We are not alone for God is with Us!

Dear brothers & sisters in Jesus,
Every time we celebrate Christmas, it makes us wonder at the mystery of the Incarnation.
God is the Word, the Word that created the whole universe. At “Christmas” this powerful God, Lord of the universe, God of the Exodus becomes like one of us. He really becomes “flesh”,
total weakness, limited, mortal, an element so human that he cannot be poorer and comes
to dwell among us.

What does Incarnation, therefore, mean to tell us then?
It tell us that we are no longer alone. Our flesh is no longer left to itself: someone takes
care of it, makes himself a neighbour, so equal to us as to make us totally equal to him. Therefore, let us ask him, particularly at Christmas, to help us live our weaknesses and to be able to overcome them little by little; to help us to alleviate the loneliness of so many elderly people, who today might only hear “Merry Christmas” from the television announcer. Let us ask him
to bring about healing to the sick, especially afflicted by Corona virus; let us ask him so that
our children may grow in the knowledge of God & our young people in wisdom and
not to bar the doors of their hearts to those who are different from them/us. Let us ask him
to help us all to forgive and forget the evil received. Finally, let us ask him to help us
to understand that our “flesh”, our weakness, is not an obstacle to salvation, but it is the way
to get there, because today, that road, Jesus has reopened it to us.
Let us thank Jesus who has become like us to be with us, because he loves us.
This is why we are not alone in love. God is with us. He is Emmanuel.

At this point I would like to thank ALL of YOU for being great parishioners of St Dominic Savio. I express my sense of gratitude to all of you – for your prayers, witness, and support.
Let me thank, in particular, Deacon Steven Defer for the role he plays in the parish ministry and Carolyn, the only office staff now, for her hard work. Likewise, I owe much to the PPC, CWL, CFC, Marian Group, Choir Groups, Helpers, Volunteers Group, particularly those help us
these days so that we may stay safe, pray & worship better. May the Lord bless YOU ALL
at Christmas and keep you under his wings of love & protection now & always.
Happy Christmas and Happy New Year!
Fr Saga
(Pastor).

Faith Formation – Saturday Nights

Faith Formation is starting back up this Saturday from 6-7pm (right after 5pm Mass). Tomorrow Deacon Stephen delves into the Gospel of Mark. Hope you can make it!

As before we will be posting his talk on our website, youtube and Facebook for those who want to attend in Spirit!

An Advent Message & Parish update from Father Saga

Dear Parishioner,
Greetings to you and to your family!
We have just begun the Advent season which helps prepare ourselves to celebrate worthily the Birth of Jesus our Lord and Saviour.
In this time it sounds opportune that I share with you some information on a few parish activities.
St.DominicSavio Parishioner Letter from Father Saga

To this end, I am posting this letter which briefs about some of our activities, initiatives and also requesting your continuous support to the Parish. May the Divine Child Jesus, bring you good health and happiness at Christmas and in the New Year.
God bless!
Fr Saga.

Will we hear from Jesus The King: “Come, you that are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you???”

As the Liturgical Year-A comes to a conclusion, the Word of God of this Sunday of the Solemnity of Christ, The King of the Universe, brings us one of the most consoling expressions found in Ezekiel: “I Myself will search for My sheep”. Yes, Jesus will seek His sheep out, will rescue those who are scattered in clouds and thick darkness, will bind up the injured, will strengthen the weak, will make them lie down to rest. The Lord God, our Shepherd-King, thus, promises to save us. What an encouraging expression!

But then our Shepherd-King also warns that He will judge between one sheep & another, between rams & goats. This clearly reminds us of the two types of Judgements which will be awaiting us all.

The first one – the Particular Judgement – occurs when we cross the threshold of this temporary life into the endless corridors of eternity. At that moment the last opportunity to make of ourselves what we want to be forever has passed. We stand before God with our entire history, of merits as well as failures. And there we are judged by the Shepherd-King of the Universe. This has been pretty well expressed by a couple of Councils, for example, by that of Florence in 1445 and earlier by that of Lyons in 1274.

The second one – the General Judgement (as depicted by Michelangelo on vault of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican), occurs within the context of the Resurrection of the Dead at the end of time. The Sacred Scripture revels this Judgement clearly. In fact, today’s Gospel passage is an example. Besides, belief in the General Judgement is part of the Creed we recite at Sunday Mass.

However, we need to stress that the relationship between these Judgements is especially mysterious. But we know in faith that judgment (mine/yours) will be individual/personal as well as cosmic/universal. To minimize the importance of the particular judgment would be to minimize each person’s individual responsibility before God. Likewise, to play down the general judgement would be to downplay one’s responsibility to find Christ in his/her neighbour and all humankind – a duty dramatically highlighted in today’s Gospel.

Dear brethren, let us not get unnecessarily worried about what is going to happen to us. Instead let us know for sure that Jesus as The King is clearly coming to us in every person in need. He has 6 needs: 3 are external (food, water, and clothing) and 3 are internal (loneliness, illness, and imprisonment). The needy are our own family, our parish community, the neighbour next door, children, youth, widowed, separated & divorced, new immigrants, those without jobs, those addicted, unborn babies, the sick & handicapped & the elderly, and so on. All that Jesus The King wants from us is that we see in the needy persons Him/Jesus and serve Him/Jesus in them. If we do this, then, there is nothing to be afraid of, for Jesus The King will say to us: “Come, you that are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the beginning”. So shall it be!

Happy Feast of Christ The King!
Fr Saga (Pastor).

What matters is a person’s spirit

Dear Brethren,

We are celebrating the last ordinary Sunday of the liturgical year A, before we conclude it with the feast of Christ the King and begin a new liturgical year (B) that ushers in the Advent season. On this Sunday the liturgy of the Word is centered on the theme of using one’s God-given talents, not only for one’s wellbeing, but that of the whole community to which one belongs. This is possible only when we live now with an eye toward our final goal which is the possession of God in heaven.
The first reading tellingly describes the same thought in the following manner (although it is directed primarily to women and expressed in a woman’s idiom), when it describes the ideal woman within the family, as well as the joy with which she is able to fill her home.

Her main qualities are:
• as a wife, she is capable, trusted by her husband, does him good and not harm all her life, and works with her hands;
• as a woman with talent, she buys a field and plants a vineyard. She is strong, and her lamp does not go out at night;
• as a caring person, she opens her hand to help the poor and reaches out to the needy. She shares her wisdom and is kind;
• as a mother, her children rise early and call her happy. Her husband praises her for her excellence;
• as a woman she reverences the Lord, and shares what God has shared with her.

All in all, it is a celebrated “valiant wife” passage from Proverbs, wherein we are reminded that physical beauty and charm, as noble as they may be, are nonetheless passing: what endures is spiritual attractiveness. For men, this passage could meaningfully be translated into terms of physical strength or vigorous youth – both of these fade away as age progresses and what remains forever is strength and vigour of soul. Reference to a woman’s physical beauty, or to a man’s strength or vigour, also prompts some reflection on physical inequalities. Some people seem to be gifted less than others in this world’s attributes, physical as well as psychological and intellectual. What matters, again, is a person’s spirit. What will remain is a person’s beauty and strength of soul. And beauty and strength of soul necessarily reflect one’s priorities in this brief pilgrimage to our only real and everlasting homeland which is heaven.

How do we achieve beauty and strength of soul so that we will be recognised by Jesus our Judge & Lord at his Second coming? Well, it is in today’s Gospel passage. As the Gospel reminds us, let us live here & now making the most of the talents God has given us for his greater honour & glory and contribute to the life of the Community and give witness to the Gospel before the world.

Dear brethren, let us always remember: simply for trying to do all this, we are assured of being rewarded a hundredfold. So shall it be!
Have a wonderful week-end!

Fr Saga.
Pastor.

To Live is to Make Choices. Do My Choices Prepare Me to Meet the Lord?

Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus,

On the 1st November we celebrated All Saints Day, whereas on the 2nd we kept the Commemoration of All Souls in purgatory. Traditionally, in November we often remember our departed dear ones, visit their tombs and we pray & offer Holy Masses for them. Seen from this point of view, particularly this month, reminds us of death and of importance of preparing ourselves worthily so that we may meet the Lord when He calls us to life eternal. But the questions is:
Am preparing myself to meet the Lord? Do my choices made in freedom enable me for this?

The gospel focuses on the Last Judgment, which each one of us must one day experience. In fact, the first reading reminds us to seek truth, which of course means living with an eye toward Jesus’ Second Coming and Judgement.
God has entrusted us in this life with the power to make of ourselves what we aspire to be forever. We do this by virtue of our free will. To live is to make choices. We can either choose God and His Word as our ultimate wisdom; or, in our God-given freedom, we can place our highest priorities somewhere else. Death marks the final free choice in a pilgrimage of choices leading to a future: with God or without God.

Our Faith as Catholics tells us that life without God is meaningless. We were created by God for God and our destiny is to be with Him forever. Outside of Him there can be no personal fulfillment, no lasting peace, no real happiness. In fact, all other goals (attractive as they may seem to the senses, and even at times to the intellect) will shatter and vanish forever like so much cheap broken glass swept away for disposal.

Since death is the last free choice in our journey to God (a journey during which the living Lord Jesus is constantly at the side of anyone who sincerely calls on Him), it represents the summit of a series of elections taken God-ward. For that reason, it is both anticipated and prepared for throughout life. This is to say that, when we are about to die, we will be the kind of persons we have aspired to be at the moment of death. Thus, the way we have lived our commitment as Christians made in baptism and confirmed later in life, describes in general the way we shall die. Specifically, the way we have participated in Sunday Mass, received the Eucharist; the way we have tried to remain faithful to our state of life (in marriage or vows or ministry); the way we have tried to share our faith; the way we have seen Christ in others: in this same way we shall die.

The early Church Fathers used to emphasise that the moment we are born, we begin to die to this world in order to be born again to eternal life. One might say that in death we finally achieve the mould/matrix we cast for ourselves, by ourselves, through roads freely travelled, graces embraced, hopes grasped, despite the difficulties.

Dear brethren, as Christians, we need not look to the future with unnecessary anxiety or worry, but trust in the Lord and make right & wise choices here and now so that, we may keep our lamps burning to meet the Lord when He comes or calls us. Have a Meaningful Weekend!

Fr Saga.
(Pastor)

All Saints Day…We can all do this.

Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus,

This Sunday (1 Nov) we celebrate All Saints Day. Saints are many and there is a multitude of them. This explains that holiness is not for a few but for many and we should say that it is for all, because all of us are called to holiness.

By the way: Who are the saints? How does one become a saint?
More importantly, can I become a saint?
The saints are those who let God act in their lives, who have chosen Jesus as their friend. Saints are those who have lived close to Jesus in everything in their life, who have trusted Him even when things seemed difficult, unfair. Some of these people, after they died, are indicated by the Church even as examples to be imitated. So, we have St Dominic Savio, St Francis of Assisi, St Marguerite d’Youville, St Teresa of Jesus, St Kateri Tekakwitha , St Josephine Bakhita, St John Bosco and so on. Saints were people of great faith, many in number and of all ages. Reading their life is beautiful, exciting and full of teachings …. And yet, one may tend to think:
Oh! I may never be able to be like them … holiness is not for me … It is for strong people …
for God’s favourites … I’ll think about it tomorrow or when I’ll be big… etc.

We don’t need super-powers in order to be saints. Let us look at the life and experience of our Patron Saint Dominic Savio. He lived in Don Bosco’s oratory. One day he heard a sermon of Don Bosco on the easy way to become a saint. Don Bosco particularly developed three thoughts that made a profound impression on Dominic’s soul, namely: First, it is God’s will that we all become saints. Secondly, it is easy to succeed in becoming saints. Thirdly, a great prize is prepared in heaven for those who live a holy life. For Dominic that sermon was like a spark that inflamed his heart with God’s love. For a few days he said nothing, but he was less cheerful than usual, so his companions noticed it and therefore Savio was asked if he was suffering from anything. He replied saying that he was affected by something good. He then added that he felt a desire and need to become a saint. He carried on saying: Before I didn’t think I could become a saint so easily, but now I have understood that I can do this by being happy. He said that he absolutely wanted and needed to become a saint. Later, Savio summarized his experience saying: Here at the oratory we live happily and holiness consists in being cheerful. How beautiful! Domenic Savio understood that being cheerful was a holy thing! Let us just imagine:
if there were to be at least one person in every family who lives his/her holiness by being happy and cheerful, even when there are difficulties! Oh! What a lucky family that would be!
Well, we all can do this …

Dear brethren, let us keep this in mind: a Saint is not a super-hero. She/he is only a fragile, insignificant being, but with the strength and trust in God, she/he becomes great and very strong. This helps us to understand that the first and fundamental question with respect to holiness is not whether I can do it, but rather am I interested in it. Secondly, the path to holiness is not driven by the calculation of one’s strength, but by amazement at the beauty of the encounter with God, by really entrusting oneself to Him, to whom nothing is impossible. The Beatitudes, mentioned in today’s Gospel, are the pathways to holiness which will make us truly happy and blessed. So, let us follow these Path ways and be Happy always. Happy feast of All Saints!

Fr Saga
(pastor)