Chaplain's Blog

2017/10/30

November Message

My dear brother Knights,

We are now in November, a special month dedicated to the remembrance of those who have gone before us.  According to the tradition of the Church, we are asked to pray for them because they themselves cannot do it now.  They are waiting for and needing our prayers so that God may cleanse them from any sins and allow them to share His eternal life.  My message this month focuses on this.

First of all, we need to ask ourselves who are they and where are they now?  They are our sisters and brothers, friends and relatives.  God has called them from this life to His.  Because, as human beings they were not perfect in this life, they cannot yet be in heaven.  They have to wait in purgatory where they can no longer help themselves.  They depend on us to pray for them.

Purgatory is real and true.  The catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a “purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” which is experienced by those “who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified.” (CCC 1030)

In the book of Revelations 21: 27, it is written that purification is necessary.   As scripture teaches, nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven.  While we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us, specifically venial sins and the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.

The day after celebrating All Saints Day (Nov. 1st) we celebrate All Souls day (Nov 2nd).  It is the communion amongst us.  All Saints (Church Triumphant) are the souls in heaven.  All Souls (Church Suffering) are the souls in purgatory and we on earth are (Church Militant).   Whenever we celebrate the Eucharist we mention these states.

It is a great opportunity to remind ourselves that we are in communion with each other, that we will not forget them and that we will pray for them.  I often think that those who are deceased would truly be deceased if we, who are still alive on this earth, did not think of them and pray for them.  There is a long history of remembering and praying for the deceased.  You may find this in the book of Maccabeus.  Therefore, making sacrifices, praying rosaries, offering and/or attending Masses, praying for them would be very helpful in assisting them on their journey to Heaven and releasing them from Purgatory.

Thus I encourage you, brother Knights to make more sacrifices, pray more rosaries, offer and attend Masses to pray for them.  We believe in the power of prayer and by doing so, God may cleanse them from their own sins and bring them into His Eternal Life.

Rev. Louis Kim Nguyen

2017/09/29

October Message

My brother Knights,

We are now entering the month of October, a special month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother to us all.  According to the tradition of the church, we are asked to pray the Holy Rosary during this month.  This is the focus of my message this month.

The word “rosary” comes from the Latin language and means a garland of roses.  The rose is one of the flowers used to symbolize the Virgin Mary.  The rosary is a special devotion in honour of Our Blessed Mother Mary.  Central to this devotion is the prayer “Hail Mary”.  We can say that this entire prayer is completely biblically based.  Indeed, this prayer begins with the quotation of the words of the Archangel Gabriel when he appeared to Mary.  This can be found in the Gospel of Luke 1:28.  “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee”. This is followed by the words of Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, when Mary goes to visit her.  “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus”.  These words can be found in Luke 1: 42b.  The second part of this prayer is not scripturally based.  However, it is entirely biblical in the thoughts that it expresses.  It is as follows:  “Holy Mary, Mother of God, prayer for us sinners now and at the hour of our death”.

The purpose of the rosary is to help us in remembering the mysteries to be found in the history of our salvation.  We are also called to praise and to thank God.  In total, there are twenty mysteries reflected upon in the rosary.  These are divided into four categories which are Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous.  The rosary is a very simple prayer, easy to memorize and to recite.  As previously stated, it is entirely biblical.  We can pray the rosary for many different intentions.  Examples of this are praying for courage, praying for the deceased, praying for the return of our loved ones to the faith, asking for healing and strength, for conversions, etc.

I love praying the rosary simply because when we do so, we can reflect and meditate on the scriptures.  We pray for ourselves and for one another and through this prayer, we ask Mary to lead us to her Son, Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour.  Also, we repeat that request, “Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.”  First we praise Mary by using one of her titles, “Mother of God.”  Second, we confess that we are sinners in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness, then we repeat that request, not just a few times but fifty times.  We firmly believe that as a mother, Mary will accept our request to pray and intercede for us, not only at the present time but at the moment of our death as well.

 Therefore, my brothers, I encourage you to pray the rosary daily, not only during this month of October but continue praying it as often as possible.  We can pray when we are driving, when we are working, when we are walking, etc.  I encourage you to always carry a rosary with you, saying it slowly with a sincere heart, reflecting and meditating upon the mysteries of Christ.  I ask that when you say the rosary, please add my intentions which are these:  pray for unity in our parish and for the return of those who have been away years from the Church. 

Pray, pray and pray and we will see great things happen in St. Gerard’s parish.

Fr. Louis Kim Nguyen

2017/09/13

September Message

Greetings to all my Brother Knights of Columbus in Yorkton.

May the peace of the Lord be always with you and with your family members.  This is my first message to you.  It is for September, 2017, one month after my arrival here at St. Gerard’s parish.  It is an honor for me to share with you my thoughts and words. I am very happy and proud to be a member of this council, a very active and strong council.  Thank you for your very warm welcome as your servant.  I thank you also for your love, prayers and support.

At this time, I would like to continue to reflect on the last message that Fr. Francis Hengen shared with you last month about the word “Amen” when he came to the end of his mission here in this parish.  Now I am sharing with you the word “YES”.

In Scripture, we come across this word many times.  We hear the word YES of Abraham when he was asked to follow the call from On High.  Because he responded with a YES, he became the Father of Faith. We hear YES from Mary when she is visited by the Archangel Gabriel.  She became the mother of Our Saviour.  When Jesus said YES to God the Father in the garden of Gethsemane and offered his life for us, he became our Saviour and the Saviour of this world.

On August 1st of this year, seventeen priests in our diocese said YES to our chief shepherd, Archbishop of Regina, Donald Bolen.  They agreed to leave their parish and to move to another location.  This is really difficult and a huge challenge for them to do this.  They had to leave behind the place they knew and had become accustomed to as well as the people to whom they were attached. They chose to say YES to go to another parish to start again from the beginning.

I was one of them.  I said YES to our Archbishop because I acknowledge God’s will through him.  I moved to St. Gerard’s in Yorkton, an area and parish new to me.  Now I am among you, willing to learn and to build my relationship with you and the people of this parish.  For that, I am here as your priest and brother as well.  I believe that with God’s grace and with your support, I can fulfill my duties.  I can serve God’s people in my ministry.

My brothers, every day we say the Lord’s prayer and we say ”Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  We truly desire to learn God’s will and say yes to it in our daily life.  We are searching God’s will and wanting to live accordingly.  We believe that if we say YES to God, He will lead us to true happiness.
Therefore, I encourage all of you to open your heart, to pray and to pay attention to hearing God’s voice.  Listen to it.  He invites each of us to complete a mission.  Each one’s mission is different.  Above all, the main mission is to build up FAITH, LOVE and UNITY in our own community.

May God be with you and bless you all,
Peace

Fr. Louis Kim Nguyen

2017/05/29

June Message

Dear Brother Knights,

‘The Word’,  I have never heard the background to this name for the Council’s monthly newsletter, but it is a good one, especially as we are followers of Christ who is the living Word of God.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” So begins the Prologue to the Gospel of St. John. The word of God was the beginning of all things, but we find that there is also a word to end all things. The last two verses of the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, are, “The one who attests to these things says: I am indeed coming soon.

Amen; come, Lord Jesus. May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen! (So be it!)
We are used to ‘amen’ being the last word, especially in prayers and we probably don’t think much about it. Perhaps, it seems more like a spoken period at the end of a sentence. We’ve said what we had to say and there is no more. Amen.

However, ‘amen’ is really a statement that stands out at the end of a prayer or action and denotes our acceptance, our affirmation, our ‘yes’ that what was just said is truly so. To say “Amen” is to make a commitment. For example, we say “Amen” at the end of the Our Father which means that we are committed to what we said in the text of the prayer itself. It means this prayer is not just a prayer to be said and then forgotten. “Amen” means I meant what I said and I will follow through with the appropriate response. The Great Amen at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer means I accept and hold as true all that went before and the “Amen” when receiving the Body of Christ means I truly believe it to be so.

So, with this, my last message for The Word, I, in a way, am saying “Amen” So be it! It is time to accept the call to move to another place. Amen! It is time to be faithful to my ordination promise: “Do you promise respect and obedience to me and my successors?” Amen! It is time to give thanks for the seven years at St. Gerard’s and all the blessings and gifts that have come with that appointment. Amen!

‘Amen‘ is not a response of someone who has no choice. It is an emphatic “Yes! Let it be so! Amen!” May we always model our ‘yes’ on Mary’s response at the Annunciation and in so doing give life, as she did, to the Word of God. Amen!

Rev. Francis Hengen
Chaplain




2017/04/27

May Message

Brother Knights,

I hope you are experiencing great joy in this wonderful and wonder-filled season of Easter! For this is, indeed, the time to revel in the Good News that Jesus is risen from the dead, and what that means for us as we continue our journey through this life. Some days we know our life seems out of focus. We may not be sure of what we should do, or how to handle a problem. We may feel anxious about the future or the way the world is going. News item after news item gives little hint of things getting any better.  But that is not what our celebration of Easter is all about.

When Jesus dwelt with us on earth and went about Judea and Galilee preaching Good News, it was not about restoring an earthly kingdom here for the Jews. It was not about getting rid of the Romans. It was not even about eliminating poverty and curing every disease.  It was about getting us to understand in a real way that the consequence of sin is death. Throughout our whole earthly history up to the point of Christ’s resurrection, death, unavoidable and unpleasant as it was, was also a ‘normal’ aspect of existence on this earth. The Pharisaical sect of Judaism had come to believe in a resurrection at the end of time, but it was not seen as a resurrection into the kingdom of God, and there was not a lot of talk about eternal life.

Jesus changed all of that. He entered into the reality of our earth life. He experienced the joys and hardships, the pain and frustrations of life here. However, in his life he also showed us that this life is only temporary and it shall pass away when the kingdom comes. He came to free us from the power death held over all of life. Yes, we would still die and leave this earthly life, but now we know what comes next. Jesus told his apostles, “You know the way to the place where I am going...I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.”

Yes, we do have to deal with life each day, but our Easter season gives us the focus of faith and the vision to see life as our God-given journey to the Kingdom. That is the real Good News. Our desert journey here does not end in death among the dunes. It brings us to the gates of the Eternal City. So rejoice clamorously, and if someone asks you why you are so happy just say, “Don’t you know? Christ has risen from the dead!!!”

Rev. Francis Hengen
Chaplain




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