To view the bulletin, or to print your own copy, please click here.
If I stood here and thought I could explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity, then I would be a fool. Theologians for centuries have tried, but, the bottom line is this: God is a mystery that is experienced and lived. In our rational and scientific world, the fact that God cannot be found under a microscope or detected by the most sensitive equipment, people walk away from the faith saying it is all false.
For you and me here today, Jesus is all the proof we need. His life and mission reveal all we need to know about God: God is Love. Not a sappy, syrupy love, but a love that sacrifices, focuses on the other, gives life, endures, forgives and never ends. Reread First Corinthians 13 and all you need to know about who God is there.
In our baptisms, we are immersed into that Love and rise a new person with a new mission of life. Our mission as the baptized people of God is to spread the Love that is God into our world. Again, Jesus showed us how: to live and love as he did. Our baptism mandates a way of life that is not always easy, but, true love never is. True love takes effort on our part, has responsibilities, and means we live in specific way. Remember the words of a church song that was popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s: they will know we are Christians by our love.
This Love must be the core of how we are formed in the faith. We have focused too much on the head and learning the doctrine (which is important), and this has been at the expense of experiencing the God who is Love. We worship because of Love not because of duty. Two married people long to be in each presence; we should long to be in the presence of the ultimate Love. A marriage will not last if the two people are not in each other’s presence, neither can our faith. The same with being a person of faith.
On the Altar, in the Word and in the community gathered, pure Love is present in our midst. True Love is not found anywhere else on a Sunday morning but at the altar of the Lord. A life of prayer, acts of charity, celebrating the sacraments are all about Love…..about God.
In a day and age, when worship is becoming less and less important, our mission is to remind our brothers and sister about the power of God and what true Love can accomplish.
Why? St Paul tells us in Second Corinthians: For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus.
How? Slip a copy of this homily under their door; I usually post them on my blog on St Mary’s website. Invite someone to come with you. We all need to live as Christians will the values and morals that Jesus taught us. Pray for one person who has fallen away. Remember though: you and I need to do it more than once! Feel free to add to this list and then share with others what you have done.
Our mission is to bring people to Jesus; let God, let True Love do the rest.
To view the bulletin, or to print your own copy, please click here.
from Fr Tom
This weekend is the biannual trustee report. My part is to place before you the vision and the goals for our community. Over a year ago, I put forth the vision that we are disciples called to make disciples. I would like to add to that vision. My prayer and dream for our community is: that we will be Spirit-filled
disciples who call others to Christ. The Dynamic Catholic event in September, I believe, can reignite our excitement and growth in the faith. However, it cannot just be 9/13. Together, enlivened and led by the Spirit, we need to work together on deepening our faith in Christ. We also need to be open to the Spirit leading us in new and uncharted territory. My prayer for the renewal of the Church in general and for us is that God will lead us into a radical sense of discipleship. How will we know it is happening?
We will see the gifts of the Spirit among us: the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
The fruits of the Spirit will be in abundance among us: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity.
This is my dream and vision for us, this local Church
Before Dave and Lora come up for their part of the report, I would like to thank Dave for his 6 years of service to this local community. He has been a valuable asset to me since I became your pastor by his guidance and listening ear. His time, energy, and faith have been evident to me in his dedication to the mission of Jesus in this local community. So, in your name and mine, thank you Dave, for you have done and will continue to do.
From Dave Hans
Thank you for giving us a few minutes to share our Spring update. As we have over the past few years, I will focus on the treasure aspect of our stewardship.
A few weeks ago, the Finance Committee met to review our 2018-19 financial summary and agree on a budget for new fiscal year that starts on July 1. I am cautiously optimistic that we will end the current fiscal year, close to our projected budget. We continue to fall short in our weekly offertory collection, but our spending and financial obligations are in check.
Based on our current outlook, the Finance committee reviewed and agreed on a budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The budget includes continued reduction in some operational costs and flat year to year projection for the weekly offertory collection. We did this, however, with the understanding that for – one last time – I will talk about the need for all of us to consider a regular offertory giving.
Many of us have grown up with a time honored tradition – the offertory collection envelope. If you use the envelopes, and do so on a regular basis, thank you. If you would like to start using the envelope process, please call or email Ben at the parish office. Information on contacting the parish office is in this week’s bulletin.
However, a much easier approach for all of us is e-giving. Just like using an electronic bank withdrawal process to pay for other household bills, you can do the same with your regular contribution to the church. The process is easy. To start, you contact the Parish office and they will get you set up with an account. You can then personalize your offering – both the frequency and amount of your giving to match your family budget.
The e-giving process helps us account for a regular and sustainable weekly offertory income. About one third of us use e-giving today and we would like to increase this target to 50%. Our finance meetings would certainly go more smoothly if we had a consistent view of the weekly offertory collection.
If you have any questions about the e-giving process, please talk to Lora or me at any point. Our families have used e-giving for several years and we would be glad to discuss the process and address any questions you may have about it.
As for the Bishop’s Appeal and the Re-Igniting our Faith Campaign, Father Tom has done an excellent job of sharing regular status in the bulletin. We are tracking slightly under our goal for the 2019 Bishop’s Appeal. This Appeal helps support several diocesan wide programs that impact many of us in our community both directly and indirectly.
Over the coming weeks, you will see more information about the projects we are undertaking as a result of your contributions to the Re-igniting our Faith campaign. The first projects, renovation of the bathroom in the church hall, and updates to the interior of our church, are a direct result of the feedback you all provided to Father Tom and campaign committee.
As you know, this is my final Trustee Report. It has been my honor to work first with Father David and for the past two years, Father Tom, who is a wonderful pastor for our St Mary’s community. We are blessed to have him here advocating for new ideas to grow and support discipleship and evangelization.
It has also been my distinct pleasure to have worked with two dedicated and faith-filled trustees – first Mary Martinez and for the past three years – Lora Santilli. Finally, I want to thank all of you for your support of St Mary’s. Your wonderful contribution of time, talent and treasure is what makes this church a loving, trusting and welcoming community of believers in Christ.
from Lora Santilli
Thank you Dave, it has been a pleasure to serve as Trustee with you. Your unwavering, faithful stewardship is a model for all of us.
With the end of Dave’s term we are in the process of selecting a new trustee. Thank you to everyone who has submitted names for consideration. They are being vetted and we hope to announce our new Trustee shortly.
While we are on the subject of transition, we have another underway. After 14 years on Pastoral Council, yes I said 14 years, many of those as Council Chair, Chris Desany has completed his tour of duty. Thank you Chris for your leadership, organization and thoughtful participation.
Chris, Dave, you will both be missed. Everyone, please join me in a round of grateful applause for these fine gentlemen.
At our recent trustee meeting, we compiled our annual report and it was so rewarding to see the amazing work being done within our parish and out in the community.
The pastoral council has been reflecting on evangelization efforts and how the community can be more effective disciples of Jesus. One important project, which I hope you have heard of, is the Dynamic Catholic “Find Your Greatness” event to be held Friday, September 13th at 6:30 p.m. If you are familiar with Matthew Kelley’s work, you know what a treat we are in for. The hope is that this will be another opportunity to enliven our faith life and the mission of the parish. Please get your tickets now as this is open to parishes across the diocese, and we will sell out! Discount tickets available through Ben. (The website is full price!)
Our parish continues to support our wider community as we regularly welcome outside, non-faith-based programs to use our facilities on a weekly basis. Our hope is that such events show our commitment to support the diversity of our local community.
We continue to host families through Family Promise of the Capital Region and also have an active effort to increase our Pastoral Care ministry to the sick and homebound and those in nursing homes, in addition to regularly visiting the hospitals.
The parish is generous week after week in our food donations for Concerns U as well as our support of their Christmas store in December with our “giving tree” gift collections, and returnable bottle collection to buy new books. There are ongoing projects for Circles of Mercy and Right to Life collections during the month of October.
This year, in partnership with St. John the Evangelist/St. Joseph’s, we saw the widely successful underwear and sock drive during Lent. Our generous collections helped St. Paul’s Shelter, CONSERNS-U, Circles of Mercy, Schenectady City Mission, and Joseph House in Troy.
Prayer & Worship continues to be a great source of blessing for us. The competence demonstrated in all our ministries– liturgical, music, lectors, eucharistic ministers, altar servers, hospitality – is extraordinary.
Coordinators and leaders for the Sacramental events like baptism and marriage and the Bereavement Ministry continue to serve in most generous ways.
This year has seen many rewarding developments in the area of Catechesis. The RCIA Team is to be commended for their shepherding of one person who was baptized, confirmed and welcomed to the Lord’s Table at the Easter Vigil in April.
This is the fourth year of our peer-coordinated Scripture Study program and participants have expressed that it has been an extremely rewarding program.
During the past 10 years of Maureen’s leadership our youth faith formation programs have doubled in size. Currently our youth programs consist of 250 families, 363 students, and 92 catechists.
Our middle schoolers will be participating in a trip to Pyramid Life Center July 7th and Safari planning is underway in preparation for Vacation Bible Camp in August. The title this year is ROAR: Life is Wild, God is Good.
We started Lent with a Mardi Gras celebration and retreat and had 40 parishioners involved in 4 small faith sharing groups that focused on the Sunday readings.
Evangelization efforts continue to grow and we are increasing use of our social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook as well as “My Parish App.” We proudly display our parish video on the website and show it off every chance we get.
One more fun event coming up is our annual Golf Classic on Friday, August 23rd. We are back at Burden Lake and the planning committee is hard at work making this 20th year even more special. Please join us for golf, or if you are not a golfer like me, join us for dinner, awards and bag raffle after.
None of this would be possible without the dedicated efforts of each and every one of you. We are always in need of more hands and invite you to consider which ministry is your calling. To assist with this, you will find a sheet of paper in your pew that briefly describes more than 25 different opportunities to get involved. Please take a peek and let us know what interests you!
You can drop the form in the collection basket – give to me, Dave or Father Tom – call or email Ben in the office – whatever works for you. Over the coming weeks you will also have the opportunity to hear a little bit more about each of these ministries. Happy to answer any questions you may have as well.
Thank you all for your time this morning and may you continue to be bathed in the blessings of our Lord.
To view the bulletin, or to print your own copy, please click here.