Dear Friends in Christ:
Over the last several months I have been working with our Pastoral Council and our staff to develop some long term plans for our parish. As a parish we are now 52 years old and it is only prudent that we look to the future and begin assessing our current and future needs so to make plans to meet our parish’s needs in the years to come. This type of forecasting and planning is essential. As the old saying goes, ‘those who fail to plan, plan to fail!’ The many good things that we enjoy as a parish today are due to the wise and prudent planning of our parish leadership and clergy for the last 52 years. This is a gift that we have received and it is now our chance to give to those who follow us.
As a process we will examine our nature as a parish community. We will look at our past, our present, and then we will begin visioning our future. We will assess our current situation, identify our current and future needs and then prioritize them. We will then begin to examine and explore what we will need in order to make our vision a reality. This is not a quick or one time exercise and there are many factors that we have to take into consideration. Some factors are tangible (buildings, money, people), and others are intangible (attitudes, practices, lifestyles). Some factors are constant and never change while others change slowly and still others change rapidly. All of these must be considered in their proper context. As any of our original parishioners can attest, there are many attributes of our parish today that are the same as when the parish was founded in 1966 and then there many aspects of our parish today that were totally inconceivable a half century ago or 25 years ago or even ten years ago!
What is constant is God’s love for us and our love for God. The challenge is how we experience and express that love in a changing world and society. Every age has its challenges. There has not been one day for any of us as individuals or as families or as a parish community that we have not had challenges. The objective is how we meet them and how do we keep our goal always before us and not lose our way. Again, another useful saying is “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there and you may not like where you end up!” As Catholics our goal is always heaven! That is not just our goal, it is God’s goal for us. Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life and he has given us a mission to proclaim his gospel to all the earth. That was the mission in 1966 when SJV parish was established, it is our mission today, and it will be our mission tomorrow. Our job is to determine what it is going to take to help us, and those who are going to follow us, fulfill that mission.
I would ask you to give this some consideration. How are you fulfilling this in your life? How are you helping and contributing to our parish in fulfilling this vocation of mission? This is not just my responsibility as pastor nor is it the exclusive responsibility of our parish leadership and staff. This is OUR responsibility, yours and mine. It belongs to each and every parishioner of SJV. This responsibility is ours by virtue of our baptism and as such is actually a gift. It is a gift that we receive and a gift that we get to live for ourselves and for others. How are you going to pass on the faith for future generations of SJV parishioners?
In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately