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Pastor's Page 2022-03-20

Dear St. Gabriel Parishioners:

Pope Francis Appoints New Auxiliary Bishop.  Archdiocese of Seattle and St. Gabriel Parish Welcomes Bishop-elect Frank SchusterHe’s currently a Pastor of St. Vincent DePaul Parish in Federal Way and will be ordained as a Bishop on May 3rd, 2022 at St. James Cathedral in Seattle.  You can read the Bishop-elect full story on the Archdiocese Seattle website.

The Church intensifies our Lenten Season for all people through the preparation of the newly Elects (Catechumens – those who have never been baptized) and Candidates for Full Communion in the Catholic Church (those who have been baptized validly in another Christian Denomination) through a period of purification and Enlightenment calls the SCRUTINIES.  This is a period of more intense spiritual preparation, consisting more in interior reflection than in catechetical instruction, and is intended to purify the minds and hearts of the elects with a deeper knowledge of Christ the Savior.

For this Sunday and the next two Sundays (March 27 and April 3), at the 6:30 PM Saturday Mass and 11:00 AM Mass on Sunday – Scripture Readings from cycle A, the Elects will be participating in the three Scrutinies and then, be dismissed before the Universal (Intercession) Prayers to go with a RCIA Catechist to continue more intense spiritual preparation for their three sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist). 

Using a different set of Readings (Cycle A), the church helps us to reflect with our newly Elects and Candidates in the theme of this first Scrutiny through the story of the story of the Woman at the Well from the Gospel of John (John 4:5-42).  Please reflect with our newly Elects:

    • What am I thirsting for? … Look deeply within … Then, Jesus promises the

Water of New Life, so that we never thirst again.

For those who will be attending the 8:00 AM Mass on Sunday, our Scripture Readings are from cycle C.  It’s the Third Sunday of Lenthalfway through.  For many of us feel like, it’s hard to admit that this Lent is not all we had hoped for.  On Ash Wednesday, we intended to make some changes in our lives.  And yet halfway through Lent, perhaps, we are disappointed in ourselves. 

Today’s gospel tells us of a landowner who planted a fig tree that did not produce fruit for three years.  Giving up on it, he tells the gardener to cut it down.  But the wise gardener knows that what the tree needs is cultivating and feeding.  He suggests:

I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future”.

Jesus understands our hearts and he knows that our instinct is to give up on the tree that bears no fruit - to give up on our Lent halfway through.  Today Jesus tells us not to give up hope that we can be better.  Jesus offers us his love, care and help.

The traditional foundations of Lent are prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  These are not ending in themselves, not items to be checked off on our “To Do List”.  These are the doors that open a deeper place in our hearts, part of the sacred ground God shares with Moses in the first reading: 

  • When I pray, it gives me a space to discover God’s heart’s desire for me.
  • When I fast, it can focus my attention more clearly on Jesus and how he wants to heal my heart.
  • When I give from my heart this Lent, it makes me more aware of those who need my help.

Are you reflecting the message of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke during this Lenten Season?  It’s NOT late to pick up a “Lenten Reflection Black Book”, at the entrances to accompany you in this special time to have a meaningful and fruitful Lenten Season. 


Christ’s Peace, 
Fr. Phuong Hoang


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