April 30, 2017 Parish Life Coordinator Update
I am pleased to provide this update on the Parish Priority Plan and its progress. This update represents an outpouring of perseverance, prayer, and planning. It is clear the Holy Spirit is at work within our parish.
Cultivating the Spiritual Life – The goal of this priority is to encourage those habits that lead us to experience the deep joy of encountering the Lord through a better prayer life. There may be no purer form of prayer and expression of stewardship of time than Eucharistic Adoration. This hour Jesus wants you to spend with Him is spent any way you want. You may bring your own prayer books, use the books in the chapel, read the Bible, pray the rosary, or just sit and relax and enjoy the sweet peace that comes from simply being in the Presence of God. You may feel that you can’t pray well. Don’t let this discourage you. The mere fact that you take time out at a specific time each week to spend an hour with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament pleases Him very much and is in itself a prayer of great faith. Please remember that Perpetual Adoration in a parish is not just for a day, a week, a month, or a year. Rather, it is for always. It is not temporary, but ongoing, lasting, permanent. Jesus waits for us in the Adoration Chapel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Can you give one hour? Please consider committing to an hour each week. Sign ups are available at the entrances of the church, on our parish website, or by calling the parish office.
Living the New Evangelization - The goal of this priority is to equip Blessed Sacrament parishioners with the skills needed to share their faith in an inviting and compelling way. If you are interested in knowing more about how to transfer our faith to future generations, please consider joining a group reading: Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus by Sherry Weddell. This 6 week book study provides tools and resources to “break the silence,” initiate conversations, share the story of faith, and begin walking the path of discipleship together. Stop by the parish office to pick up your copy of the book and weekly reading assignment. Start date, time and location to be announced soon.
Enhancing the Sunday Mass Experience – We hope to create the conditions for the faithful to more powerfully encounter the Lord at our parish. Deepen your understanding of the Sunday Readings and how they apply to your everyday life by joining the Opening the Word Scripture Study Groups. Study Groups will be held Sundays starting June 4th at 8:00 A.M. and 10:00 A.M. (Locations announced later.) All materials will be provided to you each Sunday or visit FORMED.org* (parish code 3MKD43) and experience Opening the Word on your own.
For our Parish Priority Plan to bear fruit, we need to be reminded that the plan will require the commitment, energy, and partnership ALL parishioners. Please be mindful of any area where you can offer participation. We must believe that our parish will grow stronger through the relationships we build with God and each other in fulfilling our Vision of “Creating Disciples and Living the Stewardship Way of Life”. Please continue to pray for God’s blessing on this plan as we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.
March 26, 2017 Parish Life Coordinator Update
I am pleased to provide this update on the Parish Priority Plan and its progress. This update represents an outpouring of perseverance, prayer, and planning. It is clear the Holy Spirit is at work within our parish. For any plan to work, it must be reviewed regularly. This article provides some accomplishments since the Parish Priority Plan was first published.
Cultivating the Spiritual Life – The goal of this priority is to encourage those habits that lead us to experience the deep joy of encountering the Lord through a better prayer life. Prayer for Beginners by Peter Kreeft was handed out at Christmas as part of our Parish Book Program. Forty-three book studies were formed to discuss Peter Kreeft’s profound advice and practical steps for a better prayer life. Kreeft covers all of the key areas for understanding and developing that intimate form of communication with our Creator we call prayer. He covers the necessity of prayer, various motives and methods, steps, patience, sin, faith and grace. Copies of the book and the study guide are available in the parish office.
Enhancing the Sunday Mass Experience – We hope to create the conditions for the faithful to more powerfully encounter the Lord at our parish. At the entrances of the church are copies of Welcome to Our Church and Your Guide for the Mass booklet (two books in one) . One side of the booklet explains our faith, roles in the Church, the sacraments, common prayers and more. Flip the book over and the other side is a worship aid with the Order of Mass and people’s parts, as well as a commentary explaining why we do what we do. Also, every Sunday weekly editions of Magnifikids will be available. Magnifikids is for children between the ages of 6-12. Each edition offers explanations of the Sunday Mass readings and prayers. It offers many suggestions of how to live the entire week with the Lord. We invite you to take copies of each of these as you enter church.
Living the New Evangelization - The goal of this priority is to equip Blessed Sacrament parishioners with the skills needed to share their faith in an inviting and compelling way. Sixty parishioners recently completed our ChristLife series. ChristLife equips Catholics for the essential work of evangelization. It provides a great opportunity for parishioners and guests to encounter Jesus and to grow in this personal relationship. It is also a way that our parish can begin to create conditions to becoming an evangelizing community. Our next series of ChristLife will begin August 30th. We are also currently taking registrations for other evangelization opportunities (found on page 5 of the bulletin and HERE).
For our Parish Priority Plan to bear fruit, we need to be reminded that the plan will require the commitment, energy, and partnership ALL parishioners. Please be mindful of any area that you can offer support and participation. We must believe that our parish will grow stronger through the relationships we build with God and each other in fulfilling our Vision. Please continue to pray for God’s blessing on this plan as we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.
July 24, 2016 Pastor's Corner on Sunday Mass Experience
Praised be Jesus Christ!
As I am sure most of you know, we at Blessed Sacrament are in the process of implementing our Parish Priority Plan which will serve as the “road map” for the next three to five years. Our three priorities are:
1) Cultivating Our Spiritual Life
2) Living the New Evangelization
3) Enhancing Our Sunday Mass Experience
One aspect of the priority of enhancing the Sunday Mass experience is that every part of the Mass be fulfilled and executed to the best of our ability in order to create the greatest atmosphere of prayer possible. This responsibility falls to each member who participates at every Mass, but in a particular way it is especially important for those who carry out a particular ministry at Mass i.e. lectors, cantors, ushers and servers. We have a long tradition of excellence in each of these areas but of course we will continue to strive to attain ever greater heights of perfection in the worship that we offer to God.
I would like to call attention to one particular group who assists us every week in our worship—the Mass Captains. The Mass Captain program is a group of high school aged men who undergo extensive liturgical training in order to be elite servers in liturgical worship, leading and overseeing the younger servers ensuring the smooth and reverent celebration of the Mass. In addition to liturgical service, the Mass Captains also come together on a regular basis to work together on service projects, and to enjoy recreational activities. Through the Mass Captain program, young men will develop leadership skills, reverence for, and understanding of the liturgy, a deepening of their identity as Catholic Gentlemen and most importantly, they will deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ.
Last weekend, under the leadership of Dan Wetta, the Mass Captains had a sweet corn fundraiser where they went out and picked corn in West Sedgwick County, then offered it for a freewill donation after all the Masses. It was a huge success and the proceeds will be used to fund the Mass Captains formation and recreational activities. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Dan, and everyone who helped to make this such a success as well as to thank everyone who has supported our Mass Captains. These young men take their role at Mass very seriously and they do such a fine job serving which helps to add to the dignity and solemnity of our worship. So be sure to thank them for their role and the work that they do in assisting us in our worship.
In Christ through Mary,
June 5, 2016 Pastor's Corner Introducing the Parish Priority Plan
This weekend is the official proclamation of the Parish Priority Plan. Over the past two months we have given ten parish presentations on the Parish Priority Plan. If you did not have a chance to attend one of the presentations, no sweat, there will be numerous opportunities to jump in and participate in the plan. At each of the presentations I shared that the Parish Priority Plan will only be successful to the extent that each parishioner takes ownership of the plan and makes the plan their own. During the entire process we have used a planning model that is essentially Spirit led from the bottom up and not merely top-down. In other words, the plan has organically emerged from the souls of the faithful at Blessed Sacrament. The organic shape of the plan is one reason why the plan has been two years in the making.
I mentioned that the plan really has to become not just our parish plan but our own personal plan for holiness. Parishes are vibrant only when the faithful take the plan/mission of the Church as their own personal plan/mission. This is my hope for the Parish Priority Plan at Blessed Sacrament. The plan has three priorities. These three priorities reflect the heart and soul of living faith at the next level. The priority of Living the New Evangelization is where it all starts. This priority aims to equip us with the skills needed to share the faith in an inviting and compelling way. The second priority is Cultivating Our Spiritual Life. This priority’s goals aim to encourage those habits that open us up to experience the deep joy of encountering the Lord through a better prayer life. The third and final priority concerns the source and summit of our Catholic faith, our life in Christ, namely the Eucharist. The title of the third priority: Enhancing Our Sunday Mass Experience. This priority is directed toward creating the conditions for each of the faithful to encounter the Lord more powerfully at our parish Masses.
The three priorities are connected to the overall vision of the plan. The vision concerns where we want to go as a parish, as a Church. You might say that it is the eschatological focus of the plan, the end game. We have chosen the event of the Annunciation as the image for our vision. According to Pope St. John Paul II it was at the Annunciation when Mary became a disciple. The Pope states, “In a sense Mary as Mother became the first ‘disciple’ of her Son, the first to whom he seemed to say: ‘Follow me,’ even before he addressed this call to the Apostles or anyone else.” The vision statement is taken from the Gospel of John 1:43, “Come, follow me.” We are in the process of commissioning an oil on canvas replica of Henry Tanner’s 1898 painting of the Annunciation to hang in our Church. The painting will be underscored with the above passage of Pope St. John Paul II.
More to come . . .
Ad majorem Dei gloriam,
Rev. John F. Jirak