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This Sunday’s second reading from St. Paul to the Corinthians is telling of how the Christian is to live in this world, namely, “we walk by faith,” and in a way that “while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.” In other words, our ultimate goal of heaven and eternal life with God is the purpose that motivates our thinking and behavior. Contrary to popular belief, St. Paul makes it crystal clear that heaven is not a given for us. He states, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.”

What we do now matters for our eternal destiny! This is the primary reason that the parish is taking on the long and arduous process of creating a pastoral plan for the future. Continuous growth in the love of God and neighbor does not come by accident. We must be intentional. As Proverbs 29:18 states, “where there is no vision the people perish.” A pastoral plan is a human and graced effort to strategically cooperate more fully with God’s grace to promote continuous growth in holiness and going “home to the Lord.” Without mincing words, our eternal destiny depends upon our personal and parish plan for life. Either the parish builds the people of God up in the life of holiness or leads them to spiritually perish—no pun intended. :-)

As part of our parish pastoral planning process, everyone was invited to complete a survey called the Disciple Maker Index (DMI).  The DMI was created by the Catholic Leadership Institute to provide parishes with meaningful data on the spiritual growth of parishioners and overall parish effectiveness. Blessed Sacrament parish had an outstanding survey completion rate, so thank you for taking the time to complete the DMI. It is not always fun to take personal assessments, especially when it comes to behavior associated with the life of faith.  The results of the survey will play an important part in identifying where the Holy Spirit is leading us as parish towards continuous growth in love of God and neighbor over the next three to five years.

Over the coming months, I am seeking to keep the parish engaged as active participants in the pastoral planning process. Be assured that there will be frequent updates to the entire parish regarding this work, including a clear communication of the results of the DMI. 

The driving purpose of the group involved with serving the parishioners to create a parish pastoral plan is to “use our evangelizing zeal and strong traditions to nurture and inspire others in a redemptive and Eucharistic faith seeking continuous growth in love of God and neighbor.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam,

Fr. John F. Jirak, Pastor

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