We celebrate the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time this weekend. In the Gospel passage from Mark assigned to this Sunday, Jesus cures a deaf man who has a speech impediment. He heals him by putting his fingers into the man’s ears, and then spitting, and touching the man’s tongue. Afterwards, Jesus looks up to heaven and groans, “Ephphatha!” which means be opened. Even though Jesus orders the crowd that has gathered not to speak of this, in their astonishment they cannot contain themselves. We might ask ourselves if they are astonished at the miracle itself or if they are astonished because Jesus has revealed his divine power. The Son of God is present among them; do they realize it? There are a few things we can take away from today’s Gospel. One is that just as Jesus shows his compassion for the man who is deaf and mute, he cares for each of us in the same way. He is always ready to reach out and touch us. The second is that miracles are a sign of God’s salvation breaking in on humanity and giving us a whole new insight into our relationship with God. As we see God’s mighty deeds, we know Jesus is our Savior and so we cannot help but proclaim God’s salvation. And third, if we insert ourselves into this Gospel, we may realize the times we have been deaf to God’s word or the times when we held back from proclaiming God’s love. What healing do we need to seek from Christ this day so that he can say to us, “Ephphatha!”?
Next Sunday, September 13, the Commissioning (and Re-Commissioning) of Lay Ministers by Bishop Cistone will take place at the 2:30 PM Mass at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption. Four of our Lay Ministers will be recommissioned: Deb and Ed Popielarz who have been Lay Ministers for 18 years, San Juanita (Janie) Hadley who has been a Lay Minister for 12 years, and Tina Cook who has been a Lay Minister for 6 years. We congratulate them and thank them for their dedicated ministry to the Church. Hopefully, some of you will be able to be present at the Cathedral next week to support them with your presence and your prayers. Besides those being recommissioned next Sunday, we have four additional members of our parish who are Lay Ministers who have received permanent status: Connie Castañon, Ruth Gomez, Margaret Gonzales, and Lila Lovay. Permanent status means that these lay ministers, though they no longer need to be recommissioned every three years, are still accountable to and supervised by the pastor in conjunction with the covenant they have with the parish, outlining their agreed upon responsibilities and ministry within the parish. That covenant is reviewed every few years to determine the lay minister’s ability and/or desire to continue in the same ministry. Some Lay Ministers are commissioned to be Christians in the World and thus, the major part of their ministry takes part outside the parish, sometimes in places like Mustard Seed House, or the Soup Kitchen, or simply “in the market place.”
In last week’s column, I mentioned a few projects that might be underway. When I returned home from vacation this past Monday, I learned that the roof repair on the school building rented by Carrollton Public Schools has been completed, and that the main church parking lot sealing and striping has begun. Plans are to have it done by this weekend, so as you read this bulletin article, or arrive at church, the parking lot may have already been completed.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS A COPY OF THE DECREE CHANGING THE STATUS OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST CHURCH IN TODAY’S BULLETIN. It was much too lengthy to read the entire document during announcement time this weekend, so I ask you to read it in its entirety. It will be posted at all three Church sites. PLEASE ALSO NOTE THE BOXED INFORMATION THAT THE DIOCESE ASKED US TO PLACE IN THE BULLETIN FOR TWO WEEKS REGARDING THE DECREE. As with any decree, a period of time is given for an appeal to the bishop should someone have good cause.
We received two new CSA pledges this past week. We now have 296 households who have made pledges amounting to $42,650.00. This represents 74% of our households. We still need to hear from 104 households. To those of you who have already made a pledge, thank you for your generosity. For those who have not yet made a pledge, please prayerfully consider how you might be able to help out this year; together we can make a difference.
This Tuesday begins the last week of appointments for pictures for the Parish Pictorial Directory (September 8 through September 12). If you have not yet signed up, you can either call Alex at the Parish Office (755-0828) to help you sign up for a time, or simply go to the website on Tuesday. To sign up online, go to our parish website (www.stjohnpauliicc.org) and click on the black section at the top of the home page which says: schedule your appointment. I just checked the website and noticed that there are at least 5 or 6 openings each day (even more on Friday). If you prefer to submit a photo of yourself or family for the Directory, please let Alex know. We do need all of you to make the directory a success.
Tuesday evening Masses continue throughout the month of September at 6:30 PM at Saint Matthew Church with the exception of one Monday, September 21, the Feast of Saint Matthew. The September evening Mass schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, September 8 – Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Pastoral Council
Tuesday, September 15 – Our Lady of Sorrows
Monday, September 21 – Feast of Saint Matthew
Tuesday, March 29 – Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels (Celebration of Father Jim’s 35th Anniversary of Ordination)
Please note that Saint Matthew Church is air conditioned.
There is a great concert opportunity at Holy Spirit Church this Saturday. Tony Alonso will be performing and, I understand, the priests of the diocese will be singing as well. Please see further information in today’s bulletin.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ