I am very excited about the progress of our parish planning process. As I shared with you a couple of months ago, our parish has engaged the Catholic Leadership Institute to create a robust three to five year pastoral plan to reinvigorate the Stewardship Way of Life through the New Evangelization. Our team has been gathering monthly to pray, study and plan for this work. It has really been an energizing experience for me.
We are currently in the data collection phase of the process. The Disciple Maker Index Survey taken by you, the parishioners, will contribute substantially to the direction and focus of our pastoral plan . As you know we have been pushing the survey for the past several weeks and the parish is responding well. Over 40 percent of our parishioners have completed the survey.
I have found that the survey’s questions have been a helpful review of how I live out my stewardship and discipleship. One of the early questions challenged me: “Which of the following best describes where you are on your Catholic journey?” I found myself straddling the third and fourth options. The third option was: “I have personally encountered Jesus Christ and am growing as a disciple”; and the fourth: “My relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important relationship in my life.” I feel strongly that I have personally encountered Jesus Christ and am making progress as a disciple. However, if I am honest with myself, there are times each day that Jesus is not the most important relationship in my life.
I often find myself consulting not with Jesus in faith, hope and love but with myself instead. This is part of the reason that I conclude all of my various forms of communication with Ad majorem Dei gloriam (for the greater glory of God). The tag line challenges me to take the focus off of myself (vanity and pride) and to direct it towards God’s greater glory.
I am very excited about the future of our parish and I leave you with a quote from St. John XXIII. His inspiring wisdom serves as a great reflection as we plan for the future of our parish:
“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. ink not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do.”
Ad majorem Dei gloriam,
Fr. John F. Jirak, Pastor
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