June 23, 2024

Dear Parishioners of Saint Polycarp,

As you come to church this weekend, you will hear a powerful story of Jesus calming a sea storm (Mk 4: 35-41). Many beautiful images are represented in this story. The sea represents the world in which we live. The boat represents the Church or our personal life. The storm represents the many challenges and hardships we experience in life. That is, life is not always calm and smooth, even for those who belong to the Church. There are occasional ups and downs in us and in our life. However, with Jesus by our side, we can experience calmness and stability.

With this Gospel story in mind, I reflect on the staff changes that our parish undergoes this year. On the one hand, I hope for stability because a big change in staff often results in confusion, instability, and hardships. On the other hand, I learn that the Church is bigger than Saint Polycarp Church; the mission of the Church is bigger than the mission of Saint Polycarp, even though our parish is part of the bigger Church. I also come to learn that God has His ways of working, and all I can do is to trust in His plan.

By the end of this June, our parish will bid farewell to Father Nicolas T. Nguyen, Father Saúl Alba-Infante, and Sister Teresa Thu Hong Dao, LHC. On the one hand, it is a big loss to have these three wonderful religious departing from us. On the other hand, it is an opportunity to have these three ministers, who have served us, sharing their ministry or life with the bigger Church.

As a sign of gratitude, this weekend our parish is hosting a simple farewell reception for Fathers Nicolas and Saúl, and for Sister Teresa after the 9 AM and the 11 AM Mass by the patio. Please take a moment to greet, to thank, and to say farewell to our priests and Sister.

As pastor, I wish to thank personally Father Nicolas, who I met when he was still in high school working as office-receptionist at Saint Columban parish; Sister Teresa, who was a high school graduate when I met her in my first assignment as a parochial vicar at Saint Callistus; and Father Saúl who shares in my vicarious ministry for a year at this parish. I deeply appreciate them and am grateful for their support and service to our family of Saint Polycarp. I wish them a heart filled of zeal in their next pastoral ministry.

May God bless you and your family always. Please join me in welcoming our new priests and Confirmation Coordinator on the first weekend of July.

Father Viet Peter Ho

Pastor

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