CSA Letter to Parishioners

Dear St. Valentine Parish Member,

Each year, we have an opportunity to Unleash the Gospel through our support of the Catholic Services Appeal. The 37th Annual CSA is now underway, and I am writing to ask you to once again reflect on God’s many gifts to you and in a spirit of Christian stewardship live out our theme of Opening Doors to Grow with Christ.

As many of you know each parish makes a contribution to the Archdiocese, to support various ministries and services the Archdiocese provides to catholic schools, parishes and programs that need support.

Our CSA goal for 2018 is $43,673.00. You have always been generous in the past so I would like to appeal to you this year too to help us meet our goal. Know that any contribution you make is most welcomed and deeply appreciated.

Please pick up your envelope in the vestibule in the back of church today after the Mass. Enclosed you will find a pledge card and a special envelope.  As you fill out the pledge cards please select the giving schedule that is most convenient to you.  You may return the cards and envelope to the Rectory or drop it off in the collection basket over the next few weeks. Please make your checks payable to “St Valentine Church – CSA”.

Thank you in advance for all that you are to the parish and for all the support that you give. May God Bless you for your generosity! 

 

Yours in Christ, 

Fr. Socorro Fernandes, SAC                                                                                                     
Pastor

Fr. Socorro,

Happy 19th Anniversary to the Priesthood!

 

 

I am the Vine you are the Branches

This Sunday’s gospel today gives us one of the most striking images of the NT. Jesus is speaking to his disciples. He says, “I am the true Vine and you are the branches, my Father is the Vine grower, remain in me as I remain in you.” But he also tells us that there are unfruitful branches. They are taken away, cut off. Note that these are attached branches. They differ from the unattached branches (vv. 4-6). Jesus said that they are “in me,” but they have a problem: they bear no fruit.

 The unfruitful branches did become attached to Christ. They did have some organic relationship to Him. There was a time, a point, when they began to bud and sprout. They even grew into branches. They… listened to Jesus and the gospel, opened their ears, made a profession, were baptized, seem capable of bearing fruit, appeared to be fruitful branches.

The branches are unfruitful. They are “in” the vine, a part of it, but they simply bear no fruit. What does this mean? An unfruitful branch does not relate enough to Christ; they do not draw enough nourishment from Him, to draw life, to bear fruit, to continue in the Vine. Unfruitful branches are not genuine enough to bear fruit. Their profession is… more profession than possession, more pretending than being, more deception than truth, more counterfeit than real. Unfruitful branches become apostate and deserters – men and women who abandon the faith.

 God will “cut off” the unfruitful branches. The word  cut off means to take away and to remove. In relation to the vine, the branch is pruned removed, and taken away. This is a severe warning to every branch, “in” the vine, to make sure his profession is genuine enough to bear fruit.

 Scripture says at least two things about the judgment of unfruitful branches that sin. First, the unfruitful branches that sin are cut off and removed from the Vine and destroyed by fire. Secondly, the unfruitful branches that sin are chastened and disciplined by being cut off and removed through spiritual death.

The point must be heeded; for Scripture gives severe warnings to believers, that is, to the branches “in’ the Vine. The branches must make sure they are bearing fruit or else face severe judgment.

Jesus the Good Shepherd

This weekend Gospel reading speaks about Jesus as the “Good Shepherd”. There are two reasons why Jesus is called the Good Shepherd.

1. Jesus is called the “Good Shepherd” because He gave and sacrificed His life for the sheep.

2. Jesus is called the “Good Shepherd” because He is not a hired or employed shepherd. Jesus is the shepherd by birth. He was born to be the shepherd with all the Shepherd’s rights. The sheep are His and He is the sheep’s. The hired shepherd was just a man passing through who was temporary help. He was a man hired to look after the sheep until the real shepherd came along. He was not the true, permanent shepherd. He was a false, unfaithful and irresponsible shepherd. His interest was not a calling but, a job and profession, money and comfort, acceptance and recognition, position and prestige, authority and esteem.

The false, unfaithful, and irresponsible shepherd has little if any sense of responsibility for the sheep. He seeks to benefit self, not the sheep. He is the shepherd for what he can get out of it, not to serve and care for the sheep. His primary interest is not the sheep but job security: wages and benefits, position and prestige, money and comfort. He values himself much more than the sheep. He seeks His own things and not the things of others. He has not natural care for the state of the sheep. He has no interest in seeking the lost sheep, lest his life be threatened “in the open country.”

The proof that Jesus is the “Good Shepherd.” There are four proofs.

1. Jesus knows His sheep, and they know Him. There is an intimate knowledge between Jesus and His sheep. He knows them, their lives, their being, their all. He knows them by name, individually and personally, in all their joy and blessing, in all their trials and sorrows, in all their wanderings and stumbling’s, in all their need and lack.

2. Jesus knows the Father, the Owner of the sheep. The question naturally arises, how well does He know Him? one thing is of critical importance. When Jesus claims to know the FatherHe does not mean that He knows God in the same sense as the other men know Him.

3. Jesus will die for the sheep. He was the “Good Shepherd,” not a bad shepherd; therefore, He would face the enemy of the sheep. He would not run away from His calling and purpose. He would stand and fight the enemy as the Good Shepherd was sent to do.

4. Jesus worked to enlarge the fold, “the sheep pen.” Note the “other sheep” was a reference to worldwide evangelization. It referred to all believers who were not standing there with Him. It included all countries and generations. It foresaw every believer of all time.

The future sheep were to become sheep of His by “listening to His voice.” There is to be one flock, not two flocks. Every believer becomes a part of the Good Shepherd’s flock.