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Pastor's Corner - Fr. Bac-Hai Viet Tran

Fr. Bac-Hai Viet Tran

Greetings and blessings from God!


Greeting you with Love and blessings from God. How was your week? Well since the Saints keep winning I’m sure that everyone is happy and feeling very uplifting. Just keep praying so that they will have a chance to go to the Superbowl this year. So far they are doing very well. Pray, pray, and hope, hope, that is all we can do now.

Can you believe that we are already headed into the third week of November and Thanksgiving is this Thursday, the 22nd of November. Once a year Thanksgiving is a day for all of us to remember and thank God for all of the blessings that we received, and we surely have a lot of things to give thanks for. Always remember that everything we have in this life is a gift from God. We own nothing in this life. We enter this life empty-handed, and we go out in the same way. So whatever we have now is a gift and we have a duty to recognize what we have and appreciate what we have, and give thanks to the ONE who gives to us. Otherwise if we do not, then we do not appreciate what we have, and take everything for granted, and moreover, we have an obligation to share what we have with those who are less fortunate than us, and also return to God some of what we received from him. By learning to give thanks to God, we learn how to appreciate one another. Well actually we do not have to wait until Thanksgiving to give thanks to God. You should give thanks to Him every moment in our lives. And one of the reflections of Thanksgiving that I read a few years ago and it stuck with me on and off whenever I think of Thanksgiving, is a short essay written by Katherine Hueck Doherty, and here it is:

A Simple Solution of Thanksgiving

We have forgotten the virtue of gratitude. Gratitude to God for our very existence - for the breath we draw this moment and the next, for all we have, for all we are, and all we hope to be. Gratitude presupposes that we know our utter poverty - that without God we are nothing. Knowing this, in a wholesome fear of him, we should prostrate ourselves in worship of him, and in thanks to him from whom we draw life. Knowledge of our utter destitution, and the wholesome fear of God, would bring to our barren hearts a rich flow of grace and love. This would make us whole again, and fruitful in his sight.

Gratitude would come to dwell in us. Then life would be full of zest. The grayness would go out of it, to be replaced with such a glorious sense of adventure that our days would be like a song. Our daily work would glow with life’s sheen, and our daily lives would reflect God’s beauty. All things would come together in us to praise the Lord. The earth would be renewed and restored to Christ, to whom it belongs. Rich would be the fruits of gratitude. Yes, all these things would happen if the virtue of gratitude would once more blossom in us. But before it can take root, we must turn our hearts away from all created things and lift them up to God. It is so simple a solution. Why don’t we do it?

Well this Thursday coming we are so happy to have Archbishop John Favalora, our long-time parishioner of St. Agnes to be the main celebrant at Thanksgiving Mass. Although it is not a Holy Day of obligation, I highly recommend everyone to try the best you can to attend this special celebration in thanking God as a community. So mark your calendars, and try the best you can with your families to attend this Mass. It only lasts about less than an hour. And yes, we may get busy with other things and forget about the real meaning of what we are doing, Thanksgiving is not just eating, drinking, cooking, gathering, having a good time, and last but not least shopping, but it is about giving thanks to God. So again, try if you can so that we can come together officially as a parish family to celebrate Thanksgiving.

As usual, during the Thanksgiving season the St. Vincent de Paul Society of our parish is working very hard to prepare for Thanksgiving in collecting and distributing the Thanksgiving baskets for those less fortunate. As you may know, our St. Vincent de Paul council is the most active council in the City of New Orleans. Thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Allen & Clair Hebert, Mr. & Mrs. Nancy & Gene Roth, Sr., Mr. Bob Haskins and so many other members for their hard work and dedication. As Christians we all have the duty to think and care for those who are less fortunate than us. So thanks to all of you who help us to do it. This weekend and especially on Thursday, in addition to monetary donations, we continue to try and collect more food for our food pantry. So if you come to Mass on Thanksgiving day and are able to donate, please do. Always remember “whatever you do to the least, you do to God.”

Well, that’s it for this week. Happy Thanksgiving to everybody. If you travel on Thanksgiving Day be careful and have a safe trip. And if you go shopping on Black Friday, just be careful and don’t buy anything that you don’t really need because the price is cheaper. Be lucky, be happy, be cheerful, be healthy, be kind to one another, especially on the holiday. From all of the priests and staff of St. Agnes we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving! God Bless!

Fr. Bac-Hai