Pastor's Column, Sunday, October 22, 2017

Submitted by St. Mary on Sun, 10/22/2017 - 1:56pm

Dear Parishioners:

   “It helps to be able to put a name with the face!”  How often have we heard this expression, or one of its many variations?  In any issue of our bulletin, there are a lot of names. Some are attached to organizations that are sponsoring an event or ministry here at St. Mary; others are associated with the intention of a specific celebration of Mass or the reception of a sacrament.  Still others have been submitted for prayer due to illness or prayer need.  
   More recently, we have been able regularly to include photographs of parishioners and, with particular frequency, students of St. Mary School. As a matter of fact, I snapped the cluster of photos of the children that appears in this issue— I was just so edified at their diligence and encouragement of one another as they worked on their studies in the “latchkey” period of late afternoon!
   Our level of recognition is bound to vary, and surely on a regular basis, I find myself saying to an individual, “I’m sorry, but I need again to ask your name!”  In any case, I believe that as disciples of Christ, we are called to desire to reach out and discover one another, not embarrassedly but joyfully.  We cannot help that St. Mary is a large community.  We can each help create an increasing sense of connection for one another!
   On another page of this issue appear the names of our young men and young ladies who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation next Saturday, October 28, at 11 a.m.  Benedictine Abbot, Rt. Rev. Gary A. Hoover will confer the sacrament.  I encourage you to clip the  names and, whether you know them by face yet or not, to lift them and their discipleship up in your prayers.
   I am so happy when we are able to provide a place for wider community efforts of outreach and service.  Case in point: this coming Thursday, October 26, from 5-8 p.m., in our Activity Center (school gym), One Eighty (formerly STEPS) is sponsoring their 19th. Annual Harvest Bash.  This event is open to the entire community, and special effort is made to include children and families from our neighborhood, where there are many challenges associated with poverty.  I hope many parishioners will come and join with our brothers and sisters in Christ and put some more names with the faces! 
   On Sunday, October 29, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, Saint Mary will host a service of Common Prayer in Commemoration of the 500th Year of the Reformation.  Such gatherings are happening across the nation.  In fact, this past Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Record carried an article and photograph associated with a similar service held at Ashland University, where Bishop Nelson Perez delivered the sermon.  Our service will include prayer, music from a joint ensemble for several churches, and a free-will offering on behalf of efforts to combat the opioid crisis in our community.

                                                                  Peace, Fr. Stephen