I want to start this article by thinking all you who have already turned in your Parish Vitality Survey and urge those of you who have not yet turned them in to turn them in as soon as possible. It is a wonderful experience to read through the many stories and powerful moments that people have experienced as members of the St. Rose/St. Mary’s community. I am sure you will hear some of these stories in my future homilies and read about them in the Lincoln’s Log down the road. Also, be certain to attend the Parish Vitality gathering on Saturday, September 25 at 5pm at St. Rose or on Sunday, September 26 at 12 noon at St. Mary’s.
Our community, our diocese, our state, and our nation are going through difficult times. As I talk with people, I often get a sense of despair and hopelessness. People do not seem to be looking forward to the future as much as buckling down and trying to survive. At times like this, there is the temptation to turn inward and to care only for ourselves and to protect our own interests and agenda. It is important that we resist that temptation and continue to reach out to those around us who are in need. The Gospel always calls us beyond ourselves.
Our mission statement as a community calls us to dedicate ourselves to lifelong discipleship through prayer, service, and sharing. When times are tough, this is even more important. Reaching out doesn’t just help the person we reach out to. More importantly it heals ourselves. We are made to find ourselves by loving others. Prayer reflects our love for God. Service and sharing embody our love for others.
Many of the stories that have made our parish a Vital Parish are stories of reaching out. Let’s continue to reach out and reflect the image of the God of love who searches out the lost.