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 Deacon Stephen Valgos

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,


By Deacon Stephen Valgos