Dear Parishioners: A Note From our Pastor
Many people have said, perhaps cynically, that “summer is over on the Fourth of July.” I do not believe that for a second, as for many of us a summer vacation may still be in the very early planning stages. I certainly hope that everyone is able to have some relaxed time with loved ones over these next few weeks. We need rest and an occasional change of scenery to maintain a healthy approach to our daily lives.
It is sad that in our workaholic society people can even feel guilty about resting or taking a vacation. Technology is a gift and also an obstacle. It seems we are never “off.” I remember visiting with a priest who had been a missionary in South America way up in the mountains for many years. There were no phones or electricity. He explained that when it got dark outside everyone simply went to bed. One worked when there was light and stopped when it got dark. That is the way we all lived until relatively recent generations. Now, we are answering emails at 4:00am and scanning and sending signed documents continents away. We can work remotely, which is largely a good thing, but there is an expectation that we are always available, which is not conducive to healthy and balanced living.
We are not machines. Spiritually we need space to breathe, to rest, and to reflect. It takes discipline and vigilance to carve out that space. It is not selfish to need time to rest and pray. It is essential for our health and also for our fruitfulness in our vocations. When we are drained or exhausted, it is hard to be giving and serving in the proper spirit. Our prayer life provides us with the grace to truly be God’s instruments as we fulfill our responsibilities.
One of the fruits of prayer, rest, and reflection is often a new perspective and resolve. It is not a contradictory thought to hold that a period of relative rest can lead to plans and resolutions going forward. For example, as we rest we anticipate the fall and a busier time. It is good to reflect as we reinforce our priorities and gently look ahead to make some resolutions.
This past year has been challenging in many ways and planning has been difficult. This summer enables us some time to make plans for the coming years in the parishes and also to make personal resolutions. Before the pandemic crashed into our lives we were organizing in the collaborative to encourage everyone to prayerfully consider a “plus one hour” commitment to the church. That is to say, to attend Mass weekly and then to find an opportunity to serve an hour a week (or even a month) in some other way. We would not have been able to open our churches for Mass last May unless several generous souls came forward to volunteer.
Our need continues to be great in our collaborative and the invitation is sent out in a renewed way. We need your presence and your gifts! It could be serving as a religious education teacher, an usher, a lector, with the St Vincent de Paul Societies, as a member on one of our parish/collaborative boards, or for hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration. There are endless possibilities for serving and contributing. We want to help you identify ways in which you can serve.
Volunteering serves multiple purposes. First, it is our Baptismal call to share our gifts. We are all poorer when our gifts are not brought forward and/or properly received. Secondly, it is truly necessary for our parish communities to be able to function well. We simply do not have the resources to pay for everything that is needed. Thirdly, and in many ways most importantly, it helps to form community as we pray and serve together. The more we give and serve it seems the more we feel part of the important work of the church and meet many new friends along the way.
I pray that these summer months, which pass too quickly, will be a time of rest and refreshment for all. I also look forward to our continued work together in the Lord’s vineyard in the days to come.
Sincerely, Rev. Richard F. Clancy