Complete Surrender

Letters from a Pastor to His People- February 17, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

The Beatitudes.  We're all familiar with these.  They come from Christ's Sermon on the Mount (or, in Luke's Gospel, the 'Sermon on the Plain', for he delivers it "on a stretch of level ground"). 

I find myself throughout periods and seasons of my life appreciating a beatitude in particular more than others.  Not that I don't appreciate the others; more than one beatitude just happens to resonate with me because of my life and spiritual circumstances.  Maybe that is the case with you?  Maybe something for you to at least pray about, if not?

“Blessed are you who are poor" is the beatitude that resonates with me right now.  I've preached on poverty before.  This doesn't have to mean material poverty.  Christ isn't necessarily calling us to give away all our money and drain our retirement funds.  He is calling us to spiritual poverty, or a dependence on him.   

A poor person depends on others.  He has to beg.  We are called not to self-reliance, but a complete surrender of ourselves to God.  It is blessed to beg Jesus!

This is the 'Announcement Weekend' for the 2019 Annual Catholic Appeal.  You will find brochures about the ACA in the pews.  The funds raised by the ACA, which benefit not only us, but all ministries throughout the Archdiocese, allow us to answer Jesus' call to come and follow him.  When our parish has reached its goal of $$54,775, we will receive 100% of additional funds raised to continue supporting our mission and helping make us a dynamic parish.  If you received your pledge form in the mail, please complete it and mail it back or bring it to Mass next weekend. For those of you that did not receive a mailing or have not had time to respond to it, we will conduct our in-pew pledge process at all Masses next weekend.  Thank you again so much for your generosity.

While we're on the topic of administration, I'd like to give you a little facilities update.  We have had an interesting couple months with the infrastructure of the parish.  In early December, one of our six school boilers failed, leaving a significant part of the school without heat for several weeks.  We were able to remove the old boiler and install a new one over Christmas break, and we only had to miss one day of school that first week of January.  Then, as you recall, the pipes froze in the back of the church the especially cold week of January 28th and we had major flooding in the church on Saturday, February 2nd.  We were fortunately able to remove the water that Saturday afternoon without any major disruption or permanent damage.  A pipe also burst in my office in the parish center that weekend.

Now, the good news.  The new elevator has been successfully installed in the school and is operational.  The school courtyard is also accessible with our new playground.  We are looking to complete the courtyard this spring, making it a nice social and prayer space for parishioners, in addition, of course, to recreational space for the children.  The back of the church is nearly complete, with the two new restroom facilities, cry room, hospitality room, and usher's closet.  We just need to install now the handicap accessible doors into the church. 

Over the summer we will be installing our new STEAM lab for the school on the second floor, as well as, renovating the school hall (the lunchroom) on the lower-level.  With elevator accessibility now, this can be a tremendous new space for the entire parish.  Thank you for your continued support and patience with all of these projects!

Next weekend, Saturday, February 23rd is the St. Patrick's Day Party in the gym.  Thank you to all who worked hard to put this together!  There is no school tomorrow for President's Day.  Enjoy the long weekend!

Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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