May 26, 2019 – Sixth Sunday of Easter
“Oh Lord, let my life be such that people will say, “if this be the Servant, how must the Master be?” (St. John XXIII)
As we prepare for the feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost, it seems so clear that Christ’s return to the Father and his sending of the Holy Spirit are powerful signs of our God’s deep desire to stay connected to us, and also his challenge to us to bring that divine connection to everyone we meet.
I think we sometimes forget how our encounters with others are always much more than meets the eye. People see us and relate to us, but as members of a faith community, a church, we stand for so much more. We stand for Christ, and how we interact with others can deeply influence their connection with Christ and the Church.
The call to charity and kindness and peace and justice is not just “feel good Christianity.” Charity, kindness, peace and justice are witness to the kind of God we believe in, and the God who needs us to continue the work of redemption for a world so in need of God.
Let’s keep working at it! God needs us to stay the course. We need God to stay the course!
Sincerely, with love,
Our dear staff member, Ralph Stewart, director of Eastside Child and Youth Ministry, will be retiring this summer after 22 years of wonderful service. We thank him for his selfless and tireless service to our youth, and assure him, and his wife Jill and their daughter Abby of our gratitude, prayers and support!
God bless you Ralph!
May 18, 2019 – Fifth Sunday of Easter
“They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.”
(Acts of the Apostles, ch. 14)
I am fascinated by language. You can tell by how much I like to talk!
The word “persevere” has its roots in Latin in words meaning to persist strictly in all circumstances, even the most difficult. The call of being a follower of Jesus is to follow and trust him not only in the good times, but especially in those times we can’t quite figure out in our lives and the lives of those we love and in the life of a city, country, world that brings such heartaches and worries.
When I was younger I ran from this call and tried to avoid suffering at all costs. I wanted a perfect world with perfect people, belonging to a perfect church. But now that the years are piling up, and the wrinkles and weariness unfold daily, I find that I am getting more peaceful with the imprecision that life gives. Not comfortable and always a bit regretful, I find that the struggles in life provide a choice not unlike our ancestors who had to choose between following the Risen Christ and trusting or following folks like Judas and the darker side of being human leading to isolation and despair.
I choose Christ, but also realize I have to renew that choice very often, even every couple of minutes on a bad day.
He is there to accept our renewal. Just let him know when you need him, and he or one of his followers will show up!
Have a great week!
Sincerely, with love,
May 12, 2019 – Fourth Sunday of Easter
We share with you a brief update on some recent staff transitions. Joseph P. Wittmann, MTS, who had been serving as the Director of Liturgy and Music at Old Saint Mary made the decision to retire effective April 30th. We are excited to announce the new plan for music and liturgy for our four-parish family. Brian Eggers will be the new Director of Liturgy and Music at Old Saint Mary, in addition to already serving in that same role at Saints Peter and Paul. Mary Robertson will continue to serve as the Director of Liturgy and Music for Three Holy Women and Our Lady of Divine Providence. This transition was a great opportunity for us to engage in collaborative ministry. Brian and Mary make such a great team, and we thank them for the wonderful work they do in making our liturgies so beautiful!
We would also like to inform you that John Fellin, our Director of Maintenance, will retire at the end of June. After a career in the grocery business (and a first retirement from that!), we are happy for John for the opportunity to have more time with his family. We have already begun the hiring process for a new Director of Maintenance, and will keep you informed in the weeks ahead. We assure Joe and John of our prayers, and wish them all the best!
In light of these announcements, Pope Francis’ words in his message for today’s World Day of Prayer for Vocations is particularly fitting: “Every vocation is a summons not to stand on the shore, nets in hand, but to follow Jesus on the path he has marked out for us, for our own happiness and for the good of those around us. Embracing this promise naturally demands the courage to risk making a decision”. The work of building up the kingdom of God in this little corner of the world is always challenging, but always so amazing and humbling in the same breath. Let us pray for each other, as we all make decisions seeking to not be afraid, but rather to proclaim anew the good news of God’s infinite love for each of us.
Finally, as we celebrate Mother’s Day today, we remember in prayer all of our mothers living and deceased, and we ask our blessed mother Mary to intercede for them and us.
With love and prayers,
Fr. Tim and Fr. John
May 5, 2019 – Third Sunday of Easter
“Nothing would be done at all if a person waited till he could do it so well
that no one could find fault with it.” (Cardinal Newman)
In this Sunday’s Gospel we move very quickly from the Apostles’ experience of the Resurrection to Christ’s call to mission activity. The disciples cannot just sit back and bask in the glory of the Risen Christ. He already is sending them forth to get to work. The world needs saving, and he needs them to get going. The catch will be great, but won’t happen unless they lower their nets.
The reality is that the nets of the Church are not full enough because we are relying too much on our own powers of planning and calculation. We need to cast out into the deep and throw the nets where Christ tells us to. We are not a perfect Church—look at our early leadership. Doubt, denial, superficiality were all part of Peter’s personality. But he was chosen, and once he said yes and signed on, the rest is history!
Yes, we are a broken church, full of many things that could defeat even the strongest institution. But Christ still calls all people of good will to lower their nets of misgiving, and trust that great things can happen because there is no stopping God and his plan of full and eternal life for this crazy creation of his!
So lower your nets— that is only the first step. But that first step of trust can produce an abundance. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But someone needed to lay the first brick!
Sincerely, with love,