A Few Words From Our Pastor
Today is often called, “Good Shepherd Sunday,” because of today’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus refers to himself as the good shepherd. The agricultural society of Israel some 2,000 years ago would have been more attuned to his imagery than we may be in our industrial age. We may have an almost nostalgic or idyllic image of a shepherd. He, on the other hand, describes the shepherd more realistically as a way of life marked by selfsacrifice, with intimate knowledge of each of his sheep. Each of us whether our vocation be married life, single life, religious life, or priesthood is called to be a shepherd after the model of Jesus the Good Shepherd. There is no such thing as a Christianity lived in total isolation from others. We are all responsible for others. But among these vocations there has always been, in our Catholic way of understanding, the sacrament of Holy Orders (that is, priesthood). Bishop Fisher mentioned to us at our Vicariate meeting recently that there are only 7 men currently studying for the priesthood in our diocese. Given that the time frame of preparation for priesthood is 9 years, that would average out to less than one priest ordained per year. He went on to say that each parish should be praying for vocations daily. This is why I have begun to add a petition to the weekend Prayer of the Faithful for more vocations.
Today is the final session of Religious Education classes for this academic year. We all know that this has been an extraordinary year, given the pandemic and the neartotal disruption of our normal lives. Yet, thanks to the large classroom space at Holy Spirit, the relatively small number of students in each grade level, the dedication of our catechists, the faith filled direction of our staff (Miss Karen Adamski and Mrs. Julie Schwartzott), and the trust of the parents of both parishes, we had returned to in person classes last September. And, thankfully, there was not a single case of transmission of the virus from our Religious Ed Program. I am especially grateful to our parents for all you do to share your faith with your children every day. In fact, I believe that if there will be vocations to the priesthood, they will come primarily from God’s call within and through the practice of Catholic faith in family life. Our celebration of First Communion will take place next Sunday, May 2nd, at the 11:00am Mass at Holy Spirit. There is just one First Communion celebration this year because all of the children in the third grade class are from Holy Spirit.
One of our parishioners, Mark Degener, has proposed the beginning of a new ministry at Holy Spirit. Given that there are always a number of maintenance issues whether trimming trees, cleaning up brush, painting, organizing the parking lot garage, etc. we would like to invite any who are willing to help to join in this new ministry, which will be known as the “Holy Helpers.” I am hoping (trusting!) (praying!!) that a number of you will consider joining in this ongoing service to our parish. Please call the rectory and add your name to the list. Project dates and times will be tailored to your availability. As our grandmothers taught us, “Many hands make for light work!”
And finally, I want to thank you for your thoughtfulness in remembering me on my recent birthday. Your kindness made my advancing age a bit easier to accept...and to celebrate.
Sincerely in Christ, Father Joe