Pastoral Message – May 2, 2021
As of Saturday, May 1st, the currently assigned priests have been serving the parish of Sts. Simon & Jude for 10 months. We’ve said Masses indoors and out, in all kinds of situations and in all kinds of weather. We’ve gone from the parish office being closed to everything opening up for church and spiritual business. And we’ve been learning about you all – your perceived history as a parish, your narrative that explains your raison d’etre, your hopes and requirements for the future of the parish, and your expectations of your priests now. We’ve been getting to know you. And we’re happy to let all y’all get to know us. It has been an interesting 10 months.
With these past 10 months behind us, we thought it might be time for a fresh website and a new logo. (It seems that every 7-10 years the parish has a new logo.) So with everything we’ve taken in over the last 10 months, the staff of the parish and school worked with a Catholic graphic designer to refresh our parish logo and renew the look of our presence on the web – thus, a new website. Let me tell you about the process and what we thought about.
The graphic designer asked for a list of words that described the parish and it’s future. The word list we came up with was long and varied. We were then given the task to refine and shorten the list to three words that the graphic designer would work with. Since I didn’t fully trust the process, in the back of my mind I was wondering…
“If we decide the three words are ‘faith, hope and love’ how is this artist going to draw ‘faith’ or ‘hope’. For ‘love’ he could draw a heart with Cupid’s arrow through it, but that’s clichéd. That won’t work.”
The three words are “intergenerational, “Christian” and “Huntington Beach”.
This is what he came up with regarding a logo.
The graphic artist said “intergenerational’ implies relationship between people of all ages. Since we’re Roman Catholic, logic could let us take one step further – relationship between people of all ages throughout all ages. So that incorporates our ecclesial and theological history, the communion of saints, the Church militant and the Church triumphant. So while the artist could draw a gothic cathedral to represent the intergenerational Church, he gave us a simple open-ended box. This open-ended box allows everybody to come in and out. And it’s probably the same shape as the earliest “house Churches” of the earliest Christians.
For the word “Christian” the graphic artist presented an image that is both paradoxical and ironic. He gave us maybe the most clichéd image in human history, a simple cross. While it is a clichéd image if taken thoughtlessly, it is a profound image if thought about, reflected upon, embraced and venerated. Plus from the standpoint of a logo, it’s the most instantly identifiable image in the world. So the Cross says it all, the simple and the profound.
Finally, “Huntington Beach” is where we’re at. There are other Sts. Simon & Jude Churches throughout the United States, even a cathedral in Phoenix. Huntington Beach locates us in our particular place and culture. And while some stylized waves might also seem clichéd, they also take the thinking person in lots of directions – baptism, ocean, scripture references (remember the water flowing from the temple in Ezekiel 47), the sea of Galilee, Jesus Christ, the Living Water flowing up to eternal life.
So y’all, that’s the story of the logo we’ll use for the next 7-10 years. And as we roll it out, you might not notice too much change. We’re not going branding crazy. You’ll see it when the refreshed community (both Church and School) websites go online around Pentecost. You’ll start to see it on the bulletin. But the logo is just a symbol for the on-going intergenerational Christian work we’ve got going here in Huntington Beach! So pray for us, your priests, for our parish staff and for all who participate here. And pray that we live up to the potential here to influence the world around us for Jesus Christ and the salvation of all. God bless all y’all.