Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On this fifth Sunday of Easter, Jesus says to all of us, “I am the vine, you are the
branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without
me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). Without Jesus Christ, we have and do nothing.
To be inserted in Him gives us abundant and fruitful life. Why? Because it’s He
who bears all the fruit in our lives.

Last weekend, I was on a retreat with about 60 parishioners, and we got to see the
amazing things that can happen when we open our hearts to Jesus Christ as our true
vine. We spent one day talking about the Eucharist, entering more deeply into the
feast of the Eucharist, the Passover Banquet. We spent another day explaining the
Sermon on the Mount, seeing it as it truly is, a promise of the new life God wants to
fulfill in us. We talked about the joy of being on a path of conversion, of having a
direction to enter more deeply into the beauty of the Church. It was a beautiful weekend
that for many, marked the beginning of a new journey with Jesus Christ. The Lord
formed a new community of brothers and sisters that together will begin the
Neocatechumenal Way, an itinerary of faith - centered on the Word, the Liturgy, and
Community - to rediscover the powerful grace of our Baptism.

This new community is truly a reflection of the universality of the Church and a sign
of the power of the Good News. There are brothers and sisters from all ages; men
and women; families; single people; representing more than 15 different countries:
El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Ethiopia, Honduras, Nigeria, Costa Rica
just to name a few. All of them brought together by the announcement of the Good
News. The Good News breaks barriers, gives us unity, form the body of Christ.
People can truly belong just as we are, with all our needs, our sufferings, our
challenges. The Word of God enters into our reality and touches us through the
Kerygma, the Announcement of the Good News, and begins to gestate in us a new
creation, a child of God, the image of Jesus Christ in us. The community is meant to be
a sense of light to others, salt of the earth, as Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount.
This is why we need the New Evangelization, to bring the Good News to our world.

Our archdiocese is beginning a new initiative this year, “More than you realize,” to
help us grow as missionary disciples. We at Queen of Peace are blessed to have something here that is working. We saw the miracles concretely last weekend - people who had been depressed for many years, now had joy. People who had not stepped in a church in decades are back. Marriages that were in crisis recovered the hope for healing in their relationship. A lot of youth decided they want to be part of the Church, not because their parents dragged them, but because they want to. And this is just one example. We have many other ways of making
disciples at Queen of Peace too. It’s not possible to name them all.

The Lord is bringing us to a real conversion which leads to a true following of Christ.
Our encounter with his love for us in our sins and death set us free from all worldly
attachments and gives us to love as He has loved us first. The most important thing is
the encounter with the love of Christ as we are, without having to change to be loved.
The encounter with Christ dying for the sins of the other.

In Christ,

Father Felix P. Medina Algaba