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Archives for July 2018
The 23rd Psalm is one of the most familiar and well-loved psalms of all 150 psalms. It is often prayed at funerals and in times of trouble. In today’s liturgy, it serves as a connection between Jeremiah’s challenge to the leaders of his day and Jesus who is the Good Shepherd filled with pity for the sheep.
In Biblical times, shepherds were not the most respected members of society. Often, because they were out in the fields with the flocks, they were not as observant of the Sabbath laws. It was hard work with little pay, they were working with animals that were not the smartest knives in the drawer. The sheep needed the shepherd to keep them out of trouble and wandering away. He made sure the sheep had a good place to graze and water to drink
Yet, it is this image that is used to describe the King of Israel. Jesus uses to describe himself. Our Shepherd doesn’t worry about public opinion about who is worth being saved. Our Shepherd is willing to work hard for us because he loves usâ€¦. he doesn’t count the cost. Just look at the Cross. Our Shepherd comes looking for us when we stray or get lost. He provides for all our needs, even when we don’t know what we need. God even forces us to rest: Keep holy the Sabbath. We need to remember this today.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
Our society rewards us when we over work; yet, the number of people, especially our young people, dealing with stress related issues is increasing. Our Shepherd challenges us to stop and see the beauty around us; the beauty of the world is his gift to us.
Even in the darkest and scariest of times, he is there.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
We never need to be afraid; God is always with us.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows
Our Shepherd invites us by name to his table; even if others don’t feel we are welcome. He spreads a table of love, acceptance, and joy; he honors us with this invitation. Think of it: it is an honor to be here. To be here at the heavenly table that God spreads before us is not earned or because we are a certain race or class, etc.: God invites all to this table. Each of us here is special in the sight of God. What a great place to linger; who would want to leave early? The host honors us with the invitation; why would we not want to stay with the other guests?
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
God calls us to live our lives as fully as we can here on earth and to live fully with him in the pasture of heaven. To live fully here is to live a life dedicated to God and His Gospel. To live fully is to put God before all else. To live fully is to open up our hearts and lives to our Shepherd who is intimately involved in our lives. To live fully here is to keep focused on the pastures of heaven promised to all.
May our Shepherd touch your heart this week.
May He lead you to a place of rest and peace.
May God touch your hearts to realize the honor of being invited here to His table
And may He give you the grace to live fully here and in the meadows of heaven.
Church of St. Mary Reigniting Discipleship Survey Results Spring 2018
Thank you for the great response! We received 172 responses from parishioners aged 14 to “80 something”. The survey results, along with input from the parish staff, finance committee and pastoral council, and Re-Igniting Discipleship committee will help inform the future strategic plan and priorities. If we meet our goal of $519,730, we will have $363,811 (70%) available to help address these needs.
What is the best thing about CSM?
Sense of community (92), Leadership/Fr. Tom/Homilies (19), Faith Formation and Youth Ministry (17), Music/Choir (9), Liturgies (8)
What is the one thing we need to work on?
Youth and family involvement (25), Getting more people involved (11), Social events (7), Better communication (5), Outreach to community/homebound (5), Music (4), Mass attendance (4)
|Most Common Responses||What items would you like to see for the church building and grounds?||What programs would you like to see the parish develop or enhance?|
|1||25 responses regarding developing the back lawn pavilion, grotto, gazebo, veggie/flower/rosary garden, benches||35 responses social/fellowship events including BBQ, coffee and snacks after mass, whole family activities|
|2||10 responses new carpet||23 responses service opportunities to help the poor, soup kitchen, food drive, Veterans/Wounded Warriors, church store|
|3||9 responses padded pews||21 responses Adults: Pilgrimages, perpetual Eucharistic adoration, lay minister development, evangelical initiatives, bible study, theology of the body, adult education, mental health programs, separate men’s and women’s prayer groups|
|9 responses new ceiling|
|4||8 responses replace water fountain/add a water bottle filler||14 responses community outreach including driving programs to get people to church, connecting with local Catholic schools, connecting with other parishes|
|8 responses renovate bathrooms|
|5||5 responses renovate kitchen||6 responses Youth: faith formation, youth committee, school age interactive events, youth mass|
|6||4 responses connect church and Rockefeller parking lots, keep bridge free of snow and ice||5 responses RCIA|
|4 responses young adult meetings (age 25-50)
4 responses Music ministry
4 responses Garden club
(3 or fewer responses each)
|Smaller albs, video games, pool, basketball court, prayer/statue candles, adoration chapel, stained glass, paint/cover walls of church, recycling, display divine mercy photo, cry room, Eucharistic bells, outdoor scenes for Christmas and Easter, religious stone, update lighting in church, display church and American flags, awning for front entrance, kneeler for cantor, larger choir loft, burial nook, more class room space to get faith formation out of parish hall||Altar server training, Saturday mass, bake sale, 5K Run, CYO, Stephen ministry, Middle school mission, marriage/couple programs, community art project, booklet of programs at CSM and how to join, book exchange, sing Silent Night at Christmas Eve mass in the dark, suggestion box|
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We celebrate this weekend the feast of St Kateri Tekawitha; the lily of the Mohawks. How well her story captures the spirit of this weekend’s readings. God touched Kateri’s life at an early age in spite of the ridicule she received. God chose her not because she was powerful; Amos was only a tree surgeon. God choose her in her poverty, her blindness, her disfigurement from small pox to be the radiant and beautiful light of His presence. God chooses you and me the same way. We are called to be his disciples in our fear and powerlessness, in our poverty and weakness to bear the light of the peace and justice of the Kingdom, today
The Apostles were sent out by Jesus with nothing but a message and faith in him. The reality of this is that when God calls us to do something in His name, all we need is Himâ€¦..and we never walk alone because of Him and the community of faith. We cannot live Christianity alone. Yet many say, they can pray at home on a Sunday morning. Jesus shows us in today’s Gospel: without a community around us, we will not be able to do the work of the Kingdom. We see this is Kateri’s life too. Even though she lived with her tribe and family, she was ridiculed for her faith. It was the faith of the other Christians that sustained her. She did not go alone to Canada when her uncle insisted she get married in spite of her wanting to completely give her life to Christ. She left withheld faith in Jesus and journeyed with others to travel from Auriesville (the Fonda area) to just south of Montreal. Remember this was on foot; a distance of about 216 miles. Jesus walked with her and her companions the entire way; His Spirit filled her as the Spirit filled the hearts of the apostles.
Just like the apostles returned to Jesus with joy, so Kateri returned to the Jesus she loved at 24 years of age. The radiance of her love of Jesus and His love for her shone on her face at the time of her death and all the scars from the small pox disappeared. Jesus revealed in her the true beauty of a Christian is the faithfulness of a heart; not how a person looks, not what they own, not where they live.
Our true beauty is from our willingness to be sent and proclaim the Kingdom. This is the mandate of the Gospel. As the Council Father’s of Vatican II wrote in Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity:
The laity share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ and therefore have their own role to play in the mission of the whole People of God in the Church and in the world. They exercise a genuine apostolate by their activity on behalf of bringing the gospel and holiness to men, and on behalf of penetrating and perfecting the temporal sphere of things through the spirit of the Gospel.
God chooses each of us to move beyond our comfortability, like Amos and Kateri
Jesus sends us out together to proclaim the Kingdom of God.
May we like Amos, the Apostles and Kateri respond with a resounding : I will go.
O God of all the nations,
Like Amos, you called Kateri to be a prophetic voice to her people and to us today.
She reminds us to look beyond a person’s looks, origins, poverty and see the radiance of your face.
You sent Kateri like the Apostles to tell her people about you.
May her example and prayers enable us to tell our world today about you without counting the cost.
O God who choose her and us, not because of our looks, money or influence but because of love, help us to in all the radiance of your face.