……from your Pastor’s Desk
It is hard to believe that tomorrow, July, 14th, will start my sixth year ‘on-site’ here at Holy Spirit Parish. Doesn’t seem that long, yet many positive things have happened these four years. Even so, I’ve made some mistakes along the way, ruffled a few feathers and had to address some serious parish/personnel issues that needed immediate attention. Such is life.
All in all, it has been great and together we have made ardent strides in addressing both the physical needs of the facility, as well as assessing the Spiritual ones. We have formed and planned projects to address both and I look forward to their continued implementation.
Many years ago Holy Spirit was my first residence when I was ordained. I loved it then and I love it now. Holy Spirit is my fifth assignment as a Pastor. I am the ninth man appointed as such here. And, I know that there will be a tenth and eleventh and so on. Priests, Pastors, Bishops and Popes come and go. Those three pictures in the foyer at the Parish House will change and change again.
I know full well that although I have the helm at the moment – this is YOUR parish. I will continue to make every effort to take care of Holy Spirit, and you, the best I can – and when my time comes to leave – it will be as healthy and happy as it can be. This, I promise you.
Although I think it is safe to say that Holy Spirit is ‘unique’ – it is still part of the 2000 year tradition we call the Catholic Church. And being a part of anything means being mutually accountable to the duties and responsibilities thereof. That is why as I stand on the brink of a fifth year and am addressing what needs to be done, what needs to remain, what needs to change for continued growth [and MY – have we grown!] that is why I am including this writing from Pope Francis. This man truly has the heart of a Pastor – a Shepherd. He writes from what he knows –first hand. The BOLD texts are my emphasis.
Pope Francis on the Mission
of the Parish
From – Evangelii Gaudium
‘The parish is not an outdated institution; precisely because it possesses great flexibility, it can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and the community.
While certainly not the only institution which evangelizes, if the parish proves capable of self-renewal and constant adaptivity, it continues to be “the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters”. This presumes that it really is in contact with the homes and the lives of its people, and does not become a useless structure out of touch with people or a self-absorbed group made up of a chosen few.
The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelizers. It is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a centre of constant missionary outreach. We must admit, though, that the call to review and renew our parishes has not yet sufficed to bring them nearer to people, to make them environments of living communion and participation, and to make them completely mission-oriented.’
“We cannot forget that evangelization is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected Him. Many of them are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning
to see His face.”
“Go, make disciples.” [Matthew 28:19]
All that being said [and read] being open and welcome to all people is one thing, and it is a very good thing. But it HAS to be aimed at bringing them into Sacramental Union with Christ, through the Church. That is a primary reason we exist as a parish. Truly, Christ ate with sinners (and who among us has not sinned?) – but He didn’t leave them in their sin – He offered hem Himself. Some accepted, some declined. Some even refused. Some went as far as to stand against Him. Let us always be the ones who ‘accept’ and welcome others to the same. For He alone is The Way, The Truth, and The Life, today and forevermore…the same.