Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 18, 2020
This is a fitting Gospel for the election season. Politics...yikes! I'll do my best to keep it spiritual. As I've said before, I personally subscribe to the position of St. Edmund Campion, the English priest who was martyred by Queen Elizabeth in the 16th Century. "I never had mind," he said, "and am strictly forbidden by our Father that sent me, to deal in any respect with matter of state or policy of this realm, as things which appertain not to my vocation, and from which I gladly restrain and sequester my thoughts."
Now, I can do this because I "belong to God." I'm consecrated as a priest to Jesus Christ. I'm all his and the Church's, which is one of the reasons why, for example, I wear black. No, not like Johnny Cash. Like Edmund Campion. I'm "The man in black" because, as Paul says, "it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).
Nevertheless, I am called to "render unto Caesar" a thing or two. I have to follow the rules of the road and pay taxes, for instance. And I will vote in the election. But my civil participation is for the glory of God. That is, I try to be a faithful citizen so that God's will may be done. God is glorified when the nation is a holy place.
You all are baptized into Christ's priesthood as well. You exercise what is called "the common priesthood." So, I think you can have somewhat my attitude. You function as a citizen and perhaps even belong to a party, but your ultimate allegiance is to God and your desire is fundamentally that God wins. Place your hope and trust in God, as the American coin says, and you will never be let down.
Today we celebrate World Mission Sunday. Let us remember, as Pope Francis says, that “we find ourselves precisely when we give ourselves to others.” The collection today for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith supports the clergy, religious and lay leaders who embody Christ’s mercy and presence among the most vulnerable communities in our world. You can make a donation online at WeAreMissionary.org/wms or drop your envelope marked "World Mission Sunday" in the back of the church.
Beginning tomorrow, Monday, we will begin the project of painting the church ceiling and replacing the burnt-out lights. The workers will be in the church during the weekdays and hopefully there will be no disruption of our Mass schedules. Obviously, as you can tell, this is a long overdue project. There are a number of large, unsightly water spots from water damage over the years. The painting and new color will enhance the beauty of our church and add to our worship of God.
We are still awaiting the arrival of the new tabernacle and the new bells. Thank you once again to all of you who so generously donated to these projects to make it all possible!
The Saint Juliana Book Club will meet next Saturday, October 24th at 9:15am in the back of the church to discuss A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. If you would like to Zoom in to join virtually, please send me an email. And if you have recommendations for our next book, please email and let me know!
Inside the bulletin you will see a letter from Bishop Bartosic, our auxiliary bishop, about the leadership survey that will be conducted on yours truly this fall. Every pastor and associate pastor every five years has to undergo this review process. This is to help me in my own growth as a priest and pastor, and Lord knows I need to grow! Thank you for your feedback and please keep me in your prayers that I may grow closer to the Lord and in holiness as a result of this process.
Yours in Christ,