A few weeks ago I shared with you a sample of the min-survey that many of you filled out last November. I would like to cover some more of the results. Question #4 asked about the most important task of the parish. 248 respondents said "worship", 102 said "serve others" and 52 "to educate. (51 responded by marking all three as equally important.) Your answers correspond to the actual numbers of those who assist the parish in worship and in serving others. For many of you, our weekend masses are your point of contact with the parish. I will continue to look for ways to make this brief amount of time as enriching as possible.
Question #5 helps Fr. Jeremy, Deacon Tom and me clarify how to put the right focus on the sermon or homily. Should we primarily inspire (212), teach (138), explain (45) or entertain (1)? This question drew the most multiple responses. (A total of 65 thought that a homily should both teach and inspire. The message is clear, and it does confirm what we are striving for in our preaching.
The pastoral council is using these results to create a pastoral plan for the parish. This plan will attempt to be an uncomplicated map of the next five years in our parish. The council and commissions have contributed their insights into this process as well. When the warm weather returns this spring, we will have something to share with you.
These words of Pope Francis can guide all our planning: "The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. There are other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself “the door”: baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems." [par. 47]
Looking ahead: Lent begins on February 18th. Masses and the distribution of ashes will take place at the regular noon mass as well as a 7:00pm mass. The anointing of the sick will be offered on the last weekend of the month, Feb 28 and Mar 1, at the 4:30pm Saturday mass and the 10:00am Sunday mass.