My dear friends,
Happy New ! And Happy Epiphany! (Ok. Let’s try this again.)
For many, the last two years have felt like we have been in a kind of stasis. We haven’t tried new things or gone on any bold adventures because of COVID. While as a parish we started emerging from ministerial hibernation last year, there is still so much we can do. So, let me take you back two years to the blissfully ignorant times that we lived in before the pandemic when we did not worry about masks or testing lines or social distancing and didn’t know that the word omicron existed.
Let’s revisit my pastoral vision for the parish in January 2020 that was upended by, let’s face it, the Evil One. It has to be said. I’m not rewinding the clock. I’m just putting into motion a pastoral plan that left the starting gate quite successfully but was interrupted 10 meters into the race. Two years ago I presented all of you with two words for the parish: Adoration and Formation! The Adoration part we were successful in implementing last year. Our St. Joseph Adoration Chapel is open 24/7 and many of your fellow parishioners are taking advantage of this opportunity to be with the Lord at any hour of the day. But we can do much better. Here’s a good New Year’s Resolution: spend more time with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. We need adorers to commit to one hour a week. You can sign up at cotlf.org/adoration and click on the Perpetual Adoration tab. Our parish will see so many spiritual fruits if we dedicate ourselves to praying before the Blessed Sacrament. Please prayerfully consider adding your name to the list of adorers today.
The second word is formation. We started off Formation Nights two years ago and they were very successful and well attended before COVID hit. Since then, any opportunities or talks that have to do with formation have not been well attended even though Mass and other social event are very well attended. Let me share with you an email I got last week from one of our long-time parishioners who wanted me to share with all of you:
Dear fellow parishioners, as one of the three facilitators for the Synod that the archdiocese is doing at this time, I would like to thank those who participated in the meetings. One of the main desires that everyone wanted was more formation and teaching about our faith. The sad part is that when the priests offer nights of reflection very few attend. If we truly want more formation, we have to show it with our attendance. Let’s make 2022 be a powerful learning experience, so when we are called upon to spread the good news we are prepared. Blessings, Katy Dunn
And there you have it. We have to spend more time learning about our faith so that we can proclaim it to others. The world urgently needs the Good News of Jesus Christ, and we have to learn this Good News inside and out to be effective in our Christian witness.
So here’s the New Year’s resolution of your parish for 2022: we are instituting “Formation Wednesdays” starting later this month. We will dedicate every Wednesday evening in this parish to a topic of formation that will be presented by one of the priests or deacons of the parish or by an invited guest with a specialty in the topic presented. As Katy said in the email above, you asked for it, we listened, and now we are going to offer this journey into adult formation that is sorely needed. Please take advantage of it. Our parish staff is currently brainstorming and laying out the topics that we will present in the first 5-6 sessions. So look for the date of our First Formation Wednesday along with the topics for our first month in next week’s bulletin. Because of the busy nature of our parish calendar, the time and place of each session may change from week to week.
This is going to be so exciting, and I can’t wait to see the fruits of this endeavor. Let us dive together into the mysteries of our faith and get back to the basics of our faith. And if you want a good book to help you with this journey in the new year, try “Rediscovering Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly. There’s so much that we need to learn. Let’s do it as a parish community and make the best of 2022!
God bless you all,