Advent 2013

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Nov 302013


Dear parishioners of St. Joseph’s Parish & St. Anthony’s Parish, sisters and brothers in Christ:

Today, we begin the Season of Advent and the psalmist invites us: “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122)

As we have learned in the past, Advent is a time of joyful expectation for the “coming” or “arrival” of Jesus. For us Christians, it has a twofold nature, it prepares us for the Feast of Christmas, when we recall Christ’s first coming among us, and it is also a time when we look forward to his second coming at the end of the ages. However, our Lord Jesus also comes to us through other people, places and events in the ordinariness of life. Advent is another perfect opportunity for us to be more attentive to the many ways in which we encounter Jesus.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis during the conclusion of the Year of Faith last Sunday has consigned the first official document of his Pontificate. It is his Apostolic Exhortation entitled, “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel). This document was written following the Synod of Bishops on “New Evangelization for the Transmission of Faith” which took place from 7 to 28 October 2012, and convoked by his predecessor Benedict XVI. In this document Pope Francis mentioned, “The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew…I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.”

St. Joseph’s Parish has now begun the yearlong celebration of our 100 Years Jubilee. The theme that we have chosen: “St. Joseph’s Parish 100 Years Jubilee, Celebrating God’s Blessings, yesterday, today and forever” invites us to celebrate together: who we are and what we are as a community of faith – we are the parishioners of St. Joseph’s Parish; we are God’s people constantly grateful for his blessings in our lives. Indeed, our commemoration of 100 Years Jubilee of the Catholic presence in Smithers is a moment of grace in our parish community. Mindful of this significant moment of the parish history, I hope and pray that it will continue to help us prepare for the second coming of Jesus and to the many ways we encounter him.

May our active participation in the various activities at our parishes this Advent Season help us to remain focused on Him, – the Emmanuel – God with us. Let our spirit be joyful and our hearts renewed as we eagerly wait to welcome him!

May the almighty and merciful God, by whose grace you have placed your faith in the First Coming of his Only Begotten Son and yearn for his coming again, sanctify you by the radiance of Christ’s Advent and enrich you with his blessing. (Blessing Advent Season, Revised Roman Missal)

I remain,

Fr. Rectorino M. Tolentino, Jr.

THANK YOU!!! Your efforts are making a difference in the Philippines

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Nov 302013


My dear sisters and brothers:

THANK YOU again for your presence and participation during our Prayer Service last Monday, November 18 at St. Joseph’s Church. I thought we had a beautiful gathering and many people who came commented and thanked us for including and welcoming them to be part of the Prayer Service. This Prayer Service brought a sense of completion to myself. Now, I feel, WE have done something concrete for the victims and survivors aside from the monetary donations. It brought a sense of relief that we are not alone on this journey.

AS we are all very aware of, the destruction brought by the Super Typhoon Haiyan is huge. But the love and care of our loving God is seen through the generosity and thoughtfulness of people like those who came last night and like yourselves too. All these brings consolation to me. I am certain it brings the same to the most affected ones.

The Church collection counters have just finished counting all the collection received to date. The total is $ 8,901.36 and Php. 4,120. As announced earlier, all money collected will be sent to the Philippines through the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. The parish secretary will facilitate that transfer tomorrow. Of course we are aware of the fact that the Canadian Government will match our donations until December 9, 2013.

Having mentioned all of these, I think this is not over yet. WE have just begun an action as a group to do something for our fellow human beings, fellow Filipinos. I hope this will continue. The way to restoration, rebuilding and recovery is long and therefore, let’s continue to work as to how we can help the survivors.

Most of you are aware that June Anagap Molabola is going home next month, December 2013. His family and relatives also live in a village that was badly affected. I hope now that we were able to do something that respects the law of the land, we can now do something with respect to the other proposal during our first meeting – to donate to an individual whose family is directly affected. NOW, I encourage us to also do something for June, whose proximity is very close to us.

I thank June’s employer, Cindy Palmer for her braveness and good heart to initiate this “Support Auction” with the goal of directly helping June’s family and other people affected in his village. I ask us to support this cause. I am sure it will make a huge impact to June’s family, his relatives and neighbors.

June, please know that you are one of the people close in my heart as I pray everyday.

Once again, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. We have again proven to ourselves that even just for an hour or so, we can all come together, be united in prayer, and set aside differences.

God bless you all. Mabuhay po kayong lahat. Maramning Salamat po. Ipagpatuloy po natin ang ating nasimulan.

Prayer Service for the Victims & Survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan

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Nov 132013

On Monday, November 18, 6:30pm at St. Joseph’s Church, I, together with the Filipino Community in the Town of Smithers will offer a prayer service for the victims and survivors of the Super Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines. All are welcome to join us in prayer.

There will be a monetary collection within the prayer service. The collection will go to the survivors and their families through Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. As announced by the Canadian Government, any cash donation will be matched.

When a tragedy such us this happens, we cannot ignore that we are part of all of humanity. We cannot remain blind, deaf and mute of what we are seeing and hearing on the news. As part of humanity, their pains are our pains too. In this time of lost and need, let us reach out in prayers and generosity.

See you all at the prayer service. Thank you!