Dear Parishioners: A Letter From our Pastor
When I was a young boy, being the youngest child, I was often home alone with my mother during the day as my father was at work and my brothers were at school. There was a great deal of work for my mother to do and she enlisted my assistance. I could be her helper! I was taught at a young age that being part of the family meant that I was expected to contribute. I also learned the joy that comes from the sense of being part of something that serves others. For example, my mother might bake a cake and I helped (even if I was just licking the spoon). I was so proud when dessert would be served to my family and my mother would smile and say, “Richard helped!”
Of course, in hindsight I realize I was probably more in her way than actually “helping,” but the lesson endured. Belonging, contributing, and serving are important aspects of human life and relationships. Working together on a common goal and appreciating each other’s gifts enables us to accomplish important tasks. More importantly, in many ways, it allows us to build deep and lasting relationships.
Before the pandemic fell upon us and closed off many of our gatherings and activities, we put forward the goal of what we call “Mass plus one hour.” Put simply, we are encouraging everyone in addition to their weekly Mass attendance to contribute one hour a month to the mission of the Church. This hour can take many forms. Some examples: spending an hour in Adoration, writing letters to home bound parishioners, serving as a lector, teaching a religious education class, helping in the hospitality ministry, light cleaning in the churches, serving on a committee, and too many other opportunities to mention.
There are twenty-four hours in a day, one hundred sixty-eight hours in a week and approximately six-hundred seventy-two hours in a month. It is hard to imagine that within that timeframe anyone would be unable to contribute one hour. Of course, the responsibility also falls upon the leaders of our various ministries to create “hour-sized” pieces that enable people to commit to definite and defined responsibilities. We will be adding a section within our bulletin with lists of opportunities and the people to contact. These lists are not exhaustive. Your ideas about how you can serve would also be most welcome.
There are two clear reasons why this program is important. First, we do not have the resources to pay staff to do everything that is needed within the lives of our parishes. Secondly, and in my judgment far more importantly, building community requires the active participation of the members of the parishes. The Church does not call us primarily to be consumers or spectators, but participants and contributors. As we pray and work together we have the joy that comes with serving, and we meet others through our ministry. How often lifelong friendships begin at a church activity or ministry!
We understand, of course, that many have given, will give and are giving far more than one hour a month. We appreciate all that people do to serve the church! Our desire is that the numbers increase and that an ever-stronger community be built. Please pray about the way that you may be able to serve the Church through your “Mass plus one hour” commitment. We will be putting forward specific ways that you can answer the call over the next several weeks and months. Whenever possible we will attempt to make personal invitations, but we are really asking people to respond as they are led by the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your openness to the invitation and your willingness to serve.
Rev. Richard F. Clancy
Pastor, River of Divine Mercy Catholic Collaborative