Happy Second Anniversary, Saint John Paul II Parish! On Friday, July 1, we celebrated our second anniversary as a parish at the 8:30 AM Mass. Father Randy Kelly joined us for that celebration. We are also celebrating our anniversary this weekend with Hospitality Sunday and refreshments after Mass. Father Bill Taylor is present this weekend to celebrate with us. (As he is every July 4th weekend, Father Jim is with the Knights of Columbus at their Summer Leadership Meetings).
This weekend we celebrate the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus appoints seventy-two disciples and sends them out in twos. He tells them that the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few. As Jesus sends forth the disciples, he gives them several instructions, emphasizes that the Kingdom of God is at hand, and assures them that he has given them power to triumph over the evil they may encounter. Our reflection on this Gospel can take us in many directions. One of them is vocation. How has Christ called each of us to share in his mission and ministry? How attentive are we to that call? How eager are we to answer that call? How do we encourage and support others in responding to that call in their lives? Do we pray for an increase in vocations to our Church? Another reflection might center in on the statement of Jesus: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.” Are the laborers few because many are unwilling to do the work of the Lord? Are the laborers few because individuals do not recognize their gifts? Are the laborers few because we do not encourage others to use their gifts within the Church? Are the laborers few because some are getting old and tired and those who are young and energetic are unaware of the need to step in and use their gifts? We are blessed to have one seminarian in our parish: Matthew Gembrowski. And we have been blessed over the years to have had members of our clustered parish communities become sisters, deacons, priests, and commissioned lay ministers. Many are still active in ministry, some have retired, and some have preceded us in death. Sometimes when we think of vocations, we think only of sisters and priests (and sometimes deacons and brothers or lay ministers), yet all of us are called to share in the mission of Christ by virtue of our baptism. Whether single or married, young or old, lay person, religious, or ordained minister, we are all living out the vocation to which God has called us. If we took our call and responsibility seriously, we would never have a lack of Catechists, a lack of ministers to the sick, homebound, and hospitalized, a lack of Liturgical Ministers, a lack of individuals to meet the needs of the poor and hungry, or a lack of people to minister to those in grief at the death of a family member or parishioner. In most respects, we do have numerous individuals in these various ministries and we are blessed because of it. It is a sign of a vibrant parish. On this Second Anniversary of Saint John Paul II Parish, let us pray that we may grow closer together as a community, work together to build up the Body of Christ, and generously respond to the call of the Lord to serve his people in our midst. Let us also pray for an increase of vocations in the Church, especially from our very own faith community. The harvest is indeed abundant! And there is always room for more laborers. What are you able to do to Open Wide the Doors to Christ? What are you able to do to help make our parish a vibrant community of faith? If you are interested in participating in any of the above mentioned ministries, please pray and discern if you think the Lord is calling you to respond, and then contact me or the parish office.
Please note that the order form for Saint John Paul II T-shirts is enclosed in today’s bulletin. Shirts are short sleeve, cotton polyester blend and will have the parish name and logo silk-screened on them. For your convenience, sample sizes and colors will continue to be on display at the main entrance of church until the deadline for orders and payment are due (Wednesday, July 20). [This fall, sweat shirts and short sleeve polo shirts with embroidered logo and parish name will be available for sale].
If you are traveling this holiday weekend, please be safe.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ