Chaplain's Blog

2020/04/28

May Message

My Dear Brothers Knights,

Since March 19, right after our brother Eugene Kuemper's funeral, the church has been closed for all services and activities because of the COVIC-19 pandemic restrictions.  There are no services, meetings, or gatherings at all.  People have been asked to stay home.  Since then we have truly become isolated. We are suffering.

When we are isolated, you and I often think of each other much more than ever before.  We always have questions in our minds such as "Are you doing okay" or "How have you been passing your days?"  We think of people often and want to help them in any way we can.  We are truly in spiritual communion - in our hearts, and in our prayers.  Nothing can separate us from God's love.

  • However, have we asked ourselves these same questions?
  • Have we asked ourselves, how am I doing?
  • How am I using my free time during isolation?
  • What have I done during these days?
  • What are the greatest things that I have done with my time?
These questions are my message to you for this month. I encourage and invite all of you to think about it.  Each of us, we might ask ourselves: Do I go deeper into my spiritual life? Do I go deeper in my relationship with God? Do I finish reading one spiritual book? What is my best that I did on these days? What benefit have I brought my spouse, my family members?

We are facing huge challenges when being by ourselves.  Dealing with COVID-19, it is time for us to slow down, to rebuild our relationship with those who are close to us, to go deeper spiritually and to build a stronger connection with God.  We experienced a sad Easter and Easter season that has never happened before.  However, the Risen Lord is with us.  He is waiting for us to acknowledge him in our quiet days.

I pray that the Lord might grant us the grace of His Holy Spirit so that He may transform us and transform our communities, so that we may always move forward in the harmony that Jesus wants for the Christian community.

May this silent, quiet time which is new to that which we are familiar, teach us how to listen, especially in our hearts and in our conscience, so that we might grow in our ability to listen.
Like you, I am looking forward to seeing the church's activities back to normal. Also, I wait to hear of all of the positive things about you and our community. Let's pray for it.

Blessings always
Fr. Louis Nguyen




2020/03/29

April Message

Dear Brother Knights,

I have just finished my daily Mass and now I am writing to you a very short message for the Word issue this month. 
These days, we are facing a horrible disease and because of it we are all in isolated places.  We are asked to stay home and to not go out or gather in any public areas so we can protect ourselves and prevent the spreading of the COVID-19 virus.

When I celebrated the Eucharist, I prayed for the world, for the Church and for all of you.  I prayed that "Lord, deliver us from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days that by the help of your mercy we may be always free from sins and safe from our all distress.." I prayed that we will soon be back to a normal schedule, which would allow us to celebrate the Pascal Mystery this year because it is the core of our faith.

As you know, all the services of the Church have shut down since last Friday. I have a feeling that the Lenten season of this year seems finished earlier and now we are entering the Holy Week, a very long Holy Week but we do not know when Easter is coming.

However, we should have some positive thoughts in our minds. We should see this as a special time for us to be home, for spending time with other members.  I would say that it is family time because God wants us to re-build our relationship with others, in our own family, relatives and others. We will have meals together, spend time praying together, watch a good movie, read a new spiritual book. There are many good things we can do at this time such as fixing the house, cleaning, and re-organizing the house.

We should see that God wants us to know that we need him. He is with us but we have been busy and so many things distract us and lead us away from him.  Now is the time to acknowledge how important to have him, to be with him and to have him as the centre of our life and our activities.

We miss Masses; we miss all sacraments such as Baptism, Eucharist and Reconciliation. We miss gathering together as a community of faith.  It is good for us to remind ourselves that we belong to a community - that we miss our sisters and brothers in Christ. I would say that during this time there is a good chance to refl
ect and evaluate the importance of God and Church in our life. It is also a time to remind ourselves of unity.  When we are fighting with this disease, we learn that more than ever we need the unity. We cannot divide; we need to be in communion with others.

My brothers Knights, a question I often ask myself is: "What I can do during this difficult time?"  Pray? Yes, of course.  But what else can I do? I think we can stay home but we can phone, text, email to others to tell them "You are not alone, we are with you." 
The responsorial Psalm for week day Mass today comes from Psalm 46 saying that: "The mighty Lord is our refuge. God is our refuge and strength, a present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea". 

It touched me when I heard these words. The mighty Lord is our refuge.  With him we have nothing to fear. 
My Brother Knights, be strong and keep up your good works. We will continue our mission to build up a strong community of faith and support one another during this difficult time.

May God bless you all.

Fr. Louis Nguyen



2020/03/02

March Message

My dear Brother Knights,

When you are holding this month’s edition of “The Word” in your hands, Lent has already begun.  Lent is a special time for us, with a sincere desire to grow in love, preparing us worthily to celebrate the mysteries of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.  The journey of Lent is a sacred time for us because we are asked to follow the Lord closely - follow His example to fast, give alms and pray.

Do you have a goal for this Lent? We need to set a goal because 40 days is not a long time.  If we have a goal, our time of Lent will be focussed on more effective spiritual things and knowing what we need to do to make it a holy journey.

What did Jesus do in the wilderness?  Before starting his mission, he spent 40 days in the wilderness.  He was in a quiet place to pray and discern his Father’s will. He tried to understand what His Father wanted him to do.  And when it was over, he started his public mission by saying “the Kingdom of God has come near, repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1.15).

We live a busy life.  There are so many things that we are involved in that our schedule is full.  We cannot leave all things behind and find a desert place for ourselves as Jesus did.  However, we can create a quiet time for God and ourselves within our home.  Keep in mind that God speaks through silence, quiet in mind and heart.  In silence, we can hear his voice more clearly.  So we enter into the wilderness in our hearts and in our home to listen to His voice.

We give alms and fast, but during this time, we are invited to do these in deeper ways, more spiritually and more sacredly. As Jesus says, “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6.3), or “go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret: and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6.5-6)

For us, 40 days of Lent is a sacred time because we have a chance to reflect and to see where we are spiritually. What we should change, or work more at?

It is not only simple things such as giving up wine, coffee, chocolate.  I invite you to do more than it.  Spend more time with the Lord and pray.  Spend more time visiting people in the hospital or private homes, acknowledging Christ dwelling in them. Taking care of people is taking care of the Lord.

We die for ourselves, we give up, empty ourselves and be with the Lord.  When we sacrifice ourselves, we die for ourselves.

My brothers, I challenge you to make this holy Lent worthy for you spiritually.  We exercise what we learn from the Lord. We experience sacred time and then help others to be experience it also.

I want to finish my message by saying that nothing can bring us closer to Christ than walking alongside Him and doing the things he did for love of God the Father. During Lent, God invites us to purify our hearts and minds and to turn our intentions back to him.  Our Lenten program should reflect that same simple, yet demanding, obedience and love.

“If we die with him, we will share with Him in his glory”. 

May God bless you all during this Lenten season and always.


2019/11/28

December Message

My Brothers Knights,

We are going to celebrate the 115th Anniversary of the first parish in Yorkton – St. Gerard’s, and the 114th Anniversary of the construction of our first Church.

Like you, I am proud of St. Gerard’s with its long history and very nice community.  I would like to take this opportunity to share with you few things about the meaning of Church.

We all know that the Church is not only about the building.  The Church is both visible and spiritual.  Yes, it is a building, a visible sight for people.  However, it is more than it.  Church is also a community -  a community of faith, a community of love, a community of friends.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the word "Church" means "convocation." It designates the assembly of those whom God's Word "convokes," gathers together to form the People of God, and who themselves, nourished with the Body of Christ, become the Body of Christ (cf. CCC 777).

The Church exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical and Eucharistic assembly. The Church draws its life from the Word of God and from the Body of Christ.  The Church becomes Christ's Body.

The Church is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of God and humans.

I love the Church because I see it as my family.  Every Sunday when people gather around the altar to celebrate the Eucharist, I have a chance to meet many different people coming for the Holy Banquet.  No matter who they are, they come and share the holy meal with one another.  It’s a good opportunity for people to be at Mass as our Lord Jesus makes them one: one in Him, one in Unity, one in Faith and Love.

When we celebrate the anniversary of our parish, we are called to keep our faith alive and transfer it to the next generation.  Each of us has a mission, to continue to build up our Church, to make it alive and be a sign of salvation to people in this city.  We are call to become a community of love as Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Merry Christmas to all of you and your family members.  You are in my prayers.  May God bless you all. 

Rev. Louis Kim Nguyen


2019/10/29

November Message

My Dear Brothers of Knights,

Winter is coming! We have few more days until the end of October and then we are ready to welcome November.

My message for you at this time is a short reflection of death.  Do not be surprised or shocked.  We should
think and talk about it; we should face to it, especially when we are going to spend a special month to pray
for all our deceased members.

First of all, we read again the passage of creation in the book of Genesis: “…Then the Lord God formed a man
from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being
" (Genesis 2:7). God created human beings from the dust, so when we die, our physical body will come back to dust. Indeed, in any funeral celebration we hear these words: “Because God has chosen to call our brother (sister) from this life to himself, we commit his (her) body to the earth, for we are dust and unto dust we shall return".

On Ash Wednesday, as we enter into Lent, we receive ash on our forehead in the form of a cross. This represents our human mortality, and we are reminded, "… that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return".     
We read in the Gospel of John at the death of Jesus, "… Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit". (cf. John 19: 30). "Gave up his spirit!" John had a special view of death.  In John’s view, Jesus didn’t die, He passed His Spirit to the world and returned to God the Father.

There are two lives in each human life: Physical and Spirit (Soul). Our journey on earth is temporary as one day it will be finished.  However, for our souls, our human came from God (by his breathing).
Because God is a Living God -  God never dies - our souls are living souls, to never die as well. Our souls will move into another journey, to be with God and in God forever.  St. Paul said about this in his letter to the Corinthians, "Our bodies are like tents that we live in here on earth. But when these tents are destroyed, we know that God will give each of us a place to live. These homes will not be buildings that someone has made, but they are in heaven and will last forever" (2 Cor. 5: 1).

 It is the meaning of death. We will not die because God is calling us home with him. The Church is our Mother, calling her children to remember and pray for those who have died and entrust them in the hands of God. And through it the Church invites us to think of death.
 
When I visited sick people in the hospital, many times I have experienced the facing of death from them.  Most of them have been in fear or shock.  They thought of death with horrible/terrifying feelings. I have often helped them to acknowledge that there is nothing to fear - God is calling them home, their eternal home with Him.

We are entering November, a month to remember and pray for all deceased members, those have fallen as sleep in Christ.  We remember and pray for them.

When you open the recent St. Gerard pictorial director you will see that we have some faces are missing because God called them home with Him.  It’s sad to lose them, those who have gone before us.  Although they are no longer with us, they are still in communion with us. Yes, they are truly with us in a spiritual way or in many other ways.

In November we will celebrate several Memorial Masses such as Nov. 2 and Nov. 7, and also have one more for all the deceased members of K of C and CWL (TBA). You are invited to attend these Masses to pray for them.

Thus I encourage you, brother Knights, to 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



chaplain