Making Outreach Our Priority
Dear Friends in Christ:
On a recent Saturday morning, nearly 150 of our parish leaders met for the annual State of the Parish presentation. At the gathering the 2019 Annual Report for the parish was presented. You can read it here. This report contains the facts and figures of the parish including our financial report for the fiscal year 2018-19. It also highlights several important events and accomplishments of the past year. The bottom line is this – while our parish has been impacted over the last few years by the downturn in the energy industry, our construction project, the road construction on Memorial Drive and most especially by Hurricane Harvey and the floods, we are seeing signs of recovery. We are not at pre-Harvey levels in all areas but there are many positive signs. Despite the downturn in numbers for the last couple of years, the spirit of the parish is strong and the outlook is positive. The tremendous faith and good works of parishioners continues to grow and shows no decline!
At the State of the Parish gathering the priorities for the parish were also outlined. For the coming years we have the following as our goals and priorities: Outreach, Engagement, Discipleship and Leadership. You will not only be hearing and seeing these four goals emphasized but hopefully you will be personally challenged by them. These priorities are not quick fixes nor will they always be easy to accomplish. These priorities are also not arbitrary. These priorities which will guide our activities here at St. John Vianney and our personal lives are deeply rooted in the gospel. The gift of our salvation in Jesus Christ is simply too precious to ignore or to be complacent about. Our faith today is being attacked and challenged from all sides including from within the Church herself. Each of us has a choice. Each of us can lament the state of affairs, we can give up or, we can do something about the state of affairs.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! (Josh 24:15) by Living Faith, Changing Lives, Making a Difference!
The world is filled with many threats each and every day. It is not your imagination that the threats to our well-being and the well-being of our children and society are multiplying and increasing in number and intensity. There are some who say that the answer is for Christians to withdraw from the world. While indeed prudence dictates that in many instances we should not participate and there are things that we cannot approve or condone, the example of Jesus is that we cannot hide and we cannot be silent. Jesus teaches, in fact he commands us: Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age (Mt 28:19-20). To be faithful to Jesus and to be happy in this world and in the next, we cannot simply sit around and do nothing. We have to get up and go as Jesus has commanded us. Our first priority is outreach. We will be making specific and numerous efforts to reach out to others. Our challenge is to have everyone who is currently engaged in our parish make this a personal priority. That means YOU! On the level of parish administration and staff, that means more and better communication to those in the parish and to those outside. We are examining and evaluating how we communicate, both the means and the effectiveness. On the level of our ministries, organizations and parish groups, we want to increase and improve our outreach, especially to those not currently engaged in the life of the parish. On the parishioner level, we want to increase the number of parishioners who reach out to others and we want to increase the number of people we reach out to. The ultimate goal is that outreach will become a part of who we are as Catholics and as parishioners of St. John Vianney.
This is an exciting time for our parish. It is a time of blessings! Please pray for God’s graces and for us to respond and use the abundant graces He bestows. More to come!
In pace Christi,