My dear parishioners,
Happy 95th Anniversary! What a milestone for our beloved parish! Today we gather to celebrate our patroness, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face: the Little Flower. We thank Archbishop Wenski for allowing us to celebrate our patronal feast on this Sunday. This 95th Anniversary celebration is important because it puts us on the path to our Centennial Celebration in just 5 short years. Over the next year, we will be unveiling the pastoral and temporal plans that our parish staff and our Parish Council have been working on for quite some time. We were hoping to unveil these plans during this month, but as with all things, the pandemic pushed our planning to the side as we concentrated on navigating the parish through this, hopefully, now dying storm that has besieged us for over 18 months. It’s time to start to put that in the rear-view mirror and start looking towards the future and what kind of legacy we want to leave for the future of the Church of the Little Flower.
It all starts with the spiritually embracing St. Thérèse’s “little way.” We explained this spiritual path last week in the bulletin, but let us elaborate further for it is a reminder to us that we need not do great things to achieve holiness, but it is in the little things, the little acts of kindness and charity that we start conquering souls for Christ that was so important to this young saint. When St. John Paul II proclaimed Thérèse a doctor of the Church in 1997, he said, “The way she took to reach this ideal of life is not that of the great undertakings reserved for the few, but on the contrary, a way within everyone’s reach, the “little way”, a path of trust and total self-abandonment to the Lord’s grace. It is not a prosaic way, as if it were less demanding. It is in fact a demanding reality, as the Gospel always is. But it is a way in which one is imbued with a sense of trusting abandonment to divine mercy, which makes even the most rigorous spiritual commitment light (Homily 10/19/97).”
Total self-abandonment! It all starts there. We must focus not so much on what “I” need, but rather in what the “other” needs. How can I serve my neighbor, focus on my neighbor, and love my neighbor without worrying about how that affects me? This is why we look to our patroness so that she may teach us this “little way.” Total self-abandonment to God and to our neighbor! That is what she teaches us with her short, but well-lived life. And in eternity, she wished to “spend her heaven doing good on earth.” We have seen all the good that she has done interceding for our parish over 95 years.
Today we begin the journey towards our Centennial Celebration which will be celebrated in October 2026. Over the next five years, let us perfect our practice of Thérèse’s “little way.” She longed to be a missionary even though she was a cloistered nun. We must take up her missionary spirit as we look towards our 100th anniversary and beyond. Let us strive to be a parish that is open to all, embraces all, and loves all by placing the needs of others first, and that goes out of its comfort zone to be true missionaries to spread the truth of the gospel not only with our words but more importantly with our actions. What a blessing to have such an extraordinary patroness!
Thank you, Lord for giving us such an example in this young saint. Thank you, Lord for bringing us to this important moment in the life our parish. Guide our steps in the “little way” of your Little Flower.
St. Thérèse, pray for us!