Introducing our Pastoral Year Seminarian, and the 177 Project

As many of you know, I was the Vocation Director for the Diocese of Oakland before coming to St. Raymond Parish. In that ministry I worked to promote vocations to the priesthood and I supervised the seminarians for our diocese. It’s been nearly 7 years since I left that position and came to St. Raymond. My time here has been a great blessing and I look forward to many more years here.

As Vocation Director I worked with those seminarians who were taking a ‘pastoral year.’ A pastoral year is like an internship for the seminarian. He lives full time at a parish of the Oakland diocese and gets to know first-hand what the day-to-day priestly and pastoral ministry is like at the parish level. This year we will have a pastoral year seminarian at our parish. His name is Huong Dinh. Fr. Bob and I briefly introduced him at last weekend’s Masses. You will have a chance to hear Huong speak for himself at Masses next weekend.

Huong came to the U.S. in the year 2010. Not long after he contacted the Vocations Office, just before I was preparing to leave that ministry. My advice to him was to study our language and to continue to discern the priestly calling. He applied with our diocese and has completed six years of seminary studies. His parents live in the Bay Area and he is now a U.S. citizen.

Huong will have a busy and fruitful year with us. He’ll be getting involved in various ministries and helping us with various projects. Huong’s a little shy initially but warms up quickly to strangers. He has a good sense of humor. I invite you to get to know Huong personally and support him with your prayers.

Jesus told his disciples when he ascended to heaven, “Behold, I am with you always. Until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:20). I’ve always found this statement to be very consoling. Jesus is with us through the Holy Spirit when we listen to or read His words, when we ponder them and when we put ourselves into the biblical scene described. Interiorly, we can hear Him speaking to us; challenging us and giving us direction in our lives. Jesus is also present to the Church materially in the Blessed Sacrament. His entire body, blood, soul and divinity is present when we adore Him in Eucharistic Adoration. This is one of the ways Jesus fulfills His statement above. As a reminder, you are invited to come and be with Jesus while He is exposed in Eucharistic Adoration at chapel Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm except during the 12:15 pm daily Mass in the Church. You can also adore Jesus during non-exposition hours any other time of the day. The chapel is open day and night.

The 177 Project

We’re excited to be participating in the 177 Project this fall. You can come and draw yourself physically close to Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration; to sit at his feet and grow closer to Our Lord. That evening there will be opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation along with periods of music by some of the best up-and-coming Catholic musical artists. This will take place on Friday October 26th in the church from 6:30 – 9:00 pm. The artists here are Alob and Sarah Kroger; artists I’m not familiar with but who seem very talented. You can get a preview of them online with a search.

Though the 177 Project music is geared more toward young people, all parishioners are invited to join us. Come for the inspiration of being near Our Lord and come for the encouragement of seeing our youth, the future of the Church, praising God and demonstrating their faith.

May God bless you all and, as always, be assured of my prayers for you.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Lawrence

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