Pastor's Column, Sunday, November 5, 2017

Submitted by St. Mary on Sun, 11/05/2017 - 1:56pm

Dear Parishioners:

  In this issue of our bulletin, you will find the traditional roster of those members of Saint Mary Parish who have entered Eternal Life in the past twelve months.  It is so very important for us to pray for souls— throughout the year, of course, and in a special way during the month of November.  Being in my fifteenth year as Pastor, there are very few individuals among that roll call whom I have not known in substantial measure.  These precious lives include the well-mature and the very young.  Some lived with infirmities of extended length, others have gone forth with a suddenness that stuns.  
   It matters not first and foremost whether one recognizes their names.  What matters is that we open our hearts and create space for lifting these souls to God in prayer of earnest love.  Would this not serve as a wonderful opportunity for families to discuss the gift of life as framed by our Christian Faith?  Reject the images of zombies and embrace the beautiful convictions of Catholicism!  Include the sobering, yet hope-filled realities of what the Church calls the Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell and Purgatory (one article to check out:  http://catholicexchange.com/remember-last-things).  Prayerfully begin a conversation about a Christian funeral.  It does not need to be morbid.  God, the Author of Life, has us all in His care.  Death is a threshold!  We do not deny death...we affirm life!
   As life, itself, includes manifold transitions, I want to acknowledge and thank Jenny Bartelheim, who has served St. Mary Parish in the office very faithfully for the past seven-and-one-half years— including the creation of our bulletin, a major task!  We wish Jenny the very best as she enters a new portion of her journey.
   Finally, while Veterans Day will be acknowledged in the prayers of the Mass next weekend, since it falls on a Saturday we are including a prayer in this issue.  Indeed, our hearts ought to overflow with appreciation for our veterans.  

God of peace, we pray for those who have served our nation and have laid down their lives
to protect and defend our freedom.
We pray for those who have fought, 
whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war,
whose nights are haunted by memories 
too painful for the light of day.
We pray for those who serve us now, 
especially for those in harm’s way.
Shield them from danger and bring them home.
Turn the hearts and minds of our leaders and our enemies to the work of justice and a harvest of peace.
Spare the poor, Lord, spare the poor!
May the peace you left us, the peace you gave us, 
be the peace that 
sustains, the peace 
that saves us.
Christ Jesus, hear us! Lord Jesus, 
hear our prayer!
Amen.“                          

                                                                       Fr. Stephen