I’m happy to report that our latest ACTS RETREAT, MENS, was a great experience. I’ve been on a number of ACTS at my previous parish of St. Rose. While it’s a lot to give up two solid days and some change, I reassured myself beforehand that it was a special opportunity to spend time with, in this case, close to 30 men, centering on our faith and growth in Christian community. That happened in abundance. The balance was strong toward team members, typical these days-about 24 men worked intensely for four new retreatants. I found again that this was worth it, to say the least. It’s always a renewal for the team members, but that much work is really required to introduce the retreatants into the full range of Catholic experiences on the retreat. We were deeply inspired by one another, and had a lot of fun too. The four new participants, three from St. Monica, took part wonderfully, and I think you’ll be hearing from them. The Women’s retreat  is coming in March, and I hope our ladies begin to resolve to enjoy it.

Heather Martin Cooper reflected correctly the other day that in this late time of the liturgical year, the read- ings, as well as the music, take a darker turn toward the Cross of Jesus, toward his rejection and cross. We get the second prediction of the Passion today. We are also beginning an annual mini-season: Stewardship Awareness. I know that it had been the practice here for a few years to renew your commitment of treasure and talent in March. I waited that out to be in sync with the Archdiocesan schedule of this. It gives us extra support and publicity. So this weekend I’m giving the Annual Financial Report, required of the pastor once a year. It will show good results, with, as always, some areas of concern. But we are in a strong position. The following week, Sept. 25, is the actual beginning of the annual Stewardship Reflections. I’ll give all the homi- lies that weekend. Then the next week one of our many excellent Stewardship families will give a reflection. Then you’ll be mailed your Covenant Card (formerly called Intention Card) to being to church. We’ll need to form a small committee by then to deal with the volume of results on people’s cards, and spread the volunteer information to the proper parish committees, as well as plan later Stewardship activities. With your card re- turned, the official mini-season is over as we live our renewed commitments to the parish.

This weekend we resume some recognition that’s been a bit lost: Catechetical Sunday. We recognize a whole slew of parishioners and teachers who do our job of teaching faith both to children and to adults at various stages. To see this generosity of our faculty in school and PSR, and in adult ministries, highlights the work we all need to be doing in some way. Tuesday saw the beginning of this year’s Cornerstone bible study here, after a pause of two years. It was quite impressive. There were about 70 people who began their year of study and discussion, and had Mass with me at 11:00 A.M. It’s good to have another way here to grow in faith in a vibrant way. Kristin Goldkamp heads this up again, and if you have interest or question please call our office and leave a message for her.

Our new Parish Council met this week and established a lot, including officers: Susan Hurt, Chairperson; Mark Hampton, Vice Chairperson, Lynn Barnes, Secretary. More will come out next month.

Finally, we also start up RCIA for adults who want to at least explore the Catholic Faith, including Baptism if necessary. See the announcement here, and consider accompanying someone you know to come up.

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