First, I want to explain that, while this day is being observed in most places as World Marriage Day, here at Saint Mary we will make special acknowledgment of the gift of marriage next weekend, February 15 and 16. This is because this weekend is the in-pew appeal for the Annual Catholic Charities Appeal. Both are certainly worthwhile occasions, and we decided we ought not set them up in competition with each other.
Second, I want to thank those who spoke at Masses last weekend, in testimony to the impact that the Catholic Returning Home ministry has had in their faith journey. The witnesses were very powerful!
The beginning of the next cycle is just over one week away—Monday evening, February 17, at 7 p.m. in the parish hall (and five consecutive Mondays following that). It can never be too late to extend an invitation to one—or more—Catholic relatives or friends to come and explore this opportunity, since of course it is never too late for a Catholic person to return to the practice of the Faith, no matter how many years one has been away. Parishioners who are presently engaged in the life of the community are the best ambassadors for drawing others into the life of the Church.
Also next weekend, the bulletin will carry the names and bios of the five individuals who have placed themselves forward for service to the St. Mary Parish Pastoral Council. Again, this is a fundamental consultative body in the life of the parish. I am grateful to those who have served over many decades in this body, to those who currently serve, and to those will be discerned through our selection process in a couple of weekends.
Later this month, of course, we will enter the holy season of Lent. I am very much looking forward to hosting Deacon Ralph Poyo, who will lead our Lenten Parish Mission beginning on Sunday evening, March 1. As you can see, his photograph is in the “next door column.” Some of our parishioners had the opportunity to hear him present on a day back in summer. There is no doubt that he is rather direct in his manner of presenting. While I acknowledge that different people may have a natural affinity to varying styles of preaching, I hope that all of us fundamentally approach with spirit of equal openness to that which is consoling about the Truth of the Gospel as well as that which may initially gives us a jolt. As disciples, we are called to engage in continual discernment in our spiritual lives so that we do not fall into complacency amidst a culture that is often subtly and sometimes very blatantly opposed to the full scope of the teachings and Tradition of the Church.
We will begin praying the 2020 Mission prayer at Masses this weekend. I ask that you additionally specifically pray for Deacon Ralph, by name, as individuals and with your families— that he will be open to the Holy Spirit and what the Holy Spirit knows we need to hear, as a community of faith, at this time in our history.
Finally, it is not too late to join in the later sessions of CORe¸ our current series on Prayer: the Soul of Discipleship. It is offered on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m., as well as Wednesday evenings, at 7 p.m.
For quick access to the entire bulletin for this weekend ONLINE, please click on the link below: