Pastor's Column, Sunday, August 20, 2017

Submitted by St. Mary on Sun, 08/20/2017 - 1:56pm

Dear Parishioners:

The following is a statement from Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., of Philadelphia, in response to the tragic events of last week:
Racism is a poison of the soul. It’s the ugly, original sin of our country, an illness that has never fully healed. Blending it with the Nazi salute, the relic of a regime that murdered millions, compounds the obscenity. Thus the wave of public anger about white nationalist events in Charlottesville this weekend is well warranted. We especially need to pray for those injured in the violence.

But we need more than pious public statements. If our anger today is just another mental virus displaced tomorrow by the next distraction or outrage we find in the media, nothing will change. Charlottesville matters. It’s a snapshot of our public unraveling into real hatreds brutally expressed; a collapse of restraint and mutual respect now taking place across the country. We need to keep the images of Charlottesville alive in our memories. If we want a different kind of country in the future, we need to start today with a conversion in our own hearts, and an insistence on the same in others. That may sound simple. But the history of our nation and its tortured attitudes toward race proves exactly the opposite.

                                                                     Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
   As I surveyed the Mass intentions for this weekend, I was struck by the intention for the 5:30 p.m. Mass.  Of course, most typically, individuals and families set up the remembrance for a loved one who has died.  Nevertheless, as this intention demonstrates— “Alex Nguyen and All College Students”— it is certainly most appropriate to honor the living and lift up their aspirations and well-being in a Mass.  
   I pray that our young men and young ladies who are heading to college out of town, whether for the first year or otherwise, will sense the active love and support  of this parish community, and that they will carry the flame of Faith with them, able to bear witness to their Catholic identity even as they encounter persons of very diverse backgrounds and points-of-view.  Standing up for the Gospel of Life ought not to be labelled as “intolerance”.  We are called to be charitable, and we are called to defend the convictions that have been handed on to us , which are as real as the features that we have inherited genetically.  Blessings, young Catholics! Stand strong in the Light of Christ!
   The demolition of the Bowman Street house has been accomplished.  Once again, we plan to take our time in determining a short-term as well as long-term use of the land on that lot.  Quite probably, our St. Mary School junior high students will be invited to submit ideas, as a design project.
   I am happy to announce that this fall, one of the candidates for the Permanent Diaconate program of the Diocese of Cleveland, Mr. Robert Cavanaugh, has been assigned to work with us here at St. Mary.  Mr. Bob Zerrer, who is also entering his final year of formation for ordination, will be working with the St. Peter Loudonville community.  Bob, with his wife, Lee and their children and extended family are long-time parishioners at St. Mary, and we hold them in prayer with joyful anticipation for his ordination, God willing, in the spring!
                                                                     Peace for All,

Fr. Stephen