Holy Rosary and Our Lady of Miracles Retreat

AMAZING RETREAT!!! Thank you so much to Holy Rosary and Our Lady of Miracles parishes for an outstanding retreat! There were so many young people and their sponsors; attentive, participatory, and engaged. I’m excited that these young people are nearing the Sacrament of Confirmation excited and on fire for their faith. Kudos to both parishes for the great work of preparing these sponsors and young men and women to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, thereby rooting them more deeply into Christ and the Church through the grace received in the Sacrament! Woo-hoo! We should all celebrate these believers’ completion of their formal training in faith and completion of the grace begun in baptism. They prepare to join the ranks of the faithful, more fully formed and prepared to defend Jesus Christ and His Church in both word and deed!

Keep them in prayer as they continue their journey toward holiness and the fullness of salvation won for us in Christ Jesus!

By catholicevangelist

Advent Retreat, Sacred Heart Parish, Salinas CA

Thank you to Sacred Heart Parish, in Salinas, for the opportunity to serve their community. I had a great experience yesterday sharing about the meaning of Advent. December 3rd marks the 1st Sunday of Advent, it begins the 4-week journey to Christmas. The Christmas season, then, lasts 12 days! (You remember the song, “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…” Advent begins on the 3rd, is over on the 24th, and Christmas begins on the 25th and isn’t over until Jan.6th, when we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Savior is revealed to the world and is given gifts from the three wise men/kings. Only then should the tree come down, should the final gifts be given, and the decorations removed!

Yesterday was an amazing opportunity to share about the importance of getting our heart right with God, focusing on the real reason for the season, and to not only prepare for our celebration of the Savior’s birth, but to also make our souls a fitting abode to receive the savior at His 2nd Coming!

Jesus told His disciples that He would return as judge! I once saw a bumper sticker that read, “Jesus will return! Look busy!” We often lose focus, stop growing in holiness, get distracted by worldly pleasures and desires, and in various ways, stop loving God and neighbor. Advent is that time when we take a serious look at our life, make necessary changes, get right with God and neighbor, and re-prioritize how we spend our time, talent, and treasure. Speaking of how we spend our time…

As Thanksgiving approaches, remember to give thanks. Give thanks for health, family, good times, and event for the hard times that bring us closer to God and family. Thanksgiving is about the only holiday where only the gift of self is given. No candy, no costumes, no rampant consumerism–just family and friends spending meaningful time together. Sadly, holiday shopping has severely encroached on this most important day of thanks. Too many are leaving the family and heading out to the stores to get the best deals. The real “best deal” is being home with family and friends.

Well, I pray that God blesses you this Thanksgiving! I’m heading out to Hilmar this morning to give a Confirmation parent/sponsor/candidate retreat at Holy Rosary Parish. Keep us in prayer!

Click the link below to download a pdf version of my powerpoint slide. The slideshow contains a brief explanation of Advent and some helpful hints about keeping Christ front and center during these holy-days.

Sacred Heart Advent Talk

Blessings to you and yours,

Stephen

By catholicevangelist

The Eucharist

Thank you Sacred Heart Parish, in Turlock, for the opportunity to share WHY we believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Their young adult group, called Summit, is providing a much needed ministry to young adults 18-30+. I’m excited for them and for their courage to provide adult education and evangelization!

I’m looking forward to more opportunities to share my love for the Church and it’s teachings there. Attached please find my PowerPoint in PDF form. Again, thank you to all who attended and to Sacred Heart for the opportunity to serve.

Blessings,

Stephen

Click Here for PDF of Eucharist PowerPoint

By catholicevangelist

True Discipleship!

Hi Everyone! Just sharing another sermon from a few Sundays ago! Watch the video sermon, True Discipleship! below!

By catholicevangelist

Justice and Generosity

Hi Everyone. At The Bridge last Sunday, I was invited again to preach and you can catch Sunday’s sermon, Justice and Generosity below. In the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Jesus teaches us a lot about God and a lot about our human nature too. He tells us that God is always seeking men and women to enter His kingdom to get to work for Him, that He is a God who gives a personal invitation, and that some enter His kingdom early while still others only come at a much later hour.

Regardless of when the worker enters the Kingdom (vineyard), the reward is the same. There is no distinction made by God. To each the same reward is given! Eternal glory for all who believe. This, of course, does not sit well with some who want earnestly for God to show them some particular favor, but God will have none of it. God gives to each what is their due–and to some he gives MORE than their due! God is just and generous. He never gives us less than we rate, but he always finds a way to be generous with us. We should be just and generous too. We should work hard to give people what is theirs, and try to find creative ways to go beyond what is due and to be generous as well!

Have a blessed week.

By catholicevangelist

The Weight of Sin

Hello Catholic Faithful!

Below you will find my July 9 sermon, The Weight of Sin, given at The Bridge Covenant Church, in Riverbank. Jesus encourages us neither to think we can do it all alone, nor that we can do nothing. Instead he recommends that we “yoke” ourselves to Him, bind ourselves closely to Him, and together with Him to do more than we ever thought imaginable! He tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden light. This is welcome news for those of us who believe that the weight of the world is always upon our shoulders! The truth is that Jesus came to give us rest, peace, and a life free from worry and anxiety–if we would but allow Him to carry our load with us. Are you experiencing that peace? Sadly, too many–believers and unbelievers alike–are collapsing under the weight. Find liberation in Christ Jesus! Life is too short for the bitterness, angst, and emotional poverty that results in putting out hopes in the hands of the world.

Also, a big “thank you” to The Bridge leadership team for this past Sunday off! Our family and Jill’s family had a great time at Sea Cliff Beach, in Aptos (Day 1), and at the Boardwalk (Day 2), in Santa Cruz! We spent our final day deep sea (100ft) fishing (Day 3). Together, myself, Mark, Luke, and Jill’s brother, dad, and friend, pulled in over 60 Rock Cod. Unfortunately, Luke’s stomach didn’t do so well but he said he had a good time anyway (and we caught his share of fish too!). I think we’ve officially added the fishing trip to the Santa Cruz agenda!

Blessings,
Stephen

 

By catholicevangelist

Getting Caught Up!

Hello Brothers and Sisters! Happy 4th of July! I pray that you spend time with family and friends and enjoy both the freedom that has been won for us in Christ Jesus, and also the freedoms that are protected by this great nation. If you can do so, take the time to thank a veteran for safeguarding our freedom.

As the title clearly indicates, I am finally getting caught up on publishing June sermons given at The Bridge Covenant Church, in Riverbank! My internet at home is painfully slow, and it takes days (quite literally) to upload a sermon from my iPad, to my Dropbox, and then to YouTube. By God’s grace, however (and the virtue of patience), two Sunday sermons are now complete and the links are below! The first is “Trinity Sunday,” and the second is “A Child of God.” I hope you enjoy watching them, are edified by them, and are willing to both comment and share your thoughts or how the Spirit inspired and moved you by what you heard.

Blessings,
Stephen Valgos Catholic Evangelist

June 11 Sermon – Trinity Sunday

June 25 Sermon – A Child of God

By catholicevangelist

The Spirit Gives Gifts!

Hello brothers and sisters in Christ!

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The Bridge Covenant Church, in Riverbank. 2201 Morrill Rd, Riverbank, CA 95367

So, for the past number of years I’ve been working with a small Covenant church in Riverbank called, The Bridge. I’ve known many of the members since I was in High School, and am even related to some by marriage. They are only about 30 members strong, but their pastor left to do missionary work in Brazil and they were left in the lurch. They approached me to see if I could offer them a message from time to time–had no problem that I am Catholic, and are even okay with my using the Lectionary to craft my sermons.

 

Over time I began to record the sermons and upload them to Youtube. Three years ago they asked if I might come on full time as their pastor to help them grow their Church. While the decision was difficult, I found great encouragement in St. Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 where he writes, “Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the Jews…to those outside the Law…to the weak…I have become all things to all, to save a least a few. All this I do for the sake of the Gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.” Jill and I, and the boys, still attend Catholic Mass, but each Sunday now I lead a small community of very faithful Christians. And truth be told, I have found great joy in preaching the Gospel to anyone and everyone who might indulge me for a moment. I preach to Catholics, non Catholic Christians, Jews, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhists, and even atheists. I do not believe that God’s desire is that my message be relegated to only a few.

All this to say that I didn’t see any reason why I should not share with all of you, the sermons that I offer to all of them each Sunday–especially since I haven’t been posting since I’ve been busy writing and giving sermons! While the sermons are not particularly Catholic, they are particularly Christian and focus on the Scripture readings of the day. Feel free to visit the YouTube channel HERE for the sermon archives.

What follows (and the way I’ll do it each week) is the post that I’ve uploaded on The Bridge website. I’ll share it each week with all of you.

This past Sunday’s sermon is uploaded! CLICK HERE to view and share!

This past Sunday the Church celebrated Pentecost, the arrival of the promised Advocate, who would empower the Apostles then and in every generation to fulfill Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations! The Spirit not only creates a hope in us for an eternal future with God, but also gives us the gifts for a real transformation now, right here, as we live out our days on earth.

The truth is that each of us is given the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit promised by the prophet Isaiah (11:2-3) of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and a delight in doing God’s will, at baptism when we are filled with the same Holy Spirit that filled the Apostles at Pentecost! (Acts 2:1-21) Those gifts of the Spirit make us “other Christs” to the hungry, thirsty, broken, depressed, and “thrown away” people of our day and age in just the same way that Christ was present to heal the disenfranchised of His day. We, no less than Him, are called to bring the Good News that there is a better way, forgiveness of sins, and salvation for all who call on the name of the Lord!

Everyone of us who make up the body of Christ is given some special grace and gift to build up the body of Christ–that Christ might be more present in every generation through the building up of the Body. (1 COR 12:3-13) The Kingdom of God is indeed growing and expanding and everyone of us is essential to its growth. Use your gifts and make Christ present to someone in need today. Jesus promised that if we come to Him thirsty, if we believe in Him and drink deeply of His Spirit, then “rivers of living water will flow out from within” us. (John 7:37-39). We become the living water and bring refreshment to the souls of all we encounter. Only then, having drank deeply of Christ and become a blessing to others, will we fulfill His commandment to love God and neighbor, and to spread the Good News to all nations.

Have a blessed week and use your gifts!

By catholicevangelist

The Pope on TED

Hi Catholic family! Just saw this and I thought I’d forward it to you. Super cool. Click HERE to see the Pope on TED. 
Blessings,

Stephen Valgos, Catholic Evangelist 

By catholicevangelist

Sacred Heart Lenten Mission

My brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus! Please consider attending my 3-Day Lenten Mission at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, in Turlock. It begins Monday, February 29 and goes through Wednesday March 2. It begins at 7pm in the main Church, and lasts for about an hour. The three nights are as follows:

Night 1: The Season of Lent: Ashes, 40 days, and the Goal
Night 2: The Season of Lent: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving
Night 3: The Season of Lent: A Year of Mercy, Reconciliation, and Healing
I hope you can make it!

Lenten Blessings,

Stephen Valgos

By catholicevangelist