Pastoral Appointments 2014

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May 052014


Last Thursday, May 1, 2014, Memorial of St. Joseph, the Worker, Most Rev. Stephen Jensen, Bishop, Prince George Diocese announced the following pastoral appointments, effective August 1, 2014.

Rev. Rene Antonio – St. Joseph’s Church, Vanderhoof
Rev. Babji Merugu, SAC* – Christ the King Church, Kitimat
Rev. Pier Pandolfo – St. Joseph’s Church, Smithers & St. Anthony’s Church, Houston
Rev. Melwin Pinto, OCD* – Sacred Heart Cathedral, Prince George

Assistant Pastor
Rev. Victor Fernandes, OCD* – Sacred Heart Cathedral, Prince George

Special Assignment
Rev. Rectorino Tolentino – Sabbatical year

*Upon presentation by his Religious Superior.

St. Peter’s Church in Mackenzie will continue to be served from the Cathedral Parish.

Rev. Pier Pandolfo, is one of the incardinated priests in the Diocese of Prince George. He is a Canadian whose parents are originally from Italy. He is coming to Smithers and Houston with 21 years of experience in ministry. In the past, he had served at St. Peter’s Parish in Mackenzie, Immaculate Conception Parish in Prince George and Christ the King Parish in Kitimat. At present, he is the Rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Prince George.

Please PRAY for us priests who have received new assignments: that we may be continuously inspired and strengthened by the Holy Spirit as we prepare to move to our new places of ministry; that we may also fulfill the tasks entrusted to our care with much diligence and enthusiasm; that the people whom we will meet along the way will be welcoming to us.

My deep and personal gratitude to all of you – St. Joseph’s Parish & School Community, Smithers, B.C. and St. Anthony’s Parish Community, Houston, B.C. for allowing me to journey with you for more than six years. I will continue to be with you until June 30, 2014. This is to allow me to have a little break before I take off to do my Sabbatical Program agreed upon by the Bishop.

For the month of July, you will be served by Rev. Daquin Iyo, OMI. Father Iyo is originally from The Democratic Republic of Congo working in the Kenya Mission and studying at St. Paul University in Ottawa.

St. Joseph and St. Anthony, pray for us.

Fr. Rector

Pastor’s Easter Message 2014

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Apr 192014

Art Easter 1A
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Risen Lord:

The Lord is truly risen, alleluia. To him be glory and power for all the ages of eternity, alleluia, alleluia. (Luke 24.34; cf Revelation 1:6)

The Lord is truly risen. This is the truth of Easter. This is the truth that we celebrate. This is the truth that we give witness to.

This is the truth of Easter. Our Lord Jesus Christ who died on the Cross has risen and is now alive. He rose from the dead and opened for us eternal life with God. In the Gospel, the message of the Angel to the women who went to see the tomb is encouraging: “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’” (Mt. 28.5-7) Like Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, this good news should be a cause of great joy for us!

This is the truth that we celebrate. Our Lord Jesus Christ is with us and will forever be present in our midst. He is true to his promise. He is alive. He wants to meet us in Galilee. What is the significance of Galilee? It was Jesus’ home. It was where Jesus’ followers lived. It was also the place where many significant events took place as Jesus fulfills his mission. Even now, Jesus wants to meet us where we live. He wants to find a dwelling there. He wants to entrust us with a mission of making his presence known and experienced by everyone.

This is the truth that we give witness to in our daily lives. We need to tell the world around us, Jesus is risen and he is with us. We need to show the world that we are witnesses to this truth. We are his disciples. We need to be faithful to Jesus who appears to the disciples and assures them: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of age.” (Mt. 28.18-20) A witness is someone who testifies to the truth. It is our responsibility as followers of Jesus to give witness to his truth with the way we live our respective lives. May we show to the world around us that we are people who believe and give witness to the resurrection of Jesus, that we are Easter people!

My sincere appreciation to all of you for making our Lenten and Easter celebrations prayerful and beautiful. Let us continue to renew our faith in the Risen Lord as we gather daily and weekly to celebrate God’s everlasting presence among us in the Eucharist.

Happy Easter and happy renewal of our baptismal promises!

With my Easter prayers and blessings,

Fr. Rectorino M. Tolentino, Jr.

Pastor’s Lenten Message 2014

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Mar 092014


Sisters & Brothers in Christ in the Parishes of St. Joseph’s & St. Anthony’s:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

The Season of Lent begins through the imposition of ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday.  The ashes are imprinted on our foreheadswith a sign of the Cross.  It is meant to remind us of our identity and relationship with God.  First, it means we belong to God.  We are his children.  Second, as narrated by St. Paul in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, “we are ambassadors for Christ.”  We have the responsibility to make Jesus’ presence felt and experienced in this world.  Third, given the identity and relationship that we have with God, as His children and ambassadors of His Son, we are constantly called to holiness of life.  In the Book of Leviticus we find a command from God himself: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”    

Thus, these 40 days of Lent are an opportunity given to us for turning back to God, for conversion.  Through the help of the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, hopefully, we will come to acknowledge the ways we have turned away from God in our lives and we will focus on turning our hearts and minds back toward Him.  Pope Francis tweets, “In life we all make many mistakes. Let us learn to recognize our errors and ask forgiveness.”  This Season of Lent is indeed given to us for drawing ourselves closer to God.  Please take advantage of celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

This year, as a way of giving us a Parish Lenten Mission related to the disciplines of Lent, may I suggest the following:  Prayer.  I invite families in our parishes to worship and pray together especially by attending Sunday Eucharist.  Fasting.  I encourage families to gather for a simple meal at least once a week.  Within the simplicity of a meal, a family should be able to save some costs; the very nature of a simple meal is already a manifestation of your solidarity with any poor person or family.  Almsgiving.  If you so desire, your simple meal can be translated as an act of almsgiving or charity.  Whatever you save from having a simple meal can be shared with anyone who is experiencing hunger for food.  It could be in our own parish community, the Town of Smithers or Houston, or anywhere in the world where you think there are poor in need of your generosity who will receive and appreciate it.

Let us strive to live a holy life as we journey throughout this Season of Lent.  As we do, may it lead us to be mindful of the reality around us, our identity and our mission.  I pray for a holy, prayerful and fruitful Lenten journey.  May we reach Easter with hearts and minds renewed in the Lord!

I remain,

Fr. Rectorino M. Tolentino, Jr.

Christmas 2013

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Dec 292013


Dear Parishioners of St. Joseph’s Parish & St. Anthony’s Parish, Sisters & Brothers in Christ,

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who live in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shone.” (Is. 9:2)

The long darkness of night that we have during winter months is an obvious darkness that people experience. In the lives of other people and in some other parts of the world, there is an experience of different kinds of darkness surrounding lives: calamities, wars, chaos, sickness, lost of a job, or even conflicts in marriage and family. People’s unbelief in God and turning away from Him can also be considered darkness that is present in today’s world. In this darkness the message of Christmas may be found valuable and could be better appreciated.

Christmas is the Solemnity of the Nativity of Christ – the Word made flesh, who dwelt among us. In the history of our salvation, Prophet Isaiah foretold this birth as a great light who dispels the darkness in this world. The Evangelist John described it as: “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” (Jn. 1:9) Christ, later on in the same Gospel introduced himself: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” (Jn. 8)

Christmas invites us to turn to Christ as the Light of the world; as the brilliant Light that shines in the darkness surrounding creation, giving hope; as the Divine Light who came to this world bringing life.

Every tiny light on a Christmas tree, in the streets, or at home should lead us back to Christ, the Light of the world. In the same way that every little act of kindness, goodness and generosity should be a real manifestation of the light that we received from Him.

Like the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and St. Joseph, may we become instruments of God in bringing the Light of Christ into this world!

A Blessed Christmas and Peaceful New Year to all!

With my Christmas Blessings,

Fr. Rectorino M. Tolentino, Jr.

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!

Easter 2013

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Jun 252013

Parishioners of St. Joseph & St. Anthony, sisters and brothers of the Risen Christ,

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

We are celebrating Easter this year mindful that we are observing The Year of Faith (11 Oct 12 –24 Nov 13).  Our Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI hopes that the Year of Faith will “help Catholics appreciate the gift of faith, deepen their relationship with God and strengthen their commitment to sharing faith with others.”  Hence, it is our faith in Jesus who suffered, died and rose again that we are to celebrate throughout the year.  The liturgies that we have celebrated this Easter Triduum meant to help us deepen our bond with the same Lord.  It is the truth of Easter – Jesus is risen and dies no more that should therefore give us a real source of joy and encouragement to become witnesses who inspire others.

Tuesday, April 2nd, will mark my five years as your pastor.  It is my joy and privilege to continue my journey with you as we prepare to celebrate the 100 years of the Catholic presence in the Town of Smithers next year.  Early this year of 2013, Monsignor Stephen Jensen was appointed as the new Bishop of our Diocese.  As we all know by now, his ordination and installation will take place at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Prince George on Easter Tuesday.  During the 4th week of Lent, the Catholics all over the world rejoice and welcome a humble servant of God, Pope Francis as our new Supreme Pontiff.  All of these events (in the life of our parish communities of St. Joseph’s and St. Anthony’s, the local church in the Diocese of Prince George and in the life of the Holy Catholic Church in which we belong) should serve as stimulus for each of us in our journey of faith.  These are little reminders for us that God is alive and we are being taken care of by our Risen Lord everyday of our lives.  We just need to be attentive to his presence!

When we discover His presence and His actions in our respective lives, it should make us even more joyful Christians.  As Pope Francis would say: “Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but it comes from having encountered a Person, Jesus, who is among us. It comes from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life’s journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable…”  Easter is a real reminder for us that we are not alone in the journey, we are not abandoned – Jesus is truly risen and He is with us!

The message of Easter is Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Peace, Love and Joy!  This message is meant to be shared by us who have received it.  Like Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of John “who went and announced to the disciples ‘I have seen the Lord,’” may we, too become bearers and preachers of this Good News.  In the words of St. Francis of Assisi “Preach the Gospel always; if necessary, use words.”  Therefore, I pray that the way we live our lives and the quality of relationships we build here on earth be a constant proclamation of the power of the Risen Lord.

Happy Easter and happy renewal of our Baptismal Promises!

With my Easter Prayers and Blessings,

Fr. Rectorino M. Tolentino, Jr.

Note from the webmaster, we reposted this message from Fr. Rector as it was posted on our old website.

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