Without a doubt, last weekend’s Centennial Commencement was a high point in our beloved parish’s life. Personally, I am grateful and humbled that the Centennial Committee recommended that the Installation be a part of the Centennial Commencement. Approximately 400 parishioners and guests joined in the festivities. Everything from the beautiful music at Mass to the delicious food and drink at the reception contributed immensely to the weekend’s success…and there’s still more to come!
I would like to begin by thanking Bishop Elias, Regional Bishop of Union County, for his support and presence. Thank you to the Liturgical ministers who diligently served at the liturgy – lectors, altar servers, ministers of hospitality…thank you! Thank you to our music ministry – the choir and instrumentalists – who helped make the liturgy truly glorious. To my staff, the Pastoral Council members, Finance Council members, and the Parish Trustees – partnering with them in leading our beloved parish is a great privilege of mine. Thank you to the Centennial Committee and Parish Life Committee and the army of volunteers who worked so hard and so lovingly to make the festivities possible. Thank you to the Filipino Apostolate and local vendors who provided the food and drink at either a significantly discounted price or totally free! The food, drinks, and desserts were out of this world!
Finally, to the wonderful People of St. James the Apostle Church, whom I have been so blessed and feel so privileged to serve, thank you for your warm embrace, and, most especially, thank you for your trust in me. As we, together, commence our Centennial year – 100 years of faithful service to this community – I can hardly share how excited I am to be with you as we remember our past, celebrate our faith, and lead courageously into the future.
In my short time here with you, you have shown me something profound. Borrowing the words from one of my favorite stories (Les Miserables) – you remind me that “to love another person is to see the Face of God.” After all, a community alive with the Faith of Jesus Christ and inspired by the Holy Spirit is a community of profound, self-sacrificing love. You have given me such beautiful glimmers of God’s loving Face. Please know, that as your Pastor, I will serve you the best I can, and I will love you with all my heart.
Thank you. I love you. And may God bless Saint James the Apostle Church for 100 years more, and beyond.