A Letter from Fr. Paul — May 1, 2016
Nominations for parish leadership continue for one more week, closing after the Masses next weekend. We need new blood and younger members as leaders: please consider this ministry. I also need someone with a financial background for the Finance Council, which meets once a month. If you are interested, please talk with me about it.
We have received some impressive applications for Director of the cluster K through 8 religious formation; the interviewing process continues. Please keep up the prayers.
Congratulations to our children who are receiving the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time in the Eucharist this Sunday and to our youth who will be confirmed on May 9. I thank the parents for tending to the faith development of their children. I don’t know what better gift you can give them! I explain why I say this:
A week ago Friday I read two different articles in the New York Times. One presented the statistics of a sharp rise in suicides across the board in the United States, but especially among women and the middle class. Underlying suicide is usually a sense of despair or no hope. The other dealt with the hope and joy felt by survivors of the earthquake in Montecristo, Ecuador. A statue of Our Lady, brought to the country by the Spaniards in the mid 1500’s, stood undamaged after the quake, though the basilica around it and most of the town lay in rubble and ruin. Despite having lost practically everything of the little they had, these people felt the protection and love of God and His Mother and were at peace.
This hope and peace is the great gift of faith to us in the middle of all the tensions of life. In our Gospel reading today, Jesus is comforting his disciples, preparing them for his absence. He promises them peace and His Spirit Who will be with them to bring that peace. We receive that Spirit in Baptism and the fullness of it in Confirmation. The Spirit gives us direction in life; the Body and Blood of Christ give us the strength we need to do what the Spirit calls us to do. But if we do not learn to listen to the Spirit and if we are not fed with the Body and Blood of Christ, it is difficult for these gifts to help us.
I urge all parents and guardians to reflect on the importance of faith formation for children, faith formation that involves both catechesis and regular attendance at the community’s celebration of the Eucharist. Sometimes family life is filled with so many activities that there is no time left for the most important gift we can give our children: a strong faith that will guide them and give them support and hope in the difficulties of life.
As we celebrate First Communion, Confirmation, and Mother’s Day over the next 10 days, let us pray for our young families in a special way, that their faith may be strong and alive.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS
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