Come Holy Spirit: Happy Birthday Church!
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today we celebrate the birth of the Church on the Feast of Pentecost. 50 days after Easter Sunday, the Apostles and the Blessed Mother gathered in prayer, waiting for the promised Spirit to come and transform them into missionary disciples, who would spread the Good News to the ends of the earth. They were the same uneducated, poor, and fearful group as before, but the Life of the Spirit within them now empowered them to go out on a mission that would change the world. As I said last week, our mission as a parish is to Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples. We have the same mission and task as the first small band of believers. If we all cooperated fully with God’s grace within us, imagine the impact it would have on our lives, our families, our church, our community, and our world.
Last weekend I reviewed with the congregation some of the ideas and principles in parish renewal that we at St. John’s have committed ourselves, as well as a few challenges and opportunities that we face. I mentioned that we are creating an opportunity for religious education for grades K through 8 on Sunday, and an additional track on Monday, and we are going to try something called Children’s Church on Sundays during our 11 am Mass. Both of these initiatives are meant to more deeply engage families.
I also mentioned that recently the owner of the property next door approached me about purchasing this 3 acre property with a house. Parishioners have dreamt for almost 30 years the need of additional space for our parish activities. The problem is that this property is commercially zoned and therefore expensive; and I am wary of burdening our parish with additional debt. Also, I mentioned last week is that our offertory collections are slightly down since last year. We’ve decided that at the end of this summer we are going to do an Increased Offertory Program. If there is any major donor in our community that you know of, I would be grateful for the opportunity to speak with them.
I thank all parishioners for your service, generosity, and stewardship of our parish family. I thank the many sacrifices of the parents of our 35 students who are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this Sunday afternoon, as well as their catechists who have guided them to this moment. May God continue to bless and guide our parish family into the future. Happy Birthday Church!