This past week we just completed our Parish Mission: “Living Faith, Hope, and Love,” and I don’t know about you, but I feel it was a great success! What I mean by success is that it was great to see the very nice crowds, and realize that there are many who are hungry for God and want to deepen their Christian faith! Fr. Peter Schavitz did a wonderful job in reaching out to us and helping us experience both the challenges and the love of Jesus Christ in our life. I want to thank members of both of our Parish Councils who chaired our various planning sub-committees as well as all the musicians, choir members, mission service volunteers, greeters, those who put on our socials, our transportation people, our child care people and many others who gave their time and did a wonderful job in helping prepare and put this great Parish Mission together! This kind of event has been in the planning process for about three years, and I believe the Spirit was truly at work among us! Thank you God! My hope is that you and others you love were able to attend some or all of our sessions and leave with some grace of God that touched your life. What you experienced will take some time to digest, so please spend time reflecting on what happened this past week. What was God saying to you? How can you grow in your role as a disciple of Christ?
There are several things we, as a twinned parish community, are planning and hope to do to keep the Holy Spirit and this momentum going among us:
1) First of all, after months of discussion and reflection on our Parish Mission Statements which you see at the top of our Sunday bulletins, both St. Peter and St. Paul Parish Councils have decided to do away with our Mission Statements and substitute it with one Mission Prayer. We concluded that a Mission “Statement” is far too static and leaves little room for God actively working among us. It was unanimously decided to go with a Mission “Prayer” to help further unite our communities and at the same time constantly remind us of what our mission is about….ie. making disciples and expanding our understanding of what Jesus is about, both in prayer and action in Christ. We will be praying this Mission Prayer often to help us further achieve a change of our “culture” within our personal Catholic Faith and our own parish communities.
2) Secondly, on the back of both churches everyone will have an opportunity to go further and discern whether they would like to be part of various Bible Study groups or Prayer Groups or Volunteer opportunities available. If our faith is not active, it begins to stagnate, so we are offering this. Volunteers will be available to help you sign up.
3) Finally, as part of our ongoing evangelizing efforts, I have asked both our Parish Councils to study a book called: “Rebuilt: the Story of a Catholic Parish.” This book essentially is about how an inner city parish was able to be transformed into a dynamic faith community, living and reaching out to bring the Gospel out to others. Over the course of the next few years, we will slowly but surely incorporate some of these ideas into our own faith lives and in both our parishes to help revitalize us. We were good before, but we can always be better. So,….stay tuned. My hope is the best is yet to come!