Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord Celebration
Last weekend, our “Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord” celebration beautifully expressed what makes our Catholic community so special. Our local artists shared their paintings and their faith; the delicious dinner our volunteers prepared expressed the diverse flavors of our multicultural parish; and it was impossible to not catch the spirit of generosity and joy from all those who participated in the art exhibition and Soirée. Along with supporting local Catholic artists, we were also able to raise funds to support our parish ministry. Next week, the parish will report on how much was raised.
I have to thank Andres Prada, who curated the art at our event and transformed the main room in the Franciscan Community Center into a beautiful environment to inspire and elevate our celebration. I am so very grateful to Maria Prada, who sang beautifully for us. She was accompanied by Ramon Ponce, Mario Trujillo, and Mario Ulibarri, who serenaded us with exquisite Latin music. Elsa Magalys Lora was so generous in sharing her art with us and also working hard to prepare our celebration and host all our guests. Evan Lagache was an artist also featured at “Taste and See” and we were blessed by his presence and the works he shared with us. We had a small army of volunteers who cooked, decorated, painted, cleaned, and hosted last week, and I, along with all who attended the art exhibit and Soirée, were blessed by the sharing of their time, talent, and treasure. Thank you to all our sponsors especially, Odette Elie, William Maldonado, Marie Jo Fisher, Veronica & Nenito Rosario, Wine and Beer sponsors ROMA and Key Food and PlantShed, who covered much of the overhead of last week-end’s event. I am so very grateful to Fr. D’Angelo, Fr. Wesbee, and Deacon Alexandre who worked alongside our volunteers and staff in organizing “Taste and See”. Finally, I hope you share in my appreciation of our parish staff, particularly Jackie Espinal, Maria Cosme, Frankie Medina, Jerry Feidner, Jason Garcia, and Martin Muthoka. They work hard every week, but went above and beyond to ensure that our event would be possible. Last week-end’s celebration was a great opportunity to show our neighbors that we are the salt of the earth and light for the world that Jesus spoke of in the Gospel. Through you and me, God wants the world to “Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord.”
Even as the Christmas season closes, our celebration continues. Along with the memorial of St. Gregory the Great, we celebrate the Holy Name of Jesus as our parish feast. This day is usually celebrated on January 3rd, but, because it is our patronal feast, the Church allows us to observe it on a weekend, as long as it does not fall on the most important days of the liturgical calendar, like the Epiphany. Last Sunday was the Epiphany, and so we celebrate the Holy Name of Jesus at our parish this weekend. While the name of Jesus has always been spe-cial to those love Him, this particular devotion was made popular by a Franciscan, St, Bernardine of Sienna in the 15th century. Byzantine Rite Catholics (most of us are Latin Rite Roman Catholics, although there are Roman Cath-olics that belong to different rites with distinct ways of praying and celebrating the Eucharist and the other sacra-ments) and the Orthodox churches have used the “Jesus Prayer” since the 4th century. There are many formula-tions of this prayer but they all revolve around the name of Jesus.
The Holy Name of Jesus reminds us that God is not an energy, or a concept. God is “personal.” He loves us and so reveals Himself to us. He reveals to us His very name: Jesus. This Jesus, whose name means “God saves”, saves us precisely by taking on our humanity and sharing His divinity. Jesus’ very name is a tangible ex-pression of a God who loves us so much that He wants to meet us through our senses – person to person. And so how can we not celebrate our parish patronal feast: the Holy Name of Jesus!
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." – Jesus Prayer
“Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Phil 2.9-11