December 30, 2011
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we prepare to enter a New Year, it is good to stop briefly to look back at where we have been together. I know that when I take time to look back on my own life, I am almost always surprised to see that God was walking by my side, even if at the time I failed to see God in the moment. Looking back as Pastor, I see that our SSJ community of faith was challenged by the realities of life, yet chose - as a community - to respond to those realities as disciples. I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your stewardship and generosity to one another and to those who come to us seeking the face of God. You graciously extend hospitality to those who suffer, to those who grieve, and to those who are most vulnerable and in need - thank you.
Your actions reflect the request St. Francis made of us to "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." My prayer for the New Year is that we may continue to deepen this great spirit of evangelization and hospitality in our community. We have the opportunity to reach out to those who wish to reconnect with their Catholic faith or to those who, with no particular faith, wish to join us in following Jesus in the spirit of our brother, St. Francis.
While nothing can substitute for the power of the personal invitation to join us in community, I would like to introduce you to a website that might help us to help others find life with us. You may have already seen advertisements on TV over the Christmas holidays for Catholic Come Home. The organization's website, catholicscomehome.org, is a website dedicated to sharing the gifts and the rich history of our Catholic faith. The website's focus is to reach out to people who have been away from the church, as well as those seeking to join a faith community. We may find the website helpful as we encounter others in our neighborhood, workplace and larger community.
We have much to be proud of in our local Sts. Simon & Jude Community, and we have much to share with others. As disciples, we must also take care of ourselves on our own faith journey. Take the opportunity to explore and nurture your relationship with God. Perhaps some of the activities found on our parish calendar can be helpful and you consider how to grow in your faith through prayer, reflection and service.
I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all who generously supported our wonderful Christmas celebrations through the gifts of your time, talent and treasure. My prayer for each of you is that you will continue to share and live the Gospel in the coming year with the same deep faith and commitment you have shown in the past.
Happy New Year!