Pastor’s Message

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!

Installation

 


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!

Installation

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!

 


 

SAVE THE DATE
Saturday, August 27th at 5.00 pm, for the installation Mass of Fr. James Okafor as the 9th Pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Parish

San Jose, by Bishop Oscar Cantú (Bishop of San Jose).

 


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!