2023 Sacred Heart of Jesus Korean Catholic Parish Pastoral Plan
A Parish of Joy and Gladness in Jesus
“Rejoice and be glad” (Matthew 5:12)
Greetings in Jesus!
I pray that you and your family will be filled with our God the Father's and Jesus the Son's grace and peace.
2023 is the Year of the Rabbit. Rabbits symbolize fertility and prosperity. They are smart animals who can wisely adapt to difficult situations with their agility and sensitivity to their surroundings. Likewise, we have overcome the worst of the pandemic by wisely adapting our lives to its harsh demands without losing hope. Therefore, we are able to gather to worship and give thanks to God.
Since 1978, we have come together from many parts of Connecticut to create this Korean Catholic parish, and have worked hard to accomplish the kingdom of God within our community over those 45 years. Just as the Israelites suffered difficulties and overcame trials until they entered the promised land of Canaan, our parish has suffered difficulties and faced many trials. However, we have had more days filled with joy and hope than days of hardships. Just as a 45-year-old person would have settled into his life and contemplated new challenges, this is a perfect time for this 45-year-old parish to consider new challenges.
Since I arrived at this parish in April 2022, I have attended small group meetings, visited families, restored Wednesday night Mass, initiated Holy hour on the first Friday of every month, and met with various groups. Through these encounters, your hope and desire for this parish was palpable, as I witnessed, heard and felt your enthusiasm that is deeply etched into my heart. It has been a blessing to observe you and to see how your faith has not waivered even through the difficulties and trials. The bishop in the Seoul Archdiocese told me about your resilience when he assigned me to your parish.
Moving forward, I would like to propose a new challenge for this parish: the goal of becoming “A Parish of Joy and Gladness in Jesus” for the year of 2023. An English word that describes gladness and delight is JOY. I want to accomplish three JOYs as I spend the next few years with you. The first letter “J” in the word JOY is for “Jesus first.” The second letter “O” stands for “Others next.” The last letter is “Y” for “Yourself last.” I would like to offer this year's pastoral plan to accomplish the first letter of JOY, “Jesus first”, with joy in Jesus.
Let us recall the time when we were baptized. Do we still have the pure and innocent joy that we had when we were born as a child of God? Are we still fervent when we pray? Do we still retain reverence when we receive the Eucharist? Are we still excited when we come to church to be in God's presence? The very reason why we are gathered here is Jesus. He is the reason for coming to church, receiving the Eucharist and praying. Let us strive to find joy in Jesus as we reflect upon our faith this year. Everything will become new, accomplished and completed if we put Jesus first.
First, let us not neglect Sunday Mass
Mass is the time given to us as God's gift to meet and worship Him. Sunday Mass, especially, is not only a time to fulfill our obligations as Catholics, but a precious time to review and reconcile the past week and to receive the energy and grace to face the coming week. I hope you will receive the seed of joy to go forward through the sacrament of the Eucharist and through prayer and fellowship. I plan to enrich and complement Sunday Mass through special retreats and prayers, catechisms (e.g., the 5-minute catechism), and various faith activities (e.g., Holy Mary's Night).
Second, let us attend the Wednesday night Mass and Holy hour on the first Friday of every month
Attending these will enhance our faith when added to Sunday Mass. I will administer both the body and blood of Christ at the first Wednesday night Mass of each month. I will give individual blessings to those who attend the Wednesday night Mass. Our parish is named “Sacred Heart of Jesus.” The best way to be with Jesus' sacred heart is to pray in front of His body. Let's participate in Holy hour on the first Friday of every month for quiet meditation and prayers.
Third, I propose a parish-wide daily prayer time
I realize that it is not easy to conscientiously pray every day, as we all live very busy lives. Prayers are conversations with God, and through these conversations we give thanks to God and petition our desires. I propose that we pray at 9 o'clock every night, wherever we may be. You can set an alarm on your cell phone to remind yourself wherever you are: at work, at home, driving, or dining. Wherever you are, pray the Lord's Prayer once. I will pray at the same time and send you blessings from where I am. As this year's first priority will be to piece back the parish that was scattered by the pandemic, the primary prayer intention will be for our parish to flourish. You may also add your personal intentions. Additionally, it has been 5 years since we were designated a quasi-parish, and we need to focus on preparing for our next chapter. Your prayers for this will be most appreciated. They will be the foundation and strength of all the volunteers working toward our goal of becoming a full parish.
I recall your joy, smiles and laughter from last year. I pray that the joy of Jesus will continue to shine in your lives. Our lives are meaningful when we have joy, and that joy brings energy and progress. The origin of that joy is our Lord Jesus Christ. Once again, I ask that our parish will welcome the new year striving for joy and gladness in Jesus.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, hear our prayer.
Holy Mary and Saint Joseph who are always present with Jesus, pray for us.
Martyred Saints of Korea who died for the joy of Jesus and are wearing the wreath of victory, pray for us.
2023 The Epiphany of the Lord
Sacred Heart of Jesus Korean Catholic Parish
Principal Pastor, Joseph Sang Sun Lee.