Dear Little Flower Friends and Family,
Exactly one year ago, I was writing to you at the beginning of the Covid Pandemic and the national shutdown and cancellations of public Masses. At that point, no one could have imagined what the next weeks and months would bring and, even today, the future is so uncertain in so many regards. When I wrote you on this day last year, I placed our parish under the watchful care of St. Joseph and I encouraged you to heed the biblical exhortation: Ite ad Ioseph–Go to Joseph! As we celebrate his feast day today, after a 33–Day Preparation for a Parish Consecration to our Spiritual Father, I am happy to share with you that St. Joseph has indeed come through for us and proven the vigilant and prudent steward of the Little Parish entrusted to his care.
In the last year, Little Flower has providentially experienced quite a bit of growth and renewal. Although some of our long–time parishioners have not returned due to health concerns, we have seen a substantial growth in new members and young families (always a promising sign!). Yes, some of our growth is in part due to our joining with Blessed Sacrament under the pastoral care of one priest, but the truth is that we began to experience this growth as soon as the public Masses resumed in the late spring and early summer. This has indeed been a blessing! We now have a growing Parish Religious Education program for adults and children, a growing music program (including a Children‘s Choir, a Chant Schola, as well as our long–time Sunday Choir), and several generous individuals who are forming themselves to work together for the good of the parish and the surrounding community. These groups will include a St. Martin de Porres Society (for the poor), Men and Women‘s Groups (for spirituality, fellowship, and service), and an Apostolate of Charity (to look after and show our love for our aging parishioners). Indeed, God has blessed us greatly and St. Joseph has looked after us and worked his wonders. We are blessed and grateful!
However, in spite of the many blessings the past year have brought us, several challenges still await us. Our parish celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2020 and our church of the Little Flower will celebrate its 70th Anniversary this October. We are blessed with beautiful facilities, but they are aging facilities. They need constant attention as far as repairs, regular upkeep, and preventative maintenance. Looking forward to celebrating our 100th Anniversary in 2030, we have begun a 10 Year Campaign to restore our Little Flower and prepare her for the next era of her marvelous history. We are placing this Campaign under the patronage of our dear St. Joseph and calling it “St. Joseph‘s Projects.” The Campaign will consist of three to four phases in the course of the next decade. Phase 1 is our roof and ceiling and, from there, we will “work our way down” to the rest of the church and campus (depending on growth and needs in the next years).
In the Christmas mailing we sent you, we included an envelope with a pledge card for Phase 1 of the Campaign. In the letter, I asked all of our parishioners to make the sac of $1,000 per household toward Phase 1. Although (as one benefactor pointed out) that was a “bold endeavor, we have been awed and humbled by the generosity that has been shown us so far. Some have contributed all at once. Others have given in percentages of the goal. Still others (myself included) are giving toward the goal in weekly increments. It comes out to $20 a week (that‘s less than $3 a day—the price of a cup of coffee!). Regardless of how people are contributing, we are grateful that you–our family and friends are responding. Unfortunately, however, we are still quite a bit far from our goal for this Phase. So this is my appeal to you: if you have not yet contributed or committed to our Campaign, please take this cause to heart. We need you. Little Flower needs you. As I said, there are different ways to contribute, and I and our office staff would be happy to help you with whatever questions you may have. No gift is too small. And no act of generous love ever goes unseen and unrewarded by our Good Lord.
Our efforts are under the patronage of St. Joseph. I have every confidence that he will see to our needs as a good, faithful, prudent, and loving steward. Included in this letter is a holy card with a prayer to St. Joseph for the success of our Campaign. We will begin praying this prayer after the Prayers of the Faithful at our Sunday Masses from now on. I ask that you join us in praying it too, for the success of our endeavors and for St. Joseph‘s continual intercession for your Little Flower. In addition to this prayer, now that our parish has done the Consecration to St. Joseph, beginning this coming Wednesday, we will from now on offer a Votive Mass of St. Joseph (when the liturgical calendar permits) at our Daily Mass on Wednesdays (the day traditionally dedicated to St. Joseph) and have devotions to him following the Mass. He has cared for us (and will continue to do so), and we owe him this small gesture in gratitude. Whether you attend in person or join us from home, please pray with us and for us. Ite ad Ioseph Go to Joseph! St. Joseph had the privilege of seeing and hearing the God whom prophets, kings, and sages longed to see and hear and could not. Not only that, but he dressed Him, held Him, cared and provided for Him, and loved and kissed Him. We too have a similar privilege as we receive Him in the Little White Host here at our Little Flower and as we care for His humble dwelling here. Let us ponder that awesome reality as we look hopefully to the years to come.
May God bless you, our Blessed Mother keep you, St. Joseph protect you, and our Little Flower befriend you and yours
Rev. Fr. Yoelvis A. Gonzalez Pastor