Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Please see below the letters from Janet Guzman and Paul Alcantar. Janet and Paul will be leaving next week to enter in Mission. Their experiences are below. Please keep Janet, Paul and their families in your prayers. God Bless, Fr. Steven
Hello, my name is Janet Guzman. I have been a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Parish since I was about seven years old. In my early years, my parents didn’t go to church very often. In fact, I stumbled upon the church by accident as I was outside playing with some friends. I saw young kids gathering at the church having fun! Out of curiosity, I asked an adult if they were having a celebration of some sort and to my surprise, they were just having CCD classes. From that moment forward my curiosity flourished. I spoke to my parents about wanting to receive sacraments and made them shortly after. Even then, I should have known that the Lord was calling me for something special.
Over the years, I became very involved at the parish and seeked ways to participate in different activities. I have served IC as a pre-first holy communion catechist, a confirmation catechist, as a lector, as a eucharistic minister, and even as a choir member. It always seemed that I spent more time in church than I did at home. I always searched and yearned for something to fill my void but was never able to put my finger on what it was that I was looking for. I’ve always felt the call for mission but the timing has never been right. God kept telling me to be patient; something I was never really good at. I kept trying to make myself happy with things of the world such as relationships, friendships, work, and success but it was only temporary and did not last long enough.
With the help of our Pastor Father Steven Clemence, I was better able to discern what God was calling me to. God started to align everything in my life and it began with Father Steven asking me to become the Director of Youth Ministry. At the time I did not know if it was a good fit for me but through the confidence of Father Steven I was able to take the job and give it my all. I am thankful for this opportunity in which foreshadowed this coming year. I am glad to announce that I will be leaving for mission to be a teacher in Turks and Caicos. This time in mission will strengthen my relationship with God and help me to serve those around me. As I leave for this mission, I ask for your prayers during this year so that I can enter into God’s will and not my own.
Your sister in Christ,
Hello, my name is Paul Alcantar. Immaculate Conception has always been an important part of my life. It has been my parish since I was 3 years old. I always had the desire to participate in the church in any way shape or form, whether it was altar serving, teaching CCD, and especially through music. As many of you may know, I am a musician and music has been my greatest passion since I was a child. It’s the most wonderful talent and gift that the Lord has granted me and what better way to thank him than to play and sing for him at this amazing parish, which is what I’ve done since I was 9 years old; starting with singing in the Spanish Children’s Choir, singing and playing guitar in the Youth Choir, and finally playing drums with the Adult Choir!
Unfortunately, I began to play music for the applause and recognition, principally at school and subsequently at church. I’d also start to put all my securities in other things such as work, relationships, friends and comfort before God, saying “No” to the Lord whenever He called me, completely rejecting the love that He wanted to show me. After losing all my music performances due to COVID, losing my job, my friends going off to college, and all my other idols, I found myself feeling completely alone. I realized that I had put my securities and my heart in the wrong things. I ended up thinking that I was no longer worthy to serve God, and yet, regardless of all these sins and mistakes, the Lord showed immense mercy and love towards me. He gave me new friends within the church, gave me back my old job serving and caring for the elderly, and the opportunity to play again at the parish. Even after all of this, I felt the need to give myself completely to the Lord and to live according to His will. As a result, and after saying “No” to the Lord so many times, I am happy to inform you that I have now said “Yes” to Him. Open to His will, I have accepted to be sent on Itinerancy to Washington DC to continue the mission He has prepared for me. Please keep me in your prayers as I will keep all of you in mine.
Father Steven Clemence