Fourth Sunday of Easter

This weekend we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Easter, often referred to as “Good Shepherd” Sunday.  The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd has always been a favorite of mine.  My home parish was Christ the Good Shepherd in Lincoln Park (which is still a vibrant parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit.  There I attended first through eighth grade.  (There were four sections of each grade throughout my elementary school years).  Mine was the first class to make our First Holy Communion in the new church building (which was connected to the old church).  From a very young age I learned about the Good Shepherd.  One of the first psalms I learned to recite and sing was Psalm 23: The Lord is My Shepherd.   (Thanks to Joseph Gelineau, his musical setting continues to be my favorite).  To this day, the text of Psalm 23 has been printed in the inside cover of the Christ the Good Shepherd Parish Hymnal.  One of the first hymns I learned to sing as a child was: Loving Shepherd of Thy Sheep.  We sang it at my First Communion.  Incidentally, today, April 22, is the 62nd anniversary of my First Holy Communion.  I have never forgotten the words of the song.  The text still means a great deal to me, even though the wording may be a bit different than we would use today.   The text goes back to 1882, so they are in the public domain.  I share it with you today as we celebrate the Risen Lord Jesus, under the title of the Good Shepherd.

Loving Shepherd of thy sheep, keep me, Lord, in safety keep. 
Nothing can thy power withstand,
None can pluck me from thy hand. 

Loving Shepherd, thou didst give thine own life that I might live. 
May I love thee day by day, gladly thy sweet will obey.

Loving Shepherd ever near, teach me still thy voice to hear.  
Suffer not my steps to stray from the straight and narrow way. 
Where thou leadest may I go, walking in thy steps below,

There before thy Father’s throne, Jesus claim me for thine own.

The 2018 Catholic Services Appeal has officially begun in our parish.  This past week, you should have received a pledge card along with a brochure, a letter from Bishop Cistone, and a letter from me.  The theme this year is: Advancing the Mission of Christ – What shall I do, Lord?  Please carefully read the letter I wrote, take some time to study the brochure, and honestly discern what you are able to contribute (even if you have not done so in the past).  How generously are you able to support the CSA and our parish in reaching our assessment of $53,723 this year.  Please either drop your pledge envelope in the Sunday collection, in the mailbox at the Rectory, in the mailbox at the Parish Center (3055 Harrison), or take it to the parish office.

Blessings on your Easter Season!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ