Recently I gave a speech at St. Therese Chinese Catholic Church. It was at the last 5 PM Mass ever. Normally the 5 PM Mass stops for the summer and resumes in the fall. This year, the 5 PM Mass is being discontinued at St. Therese, resuming at St. Barbara which has been combined with St. Therese as of July 1 through Renew My Church. As of this writing, the new name hasn't been announced.
I spoke about thanksgiving and hope, but the real issue is change. Combining parishes is always a precarious business. We are thankful for the past and hopeful for the future, but also fearful and perhaps disappointed.
Please pray for the people and priests of both parishes and schools for thanksgiving hope and change.
Here is my speech in its entirety:
We have gathered here today to give thanks to those who have come before us and those that will attend Mass here going forward. We give thanks to those of you who have attended the 5 PM Mass these past seven and a half years and who have supported our music ministry.
The Joyful Noise is thankful to Fr. Li for the opportunity he has given to us. We have received so many blessings since we began singing at St. Therese. We are thankful for those blessings, the challenges and the growth we have experienced in our ministry.
In Psalm 95, the scripture says:
“O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
In thanksgiving for all of you, I’d like to read to you from Paul’s letter to the Philippians:
“I thank my God every time, I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.”
Whenever I think of hope, I think of the scripture from Jeremiah 29 verse 11:
“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you; plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.”
The traditional symbol of hope in our Catholic faith is the anchor. I’m sure many of you have seen pendants with a cross, anchor and heart depicting faith, hope and charity.
Hope is the anchor to our faith.
Why is hope important? Without hope we would be desolate in the face of life’s trials. How can we not pray without hope of a good outcome? And what if the outcome isn’t what we expected? We unite our will with God’s and have hope that God has a better plan for us despite the pain and hardship we may endure.
In Romans 5:1-5, the scripture mentions that “hope does not disappoint, because of the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” We often forget about God’s love for us through His Advocate, the Holy Spirit. We sometimes feel abandoned during difficult trials of life, but hope is God’s promise through His risen Son, a promise of something beyond our understanding.
When the Joyful Noise first came to St. Therese, we had hope that we would be welcomed and our music accepted. I had hope then that my voice wouldn’t crack when I sang those first few weeks. I still have that hope.
A future of hope and thankfulness is what we will take with us today when we leave Mass. We hope to be a stronger, larger and more vibrant community.
I found this quote on Facebook by a Fr. Scalia:
"Hope isn’t positive thinking. It isn’t saccharine or trite. It is our willingness to cooperate in God’s Grace and the opportunities for holiness he has given us through our children. Hope is a promise - the promise of the risen Christ.”
On behalf of the Joyful Noise, we hope to be able to sing for all of you soon.
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