BACK AT IT—Yes with the Christmas season behind us this year, I’ve picked up a couple of things on Evangelization that defined my last couple of years. We had a great session here last week on Wednesday (Jan. 27) when we reviewed the two main contemporary documents, the bishops’’ “Living as Missionary Disciples” and Pope Francis’ “Joy of the Gospel”. We just looked this time at the call for all baptized believers in Jesus to transmit, to communicate, our faith in him in some real way to those who have not effectively heard his message, and to each other as well.
Then Tuesday last week, I resumed with joy the Pastors’ Pilot Training on Evangelization at the Archdiocese. This has really rich and deep content, and is led by remarkable young laypeople who have delved deeply into documents going back at least 45 years (Pope Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiand). So what I bring to our parish sessions is not just winging it on my own, but comes out of these deep formation sessions. We have more copies of the two documents I mention above in the Parish Office if you’re interested. We’ll continue our parish session at the end of February. I’m trying to set a pattern of the 4th Wednesday of each month, but there will be adjustments to this. In February we’ll meet the day after this, Thursday February 25 at 7.
The reason for that shift is that I’m giving a 2-part Lenten reflection the Wednesdays after Ash Wednesday, which is now just next week, Feb. 17. On the next two Wednesdays, Feb. 24, Part I (Dying) and March 3 Part II (Rising) at 7 in the church, I’ll present a Day of Recollection in two evenings called “Dying and Rising with Christ”. We know that we’re called to die in Lent; how do we know we’re dying with Christ? and not just experiencing needless human suffering. I’ve given this reflection at a retreat center and a parish. It’s based almost completely on the writings of St. Paul, whom I’ve always found to be both eloquent and clear about our dying and rising with Christ.
Last Tuesday we had a wonderful School Mass of the Presentation. Led by our School Religion Coordinator Amy Love, and Music Director Heather Martin Cooper, the children lit an elaborate arrangement of candles, carried some of them in procession, presented them to teachers who placed them at our stained glass windows, and did beautiful chimes with the music. Parish candles were blessed along with those of parishioners. It’s already been 40 days since Christmas! The old prophet Simeon recognized in the 40-day old Jesus the Messiah he’d been waiting for. He praised him as the “glory of Israel and a light to all nations”, hence we bless candles that day (Candlemas Day). Carrying Jesus from our church Nativity set during the homily was a way to emphasize this feast’s closeness to Christmas with its call to faith, and the growth every human child goes through as they need our support and love to take their place in the world.
Finance work has resumed too, and since this is a critical year to meet our obligations, next week I want to give a very brief report on the half-year we just ended Dec. 30, to show how we’re doing at the halfway mark.
Monsignor Blood is doing fine work to seek out those who want a pastoral home call for communion or anointing. He’s asked for anyone knowing one of our parishioners like that to send the name to him. He’s also taken up training a new batch of servers. The kids can of course serve at the school Mass, but both he and I want to encourage them all to serve at our Sunday Masses. If the family hasn’t really been practicing Sunday worship, this can be an opportunity to renew the family in it. And no one needs to stop at 8th Grade. High schoolers and beyond are welcome to serve.