A Vision for Tomorrow

Dear Friends in Christ,

At the most recent meeting of our Pastoral Council, I asked the members to begin visioning what they would like to see our parish to be in the coming years. It is important for not only the council members but also for all of us to have a vision. Ultimately, the most important vision is not the one that any of us may come up with. The most important vision is for us to discern what God is calling our parish to be. The process of visioning helps us to begin to consider where the Lord is calling our parish to be in the years and decades ahead. The Book of Proverbs teaches us that people without a vision will perish. We certainly do not want to perish, nor do we want to grow stale or become stagnant. The Lord has given us a mission and as His people we must continually seek to be faithful to what the Lord is calling us to do. Trusting in God, we know that He will give us every gift that we will ever need to follow Him.

There is always tension in the Church between Mission and Maintenance. Both are necessary, but we must always remember that Mission is primary. Jesus gave us a mission not merely a maintenance plan! Maintenance however, cannot and should not be ignored. Attention to the practical, every day and worldly maintenance issues – buildings, finances, programs, personnel, communications, technology, etc. are all necessary in serving the mission. They are not however, ends in themselves. As we look to further clarify and refine our mission, as we seek to articulate how we are called to live and spread the gospel in this part of west Houston, that in turn will help us determine and prioritize those worldly maintenance issues that we will need to address. A key component that must be considered is timing. None of us know the future in detail but we must plan for the future as best we can. As pastor, I am most grateful to the parishioners, staff and priests who have come before us. They had a vision for St. John Vianney Parish, and they worked to make that vision a reality. We, all of us, are the blessed recipients of that vision that has come about due to God’s many graces and sacrifice, love, and hard work. It is now our time to dream for the future and for those who will come after us.

I find it amazing that the land that our parish sits on was purchased by the Diocese of Galveston in the 1950’s long before there was a Katy Freeway or any homes, subdivisions or businesses in this area. Bishop Nold and his advisors were planning for the future. They saw that one day this area would be filled with people. When Fr. Bill Tinney and the first parish families started building the campus, they were not doing it for the needs of those 300 families of the mid 1960’s. They were anticipating and envisioning that one-day, new families would be here offering praise to God and living the community of our Catholic Faith. In the 1980’s when Fr. Joe and the Pastoral Council started the Youth Ministry and Social Services Ministries, it wasn’t just for the parishioners of that time. They saw generations of kids growing in the faith and parishioners loving and serving their neighbors in need. Fr. Morfin and the parish leadership saw the need for a large and beautiful church to be “A place for the heart” and indeed it is. Think about the many wonderful traditions that we have in our parish that enrich us and reflect who we are: Gift Giving Sunday, SJV Day, Party on the Lot, the parish Bazaar, the Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Joseph’s Coat, Lenten Dinners, the Samaritan Ministry, St. Anne’s, St. Monica’s, Music Ministry, Young Children’s Program, Mission Trips, Perpetual Adoration, etc. At this time, we too are being called to ponder and reflect as to where God is leading us to serve and to grow in the future. This is not anything that can or should be done in a day. It takes time.

Where do you think God is calling us? What do you see in our future? What would you like to see? Think about it. Pray about it. Dream. Our future is filled with hope!

In pace Christi,

Fr. Troy