Welcome to the Church of the Nativity family. Since its dedication on October 21, 1989, our community has faithfully committed to our mission: We are a praying, learning and caring community fulfilling the mission God gives us in baptism by our worship in faith, by our witness in hope, and by our service in love. We invite you to journey with our community in Christ, thus will be said, “Day by Day the Lord added to their number” (Acts 2:47). Our Nativity School is led by faith-filled, loving professional staff who provide not only excellence in academics for our children so that they may excel in life, but help cultivate and form our children to come to know, love and serve God through the gifts God has blessed each of them. We are a Dynamic Parish and look forward to walking with you and your family to pray, worship, and give thanks to God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. In joy and in sorrow, we will live out together the witness of faith, hope and charity. At the Church of the Nativity, there will always be room “in the inn” (Luke 2,7).
Father's Message for November 1st, All Saints
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this weekend we honor all the men and women throughout history who faithfully bore witness to the world and the love of God by the act of faith. It is a faith we are all capable of living, but few often choose to follow! The saints have left us the examples of their lives so we can come to a deeper understanding of what it means to live as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. We gather this weekend to ask them to pray for us and to intercede with God on our behalf in order that may we grow in holiness and be steadfast in faith. Each saint is a sign of hope and inspiration for all of us. It does not matter if we are rich or poor, educated or not, celebrating joyful times in our lives or undergoing trials and sufferings, we are all called to be saints.
How does the Church choose or declare a person is a saint? There is a process called Canonization which has only been used since the tenth Century. However, by the year 100 A.D., Christians were already honoring other Christians who had died, and asking for their help through prayers (intercession). Many people think that honoring saints was something set up later by the Church, but it had been part of Christianity from the very beginning. As a matter of fact, this practice came from a longstanding tradition like the Jewish faith in honoring prophets and holy people with shrines. The first saints were martyrs, people who had given up their lives for the Faith in the persecution of Christians. To avoid their stories being distorted and becoming legends, eventually the bishops took over the process and finally, the Vatican became the authority for approving saints. Saint Pope John Paul II in 1983 made changes in the canonization procedure, which begins after the death of a Catholic whom people regard as holy. Normally, the process starts many years after his or her death to allow perspective on the candidate. The local bishop (ordinary) investigates the candidate's life and writings for heroic virtue (or martyrdom) and orthodoxy of doctrine. Once this has passed the litmus test, a panel of theologians at the Vatican convenes to evaluate the candidate. Once approved, the cardinals of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints forward a request to the pope to proclaim the candidate as "venerable." After this, the next step is beatification, which requires evidence of one miracle, except in the case of martyrs. Miracles are considered proof that the person is already in heaven and can intercede for us, and beatification must take place after the candidate's death as a direct result of a specific petition. Then the pope proclaims the candidate beatified or "blessed," and after a total of two miracles, he canonizes the candidate as a saint. As a saint, the person has lived a holy life is now in heaven and is to be honored by the Universal Church. The Canonization of the Church does not make saints, its only purpose is to recognize what God has already done in them. This process is infallible and irrevocable; however, it is not a fast process. This does not mean that if the Church has not yet canonized a person a saint, he or she is not a saint! We are all called to be saints, and the process of sainthood starts here on this earthly pilgrimage. You may have heard that there is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future. We cannot change the past nor is the future guaranteed. Only God knows when our time ends on this side of heaven. We should work in the present to be faithful disciples of Christ as the salt of the earth and the light of the world because these are gifts, and we have one life to live them.
Fr. Minh Do