Voices of Faith

The Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Dear Friends:

It is easy to get discouraged when things don’t go as planned. Imagine Jesus’ frustration when those who knew him couldn’t accept what he had to say! He probably expected that it would be easy to teach and to preach “in his native place” because the people there—relatives, friends, and neighbors—would trust him. This was early in his public ministry, and it would have been easy for Jesus to think, “if it was this difficult here, how difficult will it be when I try to teach elsewhere?!” He did not back down, however, because he understood who he was and accepted the mission given him by his Father. St. Paul’s encouragement to the community in Corinth in today’s second reading is also an encouragement to us: “I boast gladly of my weakness, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints… for when I am weak then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9-10). Our own failures remind us of the need for God’s grace in our lives.

Vacation Bible School concluded Friday, June 29, with 153 children and more than 75 youth and adult volunteers celebrating the gift of Jesus’ presence in our lives to encourage and strengthen us. It was so encouraging to see so much energy and enthusiasm as our children gathered each morning, and I am grateful for all who helped to make the week such a blessing, especially the members of our staff under the leadership of Amy Buttarazzi, who collaborated so well together. Thanks to everyone for your hard work and dedication!

This week nearly 2,000 church musicians, composers, and liturgical ministers will gather at the Baltimore Convention Center for the 41st Convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. This is the first time the convention will be in Baltimore. A number of our parish musicians—cantors, choir members, and instrumentalists—will be attending, many of them as volunteers. Quorus, or men’s a cappella ensemble, will be performing a concert, and I will be giving several workshops and presiding at one of the liturgies. Dr. Trapp, our Director of Liturgy and Music, has been hard at work for more than a year as co-chair of the local convention committee and will be the local “host” for the convention. He will also be giving a most interesting organ recital at Westminster Hall (the burial place of Edgar Allen Poe) that will include a reading of some of Poe’s works to accompany the music. As we welcome all of these ministers of music to Baltimore, please keep in prayer all of those who will lead, speak, preach, and make music for the Lord during these days.

God’s Peace,

Fr. Rick