December Reflection

About that Song

Christmas is almost here.  You have seen the decorations.  You have bought some gifts.  You are hoping for some gifts.  And perhaps you have heard that familiar song, O Come O Come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel….and your heart kind of pauses a bit.  I hope it does.  Because this song has imagery that sounds like Christmas:  lonely exile, gloomy clouds of night, sad divisions.  Or does it?

Who associates Christmas with “path to misery and death’s dark shadows”?   God does.  Because he promises to free us all from these troubles through the birth of his Son, Jesus Christ.  And this IS what we celebrate on Christmas Eve – the birth of our Victor, who will one day triumph over the powers of death and sin.

The verses in this song address Christ with seven magnificent Messianic titles, each based on an Old Testament prophecy.  Beginning on December 17th, these titles are found in the Church’s liturgy and are known as the “O” Antiphons.

December 17: O Wisdom or O Sapienta
December 18: O Lord and Ruler or O Adonai
December 19: O Root of Jesse or O Radix Jesse
December 20: O Key of David or O Clavis David
December 21: O Rising Dawn or Morning Star or O Oriens
December 22: O King of the Nations or O Rex Gentium
December 23: O Emmanuel (God-is-With-Us)

If you take the first letter of each of the Messianic titles, from ending to beginning:  Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia — they spell out the Latin words ERO CRAS, which means:  “Tomorrow, I will come.”

Tomorrow Christ will come.
Do you want him in your life?

Keep each other in prayer!

Sr. Janine Trần Ngọc Vân, CMR
Dòng Đức Mẹ Trinh Vương
FB@SrJanine Van

* Check out the lyrics to this beautiful Advent hymn:
* The sisters and I are having a virtual discernment retreat Thurs, Jan 07 – Sat, Jan 09 (7pm – 9pm CST). Join us! To register, email

November Reflection

Purgatory and Praying for Faithful Departed Souls

Hello there!

I want to start out this month’s reflection with a question. Why do people wash their hands? Parents tell their kids to wash their hands before a meal or after playing outside. Hospitals have hand sanitizers everywhereso people can constantly wash their hands. Restaurants have signs that tell you to wash your hands. During this time of the pandemic, it is especially critical that you wash your hands. The practice of handwashing has health benefits. When you wash your hands, you wash away germs and bacteria that may cause illnesses. It not only keeps you healthy but also helps prevent illnesses from spreading.

In the spiritual life, we also need washing because we want to be clean in God’s presence. The Sacrament of Confession is one form of washing that cleans us from spiritual dirt, a.k.a., sins. But the Sacrament of Confession is only available to those who are living. What about those who have died? Is there still a chance for them to be washed? Yes, there is, and it’s called Purgatory. “Purgatory” is from the Latin word “purgare”, which means “to make clean” or “to purify.” Thus, we can call it a spiritual washing. Purgatory is a place (though not physical) where faithful souls can go to be washed clean after they have died if they still have some minor faults or some repayment they need to do for their sins. In other words, they go there to be washed because they still have some small dirt attached to them. The bad news is Purgatory cannot cleanse mortal sins. The good news is Purgatory is temporary. After time in Purgatory, the Holy Souls can go to Heaven to enjoy the eternal blessedness of God.

According to saints whom God allowed to see Purgatory, souls in there do suffer. Yet I think it is a good form of suffering because through the suffering souls are cleansed and can enjoy the presence of God. It is like a saying we have in English, “No pain, no gain.” No pain of being purified, no gain of God’s Heaven.

Can we help them? We certainly can. That is the wonder of the mystery of the Communion of Saints. It is a big phrase, but don’t worry. “Communion of Saints” simply means that the saints in Heaven, the faithful souls in Purgatory, and us here on Earth are connected and can share with one another our spiritual goods. Imagine that you are standing in the checkout line in a grocery store. The person in front of you is paying for their grocery, but unfortunately, they are a few dollars short of the total payment. You step up and help the person by offering those few dollars so that they can make the purchase. We can help the souls in Purgatory in a similar manner. We can offer our prayers and sacrifices to God to implore God’s mercy on them. With God’s mercy, they can exit Purgatory sooner to enjoy the eternal happiness with God. It is a huge act of charity toward them, and it is a spiritual work of mercy: praying for the living and the dead.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  

There are many souls in Purgatory who still need that little bit of help from us to reach Heaven. The Church has designated the month of November for us to do just that. So, let us use the time of this month to pray and sacrifice for these souls, so that they can quickly be in Heaven with God.

Các hoạt động của Dòng trong 3 tháng tới:
1. November 7th, 2020: Priestly Ordination of Br. Anthony Viet Nguyen, CSsR, and Br. Joakim Loc Nguyen, CSsR
2. December 31, 2020: Diaconate Ordination of Brs. Vincent Quan Nguyen, CSsR, John the Baptist Hai Dang Khong, CSsR, Joseph Truong Nguyen, CSsR, Francis Xavier Loi Nguyen, CSsR

Please keep these men in your prayers. 

Bao Tran, CSsR


Trưởng Phêrô Saviô Trần Bảo Sơn – Lễ Phát Tang và Lễ An Táng

Thứ Năm ngày 29 -10-2020: Tại Giáo Xứ Đức Mẹ Lộ Đức – Houston, Texas.

  • 5:00 – 5:55 PM: Ca Đoàn tập hát. Mời các Huynh Trưởng tham gia.

Thứ Sáu ngày 30-10-2020: Tại Giáo Xứ Đức Mẹ Lộ Đức – Houston, Texas.

  • 5:00 -5:55 PM: Ca Đoàn tập hát . Mời các Huynh Trưởng tham gia.
  • 6:30 – 7:00PM: Tham dự Thánh Lễ
  • 7:00 – 7:15PM: Nghi Thức Phát Tang.
  • 7:15 – 7:55PM: Đoc kinh Đọc Kinh Lòng Thương Xót Chúa
  • 7:55 – 8:30PM Phút Phân Ưu: contact Tr . Dần. Giới hạn 3 phút
    • Hội Đồng Mục Vụ Giáo Xứ Lộ Đức.
    • Đại Diện Đoàn Linh Minh Thánh Tâm
    • Đại Diện Ban An Ninh
    • Đại diện Phong Trào TNTT/VN tại Hoa Kỳ – Trung Ương
    • Đại diện Anh Chị Em Cựu HT (Ht4ever TNTT)
    • Đại diện các đoàn thể và hôi đoàn
      (Các đoàn sẽ ghi danh )
    • TNTT/VN tai Hoa Kỳ (Liên Đoàn Biển Đức)
    • Tri Ân của tang quyến – Lời Cám Ơn của đại diện cho Gia Đình : Tr. Phạm Canh Dần. Và Anh Peter sẽ chia sẽ lời cám ơn bằng tiến Anh .
  • 8:30 – 9:00 PM: Giờ thăm viếng .
  • 9:00 – 9:30 PM: Mọi người giúp dọn dẹp va lau ghế.
  • 9:30 PM Kết thúc. Nhà Thờ sẽ đóng cửa.

Thứ Bảy ngày 31-10-2020:

  • 8:00 AM Ca Đoàn Tập Hát
  • 8:30 AM Ban Kèn Thiên Tâm. Dàn Chào TNTT tại nhà thờ Giáo Xứ Đức Mẹ Lộ Đức.
    • Lời Cám Ơn của đại diện cho Gia Đình : Tr. Phạm Canh Dần. Và Anh Peter sẽ cám ơn bằng tiếng anh.
    • Xin để ý, thánh lễ và các nghi thức phải kết thúc 10:15 đúng giờ vì qúy Cha ở Giáo Xứ phải ra nghĩa trang của giáo xứ.
  • Tại Nghĩa Trang :
  • 11:45 -12:00 : Ai muốn chia sẽ với gia đình ( nếu thời giờ cho phép )
  • 12:00 Nghi thức và cầu nguyện.
    • Nghi Thức chia tay và tiển đưa cúa Thiếu Nhi
  • 12:30 Kết thúc

Chương Trình Ca Đoàn

Vì lòng yêu mến anh HLV Sơn, xin mời các huynh trưởng tham gia ca đoàn để hát trong thánh lễ tang của HLV Sơn. Xin đến tham gia giờ tập hát để chuẩn bị . Xin liên lạc với Tr. Huyền nếu qúy trưởng có thể giúp hát. Đia Điễm là tại phòng cry room của giáo xứ Đức Mẹ Lộ Đức.

  • Thứ Năm 10/29/2020 : 5:00pm – 5:55pm.
  • Thứ Sáu 10/30/2020 : 5:00 – 5:55pm
    • 6:30 PM Thánh Lễ
  • Thứ Bảy 10/31/2020 : 8:00 AM -8:30 AM
    • 9:00 AM Thánh Lễ
  • Ca Trưởng : Tr. Huyền Linh 832-798-4737

Ẩm Thực

Qúy Trưởng nào muốn giúp về phần ẩm thực để chuẩn bị và phân phát, xin liên lạc vớt Tr. Thiên Ân. Phone 713-553-3717.

August Reflection

Real Presence: Jesus Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely presence in the Eucharist. (Cf CCC 1374)

Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

Dear friends,

I have some old news to share with you: two-third of U.S. Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This data is according to the Pew Research Center, released on August 5, 2019. If you, as a member of the VEYM, pause and ask what Real Presence is, then you need to read on. The belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is so fundamental and unique to our faith that without it, we cannot call ourselves Catholics anymore, just like we cannot call ourselves a basketball fan if we’ve never heard of Steph Curry or the Los Angeles Lakers. So, I would like to take this opportunity to review with you the Catholic doctrine on Real Presence.

Imagine that you must go on a long trip far from home. On the second week of your trip you start to miss your loved ones. You pull out your phone and make a video call with them, you tell them how much you miss them and how you wish they were there with you. At the end of the call you didn’t forget to tell them, “See you soon!”

For our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters, the belief in the Eucharist is like making a video call or looking at a picture of Jesus. The bread is a symbol of Jesus, but it is not really him. Paintings, mosaics, stain glass, or other depictions of Jesus also belong to this category. We Catholics believe in a different thing. We believe that the consecrated bread is really Jesus. When we look at the consecrated bread, we really look at a person. In the Eucharist, we can say to him, “I see you.” This “you” is a real person we see who is physically present in front of us. This is a higher form of presence, just like a physical person is a higher form of presence than a picture of the person.

Isn’t it hard to believe that a piece of bread is a person? Normally I would totally agree that it is even nonsense to call bread a person and treat it as such. The Real Presence, however, is not a normal phenomenon because it is motivated by love, and love makes people do crazy things. Jesus loves us so much that he leaves us his body and blood to stay with us in this world. By his own loving power, he changed bread into his flesh and grape wine into his blood. He said, “This is my body. This is my blood.” With these very same words the priest, acting in the person of Jesus, turns bread and grape wine into Jesus’ flesh and blood in Mass. Thus, Catholics believe that when we see the consecrated host and wine, we see the real Jesus. When we receive communion, we receive the person Jesus. Jesus said, “This is,” not “this represents” or “this symbolizes.” So, we believe the bread is him, and the wine is him, not symbolizing him. With this belief, we are called to show our deepest love and respect toward this Most Holy Sacrament. However we would act in front of God, the same is expected of us when we are in front of the Eucharist.

This is our faith, the holy faith that has been preserved and handed on for over two thousand years. Let us embrace it in the spirit of freedom and of love, and in turn hand it on to our brothers and sisters who have not yet believed in it.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, a heart so pure and pleasing to God, pray for us.

Bao Tran, CSsR

May Reflection

            Do you like the month of May? Why? I like it very much because I am from Houston and the weather is gorgeous preparing for the summer heat. Houston is the best city! Just kidding. No, I like the month of May because it’s the month for all mothers. I have great honor for them because they sacrifice so much for all of us to have life. There is just no way we can pay our mother back. It is also a month of Mary, our Mother. We cannot love her enough either. Every time I am down or making a transition in life, she is always there. I am going through a rough transitioning right now too and she is comforting me. 

            In the Old Testament there is a book called the Book of Esther. This book tells the story of Queen Esther and her help of rescuing her people from destruction. The story goes that Esther, who is a Jew, is married to Ahasuerus, a Persian king. This king does not take making decisions very seriously, and often makes decision for trivial reasons. His minister, Haman, does not have a good relationship with the Jewish people and is looking for ways to destroy them. At last, Haman tricks King Ahasuerus into believing that the Jews are a different people, and that they do not obey the king. As a result, King Ahasuerus gives power to Haman to destroy all the Jews who live in that land. Sensing the danger facing the Jews, Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, comes to Esther to ask her to use her power and influence as queen to change the king’s mind, so that the Jews will not be destroyed. That is exactly what Esther does. After some days praying to God, Esther goes to King Ahasuerus, and using her influence, she successfully convinces the king to retract his decision, and so she is able to save the Jewish people from destruction. Not only that, she is able to have Haman punished for his crime against the Jews.

            When reading this Bible book, many people see an image of Mother Mary in Queen Esther. How so? Think about it. We have a parallel in the characters. The king represents God (but God is so much better than the king). Queen Esther represents Mother Mary. We are Mary’s people. And Haman stands for our enemy, the Devil. The Devil always has a problem with us because he does not like us. He tries to corrupt us and destroy us by tempting us to sin. (Stop for a second and think about how many times you were tempted to sin in the past few days.) In our temptations, we may feel weak, unworthy, or scared to come to God for help. Who, then, can we come for help? Mother Mary, of course! Many saints say that is the main reason why God makes Mary our Mother and Queen. As a Mother, she always loves us and cares for our wellbeing, and as a Queen, she has the power and influence to pray to God for us. What mother does not love her children, and what queen does not care for her people, right? A good mother always cares for her children and put their needs before her own. That is exactly how Mother Mary treats us. Up in Heaven, she constantly looks down on us to see if we need anything. Once she sees that we need something, she immediately prays to God for us and obtains it for us. It is in her nature to love us and to see that we are living our lives well. So never be afraid of Mary. Never avoid her. Come to her and talk to her. She is available to you at any time. 

            And as we often dedicate some days to honor someone, such as Memorial Day and Presidents’ Day, our Church dedicates the entire month of May to honor our Mother Mary. In Vietnamese, we also call the month of May Tháng Hoa, meaning the Month of Flowers. This name points to the many flowers we place in front of Mary to honor her, to the point that her altar may look like a garden of flowers. As we give her many flowers, let us keep in mind that Mother Mary is the most beautiful flower in the garden of God because of her perfect virtues. Let us follow her footstep in living virtuous lives so that with Mary, we can please God with the fragrant of our virtues in the garden of Heaven.

            Meanwhile, let us also honor Mother Mary with her most favorite flower, the Rosary.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. (You finish the rest.)

-Fr. Steven Tran