Happy Pentecost… Happy Birthday, Church! It is right that we call today the “birthday of the Church,” because it is only in the Holy Spirit that we can believe, follow, serve, and witness to the power of Jesus. The Spirit dwelling in us makes us holy and transforms whatever we have to offer into something greater. I am always amazed by the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s power at work in the Church. The Church in every time and place has faced hardship and adversity. At times it was persecution, threats of martyrdom, and the Spirit emboldened the faithful to be courageous in their witness, sometimes to the point of laying down their lives for Jesus. Sadly, we have seen recently the harmful and scandalous misdeeds of ministers of the Church and the lack of effective response by too many of the Church’s leaders. The Holy Spirit continues to work in and through us to enable us to persevere in faith and to strive to be more faithful, more loving, and more effective ministers of the Gospel. I look around our parish and I am encouraged by so many signs of devotion, reminding us that our faith in Jesus cannot be shaken by human weakness. The Spirit makes more of us than we could hope to be on our own!
As we approach the end of our fiscal year on June 30, I want to express my thanks to all who so generously support the ministry and the work of our parish with your regular offertory contributions (in whatever form you participate—envelopes, loose contributions, online giving, or IRA charitable disbursements). This has been a challenging year for the Church, and I realize that your decision to contribute may have been difficult. Please know that what you give here at St. Joseph is essential to our daily operations to worship and celebrate the sacraments, teach the faith, provide care to those in need, console those mourn, and witness to the good news that Jesus is Lord.
Our bottom line at the end of the fiscal year is going to be tight… we have done our best to cut expenses, and thankfully we are operating below projected expenses. Our offertory income, however, is also running about 2% below last year (whereas we projected a 2% increase in this year’s budget, which was in place before the outbreak of news of the scandal of abuse last summer). All of this is a challenge for us as we continue to grow as a community and to expand our programming and ministries in response to increased participation and interest. I hope you will join me in doing your part by continuing to help us to serve and to help one another grow in our faith by supporting St. Joseph.
Let us pray together this Pentecost day to be open always and to cooperate fully with the working of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord’s abiding presence in us continue to renew and strengthen our community to be the beacon of faith we are called to be!