Today we celebrate the 244th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which we recognize as the birthday of our nation. Although the celebrations of this great holiday must be relatively quiet this year, I hope you get to enjoy the weekend with family and friends as best you can. Our nation is obviously not perfect, but it’s a great country and we are truly blessed to live in the United States. We should give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy as Americans, even as we pray for greater concord among the people of our nation.
It was also about a year ago that Bishop Caggiano issued his decree that brought the parishioners of our parish together. I’m sure that most of the members of the parish understood that there would be some challenges during the first year, but no one could have foreseen the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic that would prevent us from being able to come together as a parish community for over 3 months. The response of our parish to the crisis has been edifying. You have been attentive to the needs of your neighbors, especially the elderly and the sick. You have come to the church to pray before Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament. You gathered food at our Drive Thru Food Drive to care for the growing number of people in our area who find themselves in need. You have inquired often about the welfare of me, Fr. Mariusz, and Anh. And you have generously provided the material support necessary to maintain the operations of our parish, in some cases at great personal sacrifice. I’m very proud of the way our community has come together during a time in which we’ve been forced to remain apart.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we work together to build up our Parish of St. Cecilia-St. Gabriel through our prayers and mutual support. The things that we see happening in our society might trouble our hearts. But we are people of hope and we reject that which would tempt us to despair. Instead, we recommit ourselves to discipleship as members of the Church. By living our lives as Catholics, as members of this parish, we seek to reveal the presence of the Lord Jesus to each other and to the world. He is the fulfillment of all our hopes, the hopes of every human person. As we enter our 2nd year as a parish family and 245th year as a nation, I ask that you please pray for our parish community and our country, that we might become holy through the challenges we face and be beacons of Christian hope to our neighbors and each other.