Breaking the Mold
There is excitement in the air as our country eagerly anticipates the arrival of Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States later this month. Many believers are attracted to his unique charisma, simplistic lifestyle, genuine holiness and pastoral sensitivity. One reporter last week described Times Magazine “Man of the Year,” as “the pope who has broken the mold.”
If you have not done so yet, take the time to watch the interview moderated by David Muir, for ABC television. It aired two weeks ago on ABC’s show 20/20 on Friday evening September 4th; entitled, “Pope Francis and the People.” As you listen to the dialogue that takes place between Pope Francis and the faithful in the various audiences gathered for the teleconference, you are immediately moved by his sensitivity for those who are suffering and struggling in their life. He listens compassionately to each story that is shared, and encourages those who are struggling to persevere by holding onto their faith as a source of strength and support. He asks that we pray for each other as he prepares to travel to the United States. Prayer is an important affirmation and reminder that we are never alone because of the love and faith we share in Christ and each other.
It will be interesting to hear what Pope Francis has to say when he arrives and travels from city to city, from audience to audience, addressing leaders who have power, wealth, resources and prestige; as well as those who are weak, vulnerable and poor. I suspect that his message will be clearly courageous, challenging at times, purposefully reconciling, and hopeful.
It is obvious that Pope Francis wants to get to know us, and understand the major issues that face the Catholic Church today in America. It is refreshing to see him take a very personal approach in his effort to connect with God’s people.
Pope Francis is following the advice that he gave to his brother priests when he was elected to succeed Pope Benedict XVI. He challenged priests to be good shepherds of their flock and to be close to their people. He even went so far as to directly say that, “We need to know what our sheep smell like.” To be that close to the flock!
It is good to have a pope willing to break the mold that would allow him to be even closer to God’s people. Let us pray for the success of Pope Francis and the life, love and faith that he will foster within us and the Catholic Church in America.
Passing Our Faith To Our Children
Our Parish Religious Education program is about to resume in a few weeks. We encourage parents, whose children attend a public grammar school, to enroll them into our Sunday morning program so that they can receive this important spiritual formation and religious education. It is important that these seeds of faith are planted in the young hearts of our children now, and let them grow throughout their life.
In the May, 2015 issue of America magazine Mark Gray reports some interesting statistics about religious education programs. He writes, “Indeed one of the most challenging problems for the church today is religious education. The number of children and teens enrolled in parish-based religious education in
United States parishes, has declined by 24 percent since 2000. Currently, less than one in 10 parents have a child enrolled in a Catholic school; and about one in five have a child in a parish-based religious education program. Most Catholic young people are receiving no formal religious education.”
Mary Beth May, our Director of Religious Education, is available to guide and assist any families in the enrollment process. We are also able to work with parents whose children, for some reason or another, missed a particular sacrament along the way; perhaps Baptism, Reconciliation or First Communion. Feel free to contact Mary Beth at the Religious Education office.
“Sounds of Hill Street” - Save the Date: October 17th!
Plans are in the making for our annual Parish Benefit on Saturday evening, October 17th. This is the major fundraiser for our parish.
The Parish Benefit Committee has been working hard to make it a fun night out for folks of all ages. Ticket prices are very affordable given the fact that there will be plenty of good food and drink, neat prizes and lively entertainment. The event will take place in the gym at the Hill Street campus of our school. More details will be provided both in the bulletin and on our parish website as we get closer to the event. Keep an eye out for them.
Our theme this year is, ““Sounds of Hill Street.” A variety of music and songs from the Big Band Era will be played throughout the night. It is amazing how Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack never grow old!
The Parish Benefit is one of those rare moments in the life of our parish where we have the opportunity to gather together as one parish family. It is a time to meet and greet those who we never bump into at Sunday Mass or see in the parking lot when school lets out in the afternoon. I look forward to a fun night that will allow us to enjoy each other’s company and deepen our relationships.
A Few Words of Wisdom
When you are DOWN to nothing, God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical and spiritual nourishment!