The archdiocesan stewardship appeal for 2020 is behind on reaching its goal and Pius participation has been weak. I urge you to consider donating to this appeal, if you have the means to do so. It supports worthwhile social efforts and services that we use as a parish. Thank you.
Thursday, August 20th, is the feast of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Let us pray in a special way that day for the members of our neighboring parish community.
By coincidence, the next day is the feast of St. Pius X, our patronal saint. Pope from 1903 to 1914, Pius X is most known for urging frequent reception of communion and for lowering the age for receiving first communion. His papal motto, instaurare omnia in Christo, is on the canopy in the sanctuary of our church. It means to restore all things in Christ and he wanted people to receive communion often to strengthen them and to help them bring Christ to the world.
That same objective is reflected in our current parish goal: to foster spiritual growth and a strong desire to make disciples of all people. A disciple is someone who lives Gospel values and strives, in word and deed, to bring the Good News to others. We need the spiritual nourishment of the Eucharist to be able to do that, so Pius X was spot on.
Sometimes the tendency is to stay focused on ourselves: we come to Mass, we go to fellowship, we participate in this committee or council, and that is it. All these things are good, but they should be strengthening us to bring our good news out into the world around us.
In my personal, preliminary look at the results of the Disciple Maker Index survey that almost 200 parishioners took, I can see that some of our weakest areas are having confidence in explaining Church teaching, sharing the story of Jesus, and personal faith sharing. That tells me these areas need to be strengthened, so that we can do what St. Pius X wanted: restore all things in Christ. (By the way, these areas of weakness were the same, in general, for parishes throughout the United States that have taken the survey, showing that these are challenges for us as a Catholic community). Our Formation and Evangelization Commission has been addressing this issue with programs like The 99 Experience, which was interrupted by the pandemic. The commission will be using the information gathered in the survey to move us forward, so that we feel more confident in our faith, are more able to share our story, and are inspired to invite others to join us in the journey of faith.
The Leadership Team is still going through a series of webinars to help us understand how to access and use the data in the survey. I will share some details of the survey results in the September Invitation and they are being shared with the Pastoral Council, which will take the lead in deciding how to use the information for our growth as a community of disciples. I thank all those who made the effort to respond to the survey.
As we honor our patron saint this week, let us pray that we will continue to grow as true disciples, bringing Christ’s love to the world. God bless and stay safe.