From the desk of Father Jeffrey V. Romans
Dear Friends in Christ:
On the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, the Patron Saint of the Universal Church, which was March 19 this year, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, issued an Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate. This Exhortation is primarily about the call to holiness in today’s world. I find it quite nourishing to my celebration of Easter to be reading this document in the midst of the Easter Season. You can find it at:
In the midst of this exhortation the Holy Father writes: “Growth in holiness is a journey in community, side by side with others.” This line really struck me. He goes on to point out a significant number of times, we celebrate particular canonized saints and their companions. We are on this journey together! We are not alone! We are called to support one another, love one another, and care for one another as Christ supports, loves, and cares for us.
I was also struck by another statement Pope Francis makes, reminding us of the words of his predecessor Pope John Paul the Great, when he said “Each community is called to create a God enlightened space in which to experience the hidden presence of the risen Lord.” YES! When we come together as a community of faith to share the Word of God and celebrate the Eucharist together we are experiencing the hidden presence of the risen Lord.
This experience should change us! It should transform us, empower us, and stir in us a desire to bring that experience into the lives of others. Hence the call at the end of Mass we hear: “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life,” or “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord,” in other words “Go and proclaim to the world that Jesus lives.”
When we do this, when we live out this call, we truly are evangelizing! The Holy Father further says “The common life, whether in the family, the parish, the religious community or any other, is made up of small everyday things.” This was true of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; it was true of the life that Jesus shared with his disciples and other ordinary people and it is true of the life we share with one another! It can be found in the details! The Holy Father goes on to say “Let us not forget that Jesus asked his disciples to pay attention to details.
- The little detail that wine was running out at a party.
- The little detail that one sheep was missing.
- The little detail of noticing the widow who offered her two small coins.
- The little detail of having spare oil for the lamps, should the bridegroom delay.
- The little detail of asking the disciples how many loaves of bread they had.
- The little detail of having a fire burning and a fish cooking as he waited for the disciples at daybreak.”
He then points out that the community that cherishes the little details of love, whose members care for one another and create an open and evangelizing environment, is a place where the risen Lord is present, sanctifying it in accordance with the Father’s plan.
My friends this is precisely what we are trying to do as a parish family! We are trying to cherish the little details of love. We are trying to reach out to our brothers and sisters in the community and share with them the love of God. We are trying to create programs and events that will nourish our parishioners and help them to grow in the faith. We are trying to create an open and evangelizing environment to serve the needs of our brothers and sisters out of love. The Risen Lord is truly present in our parish family. The Risen Lord is calling us to serve one another.
As we continue to glory in the joy of Easter I encourage each and every parishioner of our parish family to consider where the Risen Lord is calling you to help out in bringing the gospel into the lives of others. What gifts or talents has the Lord blessed you with to share with others? What is God asking you to do to make a difference in the lives of others and in our community?
There are countless ways to get involved in the life of our parish as we seek to build up His kingdom here on earth! Countless ways to grow in holiness on this journey with one another, side by side!
Is the Lord calling you to join the Women’s Society, the Men’s Club, our Parenting Circle, or the Knights of Columbus to unite with other parishioners in a common mission of service to one another and the Parish family?
Is the Lord calling you to serve our young people as a catechist in the religious education program or as a team member of our Youth Ministry?
Is the Lord calling you to help those in our community and beyond who are suffering from hunger and homelessness through our Parish Social Ministry?
Is the Lord calling you to use your gifts and join the Ministry of Praying Hands making shawls for those who are ill or baby blankets for those who will be baptized in our parish family?
Is the Lord calling you to join the Ministry of Hospitality and help at Coffee/Ands or receptions? Or maybe you can serve the parish as a Greeter at the various Masses? Or are you gifted in the medical field and can help our Health Care Ministry in offering blood pressure screenings at our monthly Coffee/And? Or perhaps you have a gift for decorating and want to consider serving the parish family on our Decorating Committee?
Is the Lord calling you to serve the parish in various roles in the liturgies such as serving as lector or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion or altar servers? Or perhaps He has blessed you with music talents and you can give back through our Music Ministry?
Is the Lord asking you to use your free time to help our homebound know they are cared for and loved through participating in our Parish Visitors Program? Or is the Risen Lord asking you to offer yourself to help those in need during a time of loss in our Ministry of Hope and Healing?
Is the Lord calling you to pray for others either through Our Lady’s Rosary Ministry or through participating on our Prayer Line? Or is the Lord calling you to help build a Culture of Life through helping with our Pro-Life Ministry?
This weekend as I offer this reflection on Pope Francis’ recent Exhortation I ask you to search in your heart and find a way to give of your time or talent to further the mission of our parish family. Consider how God may be calling you to become more active in the life of our parish family. You can watch the bulletin for information regarding all of our new organizations and ministries, or you can join their particular group on our parish App and keep informed that way. I invite, and encourage, every member of our parish family to become more involved in the ministries of our parish!
ABOVE ALL remember to pray and ask God’s blessings upon our family of faith as we build His kingdom here and continue to journey with one another on this path to holiness. Please know that I am praying for you, and I ask for your prayers for me, that together through the intercession of Saint Bridget of Sweden, our Patroness, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.