Voices of Faith

The Fourth Sunday in Lent

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Dear Friends:

This weekend we proclaim the famous verse of John’s Gospel (John 3:16): “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” This is why we gather as Church: to encounter the great mercy and love of the God who desires to save us and share his life with us.

The preceding verse is also important: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” This gives us our mission as Church: to proclaim Christ to the world, to share the good news that we have received. To be part of the Church means not only to know Jesus and experience his saving power but to take that experience to the next step by telling others about it. We cannot simply keep our experience a secret or hoard it for ourselves. As I write this, I am participating in a meeting about the Church’s mission and our vision and plans for living that mission in our particular parish. I must admit that at times it is frightening to reflect on the challenges that a vision presents because it means taking steps out of a place of comfort and stability. Our parish planning process over the past several years has attempted to articulate that vision and identify strategies to help us move toward that vision. We continue to discern the vision and assess our progress, and I am excited that our Parish Council has been so passionate about this process and its role in guiding this process. I ask your prayers as we continue to discern, study, and chart our course for the coming years.

On Monday, March 19, the Church celebrates Saint Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. In the scriptures we have no recorded words of Joseph, so he is presented to us as simply and quietly “doing his part.” He doesn’t question, he doesn’t challenge, but he is there. We shouldn’t dismiss his role as insignificant. As the patron of our parish, Joseph has something to teach us in his fidelity, and we have every reason to celebrate Saint Joseph Day as a great feast, and even as a pause from our Lenten penance and sacrifice. In addition to the regular morning Masses on that day, we will gather for a special festive Mass (bi-lingual) on Monday evening at 7:30 pm with evening fellowship to follow in Joe’s Cafe. Let us give thanks for the example of Saint Joseph’s quiet fidelity and faithful service.

God’s peace to you this week,

Fr. Rick