Happy Easter! Christ is risen from the dead, alleluia!
The Resurrection is like a code that has been programmed into the software of the earth. Dying and rising is everywhere. Think about it. Moving on to a high school or college is a resurrection experience. A student "dies" to his grammar school and is reborn in high school. Flowers are blooming. A new Cubs season is underway. People are marrying.
People are dying and being reborn to eternal life.Companies, like Apple, have experienced the resurrection too, as have industries and brands: bourbon, neon sunglasses, the Volkswagen Beetle, the Twinkie, leggings and striped tube socks. All of these things existed at one point, began to diminish, and then returned.
Saint Juliana Parish is no different. The Resurrection is in our DNA.
Saint Juliana's school enrollment has declined (10 years ago we were at close to 600 children, now we are around 450), as has our Mass attendance, participation in the other sacraments, and activity in ministries. One could say we are dying. But death does not have the final word.
It is time for the Resurrection at Saint Juliana.
People are drawn to experiences. Whether it's a Grateful Dead concert or Guardians of the Galaxy 2, we want an attractive present moment.
Well, Jesus Christ is the most attractive experience out there. So many people became Catholic in the first three centuries because of Jesus. He was better than any game, book, drug, or spectacle.
Thus, Saint Juliana's purpose—our "one goal", to borrow a line from the Blackhawks—is to EXPERIENCE JESUS.
Read our new mission statement on the front cover of this Easter bulletin. This is our simple purpose: Experience Jesus. Everything else is secondary. If every person who comes onto the premises of 7200 N. Osceola can experience Jesus, then Saint Juliana will rise, stronger and better than ever.
In the Easter bulletin and here online you will see the outline of our new parish vision; our "roadmap" to Experience Jesus. Three ways to experience Jesus are on Sunday, in School, and through Service. We, as a parish, need to enhance these three areas–Sunday, School, Service–so that everyone experiences Jesus. We need to knock Sunday out of the park with strong hospitality, homilies, and hymns. We need to provide a high-quality learning environment for children and adults. We need to serve our brothers and sisters, for Jesus said, “Whatsoever you did for the least of these, you did for me” (Matt 25:40).
In order to accomplish this, we not only need to focus our efforts on experiencing Jesus, we need structural enhancements. And so you will also find inside this bulletin the "Experience Jesus Campaign." Funds from To Teach Who Christ Is, in addition to other funds we will raise, will go to projects that correspond to the Sunday, School, Service priorities.
My goal is to have a church full of joyful people on Sunday who then learn about Jesus and serve one another throughout the week. I want 2000 people at Mass each week, a school with 600 children, and a full parking lot every night because people are here learning or serving. Impossible? “With God all things are possible” (Matt 19:26).
This can happen. If he rose from the dead he can raise us.
Once again, happy Easter to you and your loved ones. May you experience Jesus in your lives.
Yours in Christ,