Our Dear St. Philip Neri Parishioners,  

Greetings from Fr. Mike and Fr. Bill,

What’s in a name?  A title?

In various cultures and social traditions, to know one’s name was also to know – Who are they? What is their background? What do they do? A person’s name would also contain significant parts of “their story”, especially their role in the community.

Abram”, when translated, means “the father is lifted up, the father is exalted”. God called Abram to give him a special task – “I want you to be ‘the father of a great nation’, hence the name “Abraham”. It may seem like a simple task, but Abram was 90 years old and his wife, Sarai, was 80 years old. Besides, she was also known to be barren – she was not able to bear children. How does a name-change fulfil a task – which also appears to be impossible? In truth, the task was possible because Abraham trusted that God could make it possible … giving them a son (Issac), even in their old age. The point – God can fulfil – even in my/our life what seems to be humanly impossible.

According to the Torah, the name “Moses”, comes from the Hebrew verb “to pull out, to draw out”. His name is contained in his story:  Pharaoh was intent on killing the Hebrew baby boys. To save her child, a Hebrew mother put him in a basket, floating him to safety in the river Nile (the “River of Life”). By “coincidence, Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing in the river when she discovered the child. “Drawing him out” of the water, she took him as her own, naming him “Moses”. This is the same Moses, who later in his life was called by God “to draw out” the Hebrew people from slavery, imposed by the same Pharaoh who was intent on killing him (as a baby). The mystery of God seems to be reflected in the people and incidences of life – to unfold his plan to save his people.

“Jesus”, the name given to Mary and Joseph’s child at his circumcision, means “the Lord is salvation”. In his name is his calling … and Mary pondered all these things in her heart.

At our Baptism, the first question asked is “What NAME have you given this child?” Could this question mean more than “just a name”? Or could it also be “God’s way” to unfold his plan “to save his people”? Our baptism immerses/plunges us into God’s grace and will. As we pray, “Our Father … your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”.

What is God calling you/me to be/to do so as to fulfil His will here on earth, in my life’s circumstances? May the graces of our Baptism prompt and invite each of us to discover God’s plan in my/our life. Many of us, it seems, have already put “God’s plan” in action – as a married couple, as parents, as a priest or religious. Is there more? If/when we truly believe that we are the BELOVED of God, and trust – as did Abraham and Sarah – then the “impossible” can become possible. In our call to “Love one another as I have loved you”, God will unfold his plan that we live in peace and freedom, forgiveness and healing. No one is left out … everyone is welcome at God’s table (the Eucharist). As we “abide in Christ”, so too we “abide in one another”, as children of God, as brothers and sisters in faith.

Then, as God called Abraham and Moses to do “the impossible”, so too in and through the grace of God, my name can also reflect the goodness and presence of God to others. As Mary said “YES” to “the impossible”, today, all humanity can enjoy the fullness of God’s love and blessing. Then there is enough LIGHT for us to see the face of Christ in the eyes of all whom we encounter. Then our Baptism is not just a ritual, but a calling to be part of the mission of Jesus – to taste, to glimpse eternal life, in the here and now.

May we draw inspiration from St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta when she said:

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.

Peace … Fr Mike & Fr. Bill

Praise be Jesus Christ … and Mary Immaculate

St. Philp Neri … pray for us

St. Eugene de Mazenod … pray for us

St. Kateri Tekakwitha … pray for us

Something from the Parish: 

Tuesday, January 10 will be the first meeting of the RCIA journey in St. Philip Neri Parish. We are privileged to journey with two young people. Please keep us in your prayers.

NOTE: If there is anyone who wishes to enrich and deepen your faith life, you are also welcome to join us. We meet in the Welcome Area of the Parish.

Monday, January 23 – St. Philip Neri Parish will host the Alpha experience for young adults. We begin with supper, complements of Fr. Bill … then watch the video … then talk about life! Please contact Fr. Mike at (306) 850-9075 for more information.


Sincerely … Fr. Mike Dechant OMI