Last year, through the Covenant and other efforts of the Stewardship Team, we tried to help you grow in your relationship with God.
I fervently pray that taking the time to assess your relationship with God, your parish community, and those around you has helped you grow as a Christian.
This year (beginning next weekend), we will focus a little more deeply on this process. We will provide specific events, exercises, and programs to help you get to know more people in your parish community. You probably are already familiar with those who attend the same Mass with you each Sunday, particularly those who sit in your vicinity.
Beginning next Sunday, we are inviting everyone to come to the Parish Center after Mass for a complimentary donut and cup of coffee. (We will, of course, accept donations if you feel moved to make one.) This will continue every Sunday morning. It will be hosted by different groups who will probably have a concurrent fund raiser (breakfast burritos, Bake Sale, Pancake Breakfast, etc.). Please continue to support our ministries who raise their own funds in order to not burden the parish budget.
Over the last two years, I have watched our parish change and grow in its morale and spirit. The membership in ministries and groups has grown—in some cases even doubled or tripled! New ministries have been formed. We now have a conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and a pantry ministry, Feed My People.
Even our Stewardship Team has grown from three to fifteen impassioned parishioners. Seven members of the team will be flying to Chicago in October for the annual conference of the International Catholic Stewardship Council. (If you wish to make a donation to help defray the cost, it would be most appreciated.) This is very exciting, because they will each be moved by the Spirit in a special way and will bring back something that touched them. They will then have more to share with the parishioners to make their spiritual journey more fulfilling.
Our Spanish-speaking and English-speaking communities are collaborating on a frequent basis. Before each major decision, we address concerns on how we can work together on the project.
In the past year, we have welcomed many new parishioners who have found us to be very warm and welcoming, beginning at the front doors and continuing into the pews.
We recognize that, along with getting to know others better, we grow significantly by getting to know ourselves on a more personal basis: Getting to Know Ourselves.
During Lent, we will be offering a two-week seminar on Living Your Strengths. This is an assessment that identifies your gifts and talents. If identified and used well, they turn into strengths. I have personally become involved with this and can attest to its power in my life. It has made me much more effective in what I do and how I relate to others.
Some parishioners have come forward this past year and shared stories with me of their personal transformation as a result of Stewardship as a Way of Life and more specifically, the act of making a Covenant with God. At the Masses next weekend, you will hear a Witness Talk after a brief homily.
The following weekend (September 12 & 13), we will renew our Covenant with God. Please pray about this and make it a meaningful experience. It has the power to change your life! The Covenant, along with some other offerings, will help you in Getting to Know the Lord. God Bless you!