Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake,
This weekend tens of thousands are gathering in D.C. for the 49th Annual March for Life. We need to continue supporting the Culture of Life with our prayers and doing all that we can to help people choose life. In Hillsdale we are blessed to have Helping Hands Crisis Pregnancy Center: https://helpinghandsprc.org/ This weekend they begin their “Baby Bottle Drive”. We ask that you pick up a bottle and pray for those who are facing difficult situations. Through our support we can help those in our community.
Now to continue walking through the vision of a healthy parish laid out by Realigning Resources for Mission. The third part of that vision states that a healthy Parish:
Makes and Forms Missionary Disciples
- There is much greater access to sacraments and devotions
- Sacred worship that is dynamic, reverent and beautiful
- Parishes have a discipleship process that moves people of all ages to spiritual maturity
- They have a process to get people serving others according to their gifts
- Parishes have a vibrant community life
- All parishes have a commitment to Catholic education
This summation gets right at the heart of why a parish exists in the first place. It reminds me of how Jesus appointed the twelve apostles. We hear St. Mark describe that moment: “He went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed twelve [whom he also named apostles] that they might be with him and he might send them forth”. (Mark 3:13-14)
There is a two-fold aspect to their call. First and foremost, before we miss it, the very first part of the call wasn’t for the Apostles to do anything in particular. No, the first, and most important part, of their mission was that they were called to be with Him. Too quickly we can tend to fixate on all that Jesus calls us to do. But before He calls to do anything He first calls us to simply be. We need to be with Him. Jesus doesn’t want mere servants. At the last supper Jesus told the Apostles that He called them friends. To be a Missionary Disciple is to live in that friendship and like the best of friendships we live our life with Him. Life is meant to be a grand adventure- any adventure is best experienced with a good friend.
A parish exists to foster our encountering and being with Him. All of our sacraments exist for this purpose. Both our Churches have undergone renovations to their sanctuaries in the last three years to help highlight the fact that Jesus is at the center. Both in the Tabernacles to be found there and hopefully in the tabernacles of our souls. Only from that foundation can I go and do anything.
I have been very happy with some of the new initiatives starting over the last year to help us encounter Him. Our Mom’s group, days of reflection for Advent and Lent, wedding retreat, our first annual men’s retreat. This isn’t even mentioning other ongoing small groups and bible studies. As we move into our grouping of parishes a goal is to coordinate these encounter opportunities so that we can best fulfill the first part of a disciple’s commission- to be with the Lord. From this place the Lord then can send us forth as well. In the meantime, please take advantage of all the great opportunities already available!