Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The mystery of the incarnation brings God closer to us in a tangible way; Jesus, the second Person of God, and born on this earth, became a member of the human family, and in particular, a member of a family in Nazareth: the family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus.

Pope Francis, earlier this year, wrote of the symposium that took place in October, stating that there were “pastoral challenged to the family in the context of evangelization.  Indeed, in our day the Church is called to proclaim the Gospel by confronting the new and urgent pastoral needs facing the family.” The focus on rebuilding, restoring family values, is so important, because the family is the foundation of our society and the Church.  If the family is strong, the community is strong.  If the family is holy, the community is holy.  If the family is happy, the community is happy.  Our family values have recently been shaken due to many secular ideologies such as consumerism, relativism, humanism, etc. which threaten the stability of our families.  The symposium tried to redefine, reclaim, restore and rebuild our family system to bring back the true meaning of the family.

Our parish family is also part of the bigger Family of Faith, the Archdiocese of Toronto.  Many of us are affected by the crisis within our Family of Faith.  The Archdiocese of Toronto recognizes that our family has to be rebuilt and revitalized.  We need to reclaim the values of our family and we need to do it together to be successful! We need to reclaim and help the youth of our Family of Faith, through the schools, on the campuses and other places.  We need to strengthen our communication and improve formation programs for our leaders and members of the church.  We need to improve and revitalize spaces for worship and community, building new places for worship while maintaining existing churches. We need to ensure that the symbol of our bigger Family of Faith in Toronto, St. Michael’s Cathedral, be restored to its original structurally sound state.  And we must actively participate in this process through the many different opportunities given to us, through sacrifices of time, energy, talents, and monetary assistance.

As Christmas approaches, I would like to thank all of you for your great support throughout the year of 2014.  I pray that, throughout the year 2015, we continue to build and revitalize our Family of Faith in general, and our own families in particular.

May the blessings and love of the infant Jesus surround you at Christmas and during the coming year.

– Fr. Joseph Tran
St. Cecilia Parish


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