Dear Friends in Christ:
A priest friend dropped by to visit the other day and was astonished at all of the activities going on at the parish on a weekday evening. Now my friend is pastor of a large and vibrant parish, but he was still amazed with all of our activities. Sometimes, because we are so close to everything and used to everything, we can forget how blessed we are with so many activities and offerings. Our many programs and ministries are indeed a blessing, but they do not just happen by themselves. Every activity takes the commitment, involvement and dedication of many people, parishioners and staff members. Nothing that takes place at our parish can happen without God’s grace and people responding to that grace.
Believe it or not, there is a method to the madness of our activities and programs. All of our activities, programs and ministries are structured around the example of the early apostolic church described in the New Testament. “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.” (Acts 2:42) These are the four pillars on which all of our parish activities are based: Teaching (catechesis for youth and adults), Community Life (parish life, social service ministries), Eucharist (liturgy) and the Spiritual Life (pastoral care). Take a look at this bulletin or our website and see for yourself. Yet, as wonderful as these ministries and activities are, it still takes many people who are willing to be involved and engaged. In our parish of more than 15,000 registered parishioners, we have more than 3000 parishioners who serve in one form or the other in our parish ministries. Of course, some of our parishioners are elderly and homebound and can no longer get around and then we have the little ones and youngsters. That still leaves us with a lot of people able to serve in ministry.
What about you? Where is the Lord calling you to serve in our parish?
All of our ministries are eager to welcome others who desire to respond to God’s call. The opportunities to use your gifts and experience the joy of serving others are plentiful. Not every ministry is for everyone. God gives each of us certain gifts and talents. As St. Theresa of Calcutta teaches us ‘what one person can do another can’t but together everyone can do something beautiful for God!’ St. Therese of Lisieux teaches us that the Lord does not look at the greatness of our actions or even their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them. Our parish needs your love. One of the areas where we are especially in need of parishioners willing to serve is in the greatest act of all, our worship. We have need of more parishioners willing to serve as ushers, greeters, choir members and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. We are also in need of more parishioners willing to serve the sick, the youth and the poor. We are also in need of people willing to spend time in prayer (Eucharistic Adoration and Morning and Evening Prayer).
As you reflect on our parish ministries as structured around the four pillars of Teaching (formation), Communal Life, The Eucharist and Prayer, ask the Lord where He is calling you to serve. Look at the many gifts that God has given you and ask the Lord to help you share them in the service of others here in our parish. While many of us might say that we don’t have the time or the ability, the reality is that we can never out do God in generosity and the Lord never asks without giving us first His grace. If the Lord Jesus could multiple five loaves and two fish to feed thousands, think of what he can do with a couple of hours a week of our small effort!
In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately