Let us rejoice in our New Year!
Advent prepares us for the coming of Jesus Christ, both his first and his second. He is the ultimate gift that constantly keeps giving - yesterday, today and forever. How will we respond to his gift in our new year? What would a Catholic set of New Year resolutions look like?
In many ways, our Pastoral Council has been asking that very question except they are not looking at only one year but they are looking at forming a five year plan. The three areas that continue to arise are: celebrating our liturgies well, strong faith formation, and a more aggressive outreach to those in need.
A. Celebrating Mass well!
We have a ton of visitors here at St. Mary and the consistent response: “Father, what a beautiful Mass.” We have great lectors, wonderful music, good welcoming ushers, and a mediocre preacher, what more could you want? A full church makes all these things better. More voices singing, praying, and supporting one another is a great gift.
Resolution #1: I will make it to Mass every Sunday.
Resolution #2: I will invite one person or one family to Mass every month.
B. Strong Faith Formation
While Megan Moore and Yvette Schwickerath are new, they have been working hard to improve our Faith Formation opportunities. In my experience, they truly are prepared to work with all ages. Again, your participation, leadership and ideas are essential. We need you to be involved and grow our opportunities.
Resolution #3: I will participate in some type of faith formation activity at least once per month.
Resolution #4: I will offer to lead a faith formation opportunity in the next year.
C. More Aggressive Outreach
In recognizing everything is a gift from God, the Pastoral Council recognizes that we need to be financially responsible, yet discover how we can be more effective in our efforts to help others out of spiritual and physical poverty. What can we do together that would be impossible individually?
Resolution #5: I will talk with my family and friends about what we can to do to overcome spiritual and physical poverty.
Resolution #6: I will have confidence in my call from God to love God and neighbor. I will act on that love weekly.
Speaking of resolutions, Pope Francis has some ideas for us as well. Starting December 8, Pope Francis has declared “Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.” What will this look like for us? Who knows at this point! I will be reflecting on it over the next three weeks in the bulletin. It is a year of celebration that lifts us up rather than weighing us down.
We have many things to give thanks for and please know my gratitude for all of the good you are doing.
May God bless and keep you. In Christ, Fr David