Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family, dearest friends of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton! May this message find you in good health and joyful spirit! Allow me to share with each of you three main occasions for joy in the New Year.
New Year’s PEACE and many BLESSINGS
Let me share with you the New Year’s Blessings with the very word that came from Moses to God’s people, which is also the word we hear on the New Year’s Mass,
“May the Lord bless you and keep you! May the Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you! May the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!” (Nm 6:24-26).
Moses said those words as if he were preparing God’s people to receive the ultimate blessing of PEACE from the Risen Christ centuries later. How important it is for us to be affirmed by this truth in the New Year 2021 ahead, that, from the blessing of Christ’s peace, flow many other blessings! So I say to you now, “Peace of Christ be with you!” Even in the midst of the Pandemic, we sincerely ask the Lord to breathe the spirit of peace upon us and guide us into the New Year with great joy, faith, hope, love, and aspirations! As the Angels sing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, Peace to his people of good will!”, we too, wish that these words of praises be fulfilled in our lives as we try everyday to give glory to God in all that we say and do, so that his peace and many blessings will be with us. Among those blessings are the gift of healing from COVID-19, the hopeful gift of coming back to our “normal life”, where more people can gather to worship God and share his love, the gifts of getting back to our families, friends, works, social activities, travels, etc. May we never take them for granted from now on.
The Year of St. Joseph – Plenary Indulgences for the entire Universal Church
In his new Apostolic Letter, “Patris Corde” (“with a Father’s Heart”), the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from December 8th, 2020, to December 8th, 2021, on the special 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. It is such a lovely choice to begin and end the year with the Feast of our Blessed Mother Mary, the Immaculate Conception (the Patroness of our country). I think the Blessed Virgin Mary is very happy and thrilled to know that St. Joseph, her righteous and chaste spouse, is being especially honored and prayed to during this year. It is so relevant and perfect timing for us and the whole world to reflect on the person of St. Joseph, while we have experienced a lot of quiet time due to COVID-19 quarantine or shutdowns, and, like Joseph, we may have taken a lot of quiet actions to live out our faith in God during the most difficult times. We’ll have more opportunities to reflect and learn from his virtues and his faith in actions in this coming year for our parish community; at the same time, we’ll share the opportunity to pray more in his honor and devotions, and to receive the Plenary Indulgences granted by the church, with the right conditions, for ourselves and/or others in this beautiful act of spiritual grace and charity.
The feast of our Patroness – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774 – 1821) and Our JUBILEE YEAR at SEAS (1971 – 2021)
Happy Feast Day! Happy Anniversary! And Happy Jubilee Year to all of us, my friends! Let me explain. This week, we have just celebrated our Patroness — on January 4th every year — perhaps in a more quiet manner, due to COVID shutdowns. To promote more appreciation for our Patroness, in the Bulletin last week, we have offered a snapshot of her wonderful, yet challenging, life, works and contributions to the Lord’s Harvest here in America. Furthermore, I have more great news to share with you as a Parish Family: SEAS feast day of this year honors her 200th death anniversary (1821-2021), which coincides with the 5oth Anniversary of the Founding of our faith community here at SEAS in Irvine (1971-2021)!!! In 1971, our founding pastor, Fr. Thomas Gannon, and the people formed this community of SEAS as a humble mission church (An Annex Mission of Our Lady Queen of Angels Church). Many of you have journeyed with Fr. Kenneth O’Keefe, Fr. Tom Pado, and now with my humble presence and ministry with you. From a small group of parishioners, you have witnessed your family and others growing into a full-blown parish community! Now it is our task to gratefully build on that strong foundation with a lot of opportunities for worship, personal growth, services and evangelization, which manifest themselves in the on-going holy Masses, Sacraments, devotions, ministries, pastoral cares and outreach programs for all groups of people who come here. What a rare and beautiful occasion for all members of SEAS to celebrate with great joy during this upcoming year! My hope and dream for us is that we can use these upcoming months to reflect on your journey with SEAS, pray more for her, share your stories and experiences, and actively find ways to prepare for a great feast for the entire parish – with a joyful celebration of the JUBILEE YEAR for us (approved, and may be proclaimed by our Bishop), especially when we are allowed to re-open and make a great comeback, perhaps when the vaccine situation is settled.
Let us count our blessings, be grateful for those who have gone before us and built this place as it is today. Rejoice in the goodness of the Lord, and share that joy with everyone whom you encounter here at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Family. Give God the praise and have a very blessed, happy, healthy and holy New Year 2021!
Peace and Blessings,
Fr. Paul Trinh