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  Page Updated: November 12, 2019
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Pastor's Corner - Fr. Bac-Hai Viet Tran

Fr. Bac-Hai Viet Tran

Greeting you with love and blessings from God.

Well, since the Saints keep winning, I bet everybody is very happy and feeling uplifted. If this weekend with God’s blessings we can beat the Dirty Birds, we will be on step closer to the Superbowl. Just keep praying, praying, praying and hope, hope, hope, that’s all we can do. Did you know that the Saints are very popular now, even in Newark, New Jersey. As I was waiting for a flight back to New Orleans, I had a chance to speak with an employee from the airport, and he was very excited to hear I was from New Orleans, and he started chanting “the Saints are No. One!!!” He loved our football team. They are so disappointed with their own team, the New York Giants. Go Saints!

Well, I just got back from a 14day pilgrimage to Portugal, Spain, France and Italy with a group of 72 people. We were so blessed with nice weather, but it was too much for me as I’m not getting any younger. Everyday we got up at 5:30am; at 6:30am we had breakfast; at 7:30am we got on the bus and we went everywhere until 11:00pm in the evening. So by the time I got into my room, that was it, I was “dead!” I tried the best I could to get some sleep, and then wake up at the same time the next day and do it all over again. Personally, I didn’t think it was a Pilgrimage, it was a “penance” journey! The group I was in ranged in age from 31 years old to over 80 years old. Picture it! The tour bus had no bathrooms, so every 4 hours we were looking for a truck stop or whatever so that everyone could take a break. Of course, women take a little more time in the bathroom, so when the men were finished, I asked two young guys who were waiting in line to let the women step in to use the Men’s Bathroom so we did not have to wait too long. You know in Europe, not like in America there’s no “free” toilet paper. So I had to remind everyone before they stopped to make sure that they were properly prepared. A good example happened right in Paris, when we went to Sacred Heart’s Basilica, there was a bathroom on the bottom floor of the church, and they charged .60 Euros if you wanted to use it. Well, we Orientals tried to be smart, after two or three people went in, we said let’s hold the door so we don’t have to pay anymore. Well, guess what, you think we are smart, they are smarter than we. If you don’t deposit the .60 Euro, you cannot flush! So, finally I said you are on a Pilgrimage here, try to be honest, no cheating, .60 Euro is not that much. Everyone had a good laugh. Thank God no one got sick and we had no problems whatsoever. The only problem was the security everywhere both in America and Europe. Sometimes we had to wait as long as 3 hours to go through security to get into some places, even in the Vatican. So if you plan to go to Europe or overseas, you better prepare to go at least 3 hours before your flight takes off and be very patient, patient, patient. From my own experience, if you travel a lot to Europe or overseas apply for a Global Travel Card. It costs $100 for five years, but it is worth it. You do not have to wait in a long line, and security seems to be nicer to you with a smile and personal greetings “did you have a wonderful trip?”

The good news for me is everyone was very happy with the Pilgrimage, but we are so sorry that we didn’t have much time for the ladies to go shopping. That was their only regret. Even with the limited time to shop, my goodness, everyone went home with extra luggage. I felt so sorry for the bus driver who had to carry the luggage in and out of the bus everyday as we traveled along the road. This time we had a young bus driver who was very professional and could speak good English. The bus drivers could only drive 8 hours a day, so even the break times were calculated into that 8 hour period. Thanks for the GPS because none of our bus drivers got lost. In Europe you have to prepare to walk. We walked a lot! If you plan a trip to go to Europe, bring no high heels, no fancy shoes, only walking shoes, period! Otherwise you will end up in the hospital! Especially at Our Lady of Lourdes, if you wanted to spend some time to pray with the Stations, make sure you had enough sleep and strength, otherwise you cannot do it. It goes all the way up the hill and all the way down with uneven rocks on the road. Even I, a strong and healthy man, it took me more than 2 hours to finish the Stations. I asked all of the young men to walk behind, so that if anyone couldn’t walk, they could jump in to help them. I was very happy because some of the elderly were able to catch up with us and were crying because they made it to the last station. It was really special.

Remember this Sunday at 11:00am Mass, we will have the Mass of Decision for our Confirmation Candidates. At this Mass all of our Confirmation Candidates will present their letters of intent for their decision to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. So please pray for them on this special day. Also, please mark your calendars as Thanksgiving Day is coming, Thursday, November 28. This year unfortunately we don’t have Archbishop Favalora due to his early return back to Miami. Please remember that once a year St. Vincent de Paul will have a collection for their ministry on this day. Please plan ahead of time and don’t forget to open your generosity to support St. Vincent de Paul with their ministry. I am so proud to say that St. Vincent de Paul of St. Agnes is one of the most active ministries in the Archdiocese, thanks to Allen and Clair Hebert and those who are helping in this ministry. Learn the joy of giving and sharing with those who are less fortunate than you are. Trust me, you will receive ten times more of a reward. Give what you have and God will make a miracle to multiply it. Remember the parable of the five fish and two loaves of bread in the Gospel?

Remember it’s the flu season, A couple of years ago, this recommendation came down from the Bishops and the Liturgical Commissions for those attending Mass during the flu season.

“During this flu season, I wish to remind everyone to use reasonable caution while celebrating Mass. At the Sign of Peace you mayextend your hand as usual or the “Sign of Peace” can be expressed verbally without physical contact. Those who choose to use verbal expression only, should be treated with respect and understanding. For communion, Jesus Christ is fully present in the consecrated Eucharistic bread and wine. Catholics are not required to take communion from the cup. If someone has a cold or flu symptoms, it would be advisable to refrain from the cup. I am also asking pastors to make provisions for clergy and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to cleanse their hands before and after communion. Most importantly, let us pray for those who are ill, that they will know our care and God’s healing power.”

Well that’s enough for this week. Enjoy this beautiful weather. In the meantime, be well, be happy, be wealthy, be healthy, and always keep a smile on your face. It makes you happy, your family happy and those around you happy too and drives your enemies crazy. Continue to pray the Saints to keep winning. May God bring harmony and peace to our nation. May God Bless you!

Fr. Bac-Hai