomon met God in his prayer in today’s first reading (I Kings 3:5, 7-12).

This enriching and fruitful encounter is possible only when participating in the Eucharistic celebrations and devotions with utmost intention and attention. Just like God spoke to Solomon, Jesus desires that through our Eucharistic encounter, we enter into this spiritual dialogue through which we talk to him and listen to different ways he talks to us. Let us ask the good Lord that every opportunity we have to encounter the Eucharistic Jesus will be an opportunity to enter into this spiritual dialogue that will equip us to be his fruitful missionary disciples through our witnesses to what we celebrate and profess. Amen.

This Sunday, we commission within 9.30 AM Mass these parishioners as members of the SFC Finance Council: Timothy Smith (chair), Jennifer Nickolas (Secretary), Carlo Pedron, Art Javier, Maile Figone, Roxanne Vane, & Tom Connelly. The SFC Finance Council assists the Pastor in all matters about parish finances. The council advises the Pastor on the financial operations of the parish, assists in the development of the parish financial plan, reviews the financial procedures of the parish, and approves the annual budget for the parish operating and capital expenditures. We ask for your prayers and support for this council.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of July 23, 2023, we have received $77,836 in pledges, which is 52% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


 

July 23, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

A God Who Cares for All!

The stories of our faith we read in the Word of God (Sacred Scripture & Sacred Tradition) remind us that God cares for each of his creatures. God desires the salvation of all he has made in his image and likeness. Thus, he allows us to seek and experience his infinite and definite mercy. Today’s readings remind us in different ways that our God is the God who cares for all. Our First Reading (Wisdom 12:13, 16-19) buttresses, “There is no god besides you who have the care of all…and you gave your children good ground for hope that you would permit repentance for their sins.”

The parable of the Wheat and Weeds we read in today’s gospel (Matthew 13: 24-30) reminds us again of our God, who cares for all. The Wheats represent the good we see in our world. Conversely, the weeds represent the evils we see in the world. God allows good and evil to co-exist but calls on us not to allow evil to overcome good but instead to call on the Holy Spirit to help us in our spiritual struggles. Our second reading (Romans 8:26-27) encourages us, “The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness… because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.”

Amid our daily moral and spiritual challenges in our faith journey, God wants us always to remember that he is there to give us the strength to overcome the evil that besets us. He wants to continue to call on him. Our today’s responsorial Psalm (Psalm 86) emphasizes, “You, O LORD, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.” Let us ask the good for the grace to recognize and appreciate his presence in our lives, always remembering that our God is the God who cares for all. Amen.

I want to introduce another advisory body to the ministry of our parish, the SFC Parish Leadership Team (PLT). PLT is a group of leaders the pastor invites to share in his parish leadership. The PLT is responsible for creating a culture of leadership in the parish, helping the pastor to oversee different ethnic groups, councils, and ministries. We thank these parishioners serving in the SFC-PLT: Melissa Shaffer, Doris Bebla, Maria Sarmiento, Carlo Pedron, Sam Nicholas, & Jeff Morrison. We will formally commission and pray for them in one of the Masses in the future.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of July 16, 2023, we have received $77,486 in pledges, which is 52% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


July 16, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

The Word of God: Listening and Doing!

The Liturgy of the Word is one of the main parts of the Mass through which God invites us to listen and reflect on his Word proclaimed to us. The Liturgy of the Word prepares us to encounter Jesus in the breaking up of bread and later in the partaking of his body and blood. At the end of each Mass, we are commissioned to “Go” as Jesus commissioned his disciples. We are being commissioned to go out and become Eucharistic people by living out the Word of God we have listened to and reflected upon.

One of the significant themes today’s readings invite us to reflect on is how we are willing to listen to the Word of God and how the Word of God bears fruit in our daily lives. Just as the Prophet Isaiah in the first reading emphasized that God wants his Word to take fruit in our lives, Jesus uses the Parable of the Sower in today’s Gospel to invite us to yield fruits through the Word we listen to. In the Parable, Jesus uses the analogy of the Sower (God), the seed (Word of God), and the four types of soil (our hearts) – the pathway soil, the rocky soil, the thorny soil, and the good soil. Each type of soil represents a specific type of heart with which we receive the Word of God.

We may have had one of these four types of hearts at different times in our lives, but Jesus wants our hearts to be the good soil that yields fruit by allowing the Word of God to influence our thoughts, words, and actions. One question we can ask ourselves as we reflect on this invitation Jesus gives us today is: What aspect of my life do I need to allow the Word of God to touch so that I can bear the fruits God desires in my life? Let us ask the good Lord to give us the disposition we always need to listen to different ways his Word comes to us and to allow the Word to bear fruits that will last in our lives. Amen.

We thank and congratulate these parishioners who will be serving a three-year term (2023-2026) as members of the SFC Parish Pastoral Council: Tim Nguyen, Debbie Casey, John Beltramo, Williard Danilo, Florence Fajardo, George Midwin, Rob Godar, Elizabeth Drew, Craig Taylor & Matt Shafer. We will formally commission and pray for them in one of the Masses in the future. Together with the SFC Pastor, the Parish Pastoral Council Members will meet as a body to discern God’s plan for our parish community through parish pastoral strategic planning by creating different opportunities to listen and journey with the parishioners for the parish’s growth.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of July 9, 2023, we have received $77,486 in pledges, which is 52% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


July 9, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Come To Me All You Who Labor And Are Burdened!

The Eucharistic celebration brings us together to encounter Jesus and to partake uniquely in the Sacrament of his body and blood, the food of eternal life. This participation is meant to help us feel Jesus’ ever-abiding presence within us. This presence reminds us that whatever happens that the solemn promise Jesus made, “Look, I will be with you until the end of time” (Matthew 28:20), will continue to be effective in our lives. As we leave the sacred space after the Mass, Jesus wants us to continue to allow this unique presence to be with us.

Thus, in Matthew’s gospel today, Jesus, in a most solemn way, invites us, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus knows that our lives will be filled with both wanted and unwanted labor and burden, which comes in different ways and affects various aspects of our lives- spiritual and physical. To be able to honor this solemn invitation, we need to trust and believe that Jesus, who is “the way, the truth, and life,” will be there to guard and guide us through the labors and burdens of our lives.

Like the invitation we receive, we can either honor it or disregard it. In the same way, we can honor or ignore this solemn invitation- Come to me- Jesus gives us. Through the fundamental option we made during our baptism, we already said yes to this invitation, but Jesus wants us to continuously day-by-day to say yes to this invitation to make this fundamental option active and fruitful. Consider what aspect of your life Jesus wants you to bring to him and ask him to give you the courage to approach him, for as He said, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Amen.

This Sunday, we commission during 11.30 AM Mass these parishioners as members of Liturgy Ministry: Patty Vucurevich, Audrey Piedad, Maria Sarmiento, Jennifer Donnelley, James Sawaya, Teresa Adams, Ana Ng, Elizabeth Drew, and Doris Bebla. The SFC Liturgy Ministry discusses, plans, prepares, and evaluates the liturgies of the SFC. The ministry ensures that the parish follows the liturgical guidelines and directives of the Diocese of San Jose. In addition, the ministry plans liturgies that are spirit-filled, which promote the active and full participation of the parishioners in the liturgical celebrations. We ask for your prayers and support for this ministry.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of July 2, 2023, we have received $77,386 in pledges, which is 52% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


 

July 2, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

The Goodness of the Lord!

In every Mass, we can sing or recite one of the Psalms in response to the first reading. The book of the Psalms, which has 150 chapters, is the longest in the bible. Most of these Psalms fall under the songs of praise and thanksgiving. Today’s responsorial Psalm, Psalm 89, is one of the Psalms of praise and thanksgiving. Our response for the Mass: Forever, I will Sing the Goodness of the Lord invites us to reflect and see the goodness of the Lord in our lives individually and in our community and to praise and thank God for his goodness.

As a parish community we have much to be thankful to God for this past fiscal/pastoral year (July 1, 2022- June 30, 2023). We celebrate the goodness of the Lord in different aspects of our parish life. We praise and thank the good Lord for the dedication and commitment of our volunteers who have kept our parish community’s various ministries and leadership growing and thriving. Thanks to Fr. Vincent and SFC staff for this past year. We wish Fr. Vincent all the best in his new ministry as the pastor of St. Thomas of Canterbury, San Jose.

On July 1, I began my 2nd year as the pastor of SFC. Please, join me in thanking God for his goodness this past year. As missionary disciples, I appreciate the gifts each of us brings to SFC’s growth. We welcome our new parochial vicar, Fr. Joseph Tran. (See below for an introduction from Fr. Joseph). Together with him and us, we continue to make SFC a welcoming community and build and strengthen our ministries, grounding them on our SFC Mission Statement: Worship God: Love Others. Make Disciples. Educate the Young! We continue to pray through the intercession of our Patroness, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, who built her ministry on the faith-filled words of St. Paul, “I can do all things in him (Christ) who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Amen.

This Sunday, we commission during 11.30 AM Mass, these parishioners: Teresa Adams, Mary Lanier, Atour Bakuniance, Chris Badame, Jennifer Paul, Ly Pham, Maria Javier, Robbi Stroup, and Art Javier. As members of the Counting Ministry, these parishioners ensure that offertory and other church collections are appropriately safeguarded, counted, deposited, and recorded. All collections are processed and deposited following the procedures mandated by the Diocese of San Jose. We ask for your prayers and support for this ministry.

 

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of June 25, 2023, we have received $77,386 in pledges, which is 52% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


 

Apr-Jun 2023 Pastor's Messages (Click to view)

June 25, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

The Courage We Need!

The Gospel (Matthew 10:26-33) continues this Sunday with the last week’s Gospel, the call, and the sending of the 12 disciples (Apostles) as missionary disciples. As part of Jesus’ instruction, he repeatedly encouraged them to be courageous disciples and ‘not be afraid’ of any form of persecution, especially spiritual persecution. Jesus emphasized: “And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” Jesus wanted the disciples to guide themselves against any obstacle to their spiritual life intentionally but to trust in him for courage and guidance.

The testimony of Prophet Jeremiah’s steadfast trust in God in today’s first reading (Jeremiah 20:10-13) is an excellent example of total faith in God in the face of persecution. Prophet Jeremiah called his people to change their evil ways and behavior. His people misunderstood him as a prophet of doom and gloom who deserved to die. Hence, they conspired to make his life miserable to shun the truth, but Jeremiah testified thus: “But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.” Prophet Jeremiah’s trust in God gave him the courage to persevere without compromising his message.

Jesus calls each of us to become his missionary disciples who will always trust in him for the courage to testify in his name without fear or favor. Like the Prophet Jeremiah and the disciples in the Gospel, we face different internal and external obstacles on our faith journey. Let us ask the good Lord to give us the courage to overcome these obstacles that stand in our way of being fruitful missionary disciples.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of June 18, 2023, we have received $77,016 in pledges, which is 51% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


 

June 18, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Make Disciples!

It is visible on our weekly parish bulletin, website, and the banner in our church’s vestibule; our parish’s mission– Worship God. Love Others. Make Disciples. Educate the Young. At the end of every Mass, we are commissioned to go and make disciples by our exemplary words and deeds. In this mission, we continue the mission Jesus entrusted his disciples in the Gospel today (Matthew 9:36-10:8). Jesus chose each of the listed disciples from different backgrounds and commissioned them to go and share freely the gifts they have received and to serve others with patience, generosity, and love. He told them, “Without cost, you have received; without cost, you are to give.”

God calls and sends us out to become his missionary disciples by sharing generously the spiritual gifts we have received. We can only make disciples if we are disciples. Thus, just as the relationship the disciples that were called and sent had with Jesus empowered them, Jesus wants us to have a relationship with him so that we can be equipped and empowered to become faithful witnesses of the Gospel. This relationship with God grows through our personal prayer and sacramental life.

Today is Father’s Day, we thank God for the gifts of all the fathers-grandfather, living and dead. Fathers, together with mothers, carry and shoulder the burden of families, and God, through them, has blessed and cared for us. The life of St. Joseph, the foster father of our Lord Jesus Christ, remains an outstanding example for fathers. With patience and perseverance, Joseph cared for the child Jesus and the mother, Mary. Equally, God calls the fathers to care for their wives, kids, and grandkids.

We pray that God will give all the fathers the persevering spirit not to give up, especially when their efforts are not duly appreciated. We encourage the wives and kids to enjoy the good the fathers do and be patient with them, when they do not live up to our expectations. May the good Lord bless and strengthen us, especially our fathers. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of June 11, 2023, we have received $75,466 in pledges, which is 50% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


 

June 11, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

The Eucharist: The Sacrifice, The Food, And The Presence!

The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ gives us a great opportunity to celebrate the gift of Christ himself uniquely to us and to reflect on the place of the Eucharist in our lives. The Mass of the solemnity readings, among other things, describe the Eucharist as the sacrifice, the food, and the presence. The first reading, the book of Deuteronomy (8:2-3.14b-16b), explains how God, through Moses, fed his people with Manna from heaven while they were in the desert. St. Paul, in the second reading, the first letter to the Corinthians (10:16-17), emphasizes the unity the Eucharist we share should bring us. Finally, Jesus, in the Gospel of John (6:51-58), as part of his discourse on the Eucharist, describes it as food, sacrifice, and presence.

In the Eucharistic celebration (The Mass), we immortalize Christ’s great sacrifice and his ever-biding presence. Eucharist is the spiritual food of the soul, which brings us nearer to Christ, increases the life of grace within us, helps us to avoid sins and their occasions, and brings us to life everlasting. We become Eucharistic people by allowing the life of Christ to direct and guide us. In the celebration today, we ask ourselves and reflect: Do I believe that what I receive in the Mass is the body and blood of Christ? If I believe, what efforts am I making to receive it worthwhile? Does the Eucharist I receive have any effect on my life? What aspect of my life do I need the healing presence of the Eucharistic Jesus? We pray that the good Lord will help us continue to appreciate the gift he gave us in the Eucharist. Amen.

This Sunday, we commission during 8.00 AM Mass these parishioners: Dave Citrigno, Tobin Douglas, Leila Correa, Joe Piazza, Kristen Sinnott, Jeff Bowman, & Peter O’Casio, who will be leading our Building & Maintenance Ministry. The mission of the SFC Building & Maintenance Ministry is to advise and assist the pastor in all matters on the upkeep, repair, replacement, and maintenance of all parish facilities and property. We ask for your prayers and support for these ministries.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of June 4, 2023, we have received $74,966 in pledges, which is 50% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


 

June 4, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Glory Be to The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit!

Last Sunday, the Solemnity of the Pentecost brought to completion the celebration of the three stages of salvation history, namely, the stage of God the Father: Creator and Maker of all things; the stage of God the Son: the redeemer and Savior of humanity, and the stage of God the Holy Spirit- the vivifier and sanctifier. In the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity, we celebrate that though there are three persons, there is one God. It is a mystery. The Blessed Trinity- doctrine is central to Christian faith and belief. The doctrine teaches that one God exists in three persons who are co-equal, co-eternal, and omnipotent.

In different ways, today’s readings invite us to reflect on this great mystery of the Blessed Trinity. The first reading, the book of Exodus (34:4b-6, 8-9), celebrates the superiority of the God of Israel. In the second reading (2 Corinthians 13: 11-13), St. Paul prayed through the blessings of the Blessed Trinity on all of us. Finally, John’s Gospel (3:16-18) describes the unique love for which God has given us through his gift of salvation in the Blessed Trinity. Our salvation begins and ends in the Blessed Trinity. Our part is to respond to this love and live in this love always by being mindful that God created us to know him, love him, and be with him now and forever. Amen.

This Sunday, we commission during 9.30 AM Mass these parishioners: Elizabeth Drew, Malia Delvecchio, Michelle Piazza, Sheila Stout & Nataly Hina, the officers of the SFC Ladies League Ministry. The mission of the SFC Ladies League Ministry is to support all women in the parish community (school & parish) to grow in faith and to witness the love of God through ministry, social activities, community service projects, funding activities, and faith formation programs. Also, we commission during our 11.30 AM Mass these parishioners: Elizabeth Drew, Alison Donahue, Joy Kratofil, Jennifer Paul, Ricardo Torres, Patty Vucurevich & Ted Vucurevich, who are leading our Church Art & Environment Ministry. The mission of the SFC Church Art and Environment Ministry is to create, using flowers, fabric, and other materials, an atmosphere within the liturgical and worship space that invites and inspires everyone in the Church to participate actively and fully. We ask for your prayers and support for these ministries.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of May 28, 2023, we have received $72,866 in pledges, which is 49% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


 

May  28, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Come Holy Spirit Fill the Hearts of the Faithful!

Today is the Solemnity of Pentecost, 50 days after Easter. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down visibly on the Apostles in tongues of fire, and they received the power to confess that Jesus is Lord as St. Paul remarked in the 2nd reading (1 Corinthians 12: 3b-7,12-13), “No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” There were three great Jewish Festivals to which every male Jew living within 20 miles of Jerusalem was legally bound to come, the Passover, the Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacle. Thus, in the first reading (Acts 2:1-11), we read about many people of different languages who have gathered on the Pentecost, and they all witnessed the coming of the Holy Spirit.

The event of the Pentecost is the fulfillment of the promises Jesus made to his disciples before his ascension. The gifts of the Holy Spirit on the disciples revived and rekindled the same Spirit of love that they had during their initial stay with Jesus before his passion. The Holy Spirit inspired the disciples to speak the language of love, which everybody heard. The gifts of the Spirit transformed them from selfish and timid men into giants of courage, faith, and love. The mission that the disciples started on the Pentecost continued to date. So, Pentecost marked the beginnings of the Church and its mission to all peoples, tongues, and nations.

On this day, we pray that the Holy Spirit, which we have already received in our baptism and confirmation, will always be alive and active to fill our hearts and rekindle the fire of love in us. We remember that love was the center of all that Jesus taught his disciples. He spoke about it and showed it by laying down his life. If the gifts of the Spirit are to bear fruits in our lives, we must cleanse or purge away our selfishness and other tendencies that quench this fire of love in us. We pray that the Holy Spirit rekindles the fire of love on us and makes us instruments of God’s love. Amen.

This Sunday, we commission during 9.30 AM Mass these parishioners: Lee Campbell, Jennifer Nickolas, John Dahl, Jim Revels, Shari Robertson, Pat Haley, Lisa Douglas, and Robbi Lyn Stroup, leading our Social & Outreach Ministry. The mission of the SFC Social & Outreach Ministry is faith in action by promoting ministries to persons who are in need and following in the footsteps of St. Frances Cabrini, the parish patroness. The ministry also coordinates social justice and outreach programs within the parish and the community. We ask for your prayers and support for this ministry.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of May, 2023, we have received $47,496 in pledges, which is 32% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


May  21, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

You Shall Be My Witnesses!

Today we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord into heaven. Jesus stayed behind for 40 days after his resurrection to clear all the doubts about his resurrection and to form the community of the disciples into the community of witnesses to the truth built in his resurrection because he knew very well that without witnesses, there would be no witness. Thus, he told them, “You shall be my witnesses…” In this case, the disciples did not disappoint him as they disappointed him during his assion. The events of the Acts of the Apostles we have been reading since this season of Easter prove this.

We are the disciples of our time. Jesus calls and sends us out to be his witnesses. At the end of each Mass, we are all commissioned to “go” as Christ also commissioned his disciples in today’s Gospel (Matthew 28:16-20). We ask ourselves how our weekly or daily encounters make us faithful witnesses in our words and deeds. As we prepare the feast of Pentecost next Sunday, let us pray that the gifts of the Holy Spirit will help us strive to live a life worthy of our Christian vocation and the Sacraments we celebrate. Amen

This Sunday, we commission these parishioners at the 11:30am Mass: Jim Revels, Cathy Campbell, Merry Kaelani, Dan O’Connell, Ngocdai Nguyen & Lee Campbell who will be leading our Evangelization Ministry. The mission of the SFC Evangelization Ministry is to help each parishioner fully embrace and live out the parish’s mission: to worship God, love others, make disciples, and educate the young. The ministry also explores and implements different programs to help each parishioner become a missionary disciple. We ask for your prayers and support for this ministry.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of May, 2023, we have received $47,396 in pledges, which is 32% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


 

May  14, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Love for Christ!

Today the 6th Sunday of Easter, is the last Sunday before the solemnity of Ascension (either next Thursday or Sunday). Jesus, in today’s gospel (John 14:15-21), continued his farewell discourse to his disciples, filled with challenges and words of encouragement. Jesus emphasizes the importance of keeping his commandments as proof of our love for him. The love we have for Christ shows in the effort we make to keep his commandments, and the commandments of God are summed up in the love of God, love of oneself, and love of others. We cannot claim to love God when we deny love to our fellow human beings who are made in the image of God. Let the good Lord help us to be instruments of the endless love we have received.

Today is also Mother’s Day. We pray for all our mothers, both living and dead, and all the women who play the roles of mothers in our lives through their love and care. We ask the good Lord to strengthen them in all their struggles to become the best of mothers. Their presence in our lives demonstrates what it means to love genuinely and selflessly. A day like this allows us to reflect on how we treat these women as mothers, wives, sisters, colleagues, or friends. These women need our support and encouragement both in words and actions. It is also a day for these women to reflect on their duties as Christian women and how they are authentic instruments of God’s love in their families, Church, and society. Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saintly mothers like St. Monica, we pray that God’s love will continue to shine through these women. Amen. Happy Mother’s Day to all the women!

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of May, 2023, we have received $41,886 in pledges, which is 28% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


 

May  7, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Jesus – the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

The gospel of John (14:1-12) we read today is part of the farewell message Jesus gave to his disciples before his passion and death. Jesus encouraged them not to allow their hearts to be troubled but to have faith in him and God. Even though the disciples were confused, anxious, and worried, the resurrection of Christ made them great witnesses to the gospel. The book of the Acts of the Apostles we have been reading this season of Easter tells us the testimonies of the disciples who built the first Christian community. Their testimonies of faith attracted people to join and share in the life of Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life.

Jesus continues to invite us day by day to follow him. He wants us not to be overwhelmed or overcome by life’s challenges but to look unto him for wonderful examples of faith and perseverance. By our baptism, God has made us his own, just as St. Peter points out in the second reading, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own….” He wants us, through his son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to continue to choose him to show us the way that will lead us to the truth we need and guide us to the fullness of life in him. Amen.

This Sunday, we lunch our History and Archives ministry and commission within the 8.00 am Mass these parishioners: Jim Revels, Jean O’Connell, Jill Ballard, Tim Van Overen, Yvonne Doung, & Margie Schillage, who will be leading this ministry. The mission of the SFC History & Archives ministry is to identify, collect, preserve, organize, and share the rich historical records of our parish to promote the legacy of faith and Christian witnesses of our parish through the years, especially as we head toward the landmark celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of SFC (1955‐2025). We ask for your prayers and support for this ministry.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of April 30, 2023, we have received $41,036 in pledges, which is 27% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


 

April  30, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Jesus, the Exemplary Good Shepherd!

Every 4th Sunday of Easter is called Good Shepherd Sunday and the gospel reading is always from John Chapter 10. Today, we pray in a particular way for vocations-different ways God calls us to be his true disciples. Jesus remained faithful to his vocation to be our savior and redeemer. The fruit of his faithfulness is the victory he won through his resurrection. The testimonies of the apostles we read in the book of the Acts of the Apostles remind us how they responded to God’s calls in different ways, even in the face of all the threats, as we read today in the first reading (Acts 2:14a, 36-41).

Jesus wants us to follow his examples in responding to our vocations in life. God calls and sends each of us to be faithful stewards of the gifts we have received. Like Jesus, who gave his life so that we might have life and have it in abundance, he wants us to be good shepherds to those entrusted to us. We can ask ourselves; do we hear the voice of the good shepherd in the daily events of our lives, especially in difficult moments? Do others hear the life-giving words of Jesus through us? Let us ask Jesus the Good Shepherd to help us hear his voice always and help others hear God’s voice through us. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

As of April 23, 2023, we have received $34,601 in pledges, which is 23% of our parish goal of $150,000. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


 

April  23, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Hearts of Fire of Love!

Today’s Gospel (Luke 24: 13-35), the Emmaus story, how Jesus encountered the two disciples on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus, one of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to his disciples, and how Jesus set their hearts on fire and rekindled in them the fire of love. The testimonies of this we read from Peter in our first reading (Acts 2:14, 22-33) and second reading (1 Peter 1:17-21). These readings invite us to reflect on how the Word of God we hear in different ways sets our hearts on fire, how we recognize Jesus in the Eucharist, and the invitation to share this fire of love through our missionary discipleship.

God speaks to us in different ways and, through these ways, sets our hearts on fire; namely, what people do for us or do for others can set our hearts on fire, what we hear people say, or even our thoughts, beautiful memories of our own lives and the gifts God has bestowed on us can set our hearts on fire. We can reflect and ask ourselves, what sets my heart on fire? Do I pay attention to things that can set my heart on fire? Do I set other hearts on fire when my heart is set on fire? Let us ask the good Lord to set our hearts on fire and fill our hearts with his fire of love. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of April 16, 2023, we have received $29,541 in pledges, which is 20% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.


April  16, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Faithful Witness to Christ’s Resurrection!

Every 2nd Sunday of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday, following the request of the Pope (St.) John Paul II in 2000. The devotion to Divine Mercy reminds us of the love and mercy of God, which has its culmination in the resurrection of Christ: the victory of Christ over death, sin, and Satan. The first reading, the book of the Acts of the Apostles, summarizes how the first Christian community bore witness to the resurrection through a life of selflessness and generosity. The Gospel is one of the accounts of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. The Gospel has three central messages: the pouring of peace to the disciples, the commissioning and empowerment with the gift of the Holy Spirit, to bind and lose (the basis of the Church teachings on the Sacrament of Reconciliation), and the case of Thomas.

Let us reflect more on what Thomas did. We may blame Thomas for being doubtful, but we ought to remember that as of his doubts, the fact of Christ’s resurrection was not clear, even to other disciples. Worthy of emulating is the humility of Thomas; as soon as he was cleared, he accepted the message entirely and went ahead to bear witness to it. In humility, we are called to accept the truths of our faith and be witnesses to what we believe. We pray that the good Lord will open our hearts and minds to welcome the truth of our faith in all its fullness and to be true witnesses to Christ’s resurrection. Amen.

This Sunday, we launch our hospitality ministry and commission within the 9.30 am Mass, these parishioners: Craig Taylor, Myla Taylor, James Sawaya, Chris Badame, Doris Bebla, Teresa Adams, Farid Ghantous & Nathalie Ghantous, who will be leading this ministry. The mission of the SFC Hospitality Ministry is to provide and promote a welcoming environment of love, acceptance, support, and comfort in our parish community. The ministry will organize our monthly hospitality Sunday, every first Sunday, starting on May 7th, 2023. We ask for your prayers and support for this ministry.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of April 9, 2023, we have received $27,991 in pledges, which is 19% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.

 


 

April  9, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

The Resurrection of Christ:
The Foundation and Crowning of Christian Faith!

Easter Sunday is the annual Christian festival that commemorates the resurrection of Christ. It is the greatest and the principal feast of the Christian calendar. According to the Fathers of the Church, it is “the peak of all feasts and the queen of all solemnities.” It has in its full content the fundamental doctrine and crowning of the Christian faith, which St. Paul speaks: “And if Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching, empty too is our faith.” (I Corinthians 15:14). This shows that Christianity would have been stillborn if Christ had not risen.

In the resurrection of Christ, God revealed his immeasurable power over Sin, Satan, and Death, the three that have held humanity captive from the disobedience of our first parents until the first Easter. The readings of today invite us to reflect on these truths about Christ’s resurrection in different ways. Christ, by his death and resurrection, has opened the door for God’s infinite love and mercy. Nevertheless, the central message remains that if we live with Christ, we shall die with him and live with him forever. Therefore, let our target be always to see our own glorious Easter after our earthly lives by setting our minds on things above by walking in the risen Christ’s footsteps. Amen. Happy Easter.

We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be returned to our parish. Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of April 2, 2023, we have received $25,561 in pledges, which is 17% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to funding the church renovation projects. If you wish to make your ADA pledge online, click here to go to the Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

April  2, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Never Give Up!

Today is Palm Sunday, the last Sunday of Lent, and the Sunday before Easter, which formally commences the Holy Week. In the celebrations today, the Church commemorates Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem when olive and palm branches were strewn in his path to accomplish his paschal mystery. The most distinctive ceremonies of the day are the blessing of the palms, the procession, and the reading of passion. The red vestment worn by the presider today symbolizes the royalty of Christ, which this feast celebrates.

Today’s Gospel passion (Matthew 26:14-26:66) describes the humility, determination, and perseverance of Jesus in the face of his suffering, which the 1st reading (Isaiah 50: 4-7), and the 2nd reading (Philippians 2:6-11) point out in different ways. In Jesus’ suffering, we see various aspects of the sufferings we face in our lives. For example, the sufferings of denial, betrayal, abandonment, fear, anxiety, mockery, and physical suffering, but in all these, Jesus trusted in God for strength to accomplish his mission. Let this Holy Week help us to reflect more on the sufferings of Christ, as they relate to us in different ways, and never give up on our life struggles, but always trust in God as Jesus did. Amen.

Your generosity toward the ADA supports St. Frances Cabrini Parish (SFC). We have reached our diocesan goal of $136,403. All donations and pledges above our diocesan goal will now be rebated back to our parish.

Our parish goal of $150,000 is to support our church renovation projects. As of March 26, 2023, we have received $10,936 in pledges, which is 7% of our parish goal. We appreciate all additional donations to the ADA as they will be directed to the funding of the church renovation projects. Click here for an updated list of families who have donated to this year’s ADA.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

 

Jan-Mar 2023 Pastor's Messages (Click to view)

March 26, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

For The Glory of God!

This Sunday’s long Gospel (John 11:1-45), the raising of Lazarus from the dead, can speak to us differently. By raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus demonstrates his power over death and foreshadows his resurrection. We found the same theme of the resurrection of the dead in this Sunday’s first reading (Ezekiel 37:12-14) and the Second reading (Romans 8: 8-11). But, very striking, as we see in all the miracles of Jesus, he did them for the glory of God. Thus, Jesus, in responding to the news about the illness of his friend, Lazarus, said, “This illness does not end in death, but it is for the Glory of God…”

We started Lent on Ash Wednesday with the invitation through the Gospel of Matthew (6:1-6, 16-18) to reflect on the intentions for which we undertake the cardinal works of Lent- Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. The rightful intentions entail that our Lenten observances should help us grow positively in our relationship with God and one another. As we are gradually coming close to the end of the Lenten season, let us pray to follow the examples of Jesus Christ that whatever we do, we do it to the glory of God, which is for our sanctification and eventual salvation. Amen

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

Our ADA (Annual Diocesan Appeal) DIOCESAN GOAL OF $136,403.00 HAS BEEN REACHED. CONGRATULATIONS! We thank families who have prayerfully participated in helping us reach our diocesan goal. In addition, we encourage families who have yet to participate to prayerfully consider helping us to reach our parish goal of $286,403.00. As of March 20th, 2023, 266 pledges made gave us a total of $137,324.00. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress we are making. Click here Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023 if you would like to make your ADA pledge online.


 

March 19, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

An Encounter!

The long discourse in today’s Gospel (John 4:5-42) tells us the story of the man born blind and his encounter with Jesus Christ. This encounter led to the healing of the blind man. The blind man’s encounter with Jesus brought the healing of his physical blindness, and he became a disciple through his testimony. Conversely, in the encounter of the Pharisees with Jesus, even though they were not physically blind, they were spiritually blind. Hence, they did everything from questioning the miracle’s authenticity to accusations and threats to denying the miracle that Jesus did.

We have opportunities to encounter Jesus, primarily through the celebrations of the Sacraments. These encounters should heal our spiritual blindness and bring the light of God’s presence into our lives. In this season of Lent, we ought to ask ourselves if our encounter with God helps heal our spiritual blindness-the darkness of sins that affects our relationship with God and one another. Let us harken to the words of St. Paul in today’s second reading (Ephesians 5:8-14) “Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We thank families who have prayerfully participated in the Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA) to help us towards our parish goal of $286,403.00. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress we are making. As of March 19th, 2023, 238 pledges made gave us a total of $121,834.00. Click here Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023 if you would like to make your ADA pledge online.


 

March 12, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

The Mercy of God: Limitless and Boundless!

One of the central themes we reflect on during this season of Lent is the mercy of God. In today’s Gospel (John 4:5-42), we read the length and the theological dialogue between Jesus and a woman from Samaria. The age-long animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans at the time of Jesus should have forbidden Jesus from engaging with the woman. However, Jesus showed that God’s mercy is without boundaries and limits. The woman’s cultural background and sinful past didn’t hinder Jesus from encountering and sharing the Mercy of God with her. Thus, the woman became a missionary disciple of God’s mercy in her community.

The mercy of God waits for us always. However, we must be mindful of two obstacles that can stand in our way of embracing this mercy. Firstly, pride makes us deny our sinfulness, lose our sense of sin, harden our hearts, or reject the invitation to experience God’s mercy. Secondly, despair makes us give up in our efforts to ask for God’s grace to overcome the temptations that lead us into sins, especially habitual ones. Therefore, let our Lenten observances help us to open our hearts to God’s mercy and harken to the words of today’s responsorial Psalm (95:8), “if today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Amen

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We thank families who have prayerfully participated in the Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA) to help us towards our parish goal of $286,403.00. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress we are making. As of March 5th, 2023, 214 pledges made gave us a total of $111,454.00. Click here Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023 if you would like to make your ADA pledge online.


 

March 5, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Listen to Him!

The Lenten observances we undertake help deepen our relationship with God and one another, which today’s readings invite us to do in different ways. Thus, our first reading today (Genesis 12: 1-4a) tells us of God’s blessings to Abram (Abraham) and how he listened to what God directed him to do. Similarly, in the Gospel (Matthew17:1-9), we read the transfiguration of Christ. Jesus used the moment and the mystery of transfiguration to strengthen the faith of his close disciples in his passion. Equally, the voice from heaven calling on the disciples and all of us to listen to him reminds us that faith begins and grows by listening and accepting God’s word in our lives (Romans 10:17).

This season of Lent is an excellent time to reflect and ask how much we listen to Jesus in the choices we make in our day-to-day life. God speaks to us in different ways- through the scripture, the dictates of our good conscience, the events of life, and more through one another. Just as Abraham, Jesus, and the disciples listened to God, may we ask the good Lord to open our ears and hearts to listen to him so that he will transfigure us to be like him. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

We thank families who have prayerfully participated in the Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA) to help us towards our parish goal of $286,403.00. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress we are making. As of February 26th, 2023, 179 pledges made gave us a total of $96,882.00. Click here Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023 if you would like to make your ADA pledge online.


 

February 26, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Temptations: Moments of Grace or Sin?

Today’s Gospel from St. Matthew (4:1-11) invites us to reflect on how to overcome the temptations of our lives through the examples of Jesus’ victory over his temptations. To be tempted is not sinful; rather, it can be a moment of grace, but to allow the temptation to overcome us is sinful. Jesus, through his victory over his temptations, was equipped with the grace to continue his ministry. As in the case of Jesus’ temptations, we are tempted through our attractions, desires, and tendencies.

As we undertake the three Cardinal Works (Prayer, Fasting, & Almsgiving) during this holy season of Lent, let them be ways to overcome different temptations that assail us. Let our prayers help us overcome the temptations of doubt and lack of faith in the face of life’s difficulties. Also, let our fasting and abstinence; help us to be selfless and self-giving. Finally, let our almsgiving and charitable works help us to be more sensitive to the pains and sufferings of people around us. By and large, let the works we undertake this season help us turn our lives temptations into moments of grace. Amen.

We thank families who have prayerfully participated in the Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA) to help us towards our parish goal of $286,403.00. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress we are making. As of February 19, 2023, 142 pledges made gave us a total of $80,377.00. Click here Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023 if you would like to make your ADA pledge online.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

February 19, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

You Too Can Forgive!

Forgiveness is one of the most challenging things asked of us Christians. The deeper the hurt, the more difficult it is to forgive the one who caused it. In different ways, our first reading from the book of Leviticus (19:1-2, 17-18) and our Gospel of Matthew (5:38-48) invite us to forgive and not to sort revenge. Our first reading clearly says, “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people….”. Similarly, our Gospel reiterates the same message more demandingly: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you ….”

Forgiveness becomes more complicated when we justify grudges instead of finding reasons to let go. Bitterness and resentment can destroy our inner peace, but forgiveness frees and heals. Let us reflect and think of that person or those people in our life, God is calling us today to forgive. Ask God to reawaken his Spirit in you to forgive them. The season of Lent we begin this coming Wednesday- Ash Wednesday is the holy season in which God reminds us of his infinite love and mercy and invites us to share the same with others. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

February 12, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

The Choice We Make!

As an indispensable part of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word allows us to listen to different ways God speaks to us at each Mass. The readings of today, among other things, invite us to reflect on the commandments of God and to use the freedom God has given us to choose for him and not against him. Our first reading, the Book of Sirach (15:15- 20), reminds us that choosing for God and trusting his will save us, “If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God, you too shall live.”

Keeping God’s commandments remains the foundation for joy that endures, the joy that leads us from this earthly life to everlasting life- an incredible joy, “what God prepared for those who love him” as St. Paul describes in the second reading (1Corinthians 2: 6- 10). Jesus in the Gospel (Matthew 5:17-37) explains the importance of the Spirit of the commandments rather than the letters of the commandments. The Spirit of the commandments leads us to a life of righteousness grounded in love rather than the law. Let us ask the good Lord to give us the wisdom and courage to make the right choice in love. Amen.

We thank the 181 families who have prayerfully participated in the Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA) to help us towards our parish goal of $286,403.00. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress we are making. Our first week of ADA puts us at $48,930.00. Most of you have received the ADA packets in the mail. We also have pledge cards and donation envelopes in the Church, Pledge cards or donations can be placed in the weekly collection basket, dropped in the parish office mail slot, or mailed to the parish office. We gratefully thank those who have made a pledge or donation. Click here: Annual Diocesan Appeal 2023 if you would like to make your ADA pledge online.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


February 5, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

I am honored and grateful to serve as your pastor and witness Christ’s love daily in our parish community. It has been a blessing seeing an increase in the number of people participating in the day-to-day life of our parish and school. Each year, the Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA) provides a unique opportunity to renew our stewardship commitment to the church and unite with the faithful from all the other parishes in our diocese to fulfill Christ’s mission.

Your generosity toward the ADA supports St. Frances Cabrini Parish (SFC) and the other parishes of our diocese for programs crucial to the mission of Jesus Christ. All funds collected above our diocesan goal will be rebated directly to our parish to strengthen and build our local church community and ministries. In 2022, our diocesan goal was $115,000.00 and we collected $149,512.93. Our rebate has helped to run our parish ministries.

This year, our diocesan goal is $136,403.00 and our parish goal is to raise $286,403.00. Our hope is to use the rebate from this ADA to maintain and improve the inside our church. Our church needs new carpets, improved lighting, a modern sound system, and re-painting. I ask for your help to reach our parish goal. We have more than 2,000 families who are registered parishioners, and about 1,200 are active. If 50% of our active families give prayerfully, considering a minimum of $500, we will reach our parish goal. Some can offer more, and some less. I hope that each family in our parish will participate at the level of sacrifice to which your prayerful discernment leads you.

If you have contributed to ADA in the past, we truly appreciate your generosity and pray that you will participate this year. If you have not participated in the ADA in the past, I ask you prayerfully consider all the ways God has been at your side through the Church. I also ask that you make a gift to our ADA in gratitude for all God has done and continues to do for you and your loved ones. Let the good Lord reward you abundantly. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

January 29, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Life of Blessedness!

I had the opportunity to visit my family in Nigeria and began the new year with them. We had our family prayer for the new year. We prayed for different intentions, especially for peace, harmony, and respect for human life in my home country Nigeria. I remember one of my nephews praying that the year 2023 brings us joy, happiness, and God’s love- the life of Blessedness, an important theme we reflect on the readings of this Sunday. Thus, Prophet Zephaniah (2:3;3:12-13), in the first reading, invites us to this life of Blessedness through these inspiring words, “Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth, who have observed his law, seek justice, seek humility.”

The words of the beatitudes in the Gospel (Matthew 5:1-12) invite us in different ways to live this life of Blessedness. God’s blessings are given to each of us, and we need to work hard to live out the virtues that lead us to this Blessedness or happiness listed in the beatitudes. The model of joy presented in the beatitudes is contrary to what we see and hear today. Each of us can ask ourselves, of these lists of beatitudes, which one is God calling you to live out most in your life and in your relationship with him and others. Is God calling you to be poor in spirit-humble, meek, pure in heart, merciful, thirst for righteousness, or persevere in doing good? Therefore, let us ask the good Lord to help us live the beatitudes that will lead us to a life of Blessedness here and hereafter. Amen.

We are glad to join our parish school to begin Catholic School Week this Sunday, January 29th. Since 1974, National Catholic Schools Week has been the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. The theme for National Catholic Schools Week 2023 is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.” Our school community has lined up different activities grounded in this year’s theme to continue to bolster the great values Catholic provides to young people and its contributions to our Church, our communities, and our nation. Our SFC parish school is the largest ministry of our parish, and we appreciate the gift it is to our community.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


January 22, 2023

Reflections | Fr. Robert McKay, PhD, BCC

In our Gospel this Sunday, Jesus fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy, announcing the restoration of David’s kingdom. When Jesus calls his disciples he appoints them to be “fishers of people” – to gather in people from the ends of the earth. Andrew, Simon, James, and John, and the others dared to hope for change, and they dared to put their faith in Jesus Christ. They were some of the first people who followed the Holy Spirit into the unknown, hoping that the future would be different from the past. From a human perspective, the advancement of the Gospel depended upon the apostles – imperfect people. Jesus called people who were ordinary (fishermen, tax collectors and more). He called them not because they were special, but because they were ordinary.

Strangely enough, for his amazing mission Jesus needs ordinary folk who will give him themselves. Once there came to Socrates a very ordinary man called Aeschines. “I am a poor man,” said Aeschines. “I have nothing else, but I give you myself.” “Do you not see,” said Socrates, “that you are giving me the most precious thing of all?” What Jesus needs is ordinary folk who will give him themselves. The life of our call begins with Jesus and he invites us to follow him. Jesus is leading and out front – disciples both then and now – follow behind, not knowing exactly what lies ahead and walk in faith/light.

The philosopher Kierkegaard once said that what Jesus wants is followers, not admirers. The disciples’ call and ours is not about a specific function in the church. More fundamentally it is a call to seek the face of God, and the fullness of life itself. I can think of nothing more comforting than the reality that God called and calls – people just like us – asking to us to repent and believe that God’s Reign has begun. “Repent!” he said. “Turn from your own ways and turn to God. Reverse your direction and begin walking towards God.” A world in darkness has seen the light. We are able now, as we sing in today’s Psalm, to dwell in the house of the Lord, to worship him in the land of the living. The biblical quest is to see the face of God and live.


January 15, 2023

Reflections | Fr. Robert McKay, PhD, BCC

In any good story, the author gives a hint at the beginning – a clue about how the story will resolve itself. At the outset of his gospel account St. Matthew records that when John the Baptist observes Jesus he announces: “There is the Lamb of God!” Within the Christian faith, the lamb of God has become a powerful symbol. Our attention is drawn to the sacrifice of lambs and to their innocence and purity. Jesus was without sin – the perfect lamb whose sacrifice offers forgiveness and redemption.

Perhaps John was proclaiming: “Your prophets dreamed of the one who was to love and suffer and die for the people; that one has come.” It was suddenly revealed to John that Jesus was none other than the Son of God. Jesus became a lamb led to the slaughter to show the depth of God’s love for us. Our response to this overture of God’s love for us in Jesus is to love like He did. Sin is the opposite – we fail to love. When we say “I have sinned” – it’s not that we have broken a rule, a regulation, a law – it is the breaking of another person’s heart. We have broken a person, we have nailed him to the cross.

For this reason, the Agnus Dei is sung during the breaking of the consecrated Host at Mass. St. John Chrysostom (d. 407) preached of how this breaking symbolized the Passion of Jesus – how He suffered for us, and also how his sacrificial death is a victory. This triumph is further emphasized when the priest holds up the fractured Host and says, “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb.”

When we celebrate the mysteries of the Mass, we look to the Lamb who suffered, died, and rose for our salvation. We gather around the altar of the Lamb, offering to Him our hearts and pledging our love, so that we may welcome Him and become united to Him in the Holy Eucharist. Agnus Dei!


 

January 8, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

What Gift Do I Offer to the Newborn Baby–Emmanuael?

In the feast of Epiphany, we celebrate the showing-forth of the newly born baby- Jesus, not only to his people but to the gentiles, meaning to the whole world. Christ is the light that will enlighten all nations and give the fullness of life to all people. The prophecy of Isaiah we read in the first reading describes this showing forth the gifts that would be presented to the newly born baby- Jesus. In line with Prophet Isaiah, St. Paul, in the second reading, calls himself a steward of God’s grace, who has been called and sent to share the gift of God’s grace with all people.

We see in the gospel today how different people reacted to the message of the birth of Jesus. First is King Herod. He felt insecure hearing about the birth of a new king. To protect his kingdom, he ordered the killing more than two thousand innocent children. Second, also, we see the indifferent reaction of the chief priests. The way the chief priests responded when asked about the news of the newly-born king showed that they paid limited attention to it. Third, is the reaction of the Magi- three wise men from east Mesopotamia. The Magi offered the best gifts to Jesus, the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold – the king of metals, symbolizes that Jesus is born to be a king, but not in the worldly sense, but rather a king that will reign through the life of service and sacrifice.

Frankincense is a gift for a priest, the sweetest perfume in the temple. It symbolizes that Jesus is the priest who will open the door of salvation to all people. Myrrh is the gift, an embalmment bam, which symbolizes the mission of Jesus to lay down his life for us so that we may have life and have it in abundance. We must reflect and ask ourselves about the gift we give to Jesus. Is our gift to welcome Emmanuel the gift of heard heartedness as Herod, indifference as the chief priests, or best gifts as the Magi? The best gift we can give to him is our life. We do that through our total trust and confidence in him. Let us turn to God for the strength we need in this new year to be our best and to do our best. Amen

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

January 1, 2023

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Mary, Mother of God and Peace–Pray for Us!

Seven days ago, we celebrated Christmas, the birth of Jesus. The feast today honors Mary, especially as the Mother of God. If Jesus is the son of God as we believe and profess, Mary undoubtedly is the mother of God. As Catholics, we honor Mary following the honor given to her by God through the angel Gabriel at the Annunciation. Mary’s role as mother of God places her in a unique position in God’s redemptive plan. She has a special relationship with the Blessed Trinity as a daughter to God the Father, mother to God the Son, and spouse to God the Holy Spirit. The Church continues to honor Mary. The Church implores her maternal intercession in her devotions and liturgy. She remains the mother of God and the mother of the Church.

Today’s gospel (Luke 2:16-21) reads, “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” This helps us to reflect on one of her enduring virtues, continual prayer, which is not devoid of contemplation- hearts pondering things. In Mary’s life, we learn different forms of prayer (vocal, mediation & contemplation) and different expressions of prayer (praise, thanksgiving, contrition/ forgiveness & supplication/petition. Prayers and devotions to Mary should have an interior disposition, which should help us to live a good and exemplary Christian life.

Mary is also the mother of peace. He gave birth to the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:5), who brought a hymn of peace to angels (Luke 2:14) and taught about peace in his beatitudes, and called peacemakers the children of God (Matthew 5:9). Today is the World Day of Peace. Our first reading (Numbers 6: 22-27) includes peace as what comes with the blessing of God. Our world needs peace at different levels. Peace with oneself gives room for peace with other people. Let us pray that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of peace, we grow in peace of hearts and minds and be instruments of peace in our world. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

Oct-Dec 2022 Pastor's Messages (Click to view)

December 25, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Christmas is Here!

We are gathered here with joy to begin the celebration of the birth of Christ- Christmas. Christmas is a celebration of the great mystery of our faith. The mystery of incarnation, God coming to become one with us so that we could become one with God. It is the celebration of God’s great love for us from creation. The mystery of Christmas is the most remarkable event of humanity. Little wonder that the years of history are calculated either before or after the birth of Christ- BC & AD.

Christmas invites us to welcome and recognize God’s presence in our lives with joy. He is Emmanuel – God is with us. God’s presence reminds us constantly of the great love through which He created us and invited us always to be with Him. The word spoken through the patriarchs and prophets is now dwelling with us. It is a presence that boosts our confidence and endurance amidst the storms of life. The joy of this season has to be grounded on the acceptance of God’s gift of Himself to us and His ever-dwelling presence among us.

While wishing each other a merry Christmas, let us continue to live and share this joy through a life of gratitude, generosity, and recognition of God’s presence. We, the priests (Frs. James, Vincent, Paul, & Robert) who minister here at SFC, wish you and your families a joy-filled Christmas and the blessings of the coming year.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

December 18, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. Paul Soukop, SJ

The Incarnation: God’s Great Mystery of Salvation!

The Incarnation, God’s great mystery of salvation—God’s taking on human flesh and human life— means more than the Second Person of the Trinity’s entrance into human history, suffering, and death. Much of the New Testament reflection on this mystery describe it in terms of solidarity: the reality that “God is with us,” a fact made manifest in the name Emmanuel, first given by the prophet Isaiah. God shows that solidarity in a more radical way than God’s accompanying Israel from slavery in Egypt through the Red Sea, through the desert, through the establishment in the land of promise. God’s solidarity with us touches all things human—through temptation to forgiveness, through death to life.

The Incarnation means more than that. It divinizes humanity. God’s joining the divine to the human is not a one-way street. It also joins the human to the divine and, in many ways, completes the work of creation. What is good at creation becomes perfect in Christ Jesus. And yet, unbelievably, there is more. The Incarnation also means that God wants us to participate in our salvation. God grants us salvation but gives us a role, too. Isaiah tells how God asks Ahaz to accept a role—to ask for a sign—but the king was too hesitant. Even so, God gave the sign in the words of the prophet. Centuries later, at the time of fulfillment, God invites Mary and Joseph to accept their roles. Luke’s Gospel narrates the invitation to Mary and her response, “Be it done to me according to your will.” In Matthew’s Gospel, we hear Joseph’s response, “As the angel of the Lord had commanded him, he took his wife into his home.” In a mysterious way, God’s plan for the Incarnation rested on the work of this humble couple of Nazareth.

God’s invitation extends to us. We, too, have roles to play in the mystery of salvation. Let us pray that we can hear God’s word and put it into practice so that God’s salvation can come to fruition in our lives and in our world today.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


December 11, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Advent Joy!

Growing up as a child in the Eastern part of Nigeria, the 3rd week of Advent was the best week before Christmas for me for two reasons. It was when the school was off, and no school for the next three weeks. It was also a week that my parents took my siblings and me to buy new clothes and shoes for
Christmas. As an adult, I learned that the third Sunday of Advent is a unique Sunday of the four Sundays of Advent. The 3rd Sunday of Advent is the Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. This Sunday lightens the penitential tone of Advent, encourages, and calls on us to share the joy of Christ’s coming. We also light the 3rd of the Advent Candles, which is rose or pink-colored. Thus, the readings of this Sunday in different ways invite us to share in this Advent joy.

The Prophet Isaiah (35: 1-6a,10), in our first reading, interjects the tone of joy at different parts of the reading. He points out the joy God’s people will experience at the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah emphasizes that “those whom the LORD has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.” St. James (5:7-10), in our second reading, calls our attention to one of the important virtues we need in our Christian journey to share in this Advent joy: Patience. Joy is rooted in patience because patience brings peace, contentment, and hope. In addition, both John the Baptist’s inquiries from prison about Jesus and Jesus’ appreciation of the person of John the Baptist in the Gospel today (Matthew 11:2-11) call our attention to another important virtue we need to experience the advent joy, which is appreciating the gifts of one another.

As the Church invites us to experience the advent joy, the question we can ask ourselves should be, what is that in my life that takes away my joy? We can pray for the gift of patience that will help us to be patient with ourselves, with people in our life, and even patient with our God, trusting and believing that God knows the best and His time is the best. Also, we remember that gratitude blossoms into joy. Reflect on different ways God is calling you this season to rekindle the desire to appreciate his presence in your life and the beautiful gifts he has given you through the gifts of people in your life. As we continue our preparations to celebrate the joy of Christmas, let us ask the good Lord to help us to experience this joy and be instruments to share this joy
with others. Amen.

On Saturday, 12/03, we had an Advent retreat for candidates and families preparing for their first Holy Eucharist/Holy Communion. Within the retreat, the candidates made their first reconciliations/confessions. Watching the spiritual support, the candidates received from their families and catechists throughout the retreat was uplifting. We thank the parents/guardians and the catechists who prepared these candidates. The candidates will continue their formation in preparation for the First Eucharist/Holy Communion during the Easter season on May 13th, 2023. Remember to check our Advent Schedule on page 4 of the bulletin and plan to participate in the upcoming programs. I look forward to seeing you.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


December 4, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Evidence of Repentance!

Advent season, like the Lenten season, invites us in a unique way to repentance- metanoia- change of heart in preparation for the celebration of Christmas. This repentance begins with a spiritual introspection, which fruits must reflect in our relationship. Thus, St. Paul asks us in today’s second reading (Romans 15:4-6) “to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In our first reading, Prophet Isaiah, the prophet of hope and promise, calls our attention to the peace and harmony the coming Savior will bring to our lives. The Savior, “Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.” Thus, our Responsorial Psalm (Psalm) reiterates that “Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.” especially touching our hearts to be people of Justice and peace. Similarly, in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, John the Baptist invites us to today’s gospel (Matthew 3:1-12) to prepare the way for the Lord by repentance and to be able to “Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.”

In this Advent season, there are many fruits we can bear as evidence of our heartfelt repentance. First, consider what aspects of your spiritual life God calls you to pay more attention to. For example, finding time to pray, meditate, read spiritual books, participate in programs to assist the less privileged, and other ways. It could also be an invitation to be an instrument of peace and harmony in one’s family. Harmony should begin from oneself and flow to others. Let the good Lord help us pay attention to the different ways he calls us to show evidence of our repentance. Amen.

Thanks immensely to all the volunteers who came out on Saturday, November 19th, to help in different ways to make it possible for us to distribute over 130 turkeys and food boxes to assist needy families in celebrating this year’s thanksgiving. We look forward to our Christmas food drive giveaway on Saturday, December 17th. See the bulletin page six for the details. Thank you for your generosity, which makes these SFC social ministries possible. Also, in this Advent season, we have planned different spiritual programs to help us prepare to celebrate Christmas in God’s love and joy. See page four of the bulletin for our Advent schedule and plan to participate in the programs. I look forward to seeing you.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


November 27, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Be Prepared!

“When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 524)

The Church’s five liturgical seasons (Advent, Christmas, Easter, Lent, and Ordinary Time) that begin with Advent avail us grace opportunities through their liturgy, spirituality, and theology. Advent is a grace- filled season in which we prepare to celebrate the most significant event in human history; the incarnation- the birth of Christ- Christmas. The readings of this season will always invite us to prepare for this great feast.

In this season of Advent, we read about two prophets: Prophet Isaiah, who prophesied about the coming of Christ and his mission as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:5-6), and Prophet John the Baptist, the precursor, and the forerunner of Christ, who announced and called for immediate preparation for Christ’s coming, which the Gospel of Matthew today invites us to be prepared for the coming Jesus Christ. At the foundation of the preparation for Christ’s coming is what St. Paul invites us to do in the second reading: “Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

Jesus is the Light of the World. The uniqueness of the Advent wreath and candles for this season of preparation invites us to allow the light of Christ to overcome every darkness in our lives so that we become children of light. As we look at the light of the advent candle, let it be a reminder that Christ wants his presence to shine in our hearts so that now and always, we are prepared to be the light of the world. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


November 20, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Jesus, the King Who Serves and Saves!

Today is the Solemnity of Christ the King, the 34th Sunday, Year C, and the last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year. Next Sunday, we begin the Advent season in preparation for Christmas. Therefore, the Church devotes this last Sunday of the Liturgical year to honoring Christ, her founder, and savior, as the King of the universe. He is not a King in the earthly sense but a King who came to serve and save us. Hence, St. Paul describes Jesus’ Kingdom in the 2nd reading (Colossians 1:12-20), “For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him.”

The first reading today is from the Second Book of Samuel (2 Sam 5:1-3), telling us how David became King of Israel. Despite his weaknesses and sinfulness, we recognize David as the greatest King of Israel.  It is on the backdrop of the earthly and temporal kingship of David that Luke’s Gospel (Luke 23:35-43) this Sunday reports the account of the crucifixion of Jesus and the encounter of Jesus with two thieves crucified with him. One of the thieves that were crucified with him recognized his eternal kingdom and believed in him as the King, who serves and saves. Consequently, he pleaded, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Like the thief who recognized the kingship of Jesus, Jesus wants us to recognize him as the King of our lives, who serves and saves us. If Jesus is the King of our lives, we must remember him in our daily choices and decisions. The simple question we can ask ourselves this week as we prepare to begin the Advent season is, “Where is Jesus, the king, in my life.” Do I allow this kingdom I profess, pray, and celebrate to reign in my life? As we describe, his kingdom is truth, justice, peace, and love. Let us ask him for the virtues we need to make his kingdom reign in our everyday life and see him always in our lives as our King. Amen.

This week, on Thursday, November 24th, we will gather as family and friends to celebrate this year’s Thanksgiving Day. It is a special day to thank God for all his immeasurable love and blessings. It is also a day to thank God for the gifts of one another. We, the staff of SFC, would like to thank you for all your support in different ways in the ministries we do here at SFC. We invite you to join us for 8.30 AM Mass on Thanksgiving Day. The traditional blessing of your wine and bread will be within the Mass. As we celebrate this year’s Thanksgiving, let these words of St. Paul, “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) inspire and uplift all of us.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


November 13, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Preserving in the Lord!

This Sunday, November 13, is the feast day of our Patroness, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (18501917). One of the enduring and endearing virtues of St. Frances Cabrini is the exemplary way she persevered in the Lord. When she landed in America on March 31, 1889, from Italy, her home country, at the age of 39, she faced difficulties but overcame them through her perseverance in the Lord. She chose as her motto the words of St. Paul, “I can do all
things in Him (Christ) who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). These faithfilled words motivated and compelled her to live an amazing life of faith through perseverance in the Lord. Hence, by the time she died at 67, she had already opened 67 institutions, including hospitals, orphanages, and schools.

As we come closer to the end of the liturgical year, the readings of this Sunday, invite us to persevere in the Lord. In our first reading, Prophet Malachi (Malachi 3:19-20), in a very brief way, describes to us the reward of perseverance, “for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.” The Gospel of Luke (Luke 21:5-9) describes the events of the last days, which are not far-fetched from the natural and human
disasters we see and hear these days. In all these, the gospel ended by inviting us to persevere in the Lord, “By your perseverance, you will secure your lives.” Similarly, writing to the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 3:712) during their confusion regarding the second coming of Jesus, St. Paul encouraged them as he is encouraging us today to continue to persevere in our work for God’s glory.

God has given us the freedom to accept or reject the gift of salvation he has given us in Christ. He patiently calls on us through different life opportunities to accept and embrace this gift with its challenges. God wants us to say yes to this through our perseverance continuously. The challenges of perseverance come in the face of difficulty and disappointments in life, but that is when we have the test of our faith in God, who will not fail us if we trust in him. Therefore, let us pray for the gifts of wisdom and courage we need to persevere in the Lord. Let these words of St. Paul uplift us, “With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18). Amen.

We want to thank those who participated in our different activities in honor of our feast day. We started as a parish community (school & parish) to celebrate this special day in the life of our SFC community through a week-long activity, which comprises spiritual, devotional, liturgical, cultural, academic, and social activities to mark this year’s feast day. I hope we appreciated the beauty of the diversity of our parish community through the
celebration of our Intercultural Mass and reception. We thank the Cabrini planning committee: Fr. Vincent, Doris Bebla, Ronda Clark, Maile Figone, Cathy Campbell, Lee Campbell, Merry Kaelani, Teresa Adams, Audrey Piedad, and all the volunteers who came out to help in different ways.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


November 6, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

I Believe in the Resurrection of the Dead!

The celebrations of the Feasts of All the Saints and All the Faithful Departed (All Souls) on 1st and 2nd November, respectively, are very significant as we come towards the end of the Liturgical Year. Through these celebrations, we remember our loved ones who have departed from this life. Also, these celebrations remind us of the transient nature of our earthly life. They invite us to seize our opportunities to embrace the gratuitous gift of salvation, which God has given us in Christ and which we solemnly accept whenever we profess in our Creed, I Believe in the Resurrection of the Dead! The resurrection of the dead we profess always remains the bedrock of our faith.

It is the unflinching faith in the resurrection that gave the seven brothers we read about in today’s first reading- (2 Maccabees 7: 1-2, 9-12) not to compromise their faith in the face of threats to their lives; and one of the brothers at the point of death affirmed, “you are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us to live again forever.” In line with this exemplary courage of these brothers, St. Paul, in the 2nd reading (2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5), prays that God gives us “everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace.” The Gospel of Luke (20:27-38) also describes the gift of resurrection God gave us through his Son, Jesus Christ, who now counts us as part of the “ones who will rise.”

The faith we profess in accepting the gift of resurrection is one step that leads us to manifest the acceptance of this gift through the life we live. Faith, as we know, without good deeds is dead (James 2:17). The challenges we face in our Christian journey are tests of our faith. We win this gift of salvation through our perseverance in faith, which we always profess. In addition, St. Paul encourages us to know “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy of being compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18). Therefore, let us continue to pray for the persevering grace we need to keep to faith that is active, living, and conscious, which leads us to everlasting life. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


October 30, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

The Mercy of God: Infinite and Definite!

On October 22nd, we celebrated as a Church, the feast of Pope St. John Paul II. We remember this great Pope for his service to the Church, especially during his 27 years as a Pope. Also, we remember him as the Pilgrim Pope who traveled to 129 countries to encounter people and share God’s love and mercy with them. In 1980, Pope John Paul II wrote an Encyclical, Dives in Misericordia (DM) – (God, who is rich in mercy), in which he reflected on the richness of God’s mercy and the mission of Jesus to share this mercy with us. He stated, “Christ confers on the whole of the Old Testament tradition about God’s mercy a definitive meaning. Not only does He speak of it and explain it by using comparisons and parables, but above all, He Himself makes it incarnate and personifies it.” (DM, #2).

One of the central themes the readings of this Sunday reflect on this invitation Pope John Paul gave us to share in the richness of God’s mercy, which is infinite and definite. Our first reading, the book of Wisdom (Wisdom 11:22 -12:2), reminds us of God’s mercy, “But you have mercy on all because you can do all things, and you overlook people’s sins that they may repent.” Likewise, one of the lines of our Responsorial from Psalm 145 reminds us, “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness.” Similarly, the richness of God’s mercy is well depicted in the Gospel of Luke (19:1-10) through the story of Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus, the Tax Collector.

We have so much to learn from the gospel story: First, Zacchaeus’s desire to experience God’s mercy. Thus, he strove to encounter Jesus. Second, Zacchaeus’ determination to overcome all obstacles to experience the Mercy of God. Jesus recognized his efforts, encountered him, and allowed him to experience the richness of God’s mercy in its fullness. Jesus, in this encounter, reminds us of his primary mission, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” Like Zacchaeus, we all need the mercy of God to different degrees. Let us ask God for the strength to overcome the obstacles that hinder us from receiving this mercy, whether these obstacles come from our pride that makes us be in denial of our weaknesses and sinfulness or our despair that makes to give up in making efforts to receive the mercy of God and change our ways and behavior. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


October 23, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Pray in Humility!

“If you have lost the taste for prayer, you will regain the desire for it by returning humbly to its practice”
(St. Pope Paul VI)

The Eucharistic celebration (Mass) is the sacrament of God’s mercy. At different times within the Mass, we ask for God’s forgiveness because we believe, as we profess in the Creed, “the forgiveness of sin” and affirm our human frailty and the reality of sin. Last Sunday, we read the first part of Luke’s Gospel chapter 18 on the parable of the persistent widow and wicked judge, through which we were called to reflect on the importance of praying with perseverance and persistence. The second part of Luke’s Gospel chapter 18 invites us to reflect on our attitude in prayer through the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.

Jesus, through today’s Gospel of Luke (18:9-14), teaches us how we should pray and how not to pray: Avoiding self-justification and judging others in prayer. Today’s first reading, the book of Sirach (35:12-14; 16 -18), one of the wisdom books, reminds us of the importance of praying in humility, “…the prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds…” In addition, in today’s second reading (2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18), St. Paul, in the last part of his letter to Timothy in a prayerful way, sets a good example for us. He offered a prayer of inclusiveness and forgiveness.

Praying in humility reminds us that our prayer should not be time for self-defense, self-justification, self- appraisal, or justification, but more of thanksgiving and asking for mercy. The problem with the prayer of the Pharisee in the Gospel was that he used his prayer time to judge and condemn the Tax Collector, which is a mark of pride. From the Tax Collector in the Gospel, we learn the importance of praying in humility as a model of prayer. Praying in humility is also an act of faith. It calls to our mind that our prayer should reflect our total dependence on God and our openness to receive the mercy of God, which is infinite and definite. Let us always remember these words of Jesus that conclude today’s Gospel, “whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Amen.

We believe everyone who came for our fiesta this weekend of Friday, October 21st, to Sunday, October 23rd, had memorable fun. We are grateful to all who were present and supported the parish. On behalf of our SFC community, we would like to thank Mike Livingston (SFC Director of Fiesta) and these members of the Fiesta Committee: Jennifer Gudeli, Karim Elsharif, Maile Figone, Mike Vasquez, Dave Citrigno, Pam Citrigno, Jose Rodriguez, Tim Smith, Malia Delvecchio, James Sawaya, Sam Nickolas, Delina Pulliam, Eric Pulliam, Linnea Sheehy, John Quinn, Jacqueline Quinn, Glenn Gifford, Leticia Ambriz, and Doris Bebla. Also, we would like to thank all the fiesta volunteers, especially those who came out to set up the fiesta site on Saturday, October 15th, or helped in other ways. We are very grateful for all your hard work.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


October 16, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Pray Without Ceasing!

“When we pray, we talk to God, and when we read the Scripture, God talks to us.”
(St. Augustine)

For some Sundays, we have been reading Paul’s letter to Timothy in our second reading, filled with words of exhortation, encouragement, and admonishment. This Sunday’s second reading (2 Timothy 3:14‐4:2) points out clearly that the Scriptures are inspired Word of God, which is “useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” God speaks to us through the scripture. Sometimes it becomes difficult to know the message God is giving us, especially when we read the Old Testament stories of war and killing. However, if we read the scripture between the line and within the context, we can get the message.

In our first reading today (Exodus 17: 8‐13), the victory of the Israelites’ army led by Joshua over the Amalekites through the perseverance and persistence of Moses. He interceded on their behalf by relentlessly raising the staff of God. The gospel of today (Luke 18:1‐8), the parable of the persistent widow, was chosen on the background of the perseverance and persistence of Moses. This parable encourages us to pray without ceasing. Our perseverance and persistence in prayer is an act of faith through which we continue to feel the presence of God in our lives. Our faith reminds us that no prayer goes unanswered; instead, in answering our prayers, God grants us our requests or gives us the disposition to accept his will.

God, who loves us infinitely, knows the best for us and answers our prayers according to his best will. His will, as our faith teaches us, will not take us to a place where his grace will not abide with us. God wants our prayer life to be ongoing and not only when we need something, thereby making him the only God of emergencies. He wants us to pray in season and out of season. Our Catholic traditions have blessed us with different forms (vocal, contemplative, and meditative prayer) and expressions (Adoration‐praise, thanksgiving, forgiveness, petitions) of prayers. Of these forms and expressions of prayers, which ones are part of your life? Let us ask the good Lord to help us make prayer part of our daily life and pray without ceasing. Amen.

We look forward to our parish fiesta this coming weekend, Friday, October 21st to Sunday, October 23rd. The parish fiesta is an excellent opportunity to have fun as a parish community and to support the parish. We hope you will be there to enjoy the weekend after the three years we have missed it. We would also like to invite you to celebrate Cabrini Week as SFC Community (parish & school) in honor of our patroness, St. Frances Cabrini, whose feast day this year falls on Sunday, November 13th. The vision is to celebrate Cabrini Week with spiritual/devotional, academic, catechetical, liturgical, cultural, and social programs. One of the week’s highlights will be the celebration of intercultural Mass to celebrate the beauty of cultural diversity in our parish community. We will keep you posted with the details of the week’s events.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


October 9, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Thank You Jesus!

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread
(St. Theresa of Calcutta)

The celebration of the Eucharist is the celebration of our deep sense of gratitude to God for his everlasting love and mercy. This celebration invites and sends us to continue to recognize and appreciate God’s ever‐abiding presence. One of the central themes of this Sunday’s readings is the invitation to always find something in our lives to say, ‘Thank You, Jesus’. More still, gratitude to God is an act of faith. It reminds us constantly that faithful God will never abandon us, just as St. Paul emphasizes in the first reading (2 Timothy 2:8‐13), “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.”

In this Sunday’s first reading (2 Kings 5:14‐17), the story of Naaman, the leper, is an excellent example of how we should express our profound gratitude to God and to the people God uses to shower his benevolence to us. Naaman returned to Prophet Elisha, the Man of God, who interceded on his behalf for God’s healing upon him. Similarly, the Samaritan’s deep appreciation of Jesus’s healing in this Sunday Gospel (Luke 17:11‐19) reminds us that being grateful to God for his presence in our lives is an act of faith. Specifically, Jesus praised the act of faith of the Samaritan leper, who was the only one who returned to say thanks out of the nine healed. Jesus told him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

Our ability to recognize and appreciate the beautiful things God has blessed us with helps us know that God has not abandoned us in the face of our challenges. Also, we are called to appreciate the gifts of people God uses to bless us, just as Naaman recognized that the healing of God came to him through the intercession of the Prophet Elisha. We must ask ourselves; do I appreciate the people God has placed in my life through which I receive his love and kindness? In addition, how can I use God’s gifts to express my gratitude to people in my life? Let us ask the good Lord to give us the faith we need to acknowledge the beautiful things he is doing in our lives and be able to say always, ‘Thank You, Jesus!’ Amen.

Every month of October, the Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life Month. This month, we reflect more deeply on the dignity of every human person made in the image and likeness of God and help to build in different ways a culture of life that cherishes and protects human life at every stage. The month of October is also the Month of the Most Holy Rosary, and the feast of the Holy Rosary is celebrated on October 7th. Also, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on October 13th, 1917, for the last time to shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, urging them to “say the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.” As an SFC parish community, this October, different families will lead the Rosary every Thursday at 6.30 PM inside the church. I hope you will find time to join this weekly parish family Rosary.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


October 2, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Active And Living Faith!

We have the opportunity to read something new weekly about our Patroness, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), in our SFC weekly bulletin and newsletter. The life of faith St. Frances Cabrini lived is worthy of emulation. When she landed in America on March 31, 1889, from Italy, her home country, at the age of 39, she faced difficulties but was able to overcome them through her active and living faith. She chose as her motto the words of St. Paul, “I can do all things in Him (Christ) who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). These faith-filled words inspired and propelled her to live an extraordinary life of faith. Hence, by the time she died at 67, she would open 67 institutions, including hospitals, orphanages, and schools.

The disciples in this Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 17:5-10) saw the practical ways Jesus has demonstrated faith in God. Thus, they asked Jesus, “Lord, increase our faith.” The disciples were asking Jesus to teach them ways to deepen their relationship with God, which would make them not only know about God but know God. Our first reading today (Habakkuk 1:2-3,2:2-4) gives an excellent background to the Gospel. Prophet Habakkuk emphasized, “but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.” Likewise, Paul reminds Timothy in the Second Reading of today (2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14), “I am reminding you to fan into a flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you.

Faith is a gift from God, and our relationship with God depends on the extent we are open to receiving this gift from God and making it active and living in our lives. Faith shapes and directs our relationship with God. For, “without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Active and living faith blossoms God’s gifts in us and challenges to use the gifts to serve others. As Apostle James stated, “Faith without good works is dead.” Let us, as the disciples asked, pray for an increase in faith that is active and living. Amen.

Bishop Oscar Cantú, on December 6, 2021, following the call of Pope Francis to be a “listening Church,” called on Catholics in the diocese of San Jose to begin a yearlong process of prayer, listening, consultation, and discernment in preparation for our first Diocesan Synod to be held on January 27 – 29, 2023. The four marks (pillars) of the Church: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, will guide the synod’s consultation, discernment, and planning process. In preparation for this synod, we will have our SFC Parish Consultation Session on Wednesday, October 5, at 6 PM in the church. Also, in the not too distant future, you will receive a synod survey, which will be an opportunity for all to give voice to this synod process. I hope our parish community (parish & school) will provide our maximum support and participation in Synod 2023.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

Jul-Sep 2022 Pastor's Messages (Click to view)

September 25, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Remember the Poor!

Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the Brazilian Cardinal who died on July 4th, 2022, at 87, was a great friend of Pope Francis. Pope Francis said about Cardinal Hummes in his first press conference after being elected, “He hugged me, kissed me and said: ‘Do not forget about the poor.’ Those words were carved on my mind.” Indeed, these inspiring words of Cardinal Hummes to Pope Francis have been in the mind of Pope Francis and have been reflected in his talks, homilies, and writings. Pope Francis keeps reminding us through his actions and words that the Church is the Church of the poor and for the poor. He has emphasized through the years that the Church, which doesn’t remember the poor, is the Church that does not follow the mind of Christ, who was poor himself.

The invitation to remember the poor is one of the themes the readings of this Sunday invite us to reflect on. We continued in our First reading as we read last week the book of the Prophet Amos (Amos 6: 1a, 4- 7), who will know was very eloquent in condemning the negligent attitude of the rich towards the poor. These warnings of Prophet Amos connect to the Gospel story today, the story of the rich man and poor man- Lazarus (Luke 16: 19-31). The rich man in the gospel went to hell, not because of his wealth or good life but because of his sin of omission. He failed to recognize the pains of the poor man- Lazarus and only indulged in self-comfort and pleasure.

We must remember that the more blessed we are with the material things of life, the more opportunities to use them to touch the lives of people around us. The more generous we are with earthly treasures, the more spiritual treasures we store for ourselves. Maybe there are people we have made invisible, or we have already passed judgment on them regarding why they are poor or wretched, or perhaps we have not thought about different ways we can remember the poor. The poor are always around us, and we can help them in various ways. Our parish community offers us the opportunities to donate to our food pantry, through which we serve the poor in our neighborhood and beyond. Let us pray that in the comforts of our lives, we do not forget the discomforts and pains of people around us. Amen.

Last Sunday was Catechetical Sunday, and we commissioned the Catechists for our parish community during the 9.30 AM Mass. These catechists: Matthew Shafer, Melissa Shafer, Daniel Kearns, Lelanya Kearns, Timothy Van Overen, Daniel O’Connell, Gregory R. Herbert, Tina Wordley Diegnan, Kathleen Cook, Kimberly Delaney, Randyco Prasetyo, Nathalie Ghantous, Amy Corral, Erin Karazija, Mary Ellen Poirier, Linda Brady, Debbie Casey, Vanessa Casey, Keith Metz, Mary Ellen Poirier, Elizabeth Drew, and Joy Kratofil, will work collaboratively with Merry Kaelani, our parish Catechetical Coordinator, to share their wisdom and witnesses with our parish community at different catechetical ministries. We thank them for saying yes to a vocation to be a catechist. We continue to pray for them and support them by participating in the various catechetical opportunities they would offer to our families.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

 


September 18, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

We Are God’s Stewards!

The prophets of the Old Testament were messengers of God, called at different times to call people back to God, warn them of God’s justice, and preach against social injustice existing during their time. The 16 books of the Old Testament define different ministries the prophets shared with their people throughout history. Of these prophets, Prophet Amos is well-known as the prophet of social justice. He preached against social ills existing among his people, especially how the rich took advantage of the poor, as we read in today’s first reading (Amos 8: 4-7). He warned them, “Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land… The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Never will I forget a thing they have done!

In our first reading, the rich, prophet Amos condemned was not because of their wealth but because of how they used it. They became enslaved by material pride and used their riches to trample upon the poor and the weak. They forgot that whatever they had was a gift from God, and God called on them to make good use of them. As a result, they were not good stewards of God’s blessing. Based on this backdrop of the first reading, Jesus invites us in today’s Gospel (Luke 16: 10-13) to be trustworthy stewards of God’s gifts by being servants who use well the gifts we have received.

We need to remember always that the gifts we have received make us gifts to others. Once we are gifted, we become gifts to others. We are stewards of God’s blessings. We are stewards of the time, talent, and treasure God has given us. If we believe that whatever we have has been given to us, then we must remember that whatever we make out these gifts in service to one another is the gift we give back to God. It remains our choice on how we use God’s given gifts. It is an invitation to be good stewards of God’s blessings, asking God for the wisdom to use our wealth to his greater glory. Amen!

We want to thank those who have been active and participating in the sacramental, liturgical, and devotional life of the Parish. We have seen an increase in the number of people coming to our daily and weekend Masses. Our SFC Church is open daily for Mass; masks are recommended but not required. Whenever your schedule allows you, we encourage everyone to join us for our daily rosary after Mass or before Mass on special feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Friday devotions schedules can be seen on page 4 of our bulletin. Let us continue to avail ourselves of the opportunities to participate in these spiritual exercises and to pray as a community, for the community that prays together grows in God’s love together.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

 

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If you visit St. Frances Cabrini during the school hours when the Woodard Entry Gate is closed, please call either the school office at 408-377-6545, or call the parish office during business hours Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM at 408 879-1120 #20. You can also pull up and park on the side, go to the keypad unit and hit Directory. Find the SFC School office or St. Frances Cabrini (parish office). This will ring that office and you will be able to talk with someone. Thank you!


 

September 11, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

In Thanksgiving And Love!

The word Eucharist comes from the Greek word Eucharistia meaning “thanksgiving”. The celebration of the Eucharist is the celebration of our deep sense of gratitude to God for his everlasting love and mercy. As we are sent out “Go in peace” after the Mass, we are sent to continue to live in this deep sense of gratitude for God’s actions in our lives through his ever-abiding presence. Being grateful to God is an act of faith, which reminds us constantly that God is with us. In addition, our ability to recognize and appreciate the beautiful things God has blessed us with helps us know that God has not abandoned us in the face of our challenges.

St. Paul’s expression of thanksgiving to God in our second reading today (2 Timothy 1: 12-17) is very exemplary. Paul recognized that God’s grace turned him from being a persecutor to a preacher of the Gospel of salvation. Hence, in thanksgiving and love, he said, “I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus, our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant, but I have been mercifully treated.” St. Paul’s expression reminds us that thanksgiving to God begins by recognizing his benevolence in our lives.

The Gospel today (Luke 15: 1-32) has three parables: the Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus told these parables within the context of reminding us of God’s infinite and definite mercy. It is worth pointing out that each parable ends with the celebration of thanksgiving and love when we experience God’s love. Significantly, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, the son’s father expressed, “But now we must celebrate and rejoice because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.” This statement confirms that thanksgiving begins with recognition.

Thank you all for your support at the Mass of my installation and reception. Every installation Mass is a celebration of thanksgiving and love. I remain grateful to Bishop Cantú for the opportunity given to me and Fr. Vincent to serve here at St. Frances Cabrini Parish. As I wrote in my message of July 3rd, “Our vision is to build on what our predecessors have established by continuing to make SFC a community where All Are Welcome. We hope to promote and create parish ministries anchored in our SFC Mission Statement: Worship God. Love Others. Make Disciples. Educate the Young! We also hope to develop a culture of maintenance for our property to ensure all our buildings are well maintained for posterity.” We are still committed to this vision and count on your support to make this vision a reality.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

 

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If you visit St. Frances Cabrini during the school hours when the Woodard Entry Gate is closed, please call either the school office at 408-377-6545, or call the parish office during business hours Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM at 408 879-1120 #20. You can also pull up and park on the side, go to the keypad unit and hit Directory. Find the SFC School office or St. Frances Cabrini (parish office). This will ring that office and you will be able to talk with someone. Thank you!


September 4, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

The Cross of My Life!

A story was told of a man who constantly complained of the challenges and difficulties he faced in his life and blamed God for all his crosses. Then, one day he had a dream, and, in the dream, he found himself in a room with different crosses representing the challenges people face in their lives. He was asked to select one of the crosses as an alternative to the one he was carrying. He moved around the room and found out that all the crosses were very heavy, and the only one he thought was less heavy was the one that represented the cross of his life. The story reminds us that every one of us has a cross. Thus, the invitation to know the cross of our lives and take it and follow Jesus.

Jesus in today’s Gospel (Luke 14:25-23) reminds us, “Whoever does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” The act of discipleship requires us to follow Jesus in season and out season, in bad and good times. Jesus wants us to have the total commitment to being his disciple, being mindful of the challenges that go with that total commitment. Life, as we know, is never a bed of roses and every day has its trouble. These troubles come to us through challenges, difficulties, and disappointments life gives us, either directly or indirectly. The actual test of our faith comes during the cross of our life.

The crosses of our life come in different ways- spiritual, emotional, or physical. Some of them are caused by our poor choices, others cause by others to us, and others are what life gives us. Whichever source comes our cross, the most important thing is to ask for God’s strength and wisdom to help us carry the cross of our life. Hence, our First Reading this Sunday (Wisdom 9:13:18b) reminds of God, “Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high?” In line with this we remember and pray the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference” Amen!

We want to update you on the parish projects we have completed:

  1. Installation of two (2) electric gates off the Woodside side
  2. In front of the Rectory, iron rod fencing
  3. Installation of two new screens and two new projectors inside the Church
  4. Greenbelt Project: New trees and turf planted along the Woodard side parking lots.
  5. Parish Rose Garden center: Cracked cement removed, and landscape and planting replaced in areas needed
  6. New signage has been placed throughout the property: directions to the parish office, entry and exit gates, and Mass times on the Camden side.

The project on the relocation of our Chapel of Adoration is still ongoing. We will continue to keep you posted on the progress of it and other projects. We thank members of the SFC Building Committee who have been very helpful in supervising these projects. Please, continue to pray for the success of these endeavors.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


August 28, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

The Virtue of Humility

One of the central themes the readings of this Sunday invite us to reflect on is the virtue of humility. Our first reading: (The book of Sirach 3:17–18, 20, 28–29), one of the Wisdom books, summarizes the beautiful and heart- touching admonishment on the importance of humility in these words: “My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.” Similarly, Jesus in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 14:1, 7–14) uses the wedding banquet parable to demonstrate how we must humble ourselves to be praised and raised by others. He said, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
 
In reflecting on the virtue of humility, we must be mindful of what humility is not. Humility is not humiliation or denial of what we have, are, or know. Instead, humility is accepting who we are or what we have or know and using those gifts to praise God by being of service to others because of whatever we have or have received. The virtue of humility makes it possible for us to be grateful for our achievements, whether intellectually, socially, financially, or spiritually. It helps us to be spiritually genuine, accepting the truth about ourselves, acknowledging our mistakes, forgiving ourselves and others, and asking for forgiveness from God and one another.
 
We all need the virtue of humility to live an authentic Christian life. Humility abhors two extremes: claiming that one is everything or claiming that one is nothing. In the practice of humility, we battle against our ego, which usually leads to seeing life revolving around oneself alone. Humility is the mother of all virtues. St. Augustine was once asked what was the most important of all virtues. His answer was humility. He stated, “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” Let us pray for the virtue of humility to accept who we are and what we know and have to the greater glory of God. Amen.
 
Our Parish Ministry Fair last Sunday was very successful. We thank all the volunteers, led by the Parish Council, for organizing the event. We also thank the different ministries who had their tables and took the time to explain to those present, what they do for SFC. Our Parish Ministry Fair offered a greater awareness of all our SFC community’s ministerial opportunities. I hope and pray that our SFC community will see the fruits of the ministry fair by us stepping up to be good stewards of the gifts of time, talent, and treasure (resources) God has given to us.
St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

Fr. James Okafor


 

August 21, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Presevere!

In our second reading for Sunday readings, we have been reading for more than four Sundays; the letter to the Hebrews, the book which has earned the reputation of being a masterpiece. Biblical Scholars believe it was written for Jewish Christians who lived in Jerusalem, and its purpose was to encourage Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. It is a book of exhortation, and the second reading today (Hebrews12: 5-7; 11-13) encourages us, “You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children: “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.”

Jesus, in this Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 13:22-30), encourages us to persevere and to “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” What God needs from us most is our sincere efforts and for us to persevere in our faith journey. God knows us in and out. He knows our sincere effort to follow him. Thus, the Prophet Isaiah reminds us in today’s first reading (Isaiah 66:18-21), “Thus says the Lord: I know their works and their thoughts, and I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory.”

The call to persevere can mean different things to different people, being mindful of the different situations we face daily. Therefore, it is worthwhile to reflect and ask ourselves what area of our life and faith journey God calls us to persevere. For example, God might be calling you to persevere in the good work you do in your family, at your workplace, in the Church, or among your friends, even though these works may not consistently be recognized or appreciated. God also might be calling you to pay more attention to your spiritual life by persevering in spiritual exercises like prayers and participation in the Sacraments.

We are delighted to have our entire Parish School Community back on campus as of last Wednesday. Our SFC school, the largest ministry of our parish, has been a blessing to all of us. We thank the school parents who made the right choice of choosing our school for an integral education and formation of their children. We have been blessed with dedicated Administrators, Faculty, and Staff who are relentlessly working hard to ensure that our students are always doing their best and being their best. We have our Back-School- Mass this Sunday at 9.30 AM to celebrate and pray for God’s blessings for a new academic year. The parish Ministry Fair will follow immediately after the Mass. We look forward to a very exciting, enriching, and rewarding academic year.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

 


August 14, 2022

Pastor’s Message | Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

The Cost of Discipleship

The mystery of the Eucharist we celebrate gives us the opportunity to continue to reflect on the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which he won for us the gift of salvation. Additionally, this mystery invites us to always follow the examples of Jesus. Hence, our second reading this Sunday, the letter to the Hebrews, succinctly puts it this way, “…For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.”

In the first reading of this Sunday, Prophet Jeremiah, whom God sent to confront his people regarding their ways and behaviors, was misunderstood as a prophet of gloom and doom. Consequently, they were determined to eliminate him in any way possible. But did the torture met out to Jeremiah deter him from his mission? No! He endured because he knew the faithfulness of the one who called and sent him. It is on the backdrop of Jeremiah’s steadfastness to his call that today’s Gospel gives us the words of Jesus, which seemingly look like the call for divisiveness; instead, it is a reminder of the cost of discipleship.

To be a true disciple means that one unceasingly is an agent of truth and justice without fear or favor. Sometimes, our friends and family can misunderstand or even persecute us, especially when our authentic life of the Gospel contradicts theirs. When people persecute us because of the Gospel, do we compromise, or do we, like Jeremiah, continue unflinchingly to be instruments of truth and justice? Let us ask the good Lord to give us the courage and strength to be faithful disciples who will always stand for the truth and justice. Amen.

We thank these parishioners who serve as members of the SFC Liturgical Committee: Patty Vucurevich, Maria Sarmiento, Jennifer Donnelly, Doris Bebla, James Sawaya, Jill Ballard, and Elizabeth Drew. These people represent different liturgical ministries we have in the parish. The SFC Liturgical Committee meets to discuss, prepare, and evaluate the liturgies in consultation with Fr. Vincent – Director of Liturgy, and with the Pastor. Please, pray for these members of the SFC Liturgical Committee as they serve our parish community.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

 


August 7, 2022

A Note from the Pastor: Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Faith in Action

The Eucharistic celebration (Mass) encompasses all forms and expressions of prayer, and through it, we express, celebrate, and profess our faith. The readings, the songs, and the prayers of the Mass all come together to enrich and strengthen our faith. Within the Mass, we respond, “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection until you come again” In this, we express our faith in the mystery of the past, the mystery of the present, and the mystery of the future. Faith, as God’s given gift, is meant to be shared, and when it is shared, it multiplies.

The readings of today, in different ways, call us to reflect on this faith, God’s given gift, which helps us to serve and trust Him. Our second reading this Sunday, the letter to the Hebrews, describes the enduring examples of the faith of Abraham (the father of our faith) and the power of faith, which is an affirmation of what the book of Wisdom in the first reading says about the patriarchs, “they put their faith” in God. The gospel reminds us that the act of faith is not only in beliefs but also in action by “Knowing and doing the master’s will.”

Every true faith must be living, conscious, and active. Faith shows itself in action. At the end of every Mass, we are commissioned to “Go,” an invitation to go and live out the faith we have, expressed, professed, and celebrated. We are called to reflect and ask ourselves, what are the ways God calls us to put our faith in action? These words of St. James are a great invitation to all of us: “So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed, someone may say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works” (James 2:17-18).

We thank these parishioners who serve as members of the SFC Finance Council: Sean Cook, Tom Connelly, Art Javier, Jennifer Nickolas, Carlo Pedron, Tim Smith, Roxanne Vane, and Maile Figone. The Parish Finance Council is an advisory and consultative body that advises and assists the Pastor in all matters about parish finances. We balanced the budget for the past fiscal year, which ended on June 30th. The Council has approved the budget for the new fiscal year. We will keep you posted when you can view the details of these budgets on our website. Please, pray for these members of the SFC Finance Council as they serve our parish community.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

 


July 31, 2022

A Note from the Pastor: Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Riches: Blessings or Vanities?

“If the Lord has gifted you with riches, it is to do lots of good things for others in His name”

(Pope Francis Tweets, August 28, 2018)

The Eucharistic celebration- the highest form of prayer, is a special moment in which God speaks to us in different ways, namely, the songs, the prayers, and the readings. The word of God we experience through these encourages us in the good we do and challenges us to overcome our lives’ weaknesses. This change cannot happen if we do not have the disposition to be present and participate fully in the liturgy. This worthwhile disposition to the word of God helps us to “seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God…” as our second reading (Colossians 3:1 – 5, 9 –11) for this Sunday invites us.

In our first reading, the book of Ecclesiastes (1:2;2:21-23), one of the wisdom books, it admonishes us on the reality that nothing is permanent. It describes both our life successes and failures as vanities. The tone of this message can make one begin to think that all our toil and labor are in vain. But the main message here is to be constantly mindful of the temporality of everything before us. Similarly, the Parable of the rich fool in the Gospel (Luke 2:13 – 21) brings up the question of Jesus detesting riches and seeing them as mere vanity than a blessing. Is this true? No! Instead, Jesus wants to bring to our awareness the destructive dangers of riches, which do not undermine the blessings they bring.

Jesus wants us to reflect on two things about riches: How we acquire and use them. These two things determine if riches become a blessing or vanity. First, we must ask ourselves: What do we have, and how did we acquire them? Second, how do we use the riches we have acquired? Does our wealth make us arrogant and proud? Are we unduly attached to riches that we evaluate our lives by what? Are we wasteful and extravagant or self-centered and mean with our wealth? Do we remember that the more riches we have, the more opportunities to win God’s blessings with them? We pray that the good Lord will give us the wisdom to acquire and correctly use the riches he has given us so that they become for us sources of blessing. Amen.

We thank these parishioners who serve as members of the SFC Parish Pastoral Council: Sam Nickolas, Maile Figone, Ronda Clark, Linnea Sheehy, Doris Bebla, Lyle Adams, George Midwin, Lee Campbell, and Merry Kaelani. The Parish Pastoral Council is an advisory board to the Pastor. The Parish Pastoral Council advises the pastor on parish issues and directs parish’s long-term planning activities. Parish Pastoral Council collaborates with staff members, parishioners, other parish groups, committees, and ministries to carry out the Parish’s mission. Currently, the SFC parish council is leading the planning of our Ministry Fair coming up on August 21st after 9.30AM Mass, the Installation of the Pastor on Saturday, September 10th at 5.00PM Mass. Also, the council will be leading SFC participation in the Diocesan Synod starting this Fall, and the parish listening session that will also happen this Fall. We pray for God’s guidance on our council members as they undertake these responsibilities for the growth of SFC.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

 


 

July 24, 2022

A Note from the Pastor: Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Persistence and Perseverance in Prayer!

Two weeks ago, I was at Notre Dame University, Indiana, participating in a four-day conference organized by School Pastors Institute (SPI). We were about 89 school Pastors from 40 (arch) dioceses across the United States. The conference was very enlightening and enriching. After the conference, I drove to Chicago to visit one of the three National Shrines of St. Frances Cabrini in the United States. The couple of hours I spent at the Shrine was uplifting and inspiring. Of the many endearing virtues of Mother Cabrini, one that was outstanding was her persistence and perseverance in prayer. She believed strongly in the power of prayer and that no prayer goes unanswered; instead, God, in answering our prayers, either grants us our requests or gives us the disposition to accept his will.

Both our first reading (Genesis 18: 20-23) and the Gospel (Luke 11:1-13) this Sunday give us examples of people who prayed with persistence and perseverance. In the first reading, Abraham interceded on behalf of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, leaving us with an exemplary approach to prayer. Similarly, the disciples were edified by Jesus’ prayer life and asked him to teach them how to pray. Jesus taught them the Lord’s Prayer and told them a story to bolster the importance of praying with perseverance and persistence. He also reminded us that God, who loves us infinitely, knows the best for us and answers our prayers according to his best will.

God wants our prayer life to be ongoing and not only when we need something, thereby making him the only God of emergencies. He wants us to pray in season and out of season. Our Catholic traditions have blessed us with different forms (vocal, contemplative, and meditative prayer) and expressions (Adoration-praise, thanksgiving, forgiveness, petitions) of prayers. Of these forms and expressions of prayers, which ones are part of your life? Like the disciples, let us ask the good Lord to help us make prayer part of our daily life and pray with perseverance and persistence. Amen.

We thank these parishioners who serve as members of the SFC Building Committee: Domenic Onorato, Jim Vergara, Ray Figone, Dave Citrigno, Mike Livingston, Vince Coffaro, Leila Correa, Kristen Sinnott, Jeff Bowman, Sam Nickolas, Joe Piazza, and Maile Figone. The building committee has been working hard with the parish priests on our parish projects. The current projects we are working on include:

  • Relocation of Adoration Chapel to the library (original baptismal room of the Church).
  • Fencing and Gates: Replace existing electric gate on the Woodard side. Wrought iron fencing and gate across the rectory would complete the grounds’ closing. Also, replacing the existing damaged track and concrete for the electric gate of the Camden side.
  • Repair water leak by saw cutting and replacing damaged pipes off Camden side.
  • SFC Signage: Update sign with Current mass times by Camden side.
  • Replacing all billboard signage off Camden side with electric marquee signage.
  • Installation of new projectors and screens inside the Church.

We will keep you posted on the progress of these and other future endeavors. Please, pray for the successful completion of these projects.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


 

July 17, 2022

A Note from the Pastor: Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Slow Down, Sit Down, and Listen!

The The Bible, Old Testament (OT) and New Testament (NT) have stories of people who were recognized and praised for taking the time to listen to different ways God spoke to them. Abraham, our father in faith, is one of the typical examples of these people in the OT. He not only listened to different ways God spoke to him, even when it was difficult to say yes, but he demonstrated that God’s voice influenced his actions. Our first reading today (Genesis 18:1- 20a) describes one of these endearing actions of Abraham through his hospitality to the Angels of God. His hospitality, in return, gained his blessings from God through the Angels, who assured him of a gift with a child through his wife, Sarah.

The Gospel story today (Luke 10:38-42) is the story of Jesus in the home of Martha and Mary, in which Jesus compliments Mary on her ability to slow down, sit down, and listen. The message of Jesus here was not to undermine the culture of his people, which primarily encourages a host to be hospitable to a guest but to emphasize the importance of us finding time to slow down and listen to the different ways he speaks to us. The worries and anxieties of life sometimes make it difficult for us to slow down and listen to the different ways God speaks to us. Equally, our quest to keep to date with the latest events, news, and happenings of life can be a significant obstacle in slowing down to listen to ourselves, the people in our lives, and other ways God speaks to us.

In the second reading (Colossians 1:24-28), St. Paul describes the choice God has made of all of us as his chosen ones and made known the riches of his glory to us. The riches of God’s glory are within and around us. God wants us to pay attention to them by listening. As you reflect on this invitation the readings of today gives us, think about different ways God is calling you to listen. Maybe he is calling you to slow down and listen to members of your family, friends, colleagues, and others in your life. It is said that silence is golden and an element in which great things fashion themselves. Our SFC community gives us the opportunity to slow down, sit down, and listen through our Eucharistic Adoration every Friday. I invite you to look at the schedule for this weekly Eucharistic Adoration in the weekly bulletin, posters on our doors, and our website and see if it is something you might have time to participate in.

We want to thank these parishioners who accepted to serve as members of our SFC Evangelization Committee: Lee Campbell, Cathy Campbell, Kelsey Ballard, Jim Revels, Garin Ballard, Merry Kaelani, and Oferia Pors. The goals of our SFC Evangelization Committee are to support the priests in exploring and implementing programs that will help parishioners to become fruitful missionary disciples of Christ by deepening their spiritual, devotional, prayerful, and Sacramental life. The Committee would also work collaboratively with other councils, groups, and committees of SFC to reach out and welcome back people to the Church, especially the inactive parishioners. Please, let us keep these brothers and sisters in our prayers. Amen.

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!


July 10, 2022

A Note from the Pastor: Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)

Everything the true Christian has is to be regarded as a good possessed in common with everyone else. All Christians should be ready and eager to come to the help of the needy…” A Christian is a steward of the Lord’s goods” (Catechism of Catholic Church, no. 952).

The Eucharist we celebrate is the sacrament of love. It offers us opportunities to reflect and experience the love of God. This great love is what God has shown to us through the gift of his only son, our Lord Jesus, who St. Paul describes in the 2nd reading as “the image of the invisible God…making peace by the blood of his cross….” This gift of love we share should turn us into gifts of love to others.

The readings of each Mass direct us in different ways. God is calling us to go and share this love. What God wants us to do is not something far-fetched but something within our reach. Our first reading puts it like this: “it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” Thus, the practical lessons from the parable of the Good Samaritan in today’s gospel are what God calls us to carry out. Just as Jesus told the scholar, “Go and do likewise,” he sends us out always to become the “good Samaritan” of our time.

God is calling us in different ways to become the best of gifts to others. Our compassion should always be followed by our actions, as the Samaritan did. As a parishioner of SFC, reflect on different ways God is calling you to share your gifts with our parish community. Maybe, reach out to parishioners you have not seen since after the Covid 19 lockdown and invite them back to the Church or ask questions on different ways you can serve the community. We pray that the good Lord will help us not pass by those who need our help but be truly good neighbors to another. Amen.

In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me” (Matthew 25: 40). St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

 


July 3, 2022

A Note from the Pastor: Fr. James Okafor (Ed.D)
All Are Welcome!

When I arrived at St. Frances Cabrini, San Jose (SFC), last June 28th, 2021, and saw the banner hung by the side of the Church facing the rectory with these welcoming words, “Welcome ‘New’ Saint Frances Cabrini Staff! Pastor: Rev. Fr. Anthony Mancuso. Parochial Vicars: Rev. Fr. James Okafor & Rev. Fr. Vincent Dang. Principal: Mrs. Clark.”, I truly felt welcomed to the SFC community. Since our arrival, our day-to-day encounters with the staff and the parishioners have proven that SFC is a welcoming community. Fr. Tony, our former pastor, with his kindhearted gestures, built on this welcoming ambiance, and it has been an enriching experience being part of SFC this past year. Thank you, Fr. Tony!

I was appointed the administrator of SFC, effective March 1, 2022, and as pastor effective July 1, I have enjoyed my ministry here at SFC in different capacities, from a parochial vicar to an administrator and now as a pastor. As I begin the ministry as the 9th pastor of SFC with Fr. Vincent as my associate, we look forward with joy and great optimism to a fruitful and inspiring ministry. We want to express profound gratitude to all the clergies and parishioners, living and the deceased, who have used their gifts to serve SFC through the years. We are blessed to have a wonderful campus here at SFC, our beautiful Church, one of the biggest in the diocese, our SFC school community, which is the largest ministry of the parish, and other beautiful edifices on our campus.

Our vision is to build on what our predecessors have established by continuing to make SFC a community where All Are Welcome. We hope to promote and create parish ministries anchored on our SFC Mission Statement: Worship God: Love Others. Make Disciples. Educate the Young! We also hope to develop a culture of maintenance for our property to ensure that all our buildings are well maintained for posterity. Thank you for all your love and support for the past year. We look forward to serving and partnering with you for the continued growth of SFC. We believe through the intercession of our Patroness, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, who built her ministry on the faith-filled words of St. Paul, “I can do all things in him (Christ) who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), as parishioners, we will be strengthened to use our gifts of time, talent, and treasure to continue to serve our SFC Community and to make SFC a place where ALL ARE WELCOME!

St. Frances Cabrini – Pray for us!

pastor Fr. James OkaforA brief bio:

I was born in the Eastern-Nigeria (Igbo Land) and was ordained a priest on August 17th, 2002. I came to the USA in 2007. I received my master’s degree in Catechetics from Santa Clara University and a Doctoral Degree in Catholic Education from the University of San Francisco. Before coming to St. Frances Cabrini, San Jose, in 2021, I served at these parishes: St. Francis of Assisi, San Jose; Five Wounds Church, San Jose; and St. Justin Church, Santa Clara, before becoming the Chaplain and a Religion teacher at Archbishop Mitty High School, San Jose, where I served for nine years . Also, I am an Adjunct Quarterly Lecturer on Catechetical and Intercultural Ministry Courses in the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries (GPPM) at Santa Clara University. I teach at the Institute for Lay Ministries (ILM) for the Diocese of San Jose. I also serve on Diocesan Priests’ Council and Diocesan Ongoing Formation for Clergy Committee. I serve as a Chaplain for the Nigerian Igbo Catholic Community of San Jose (NICCSJ) and the Catholics of African Descent, Diocese of San Jose (CADDSJ). To God be the Glory!