Peace and all Good!
With today’s Feast of Pentecost, we bring our celebration of the Easter Season to a festive close!
“Pentecost, the Greek word for fifty, began as a celebration in thanksgiving for the “first fruits” when winter grains and spring vegetables were harvested, enjoyed, and offered to God. For Christians, Jesus is the “first fruits” of those who have died (1 Corinthians 15:23). His Resurrection heralds our own at the end of time. For now, we live as Christians in the world, empowered by his Spirit of peace and forgiveness. While Pentecost concludes Easter Time, the gift of the Holy Spirit compels us to resound with Easter joys for days to come.” (Sourcebook: Almanac for Pastoral Liturgy)
Pentecost Sunday celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit. The faith and unity present in our Christian communities today are made possible by the gift of the Holy Spirit. “Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the faithful. Enkindle in them the fire of your love. Amen.”
This past week, our Parish Pastoral Council met via Zoom as we have been doing over the last months. One of the key roles of the council is parish planning. Now, there are seven elements for planning which form the essence of our parish life: EVANGELIZATION, WORSHIP, WORD, COMMUNITY, SERVICE, STEWARDSHIP, and LEADERSHIP. The work of the Parish Pastoral Council is primarily to research, consider and propose for action those matters which are considered truly “pastoral”. What actions should we take to enhance the spiritual, emotional and physical well being of our parish community?
At present, the Council is proposing that we set three goals for the parish in the coming year: two from the element of Evangelization and one from the element of Community. The two goals from the element of Evangelization are: To provide a dynamic program to invite and welcome home Catholics who have drifted away from the Church and secondly to create a spirit of hospitality in all “total parish” events. From the element of Community, we have set one goal: To insure the inclusion and participation of different cultures in every aspect of parish life. There are then objectives or ways identified to carry out these goals over the next months. Our hope is that once we are able to return to more regular parish life, various groups will be called together to implement these goals. Once St. Francis Hall is finished and it is safe to gather again, the plan is to call together the entire parish community to discuss and dialogue about these and other goals which would benefit all of us.
I encourage you to refer to our Parish Mission Statement often which is on the front page of our Sunday bulletin each week. “In the spirit of St. Francis, and as Catholics in a community of many cultures, we live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Strengthened by Word and Sacrament, we welcome all into God’s inclusive love. We serve the poor, care for creation, and build a just and compassionate world.” It is the hope of the pastoral council to make this Mission Statement a reality.
As we announced last weekend, Bishop McElroy has given permission for parishioners in the Diocese to attend in person Masses beginning June 14th. Each parish has submitted a plan for the reopening of Mass to the public and we await suggestions and approval of our plan. Clearly, in order to resume our celebration of Mass together, we must put into place strict guidelines to honor the safety of all those in attendance. As the bishop says we must all maintain proper social distancing and respect all health and safety directives. I know that we have been anxiously awaiting our return to Mass, but I ask your continued patience and prayers for Church leadership as we go forward slowly to ensure reverent and safe celebrations of the Liturgy.
In the meantime, please join us for our live-streamed Masses on Sundays and Wednesdays and Thursdays during the week. Let us pray for each other!
Love, Fr. Vince.