As we celebrate the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, we welcome Sister Marge Eilerman who will be presenting our mission appeal this weekend. I know you will give her a warm welcome and open your hearts to the message she will be sharing with us. Special envelopes from the Mission Office have been provided in the pews this weekend for your donations to Saint Francis’ Missioners. Please make all checks payable to Saint John Paul II Parish. In a couple of weeks, all of your donations will be put into a single check and sent to the diocesan Mission Office. The Mission Office will send all donations to Sister Marge’s community.
This weekend we also welcome Father Randy Kelly who is covering for Father Jim who is with the Knights of Columbus for Installation of Officers this weekend. Thank you for being with us, Father Randy. We always look forward to the times you are able to preside at Eucharist for us.
Last weekend in my announcements, I expressed the hopes that some of our parishioners would be able to attend the Banquet (Fundraiser for the Education of Seminarians of the Diocese of Saginaw) on Thursday, September 15. The banquet will be held at Saginaw Valley State University (Curtiss Hall), beginning at 5:30 PM with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails and dinner at 6:45 PM. The evening also consists of a silent auction. The cost is $65.00 per person or $480.00 for a table of 8. As you know, Matthew Gembrowski, of Saint John Paul II Parish, will begin his second year of studies as a seminarian. I do hope we can show our appreciation for and affirmation of him and all our diocesan seminarians not only by our prayers but by participating in this fundraising endeavor initiated by our bishop. Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to participate in the banquet. I know that space is limited, so we need to register soon. For more information, please refer to the brochures that were included in the August 14 bulletin or refer to the information on the diocesan website (www.saginaw.org).
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, please note that I do have your certificates. We will have a formal installation on the weekend of September 10 and 11 at each of the Masses. Please plan on being present at one of those liturgies. Most of you attended one of the first formation sessions last year and have continued with your ministry, so you have already completed one of the three years of your ministry. There are some individuals new to the ministry who have not yet begun to serve. There will be a special session regarding procedures at Saint John Paul II Parish for them on Saturday, September 10 at 10:30 AM in Church.
The final formation session this year for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will take place on Saturday, September 10, from 1:00 – 2:30 PM at Saint John Paul II Parish Church. If you wish to take Holy Communion to the homebound, the hospitalized, or serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at daily or Sunday liturgy, you must complete this formation session with Father Jim Bessert, required by the diocese. Anyone new to this ministry since 2009 must provide the parish with a current baptismal certificate.
Please mark your calendars for our parish picnic which will take place on Sunday, September 18 at the Education Center (indoors and outdoors). The picnic begins at 12:00 Noon with a potluck lunch. The hour following 9:30 AM Mass will provide time for those who attend it to go home, change clothes and pick up the dish (salad, vegetable, or dessert) they are bringing to the picnic. Hamburgers and hotdogs will be provided by the parish. The picnic is an opportunity to get to know some fellow parishioners and have some fun in the process. Sign-up sheets will be placed on the bulletin boards the next two weekends so that the parish will have an idea of how much hamburger and how many hotdogs to purchase. More details will be included in the flyer in this and next week’s bulletin. If you would like to help out with set-up or clean-up or would like to volunteer to help in any way, please call the parish office (755-0828).
Before I finish today’s column, I just want to end with a few words about the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. In the Gospel passage, Jesus is dining at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and he tells a parable about those invited to a banquet who, upon arrival, sit at the places of honor. He tells those gathered not to recline in places of honor lest a more distinguished guest arrive after them, and they may be embarrassed when asked to move to a lower place. Jesus says, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” I think humility is one of the most misunderstood virtues. Humility is not weakness. It is neither claiming to be more than we are nor is it demeaning ourselves so as to appear less than we are. It is honestly looking at ourselves in the sight of God with all the gifts he has given us, acknowledging them along with our shortcomings and failings, and knowing that God loves us just as we are. It is also realizing that everyone is favorable in God’s sight. No one is more important or less important than another. Humility has no room for entitlement which is why Jesus tells us to take the lower place at table. Humility is being able to say and pray as Mary did in the Magnificat: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord…for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed; the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” It is not that we have done great things; rather, God has done great things through us. Let us open our hearts this day and extend the same invitation to others that Christ has extended to us, realizing that all are welcome in God’s kingdom.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ