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Message from the Pastor

June 06, 2020
 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ in the Parish of St. Joseph:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.” (Colossians 1: 1-6)

I am pleased to announce to you that our bishop, Most Reverend Oscar Cantú, has given the green light for the resumption of public worship in the Diocese of San Jose. But this is not without any difficulty as the Department of Public Health of the County of Santa Clara allows only an outdoor Mass celebration with only 25 people in attendance and strictly following the protocols issued to stay safe from the spread of coronavirus. This means that we can only make the best of what we can do with the facilities available for our outdoor Masses. This situation will be reassessed as we move forward until we will be allowed to celebrate Mass inside the Church again, having in mind the directives of the County Public Health Department and the Bishop of the Diocese of San Jose. Let us bear with one another while we are trying our best to reach out to everyone and to make the sacrament of the Eucharist available to our Catholic brothers and sisters.

The following items must be given serious attention and strict compliance.

  1. Only 25 people at a time are allowed to attend the outdoor Mass to be held at the church plaza. People who are under high risk category as per directive from the County Public Health Department are encouraged to stay home to attend the live-stream Mass. The bishop has not rescinded the dispensation from Sunday obligation and for this reason anyone is still encouraged to attend the live-stream Mass. The schedule of Masses is as follows:

Saturday: 5:30 PM and 7:00 PM (Spanish)

Sunday: 7:00 AM, 8:30 AM, 10:00 AM 11:30 AM, 1:00 PM (Spanish), and 3:00 PM.

A live-stream Mass will continue to be held at 10:00 AM for those who cannot come to the Mass and for those who opt to attend the live-stream Mass.

The daily weekday Mass is at 2:00 PM. Again, only 25 people are allowed. Holy Hour will follow after the Mass.

  1. Please make sure that you put on a face covering (mask) when attending Mass. No mask, no Mass.
  2. Physical distancing is a must at any moment including the time of communion.
  3. Bring your own sanitizers and use them before receiving Holy Communion. We will provide sanitizers for those who do not have.
  4. Only the priest will distribute Holy Communion. Only those receiving Holy Communion can approach the priest. We wish to advise those who want to receive a blessing only not to approach the priest. Receiving communion on the tongue is suspended. Please receive communion with your extended hand wearing your face mask and maintain as much distance as possible.
  5. There will only be one Lector for all the readings.
  6. No choir is needed at this time.
  7. Children must remain under the close supervision of their parents at all times.
  8. The volunteers will help in directing the people at the entrance and exit of the place of worship.
  9. No social gatherings after Mass. Please go home right after the Mass.
  10. Those who park at the underground garage must not use the ramp to come up to the plaza. This is absolutely not permitted. Instead, use the church elevator to go the plaza level. However, only four people at a time are allowed to be in the elevator. Please maintain physical distancing inside the elevator. Allow yourself enough time to arrive at the church to be accommodated at the Mass. Attendance will be on a “first come, first serve” basis.

I have scheduled a meeting with the volunteers this Sunday to orient them about how we will prepare the place for you and what each of us should do when we are in attendance at Mass. As I have mentioned in my letter to all of you last week, I need volunteers who are not within the high risk category as per directive from the County Public Health Department.

I wish to thank you for your patience and for your generosity as you continue to serve and support the Parish of Saint Joseph in Mountain View. May the Blessed Virgin Mary accompany us with her prayers for our health and protection. With God’s help I will use every opportunity to serve you in the best way I could. God bless you.

Sincerely,

Rev. Engelberto Guzmán Gammad, J.C.D.

Pastor


May 31, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The feast of the Pentecost that we celebrate this Sunday gives us another opportunity to renew ourselves in spirit and in truth before our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Having received the Holy Spirit when we were baptized, the Pentecost experience is not just something that happened in the past but is an ongoing reality that tells how Jesus continues to work in us and through us, thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit. During this most trying time caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Holy Spirit has always guided and will continue to guide the Church. Church leadership has always been concerned with the safety of every Church member and animating the same members to be aware of God’s presence in our midst as we journey through these difficult times. And we never give up nor are we losing hope. It is because we know that God is with us and the Pentecost reminds us of that truth. The Pentecost therefore is our victory; the Pentecost is our strength; the Pentecost is our guarantee that God is in us and we are in God through Jesus Christ. That being said, we echo the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8: 35-39) This scriptural passage enables us to realize that the current experience of the coronavirus pandemic has opened our horizons to new ways of understanding the Holy Spirit’s manifestation in our world today. We have witnessed for instance how we have reached out to one another through traditional as well as contemporary ways of bringing Christ to those who seek Him. We have been into live-stream Masses and other sacramental celebrations through technological means as we see the potent force behind the technology which bridges the gap between peoples of all faith, color and social status. Again, our eyes of faith recognize in these technological tools the power of the Holy Spirit actively working in the world.

Bishop Oscar Cantu, having been guided by the Spirit and working with his team of church ministers, is the man sent by God to lead us through these difficult times. Much as he wants to open our churches soon, he is bound by his ardent desire to keep his people safe. For that reason, he engages collaboratively with the Department of Health of the County of Santa Clara to ensure the safety and health of the people. It is his thinking that while the Catholic churches in the county are still closed, pastors are admonished to exercise prudence and common sense in securing the necessary precautionary measures to guarantee the right compliance of the protocols promulgated by the State and the County regarding Covid-19. Pastors are the shepherds directly involved in the life of the parishioners and for that reason they have every opportunity to establish the smooth transition into the new normal that will govern our celebrations of the sacraments of the Church during the period of the pandemic. Our Parish of St. Joseph is now on the road to an arduous preparation for the reopening of the church. Sanitizers, gloves, masks and social distancing will dominate the new normal including the training of volunteers who will become the frontliners in the task of ensuring the proper compliance of the protocols governing the current pandemic. 

One of the many concerns of the County Health Department is the protection of those considered high risk of getting Covid-19. People who are in high-risk categories are given special attention by encouraging them to remain with the shelter-in-place directive from the County. This includes those over the age of 65 and those with underlying health issues or compromised immune systems. As pastor of St. Joseph Parish and in collaboration with Bishop Cantu, I am duty-bound to assure my utmost attention and care to this particular group of parishioners so that their physical absence from the public celebrations of the sacraments may not become a hindrance to their active participation in the liturgical life of the people of God. Given the demand of this great task, I wish to ask every member of our community to be aware of the urgent need for volunteers to help me ensure the safety of our people in Mountain View and the surrounding communities. Soon I will publish the directives from the Bishop that will serve as the guiding principles in dealing with this predicament. I wish to assure you however that, after all that we have been through, I will always be willing to serve you in the best possible way, God willing. May God continue to bless you and protect you.

Happy Pentecost Day!
Rev. Engelberto G. Gammad, JCD
Pastor   

Muy queridos hermanos en Cristo:

La fiesta del Pentecostés que celebramos hoy nos da la oportunidad para renovarnos en el espíritu y la verdad delante del Señor Jesucristo, nuestro Salvador. Habiendo recibido el Espíritu Santo cuando fuimos bautizados, el Pentecostés no es ninguna experiencia sólo del pasado, sino que es algo que experimentemos día tras día - una realidad que nos recuerda que Cristo sigue trabajando en nosotros y por nosotros. ¡Gracias al poder del Espíritu Santo! Durante la pandemia a causa del coronavirus, la Iglesia está siempre dirigida y cuidada por el Espíritu Santo. La Iglesia, a través del Obispo y los sacerdotes incluso los otros ministros, nos cuida y pone su atención cuidadosamente en la seguridad y salud de todos los miembros de la iglesia. La atención dada por la iglesia nos asegura que Dios está con nosotros en medio de las dificultades y los sufrimientos causados por la pandemia. Pero gracias a Dios porque nunca perdemos la esperanza; nunca nos desesperamos porque sabemos que Dios nos acompaña mientras tanto y es lo que el Pentecostés nos asegura. Así que el Pentecostés es nuestra victoria; el Pentecostés es nuestra fortaleza; el Pentecostés es la garantía que Dios está en nosotros, y nosotros estamos en Dios por Jesucristo, nuestro Señor. Con esta disposición, podemos decir con valentía las mismas palabras dichas por San Pablo, como aparece en su carta a los Romanos: “¿Quién nos separará del amor de Cristo? ¿Tribulación, o angustia, o persecución, o hambre, o desnudez, o peligro, o espada? ...Antes, en todas estas cosas somos más que vencedores por medio de aquel que nos amó. Por lo cual estoy seguro de que ni la muerte, ni la vida, ni ángeles, ni principados, ni potestades, ni lo presente, ni lo por venir, ni lo alto, ni lo profundo, ni ninguna otra cosa creada nos podrá separar del amor de Dios, que es en Cristo Jesús Señor nuestro.” (Romanos 8: 35-39) Este pasaje de la biblia nos ayuda a entender que Dios se manifiesta en varias maneras hasta con los eventos extraordinarios de la vida como lo es la pandemia a causa del Covid-19. También, estos acontecimientos han abierto nuestros ojos a las nuevas formas de entender cómo funciona el Espíritu Santo en nuestro mundo de hoy. Por ejemplo, somos los testigos de cómo hemos trabajado para servir a los demás tanto con métodos tradicionales como con modernos o contemporáneos. Todos estos esfuerzos tienen una única misión: es todo para la gloria de Dios y servicio a los que busquen al Señor. La celebración de las misas en vivo por ejemplo nos pone en contacto con la Eucaristía, aunque sea por la pantalla es un gran apoyo que viene de la tecnología y reconocemos el poder de estas herramientas tecnológicas como instrumento de Dios por el Espíritu Santo, para seguir recordándonos su divina presencia en el mundo.

El obispo de San José, Monseñor Oscar Cantú, es el hombre guiado por el Espíritu Santo y mandado por Dios para dirigirnos durante estos momentos difíciles. Aunque el Obispo ya tiene muchas ganas de abrir las iglesias, su deseo se centra primero en la seguridad y salud de los feligreses. Así pues, él mandó directivas a los párrocos, teniendo en cuenta las instrucciones que vienen del Departamento de Salud del Condado de Santa Clara y del gobierno del Estado de California, para asegurar la protección de los feligreses contra el virus del Covid-19. La Parroquia de Saint Joseph en Mountain View ya está tomando los pasos para preparar la iglesia para su apertura. Tenemos que conseguir todos los materiales como, “sanitizers”, mascaras, guantes y otras cosas necesarias para asegurar a todos su seguridad y salud cuando estén en la iglesia para las celebraciones sacramentales. Habrá también un “training’ para todos los voluntarios para la nueva forma de dirigir la gente a las misas y la celebración de los otros sacramentos.

El Departamento de Salud del Condado Santa Clara está muy claro sobre su directiva acerca de los que están en riesgo al virus, así como los que tienen problemas con su salud y los que ya tienen más de 65 años de edad. La directiva dirige a los que pertenecen en este grupo que se queden en casa hasta que el condado de otra orden. Me siento triste como párroco de no poder ver a nuestros hermanos y hermanas de este grupo en nuestras celebraciones públicas durante la pandemia. Pero les aseguro mis oraciones y cuidado spiritual a todos ellos. La pandemia no será motivo para que se aparten de las celebraciones comunitarias de los sacramentos de la iglesia. Pero mientras tanto aguantamos y seguimos con Dios. Dios les bendiga y que disfruten el día del Pentecostés. Bendiciones!

Rev. Padre Engelberto Guzman Gammad, J.C.D.
Párroco   

May 24, 2020
 

My dear friends, this Sunday’s Gospel reminds us of our baptismal commitment to Jesus’ mandate: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you… I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28: 16-20)

To make disciples involves integrated formation, sound catechesis, and fruitful encounter with Jesus through His word and His sacraments. It needs open hearts to know Christ more and requires the willingness to give one’s talent, treasure and time to bring into reality the meaning and goals of discipleship. During this most challenging time of the pandemic, fear and discouragement may have stopped us from moving forward. But this is precisely the most heroic moment to prove before God that we are ready and willing to serve Him even at the cost of our own lives. This is the best time to be more understanding and compassionate; this is the most opportune time to be more generous; this is the most challenging time to show how much we appreciate God’s gifts by supporting the ministries of the Church to which we belong. That’s what discipleship demands and God challenges us to respond. Are you willing to say ‘yes’ to the Lord?

Allow me to express my message to our Hispanic brothers and sisters in the community.

Hermanos, el evangelio de hoy, Domingo de la ascención, nos dice:  “Váyanse, pues, y háganlos discípulos de todas las naciones, bautizándolos en el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo, enseñándoles a guardar todo lo que yo les he mandado; y he aquí, yo estoy con ustedes todos los días, hasta el fin del mundo.” (Mateo 28: 16-20) Esto es un gran mandato de Cristo, y se requiere un corazón abierto y generoso a fín de que el encuentro fructuoso con Cristo y la formación íntegra produzcan discipulos preparados para el ministerio de Cristo y de su iglesia. A mi pensar, la formación empieza con el cumplimiento de lo más básico que es la asistencia a la Misa del Domingo. La eucaristía es la fuente y la cumbre de la vida y actividades de la iglesia. En otras palabras, sin la misa, no puede adelantarse en el camino hacia Cristo. La iglesia no puede vivir sin el alimento que viene de la eucaristía. La eucaristía es una parte esencial de la iglesia. Ahora, me gustaría compartir con ustedes el mensaje del Papa Francisco sobre las celebraciones de la misa durante de la pandemia. El Papa Francisco dice: “En algunos países se han reanudado las celebraciones litúrgicas con los fieles; en otros se está considerando la posibilidad;…pero, por favor, sigamos adelante con las normas, las prescripciones que nos dan, para salvaguardar la salud de cada uno y del pueblo. En el mes de mayo, es tradicional en muchas parroquias celebrar misas de primera comunión. Claramente, debido a la pandemia, este hermoso momento de fe y celebración ha sido pospuesto. Por lo tanto, deseo enviar un recuerdo afectuoso a los niños y niñas que deberían haber recibido la Eucaristía por primera vez. Queridos amigos, les invito a vivir este tiempo de espera como una oportunidad para prepararos mejor: rezando, leyendo el libro del catecismo para profundizar en el conocimiento de Jesús, creciendo en bondad y servicio a los demás. ¡Les deseo un buen camino!” (Papa Francisco, Regina Coeli,17 de mayo de 2020)

May God bless you always. Que Dios les bendiga siempre. Pagpaláin nawa kayo ng Diyós. Che Dío benedica.

- Rev. Engelberto G. Gammad, JCD
                  Pastor

May 10, 2020 

To my dear parishioners of St. Joseph Church in Mountain View:

During this time of the pandemic, we greet our mothers, grandmothers and soon-to-be mothers with love and prayers on our lips that they may be protected and blessed. Though we cannot truly celebrate Mothers’ Day the way we used to do, we assure all mothers of our love and sentiments of deep appreciation for their sacrifices for without them we would have not been here on earth. As we move forward, we begin to feel our longing for each other. It’s been a while that we have not seen each other at church gatherings. I know that many of you, if not all of you, are looking forward to being together again; but we need to be patient while nothing is sure yet of what lies ahead due to the current situation brought about by this pandemic. Be that as it may, nothing can stop us from putting attention to some details of our relationships as members of Saint Joseph Parish. For this reason, you have been calling one another to find out how each one of us survived the day-to-day challenges that we encounter. Many of you have been very keen on how to continue supporting the Church in spite of the pandemic. And a lot of our parishioners have engaged themselves in some ways of reaching out to those in need and badly affected by our current situation. This goes to show one thing: “in all these things we are more than conquerors through [Jesus Christ] who loved us.” (Romans 8: 37) However, life must go on; we believe that there is more to see than what we are witnessing now. It is because we know that God is with us and Jesus walks with us along the way. May God’s blessing be with you always!

- Father Engel


May 03, 2020

I got this story as told by Father Tony Kadavil in his website of homilies for Good Shepherd Sunday this year. I changed characters in the story to make it attractive to my intended audience at church. Four pastors from different religious denominations became friends and are involved in the social ministry of the church. One was a pastor of the United Methodist Church, the other is a pastor of the Episcopalian Church and another is a pastor of a Baptist Church and one a pastor of a Catholic Church. Taking a short break from a conference that they were attending, they went to a nearby park and sat on a bench, chatting and enjoying the day.  “You know, since all of us are such good friends,” said one, “this might be a good time to discuss personal problems.”  They all agreed.  “Well, I would like to share with you the fact that I drink to excess,” said the United Methodist pastor.  There was a gasp from the other three.  Then the Episcopalian pastor spoke up.  “Since you were so honest, I’d like to say that my big problem is gambling. It’s terrible, I know, but I can’t quit.  I’ve even been tempted to take money from the tithing contribution.”  Another gasp was heard, and the Baptist pastor spoke up.  “I’m really troubled, brothers, because I’m growing fond of a woman in my church — a married woman.” More gasps.  But the Catholic Pastor remained silent.  After a few minutes the others coaxed him to open up.  “The fact is,” he said, “I just don’t know how to tell you about my problem.”  “It’s all right, brother.  Your secret is safe with us,” said the others.  “Well, it’s this way,” he said.  “You see, I’m an incurable gossip monger. I wonder how I would not share these personal problems with my parishioners.” (Thank you to Father Tony).

Pastors are human. They have their limitations, they have their weaknesses. However, they have courageously responded to the call to discipleship. Why are they called pastors? Because they follow Jesus, the “Pastor Bonus” (translated into Good Shepherd in English). “Ego sum pastor bonus” (I am the Good Shepherd) says Jesus as we find in John 10: 11.

This Sunday’s Gospel from John 10:1-10 speaks of Jesus as the Good shepherd. He is the door through which we enter to gain eternal life. He clearly tells us: “I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved.” (John 10: 9) As a Good Shepherd, he guides his sheep to pass through this door which is himself, to guarantee them life to the full. He says: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10: 10)

As a shepherd he forms them: he teaches them to follow the path that leads to righteousness. In the gospels of Matthew and Luke, he proclaims to his disciples the way of the Beatitudes: poor in spirit, the meek, those who work for justice and peace, the merciful and pure of heart, those persecuted for righteousness and those persecuted for the sake of the kingdom of God.

As a shepherd he feeds them: meaning, he has the heart to empathize with those who are hungry and are burdened with life. He fed people who were hungry as you find in John 6, Matthew 14, Mark 6, and Luke 9.

As a shepherd he cured them: In Matthew 9, we see him curing the paralyzed man, raised to life the daughter of Jairus, he made the blind men see, and cured the woman with hemorrhage.

As a shepherd he forgave them of their sins: in John 8, he forgave the adulterous woman and tells her: “I do not condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” (Jn. 8: 11)

As a shepherd he also reprimanded them: In Matthew 23, he has strong words for his critics. He does not mince words to express his displeasure towards the religious leaders at the time. He says: “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites…” The he uses strong language like: “You blind fools!”; “You serpents, you brood of vipers!” Jesus is not fond of political correctness. What you see is what you get, so to say. He reprimands for conversion and authentic righteousness.

His very apostles were not exempted from his angry words. He said to Peter: “Get behind me Satan!” (Matthew 16:23); he tells the two disciples who were walking toward Emmaus: “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe.” (Luke 24:25)

The bottom line is: Jesus is the Good Shepherd who knows how to take care of his sheep. However he delegates this task to all of us according to the state of life with which we were called. Each of us has a vocation to a certain way of life as designed by God. Be it as ordained minister, a person in the religious life, lay minister, missionary, government official, teacher, doctor, nurse, student, or menial worker.

But our model is Jesus who lays down his life for his sheep. He is one who is willing to sacrifice for love of the sheep; one who is always reading and willing to forgo his personal convenience for the sake of others. He says: There is greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend. (John 15: 13)

Today we remember those priests in many parts of the world who died of Covid-19 as a result of their service to people who were dying of this virus. The same is true of many doctors and nurses who suffered from Covid-19 while doing their job to attend to those afflicted of it. We also remember those first responders to 911 calls, the paramedics, the firemen, the police officers, and of course our government officials who, day and night, continue to guide us to the rights protocols to control the spread of this virus.

I’d like to borrow from Father Tony Kadavil a quotation which he used in one of his homilies: “Today, good shepherds who lay down their lives include husbands and wives who can't do enough for each other to demonstrate their commitment to each other; parents who make countless sacrifices for the good of their children; teachers who spend untold hours instructing the weak students; doctors and nurses who work untiringly to show they care for their patients; employers who share profits with their workers; politicians who unselfishly promote the common good of their voters and parishioners who generously support their parish community.” (Albert Cylwicki in His Word Resounds; quoted by Fr. Botelho). God bless you. Amen.

- Rev. Engelberto Gammad
 Pastor


April 27, 2020

Their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” (Luke 24:16) This passage of the Gospel of Luke refers to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus. In their distress and perhaps confusion and hopelessness, they had to leave Jerusalem to process their experience of frustration over what took place concerning Jesus. No longer could they see him; no longer could they be with him as witnesses of all the miracles that he was going to make; no longer can they share in the fame and the glory of Jesus shown among the people; no longer could they eat and drink with him; so they thought. The events that took place was for them a kind of a bad fate that put an end to everything they hoped for. They felt they were left orphaned; they have nowhere to go; they had no one to go for refuge.  It is all because they failed to understand what Jesus foretold them about himself. They were downcast and perhaps on the verge of self-pity. It seems like saying to themselves: “It’s all about us – disciples; it’s all about what we as disciples can do now; it’s all about our hopes and dreams that are gone – because Jesus is gone – Jesus has left us – Jesus is nowhere; he’s not in his tomb. He’s gone.” So they thought.

Like the disciples of Emmaus, the pandemic has put us people of today in a similar situation. Thousands are dying; isolation and loneliness are slowly affecting young people; world economy is down; stocks plunged to the deepest level; fear of the unknown afflicts the human soul; many feel helpless and hopeless; others start to question the power of the Most High God. Frustration, confusion and anger creep into the deep récesses of the human heart

Like the disciples of Emmaus, our eyes are kept from recognizing Jesus walking with us. In a situation like what we currently have, our eyes are focused on ourselves. We panic; we hoard food from groceries; we become paranoid; we are afraid to face a bleak future and yet we listen to doomsday prophets who portray a world that is devoid of hope. It is because we are swallowed by our emotions, our frustrations and our fears. And the result is - we fail to recognize the One who walks with us on the road to our own Emmaus.

Liked the disciples of Emmaus, Jesus walks with you. He may not be necessarily the priest who calls you on the phone to find out how you are. He may not necessarily be your mother or father or friend who sent you message of love and kindness. But Jesus must have walked with you through the beggar asking you for something to eat; Jesus must have knocked at your door asking for someone to speak with because he or she is your neighbor; Jesus must have walked with you when, out of blue, someone came to give you food, or someone came to help you in your house chores. Jesus walks with you to distract you from your disordered preoccupations. Jesus continues to walk with you to make you see the better side of the world – to make you understand that there is hope – that there is something stored for you after passing through the road of test and suffering. Jesus walks with you because he loves you and cares about you.

Like the disciples of Emmaus, we will all come to this great realization of Jesus walking with us at the breaking of the bread or what we call the Eucharist. Jesus comes to present himself to us under the species of bread and wine which turn into his Body and Blood for our nourishment and strength. He is the Eucharist that gathers us all before this live-stream Mass to remind us through his powerful words saying: “Do not be afraid (Matthew 28:10)… Be assured, I am with you always, to the end of time.” (Matthew 28: 20)

 

Like the disciples of Emmaus, does not your heart burn within you while listening to Jesus at this Mass? Does not your heart burn with ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Eucharist? Does not your heart burn within you when you see people suffering because of Covid-19? Your heart burns within you because Jesus is with you through the Holy Spirit working in you. At the end, your heart burns within you even if you will not totally understand why God continues to love you.

God bless you and protect always. Amen.

                                                                                   - Rev. Engelberto Guzman Gammad, J.C.D.
                                                                                                                Pastor


April 19, 2020

The second Sunday of Easter is declared by the Catholic Church as the Divine Mercy Sunday. God’s love is indeed beyond anybody’s imagination so that even the human mind is not capable enough to grasp the depth of the divine mercy that God has for his sons and daughters. As we utter the prayer, “Lord have mercy”, we bow our heads in humble trust and confidence that God’s forgiveness is accessible to anyone who asks for it. Love is God’s nature and for that reason His mercy is beyond measure. The Sacred Scriptures abound in passages referring to God’s act of love and forgiveness in treating His unworthy children. God’s greatest act of mercy came about when He dwelt among us in the person of His Son, who now becomes God’s image of love and mercy. Christ showed us and continues to reveal to us who are baptized in His name the merciful heart of God when He forgives us in the sacrament of reconciliation; when He feeds us with his Body and Blood; when He anoints us at our dying bed; when He confirms us with the Holy Spirit; when He unites us in the sacrament of matrimony; and when He ordains members of the Christian community to the ranks of the ministerial priesthood. In other words, the mercy of God is made manifest through the life that we live as members of the Body of Christ and anointed by God through the Holy Spirit. This is the mercy that binds us with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and thereby making us instruments of God’s mercy and love for all peoples. 

During the pandemic, many of us may be disheartened that we may seem to have been abandoned by God. Some of us want to question God’s love; many of us seem to start doubting God’s mercy in trying moments like what we are currently experiencing. However, this is the beauty of God’s mercy. It is also mysterious. It is a mercy that can test the core of our faith and fidelity to God. Jesus was no exception to this experience of test. At the garden of Gethsemane he asked the Father to free him, if possible, from the cup of suffering (Matthew 26: 39) and at Calvary he prayed: “Father, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46) Nevertheless, these sentiments of fear and abandonment were all erased as Jesus accepted God’s will and plan. “Not my will, but your will,” he says at the end (Luke 22: 42). And with that, the darkness of human fear and defeat was overcome by the victory of the light of the resurrection as all came to pass as planned by God.

During these times of uncertainty, we are to follow the footsteps of Jesus from Calvary to the tomb of the resurrection. We do not lose faith; we do not lose hope. The beacon of the resurrection serves to guide and strengthen us. As pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Mountain View, I wish to assure all the parishioners my continued prayers for their safety and protection. The Divine Mercy Sunday puts us all together under God’s protective hands and His healing touch. As we all say Alleluia to the God of mercy, we continue to put our faith and trust in Jesus who, by his death and resurrection, has saved us. With one voice, we all say: “Jesus, I trust in you.” Amen.

Rev. Engelberto G. Gammad, J.C.D.
Pastor


April 12, 2020

My brothers and sisters in Christ:

Alleluia! This is one word that characterizes our Easter celebrations. This word alleluia gives character to what we celebrate at Easter. And the mood of Easter revolves around the intensity of saying joyously the word – Alleluia.

Why Alleluia? Why not “Long live Jesus!”? Why not just say – “Victory!”

Alleluia expresses our belief in the resurrected Jesus. This is the mark of our faith in Jesus – that we believe that he resurrected as he promised. His resurrection for is not for him, but for us who believe because he says: “whoever believes in me though he dies will come to life and whoever is alive and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)

Alleluia is for those who not only believe but have hope. The people of hope are the ones who can express the Alleluia with conviction and with joy in the midst of any difficulty that may beset them. Those who believe in Jesus, those who accept him as Lord and Savior, are never discouraged nor feel hopeless inspite of the challenges of the time because they know that Jesus will never abandon them. For them, the word Alleluia, finds its true meaning in their adherence to the demands of Jesus in terms of loving, forgiving, and caring for one another.

The Alleluia when expressed with strong faith in Jesus takes away negativities in our lives. Jesus comes to offer healing to our wounded lives. He offers better alternatives to being too critical towards others; he offers an antidote to legalism and strict and too conservative adherence to customs and traditions; he comes to bring liberty from our bondage to our disordered desire for money, fame, bodily pleasures and power. Jesus therefore comes to erase all these negativities to enable us to walk along the path of happiness where one can truly say with conviction – Alleluia.

Finally, Alleluia is a promise for those who remain in their faith in Jesus. As we have mentioned, Jesus resurrected for you, for me, for all of us. As St. Paul says in Romans 6: 5 – “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” The most wonderful alleluia will be heard when we shall reach the end of our journey where Jesus welcomes us into his eternal abode, where angels and saints welcome us with – Alleluia.

As this ‘Alleluia’ permeates the whole of our Easter celebration giving it character and mood, we will continue with what we have begun; we pursue our dreams with hope; we will continue to entrust ourselves to the loving arms of our Risen Lord saying to him – Alleluia.

                                                                                   - Rev. Engelberto Guzman Gammad, J.C.D.
                                                                                                                Pastor

Mis hermanos y hermanas en Cristo:

Como he comentado, la palabra Aleluya es solo para la gente de fe – fe en Cristo resucitado. Digo esto porque no tiene sentido si la gente grita Aleluya y después expresa su desesperación, como si Dios fuera sordo y mudo que no puede hacer nada por nosotros. ¡Que no sea asi con ustedes!

El Aleluya se expresa bien cuando a pesar de todo, a pesar de todos los retos, dificultades y dolores, ¡la persona con mucha convicción dice – ¡Aleluya!

Así que la celebración de la Pascua nos dirige a un camino lleno de esperanza, fortalecido de fe y alimentado con mucho amor a Dios y al prójimo. Esto es lo que significa el Aleluya.

Sigamos entonces con lo mismo que siempre hemos hecho como una familia, pero con gran confianza en el Señor resucitado. Sigamos buscando conseguir nuestros planes y los sueños de nuestra vida, pero siempre con una gran entrega a la voluntad del Señor porque Él sabe mejor lo que nos beneficia. Y finalmente, el Aleluya nos abre los ojos más alla de la tierra – pues, un día nos reuniremos todos en el reino del cielo para gozar los frutos de la resurrección de Cristo. ¡Aleluya!

 


April 5, 2020

My brothers and sisters in Christ:

We enter into this Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday to culminate in the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening. Centuries ago it was called the ‘Great Week‘. Nowadays we call it ‘Holy Week‘. If we want to benefit from this Holy Week, we must humbly put ourselves into a serious reflection of what took place in Jerusalem as Jesus was confronted by His enemies and later arrested and put to death. As we follow Jesus every step of the way from His triumphant entry into Jerusalem up to His passion on the Cross, we will connect our own present difficulties with the abandonment and betrayal that Christ Himself experienced.

The outbreak of the coronavirus has become an eye-opener for all of us. Some of us may have some questions, some doubts, anxieties, and perhaps a sense of hopelessness. But the Holy Week leads us to understand that in the midst of all the trials, fears, physical sufferings and feelings of abandonment, Christ continues to journey with us to our own calvary. Bear in mind however that Calvary was not the end of Jesus’ story; rather, it became the beginning of yet another journey – His journey to the Resurrection.  With Jesus, we will then move from the darkness of our present journey to the place of the bright light of the resurrection. The Easter Candle that we will light on Easter Vigil represents the risen Christ, as He lights up the darkness of our Church and our lives.

As your unworthy pastor, I trust that as you have accepted your baptism in Christ, you have become a people of hope. I know that you believe that there is something greater than the sufferings we are all undergoing due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. The light of our faith guides us to go through these hard times but with the strong faith and confidence that God will save us at the end. We continue to trust in God; we continue to believe in His power; we continue to rely on His grace.

Please know that you are all remembered in my daily Masses and prayers before the Blessed Sacrament. I long to see the day when we will gather again at St. Joseph Church in Mountain View to celebrate our faith together and to enjoy the peace and love that God has generously bestowed on each of us. Through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, may the blessings of the Almighty God, the Father +, and the Son +,  and the Holy Spirit +  remain with you always.

                                                                               - Rev. Engelberto Guzman Gammad, J.C.D.
                                                                                                           Pastor


5 de abril 2020

Mis hermanos y hermanas en Cristo:

Comenzamos la Semana Santa (conocida también como ‘Semana Mayor’) con el Domingo de Ramos, para culminar con la Vigilia Pascual el sábado por la noche. Si queremos beneficiarnos de esta Semana Santa debemos humildemente reflexionar sobre lo que sucedió en Jerusalén, cuando Jesús fue confrontado por sus enemigos y luego arrestado y ejecutado. A medida que seguimos a Jesús en cada paso del camino, desde su entrada triunfante en Jerusalén hasta su pasión en la cruz, conectaremos nuestras propias dificultades actuales con el abandono y la traición que Cristo mismo experimentó.

El brote del coronavirus se ha convertido en una revelación para todos nosotros. Puede ser que tengamos preguntas, dudas, ansiedades y quizás hasta una sensación de desesperanza. Pero la Semana Santa nos lleva a comprender que en medio de todas las pruebas, temores, sufrimientos físicos y sentimientos de abandono, Cristo continúa viajando con nosotros a nuestro propio calvario. Sin embargo, es importante tener en cuenta que el Calvario no fue el final de la historia de Jesús, más bien se convirtió en el comienzo de otro viaje más: su viaje a la resurrección. Con Jesús, nos moveremos de la oscuridad de nuestro viaje actual al lugar de la luz brillante de la resurrección. El Cirio Pascual que encendemos en la Vigilia Pascual representa al Cristo resucitado, que ilumina la oscuridad de nuestra Iglesia y de nuestras vidas.

Yo, como su humilde pastor, confío en que ustedes, al aceptar su bautismo en Cristo, se han convertido en gente de esperanza. Sé que creen que hay algo más grande que los sufrimientos por los que atravesamos debido al brote del coronavirus;luz de nuestra fe! ¡la confianza en que Dios está con nosotros y que Él nos salvará! Sigamos confiando en Dios, sigamos creyendo en Su poder, sigamos confiando en Su gracia.

Tengan por seguro que todos ustedes son recordados en mis misas y oraciones diarias ante el Santísimo Sacramento. Espero el día en que nos reuniremos nuevamente en la Iglesia de Saint Joseph en Mountain View, para celebrar juntos nuestra fe y disfrutar de la paz y del amor que nuestro Dios bondadoso nos ha otorgado a cada uno de nosotros. A través de la intercesión de nuestra Bendita Madre María, pido que las bendiciones de Dios Todopoderoso, el Padre +, y el Hijo +, y el Espíritu Santo + permanezcan con ustedes siempre.

                                                                                 - Rev. Engelberto Guzman Gammad, J.C.D.
                                                                                                             Párroco


March 25, 2020 - Feast of the Annunciation
Parish of St. Joseph
Mountain View CA


My dear brothers and sisters in the Parish of St. Joseph:

As I have mentioned in my message to you through our parish website, I wish to assure you of my
continued prayers during these challenging times in the history of our Church and the world. Every day I spend an hour before the Blessed Sacrament and celebrate a private Mass offered for all of you
including those who come to worship at St. Joseph Church in Mountain View. I am asking God to spare you from this virus which has afflicted a lot of people around the world. However, we stand firm in our faith that the Lord walks with us during these times and at the end of this drama of life we will be able to enjoy life again in the loving hands of our Father through his Son Jesus. Please continue in your unceasing prayers for everybody’s safety.

I wish to take this opportunity to share with you the directives that I received from Bishop Oscar Cantu in the midst of the outbreak of COVID-19, or better known as Coronavirus. It is my wish to reach out to each of you so that you and I will be guided properly for our well-being.

Regarding Mass and Sacramental Practices
- Public Masses will continue to be suspended until further notice and instruction from the office
of the Bishop of San Jose.
- St. Joseph Church will remain closed during the shelter-in-place period as imposed by the state
of California.
- The Diocese continues to livestream Sunday Masses on the Diocesan Facebook page,
www.facebook.com/DioceseSanJose at 10:00 a.m. in English and 11:00 a.m. in Spanish. Other Masses are broadcast each Sunday at 5:00 a.m. on Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).
- I am working with Marcel Mesaros and Alvin Cura to help me livestream the celebration of the Sacred Triduum which includes Holy Thursday (Mass of the Lord’s Supper), Good Friday (Veneration of the Cross), and Easter Vigil (Easter Proclamation). This will be celebrated privately by me with Father Michael Gazzingan and Father Noel Sanvicente. (Father Thierry Geris will decide if he will be joining us considering his health condition at this time). Please note that the parishioners are dispensed from attending these services. The Holy Thursday Mass will be at 7:00 p.m., Good Friday service at 3:00 p.m. and Easter Vigil at 8:30 p.m. We will instruct you on how to join us in the livestream Masses.
- As pastor, I celebrate the Mass privately every day. This is preceded by a daily Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament. This is offered exclusively for your intention and for those who come to worship at St. Joseph Church.

Regarding Funerals
- As per order from the County Public Health Officer of the County of Santa Clara, in accord with the restrictions of Shelter-In-Place as imposed by the State of California, attendance at funeral is restricted to the immediate family only, not to exceed 10 persons. All persons must maintain a distance of six feet apart.
- The Bishop of San Jose instructed priests to do funeral service at the gravesite. A memorial Mass may be offered to be celebrated at a later time.

Regarding Confessions
- Persons desiring to make a confession must contact us. Call the parish number – 650-967-3831
– and leave a message and we will return your call as soon as we can. Due to the sacramental nature of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, confessions are to be made in person, not on the phone, or FaceTime or live stream. If you call for an appointment, we are willing to set a time and date for your confession. Note, however, that we still maintain the regular schedule for confessions every Saturday at 4:00p.m. to 5:00 p.m. This is done outside the church building (church plaza) and we continue to maintain the distance from each other while waiting for your time for confession.
- If you come for confession, please wear a mask as we are also required to wear mask when we listen to your confession. MASK IS ABSOLUTLEY NECESSARY WHEN YOU APPROACH US FOR
CONFESSION. The Bishop also reminded us that we are not to use the confessional in the church. So be prepared to have the confession in an open air or in an open space of the church compound.

Regarding Anointing of the Sick
- As per directive from the Bishop of San Jose, we make visits to the sick and the dying for emergencies only. Please take note that the hospitals do not allow us into the room of a patient with Coronavirus. To my understanding, it is safer not to get closer to those who have been with the patient with coronavirus as they might have been infected without their knowing it.

Regarding Faith Formation
- Bishop Cantu suspended all Faith Formation classes until further notice. Erika Underwood and Tony Berrios have adopted distance learning education in order to reach out to our faith formation students during the lockdown period.

Regarding Suspension of Parish Activities
- On March 20, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsome issued California Sate Executive Order N-33-20 extending the Shelter-In-Place to all California residents until further notice. There is no way we can gather for parish activities until the situation improves and becomes normal. In the meantime, NO stations of the cross, quiceañeras, or weddings, or prayer group meetings, or any public devotions are permitted.

Finally, I ask each of you to take these instructions with utmost care for your safety and your well-being. Continue to pray and ask God to protect us. Prayer can move mountains and as the angel of the Lord said to Mary at the Annunciation: “With God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37). I miss everyone of you and though I suffer for not being able to be with you during these difficult times, I wish to assure you that you are always in my thoughts and prayers. May the Lord Jesus and His Mother Mary, continue to accompany us as we journey during this Lent to the joyful celebration of Easter.

God bless you all. I love you all very dearly.
- Father Engelberto Gammad, Pastor


March 21, 2020
Parish of St. Joseph
Mountain View CA

Dear Parishioners,

During these difficult times caused by the Coronavirus, that has afflicted many people around the world, I wish to assure you of my continued prayers. Everyday as I do my private Mass and Holy Hour, I have been asking God to protect you from this virus, including all others who come to St. Joseph Church to worship. Through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, may we be freed from this present sorrow and enjoy the peace that God has planted in our hearts through Jesus Christ our Lord.Father Thierry, Father Michael and Father Noel join me in praying for all of you.

Rev. Engelberto Gammad, J.C.D.
Pastor