FROM THE PASTOR…..MY DEAR PARISH FAMILY, as you knew from the bulletin, I was on a retreat a week ago. One of the conferences given dealt with the mission of the church and its responsibility to be with the people. The retreat master used a quote from Pope Francis which I think sums up what the church is all about and his vision of what we should be doing to be authentic. This quote comes from “THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL,” # 49: “I (Pope Francis) prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a church concerned with being at the center and which then ends by being caught up in a web of OBSESSIONS AND PROCEDURES (my emphasis). If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of REMAINING SHUT UP WITHIN STRUCTURES WHICH GIVE US A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY, WITHIN RULES WHICH MAKE US HARSH JUDGES, WITHIN HABITS WHICH MAKE US FEEL SAFE, (my emphasis) while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: “Give them something to eat.” And the retreat master also used a quote from Fr. Peter Daly’s article entitled, “A Parish Priest’s Hope for the Next Pope” written before the election of Pope Francis. He writes, “Some people think religion is only from the neck up. But I’ve come to see that it is more about the heart than the head. Too often, we answer questions people have not even asked, but we fail to answer the basic question of life everyone is asking: “Am I loved?” I feel these two passages should be a “mission statement” for OLV. People are hungering for the love of God; and what are they receiving? A list of dos and don’ts, or a personal invitation to come and experience a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus? My wish and hope is that OLV would be known as a church, a people, who can say to everyone, “Come with us, let us journey together to the Lord who loves us so very much.”
Just a reminder that today after the 5:00 PM Mass we will have our NEW PARISHIONER PICNIC in Holmes Foster Park (across the street from the church), Pavilion 2 (the upper pavilion). I do hope many new parishioners did RSVP to the office for it is one way for your priests to get to know the new faces we see at Mass. I hope to see many of you there.
This Wednesday our parish will be going to see the PRODUCTION OF MOSES, at Sight and Sound Theatre. We will be leaving the church parking lot after the 9:00 AM Mass. Because of the bus and time constraint, the school children will not be attending the 9:00 AM Mass that morning. Please be on time for boarding. We will stop for a quick lunch before continuing on to the show. After the show, we will have dinner and hopefully return back to OLV by 9:30 PM.
HUMOR FOR THE WEEK - Once there was a millionaire, who collected live alligators. He kept them in the pool in back of his mansion. The millionaire also had a beautiful daughter who was single. One day he decides to throw a huge party, and during the party he announces, "My dear guests . . . I have a proposition to every man here. I will give one million dollars or my daughter to the man who can swim across this pool full of alligators and emerge alive!" As soon as he finished his last word, there was the sound of a large splash!! There was one guy in the pool swimming with all he could and screaming out of fear. The crowd cheered him on as he kept stroking as though he was running for his life. Finally, he made it to the other side with only a torn shirt and some minor injuries. The millionaire was impressed. He said, "My boy that was incredible! Fantastic! I didn't think it could be done! Well I must keep my end of the bargain. Do you want my daughter or the one million dollars?” The guy says, "Listen, I don't want your money, nor do I want your daughter! I want the person who pushed me in that water!"