Dear Friends in Christ:
Of the many nice things that people say about our parish, two of the most common remarks are how beautiful the liturgies are and how friendly the people are. That is especially pleasing in that it exemplifies our core values as a parish, the love of God and the love of our neighbor. It is also pleasing when one considers that it takes a lot of effort and coordination to offer so many liturgies to the glory of God for so many people. Every weekend, more than 10,000 people attend Holy Mass here at SJV! Yes, we are a big parish, but we are not the biggest. Surprising to many, we are only the 15th largest parish in terms of registered households in the archdiocese. If we had more priests, we could open up more parishes, so please pray daily for many more priestly vocations! To serve so many people is no small job. It takes an army of ministers! Every week we are blessed with people serving as ushers, sacristans, greeters, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, choristers, musicians, cantors, altar servers, lectors, acolytes, deacons, Children’s Liturgy of the Word leaders, Ministers to the Sick and Homebound, Altar Guild and more. We are greatly blessed to have so many wonderful adults and youth willing to serve. Many of our liturgical ministers have been serving for years, even decades! However, over the last several months, we have encountered a decline in the number of people that we need to serve in our liturgical ministries and to fill all of the liturgical tasks. Many of those who have served us in these ministries were affected by the floods and some have had to move away. Others have simply gotten to the point in their lives where they can no longer get around like they used to. Still others who have so generously served in these ministries have had to move away from the parish because of job relocations. So we are at the point of needing more generous, dedicated and friendly people to serve in our liturgical ministries. Will you consider being one of them?
Because of our size and the dedication of liturgical ministers, many in the pews believe that we have enough people and that their help is not really needed. Not true! A good number of our ministers at both the English and Spanish masses serve at more than one mass! Others, because we do not have enough people, end up serving in more than one role in the liturgy! And because we do not have enough ministers to cover all of the positions at all of the masses, many of our liturgical ministers end up serving every weekend without a break. It is because we do not have enough Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion that we are unable to offer the Precious Blood at all of the masses. It is because we do not have enough ushers that some serve at two masses every week. It is because we do not have enough choir members that we do not have choirs at all of our masses. It is because we do not have enough lectors that at some masses one lector proclaims both readings.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few!” (Mt 9:37) Will you consider serving?
We have training sessions throughout the year for most of the liturgical ministries and for other ministries, all one has to do is volunteer and you will be individually mentored. None of the ministries are particularly strenuous but they do require a commitment to the ministry, a giving heart and a desire to serve the Lord and His Church. While no one can do everything, everyone can do something. Liturgical ministries are open to adults and youth. I especially invite and welcome our young adults and new parishioners to become part of our liturgical ministries. Serving in the liturgy or in any of the parish ministries is not only a beautiful offering of ourselves to the Lord, but it is the absolute best way to get to know people, feel at home and be part of the wonderful ministries here at the parish. It is also a beautiful way to put our faith into action and to grow in our understanding and knowledge of the faith. Our appreciation and indeed our love for God, our Catholic Faith, our parish and our neighbor grow as we give more of ourselves.
I am always captivated by Jesus’ response to the first apostles when they initially inquired about Him. They had a lot of questions. They wanted to know who He was, where He was from and what He was all about. He responded with a simple invitation to “Come and see!”
Would you like to know more about God? Our Catholic Faith? The liturgy? Our parishioners? Would you like to serve God and your neighbor better? Come and see! Come and be part of serving God and our neighbor through our liturgical ministries.
Jesus calls us to be disciples, not fans or spectators. Being a disciple of Jesus requires something of us. Discipleship requires that we take part in and contribute to the mission. Discipleship requires commitment and sacrifice. But discipleship also gives us more than we contribute. It enriches our lives, makes our lives more meaningful, strengthens us in grace, builds the bonds of community and friendship, increases our love and brings us joy. Discipleship brings us closer to God and one another. What are you waiting for? Come and see!
In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately