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.