Dear Friends in Christ:
Happy Feast Day! This weekend, we celebrate the feast of St. Jean Marie Vianney, Curé (pastor) of Ars and our heavenly patron to whom our parish is dedicated. Today, as always, we seek his intercession and prayers to help us on our earthly pilgrimage. In today’s Collect Prayer, we pray, “Almighty and Merciful God, who made the priest St. John Vianney wonderful in his pastoral zeal, grant, we pray that through his intercession and example we may in charity win brothers and sisters for Christ!” Oh, how we need God’s wonderful grace to do this even more in our lives and in our parish. We are indeed richly blessed but how much more we need God’s grace and St. John Vianney’s prayers so that we may continue to grow in this pursuit of holiness. To this end, beginning today and through the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Assumption (Aug. 14), we are having 5,000 hours of Eucharistic Adoration and 10,000 rosaries prayed. All of us are asked to come and offer one hour of prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament during these days. Likewise, all of us are asked to pray an additional rosary. The intention of our prayers are for 1.) Our parish families that they will always be strong in the Catholic Faith and close to God, 2.) An increase of converts to the Catholic Faith and 3.) An increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life from St. John Vianney Parish. By God’s grace, may we truly dedicate ourselves, our prayers and efforts to truly WIN brothers and sisters for Christ! May each and every one of us be granted the same kind of zeal, the same burning love of God and neighbor that motivated St. John Vianney.
Most of us know already the little mission motto of our parish (if you don’t, it is written every week in the Bulletin and it is also on our website). We are a parish Living Faith, Changing Lives and Making a Difference! Everything we do is directed towards these goals. This year, and for the next few years, you will hear a lot of specific actions we can take to achieve these goals. We will be focusing on four actions:
OUTREACH, ENGAGEMENT, DISCIPLESHIP, LEADERSHIP
We will be looking for ways that we can reach every parishioner to better connect them to our parish community. More so, we will be exploring and taking actions to reach out to those Catholics who live in our area but are not part of our parish, as well as non-Catholics who either do not know Christ or do not have a church home. We want everyone to hear from us Jesus’ invitation to follow Him and live the Good News. We will also be inviting and helping those who are not engaged in the life of the parish to do so. This will not be huge or complicated rather, it will be small and simple. Little things count. If folks are not coming to Mass, the answer is to come. If they only come a few times a year, then come a few more. If someone doesn’t know anybody here, get to know someone’s name. If they only come to Mass every Sunday, then try one more thing every week – coffee and donuts, the Bazaar, a visit to the Adoration Chapel, a concert, a class, a ministry. Then we hope that everyone will take the next step to deepen one’s love, knowledge and relationship with Jesus; deepen and strengthen that personal relationship with Him and work to live it as a member of His body, the Church. We hope that we all become more aware that every day is a gift and an opportunity to know, love and serve Jesus Christ, and that He is our “all in all”! Lastly, we want to have more and more people so on fire with the love of Jesus that they cannot keep it to themselves and come to realize that to be “the best version of ourselves,” they must be the ones to step up and become servant leaders. We seek that each of us, more aware of our own giftedness, will want to use those gifts to serve and help others grow in their love of God. We want our hearts to burn with the passion and zeal of St. John Vianney so that none of us will be content to sit on the sidelines or satisfied to simply remain passive and let others do the heavy lifting. We want each parishioner of this great parish to live and proclaim “Here I am Lord, send me!”
In pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately