This weekend we celebrate the glorious Solemnity of Pentecost. It is indeed a day to celebrate! On Pentecost the Church was born. It was the day when the disciples were transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. They let go of their fear and used their gifts to the fullest as they began to preach, heal and evangelize. They had everyone’s attention, no matter what language they spoke. By some miracle, language was no barrier to hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ. His disciples were “on fire” and filled with zeal. There was no stopping them from continuing the mission of Jesus. I always love hearing the dramatic account of “Pentecost” in the Acts of the Apostles. I get excited by the words: “suddenly,” strong driving wind,” “tongues of fire,” “confused,” “astounded,” and “amazement.” It makes me feel like I am present with the disciples as this event is taking place. It creates within me an inner joy I can’t quite explain along with a deep desire to continue to proclaim the Good News of Christ in spite of the challenges and difficulties that may come my way. It also makes me more attentive to the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. We use various images for the presence of the Holy Spirit: breath, wind, fire, a bright burning flame, the stirring of waters, a dove, the bold colors of red, orange and yellow, and the feeling of peace and calm. This coming week, let us ask ourselves how we have experienced and continue to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The scripture passage from Galatians gives us a clear idea of the outward manifestations of the Spirit. In that letter, Saint Paul tells us that the fruits of the Spirit are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The Holy Spirit is made manifest when we embrace and live those virtues. Let us pray that we may always be guided by the Holy Spirit, and live in such a manner that those who encounter us realize that we are united in one Spirit, the Spirit of God.
This Saturday, the Vigil of Pentecost, we welcome Father Bill Taylor back. He is covering for Father Jim who is returning from the Knights of Columbus annual convention which took place on Mackinaw Island. We are grateful to Father Bill for sharing himself and his gifts with us. Please note that those of us who are celebrating Mass on Saturday evening will hear a totally different set of Scripture readings as we celebrate the Vigil of Pentecost: Ezekiel 37: 1-4, Romans 8:22-27, and John 7: 37-39. [Father Jim will return and be present for Pentecost Sunday liturgy at 9:30 AM].
Special thanks to all who submitted nominations for Selection for Pastoral Council. Selection will take place at 9:30 AM Mass. Three names will be drawn for a three year term. Fifteen (15) nominations were submitted. At this writing I am not sure how many accepted the nomination. I appreciate the thought that went into the nominations that were submitted. I am confident that whoever is selected will be a great asset to the Pastoral Council. Come, Holy Spirit! You have blessed us with many individuals whose gifts will serve our parish well. Guide our Selection process and help all of us work together for the Gospel and the good of the Church.
Please notice our CSA update in the bulletin. I thank those who have responded so generously thus far. You will see that we adjusted the number of families to indicate those who have registered in the parish [as opposed to the 489 families our assessment was based upon]. At this point, we only have 44% of our household who have made a pledge thus far. We do need everyone to participate, so, we have a ways to go yet. Remember, this year’s theme is: Making a Difference – Together. Please remember that it is not the size of the pledge that matters. What matters is that we put our resources together. I ask those of you who have not yet made a contribution to CSA to return your pledge card in the next two weeks. The fiscal year ends June 30 and bookkeeping really needs to be done before then so that all pledges for this year can be returned to the diocese by June 30. You can return your pledge by dropping it in the mail, in the mailbox at the rectory, at the Parish Office Center, or in the collection.
For the past several months, the Pastoral Council and the Finance Council have had some serious discussions in reference to our master plan for all the buildings that are part of Saint John Paul II Parish. It began with a joint meeting with members of the parish Implementation Committee in January. Prior to the parish merger, conversation of the Implementation Committee centered on the idea that the first building we would most likely sell would be Saint John the Baptist Church. Since there has been some serious interest on the part of other denominations to look at the Church, the Finance and Pastoral Councils thought the time was right to ask the Bishop for permission to enter into the process for selling the Church. He did give us permission.
I will not be with you for Eucharist next weekend because I will be at Nazareth, for our annual Assembly and required CSJ meetings.
May the Holy Spirit guide you, enlighten you, give you the courage to use your gifts to the fullest, and fill you with the fire of his love!
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ