What is heaven like? How many times we have asked that question, as children and adults. As children, we are just curious, but then as adults, we get more serious about this, especially when someone we love dies. What happens in heaven? What will we look like? Will the others we knew on earth be there? This is the concern of the Sadducees in today’s Gospel. But Jesus does not answer this mystery. He says that life in heaven is different from life on earth. So maybe our question should be: Can we live with this mystery? Can we trust God enough? If children ask about heaven, it’s OK to say you don’t know, but it must be good because God wants us to be there. Then if they ask if their pets go to heaven when they die, you can quote Pope Paul VI, who said they do!
I am hoping that many parishioners will be able to come to our “Evening with the Friars” this coming Friday, November 15th. This is a fundraiser for our parish and its many needs and also to help support a friar student at the Franciscan School of Theology. This past October, our parish financial report was presented at all the Sunday Masses. The report mentioned that it takes $197,000 per month for liturgy, religious education, maintenance, utilities, staff salaries, etc. A major concern of mine is the upkeep of our old buildings. We have practically depleted our Parish Maintenance Budget because of many large necessary projects. Over the last year and a half, we have spent $230,000 for new roofs, fumigation, fire alarms, and other smaller projects. As I write this letter, we are awaiting a decision from the City of Oceanside Building Department requiring a fire sprinkler system for Scholarship Prep and the whole Parish Center—hallways, offices, and classrooms! This could cost well over $100,000! So, you see, when we have a parish fundraiser like this one coming up, it is really necessary!
For some, the ticket price of $75 may be out of your budget. I realize that. But perhaps you might be able to participate in an Opportunity Drawing, which will offer some great prizes including a beautiful statue of Christ by Lladro, the famous Spanish sculptor, or a $500 Southwest Airlines gift card! Twenty Tickets for $20! There are also other wonderful activities offered during the year which are free or by donation such as the Epiphany Party, the St. Joseph’s Table on March 19th or amazing productions such as “St. Faustina” which we had this last Spring at which some 400 people attended! Other parish activities are also being planned for the New Year.
In the meantime, if you can, please buy your tickets for this scrumptious dinner and entertainment as we hear the vocational story of several of our Franciscan Friars! As always, thank you for your generosity!
Finally, I invite you to yet another parish community activity this morning: The Military Appreciation Breakfast in honor of Veterans and active-duty military and their families. Everyone is invited to St. Francis Hall for breakfast, and you may simply give a donation to help cover the cost of the breakfast. I hope to see you there as we show our appreciation for these giving men and women of the military!
Love, Fr. Vince Mesi, OFM