September 5th – XXIII Sunday in Ordinary Time

My Dear Friends,

On this Labor Day Weekend, we start turning our gaze as a parish towards the fall months and the many activities that we are planning. Yes, the surge in COVID cases kind of derailed us a bit there in August, but we forge ahead with the hopes of returning to the normal ministerial life of the parish very soon. Already many ministries are safely meeting in person here on campus, and we are planning for a Marriage Covenant retreat and two Emmaus retreats this fall.  We will start announcing dates very soon.  I commend our ministries for continuing over Zoom during the height of the pandemic and thank them for their patience. 

We are starting a host of new ministries this fall that we’ve been planning over the summer. Our Hispanic community will have a new ministry dedicated to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola which is something very dear to my heart and to the hearts of our Carmelite Sisters who regularly receive retreats from Jesuits. We are also starting a Bereavement Ministry to follow up on families who have just lost a loved one. We do so many funerals here at Little Flower, and we want to check in on these grieving families and see how we can help them during those moments of grief. 

September 18th is a big day for our youth ministry as we launch our new High School Youth Group and our new Young Adult Group!  Both groups will meet after our Sunday 5:30 p.m. Youth Mass, and we cannot be more excited as we start this new adventure with the young people of our parish. Look for more details in next week’s bulletin. 

As you can see, while it is a long holiday weekend, the parish is hard at work preparing for ministry this fall.  We want all our parishioners to take advantage of the ministries that we offer here at Little Flower and to be  active participants in the life our parish. You can see the list of ministries that are currently meeting on page 3 of this bulletin. (And I may have buried the lead as they say, but we also celebrate our 95th Anniversary as parish next month!  More on that in weeks to come.

Next week, we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country.  Since it falls on a Saturday, the 8:00 a.m. Mass will be a special Mass of Remembrance for the victims of 9/11 and to pray for our country.  This will be followed by the usual Holy Hour and confessions. We invite all to come as we mark this solemn anniversary. 

Finally, I want to thank all of you for your kind words and the warm reception that you gave to the column that I wrote in this space last week on welcoming and being hospitable to children and to families with small children. There were so many young families that were so grateful, and they did share stories of parishioners who have been more than hospitable with their children.  We want to be a parish that embraces everyone, young and old, and we want to greet them with a smile.  We may not be able to extend the Sign of Peace during Mass right now, but we want visitors to feel the embrace of this church when they walk in. Just last week, there was a family visiting from California and they told me after Mass that they felt so welcomed by our community. It’s amazing what a warm smile and a few words of welcome will do. This is the Church of the Little Flower!  This is the warmth of a Catholic community whose arms are as wide open as the arms of our loving and merciful Heavenly Father.   

Have a blessed and safe long weekend! 

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