Ted Lewis' Story
The Church recently celebrated the feast day of St. John XXIII. I was at Mass that day and recall thinking how understandable and expected it would have been for this supposed “interim pope,” at age 76, to hold his papacy seat without much fanfare until his death.
God’s surprise turned that notion entirely on its ear as St. John XXIII called the Bishops to council and the Second Vatican Council was convened. The Holy Spirit was breathing new life into the Church and this elderly “interim pope” was the spark.
I imagine that “Come Follow Me” was a message that resonated across the globe during that time and in the years to follow as the Church was changed forever.
I realized, in a new way, the tremendous value of the spirit of openness and creativity and new approaches, most especially in our faith life. This perspective, I believe, is fruit from the two-year commitment that was made to work with you, the parishioners, and the parish priority team to create our priority plan.
The new parish priority plan seems so right, what God intended for us.
Just like during the time of St. John XXIII and throughout history there is a tendency among the faithful, over time, to roll along in the faith without much fanfare. A spark is a Godsend, literally! I see our priority plan as our parish spark and a trifecta spark at that – Cultivating Our Spiritual Life, Living the New Evangelization, and Enhancing the Sunday Mass Experience.
The Holy Spirit is breathing new life into our parish with these three priorities and to me it feels like our stewardship way of life is being refreshed with new approaches, creativity, and an air of openness.
I appreciate immensely Fr. John’s leadership over the years.
-Challenging us to recognize and understand what true discipleship means.
-Coaching us to seek and embrace a personal relationship with Christ.
-Making available resources and opportunities for faith formation.
We are at the next step - action! Everything is in place and the invitations have gone out: Come Follow Me. Pray with me for our priority plan leaders and their teams.
With much anticipation I look forward to the many stories and fanfare that will be forthcoming from our families, our youth, and our community in our worship and witness.
Katie Coffey's Story
Two years ago, a team was formed at Blessed Sacrament to create a plan that would make our good parish even better. Parishioner input was carefully combed through, and one thing was clear to our team: there were needs to be met within all facets of our parish.
Upon this realization, we set forth to bring into light ways to personalize faith here at Blessed Sacrament, all the while keeping an arching umbrella of “meeting people where they are at.” Every one of us encounters Christ in a different way. We all crave to be special in His eyes, but our cravings are unique to who we are. Three priorities arose out of our process, which do, and will, offer opportunities to grow in faith: Cultivating Our Spiritual Life, Living the New Evangelization and Enhancing Our Sunday Mass Experience.
When Father Jirak asked me to be a part of the parish’s process to create the new Parish Priority Plan, he never mentioned that I, Katie Coffey, would be writing a letter blaring the love I have for my faith in this bulletin. Back then, I would have said, “no way.” However, helping to build a new Parish Priority Plan the last two years has also built new structures within me. I had to spend time and seek out new ways to fill my “reservoir,” as Father Jirak puts it. This allowed me to have the ability to let my faith life overflow into my family, friends, and now you, my parish family.
On behalf of the Parish Priority Team, and the leaders of our new priorities, I say to you, “Come, follow me.” Come, follow me to increase Christ within yourself, your family, and outside of the Blessed Sacrament walls. Come, follow me and let the Holy Spirit work in ways that we have yet to realize, in order to meet people where they are at.
In what way is Christ beckoning you? I would love to know, so that I can follow you too.