Today we celebrate the Third Sunday of Easter. As in any new counter-movement, early Chris- tians made their case regarding Christ’s identity and redemptive work under perilous conditions and the possibility of persecution. Their faith and commitment were expressed at enormous risk. This is still true for Christians in some places and situations, but not for most of us. This weekend’s readings challenge us who are not personally endangered: How compelling is our personal faith commitment? (Please remember we will celebrate First Holy Communion today at 2:00 P.M. Congratulations to all of our First Communicants!)
Next weekend we will celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Easter. Fear of the other is pervasive today, but it’s not new. The early Christians confronted it in preaching the Gospel and often paid a heavy price for their message. As hard as it may be to accept, God’s love is not limited to us and those with whom we feel comfortable. We, too, are called to reach out beyond borders and barriers of our own making. Why is this so hard for us to grasp, even now. (Of course, it is Mother’s Day, too! So sincere congratulations, blessings, and THANKS to all of our Moms.)
Construction: Construction on our new elevator, with the addition of a new “elevator tower” and lobby, “Phases I and II,” began on Wednesday, April 24th. There have been some “glitches”, as usually expected with construction, but they are under control now and things are moving along. “Demolition” of some of the remaining frames from the old closets and other items are in the process of being taken care of. We have a lot of work to do. It was interesting to be in the Msgr. Schneider Hall the other day and see the outline of the various items for that hall! Things are really happening and that is good news!
Please remember what I said last week about the SOUTH ENTRANCE! There will be times during construction that we will be unable to use that entrance. The “sacristy” entrance will always be available, but once construction for the new addition begins “in earnest,” we will not be able to use that entrance. Our handicapped and wheel chair parishioners will have to use the ADA approved ramp at the NORTHEAST entrance of the church (next to the statue of Saint Monica). BUT we will give you much advanced notice for that eventuality.
Meanwhile, continue to pray for safety for all of our workers and a timely construction! Thank you!
The Annual Catholic Appeal continues this week. I heard some very nice comments about the video shown last week, showing the work of the ACA. This week we will have parishioner, Carol Mock, speaking at the end of the Masses about her ministry funded by the ACA and highlighting, once again, the need for your support and the ways in which we are blessed to receive many things from the ACA. Please prayerfully listen to Carol and stop by and make your pledge at the end of Mass. Thank you.
Our RESTORE, RENEW, REBUILD Campaign, separate from the ACA, but helping the “Beyond Sunday” Capital Campaign for the Archdiocese continues to “pay benefits” to us. To date our parish pledged $2,924,282 to the “RRR Campaign.” So far the parish has received $584,578 from the RRR Campaign.
In addition the Beyond Sunday Scholarships, which are Archdiocesan wide, has provided $50,315 in scholarships awarded to four students in our parish. The “Faith Alive” program that has been started here, coordinated by Sr. Maureen Martin, ASCJ, and (here) our CRE, Mrs. Debbie Whited, while sharing with Saint Ann, Normandy, and Holy Trinity, Saint Ann, has been funded by the Beyond Sunday appeal, as a means to reach out to our younger families and encourage them to start teaching the faith to their children at very early ages. The RRR Campaign is doing great things here and the Beyond Sunday Campaign continues to provide sustainability for the Archdiocese.
The NEED for COMMUNITY: In the April 27 edition of the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, Steve Givens, a parishioner of Incarnate Word, wrote a very nice article about the need for Christian Community basically summarizing what the Church has been teaching all along that there is really no such thing as an individual Christian. Christians need community. He re- ferred in a special way to the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. One great quote is: “… we are not called to be solo Christians. We are called to be more than enlightened individuals. We are created to be light in our communities, to be in service to one another.” I refer to that article because of the very disappointing attendance at Mass last week- end … after the Church was full for the three morning Masses on Easter, and had a very good attendance at the Easter Vigil. Where were the others last weekend? (And, I fear, most likely, this weekend?) I guess I should be “pleased” that some folks are still “hanging on” at least at Christmas and Easter. HOWEVER, PLEASE pray for a renewal of the faith. Please pray for a renewal of attendance at Holy Mass. Please pray for the people who have continually absented themselves from weekly Holy Mass. It is MOST disheartening when these things happen!
Rosary for School Community: The Rosary is still being prayed each Wednesday morning at 7:40 A.M. for the school, students, faculty, staff, parents, etc. Special prayers now for our new principal, Mrs. Tammi Rohman. So please try to stop by and spend 15 minutes praying for the Saint Monica School community. Thank you!
May Crownings: I know that there are several celebrated here throughout the month of May. I want to thank Mrs. Debbie Whited, the music ministry, and the 8th grade of our parish school, for the outstanding May Crowning held on Wednesday, May 1. It was very prayerful and well done. I look forward to the others during May, the month of Our Lady (besides December!).
May God bless you and may you have a very happy and holy Easter Season. Again, sincere congratulations to our First Communicants.
In the Risen Lord Jesus,
Father Joe Weber