Dear friends in Christ:
For all the talk in recent decades about “imperial presidencies”, we as Americans do not really appreciate what it means to live under an absolute ruler. Democratic principles are deeply ingrained in our national DNA. In speaking of types of governance, Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the other forms of government.” Indeed, democracy takes work, is messy and is not perfect, but it is the best that human beings have been able to achieve. We have the tendency to take some of our experiences of democracy (and other forms of human governance) and attempt to apply them to our faith. Sadly for us, this never works. God does not put morality or truth up to a vote. A compromised resolution concerning right and wrong or sanctity does not get us what we need, nor is it faithful to what God has planned for us. This has been true since Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to this very day.
Attempting to negotiate a deal with God is fruitless because we are not equals with God. The Lord doesn’t work that way. Our inherent dignity and all of our power are the result of God’s free gift to us of life, being and freedom. Democracy is wonderful in dealing with other human beings and forming an earthly society. When it comes to our relationship with God, fidelity and love are key and essential; not popularity or majority rule.In our freedom, we humbly submit ourselves to God and His divine will and plan for us. We faithfully follow His commands for us and seek to be faithful to His will and not our own. We strive to conform and transform our wills to His in all things.
To proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior is to recognize the Kingship of Christ over the whole universe. Jesus lays claim to our allegiance and loyalty not in a few chosen aspects of our lives, but our entire life. Jesus is not a partial or part time redeemer. He is King and Lord of our whole life! Our first allegiance is always to Him who has redeemed us and saved us from the power of sin and eternal death and damnation. All Hail Christ our King and our God!
We are moving quickly ahead in the final phases of our renovations. The schedules seem to change hourly. Here is where we currently stand. The majority of the interior (church, chapel and adoration chapel) is anticipated to be completed by December 16 with the exterior (plaza, bell tower, arcade, and parking) and the narthex by February 10. The Mass of Dedication with Cardinal DiNardo is set for Saturday, March 25 at 10:00 a.m. The new organ will be installed and completed by Easter. There are lots of moving pieces and we are so grateful to all of the workers and to all of the benefactors. Your continued patience and of course your prayers are still needed and appreciated.
Lest anyone forget, with the downturn in the energy industry, this is a precarious time for many in our area including many of our parishioners. While the brunt of the layoffs have been in those professions directly connected to the energy industry, it is also being felt in other fields. These layoffs and the anxiety of those who still have their jobs affect not only the worker but also the entire family. The stress is felt by spouses, children and extended family. When facing such issues, our faith in God is vitally important. We must not fail to take these things to the Lord in prayer. We must trust and not lose hope. We need to remember that the Lord is with us. It is also important to face these challenges in a realistic, prudent and healthy manner. Some common sense suggestions: Be Realistic. We should not try to deny them or take out our fears and stresses on ourselves and those around us. Seeking help and support is not a sign of weakness. Pray. Prayer to the Lord but also to St. Joseph, patron of workers and families and Our Blessed Mother (especially under the title of Mother of Perpetual Help). Take care of yourself. Keep busy, network, volunteer and avoid behavior that can be negative – Alcohol, Griping, Gossiping, being lazy. Also if your job is fine and you are in the position to hire someone, especially someone from the parish who is qualified, hire them. Ask around at church. All of us probably know someone who can be a great asset to your company. The dignity of work is a tremendous gift.
In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately