From Our Pastor ~ 4 October 2015

Dear Good People of Saint Mary,

It’s time again for one of those periodic columns when we catch up with a lot of housekeeping items, things that need to be mentioned for the good order of our community. Please give careful attention, and help one another in kindness to make our life together more fruitful and effective.

Volunteers. Please plan to join us on October 22 for our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. If you have volunteered in any capacity at Saint Mary or Holy Cross Academy, I invite you for an evening of dinner and dancing at Holy Cross Academy, prepared and served by your parish staff! We gather together for a home-cooked
dinner and dancing to a great local band, Blue Tips Rhythm Revue, to thank you for your service to our parish family. It is always a lot of fun and I have the honor of giving out Volunteer of the Year Awards to those whose nominations again them the distinction of being some of our most treasured volunteers.

Hope. Some of us from Saint Mary gathered together and represented our parish family at the Hope Over Heroin event last weekend Friday and Saturday nights. People who were trying to beat drug addiction, parents who were looking for answers for their children with addictions, and volunteers from all over Fredericksburg came and ate a lot of cookies, and spoke with us. Especially as we had been listening to Pope Francis all week, I was filled with the truth that there was no other place that we should be at that moment, no other people we were placed here to serve than these people who needed to know the support of their community. It was good to be there to let them know that we were there for them. So many parents, since we have announced we were involved in this program, ave communicated their relief knowing that their Church truly cared. All I can say is that I am sorry that we haven’t been more involved in such real community issues up until now. We are here for you, and we care.

Thanks, Bishop Loverde. I understand that most of you have received a mailing from the Diocese asking you to fill out a spiritual bouquet card. All of them will be given to Bishop Loverde at the celebration of his 50th anniversary of priesthood (December 18) in early November. All of us know how important it is to be recognized for our goodness; even though we wouldn’t actively seek it for ourselves, it brings great satisfaction. Probably you know that Bishop Loverde reached his 75th birthday on September 3, the day on which all bishops submit a letter of resignation and retirement to the Holy Father. It is up to Pope Francis to decide when he accepts that resignation and his new assignments have come anywhere between nine and 15 months. Bishop Loverde’s anniversary is an opportunity for all of us in the Diocese to let him know how much he has done for us. He has been a true father, a good teacher and an especially good friend for us at Saint Mary, always supporting our initiatives and growth, as well as often looking to our parish to pioneer many of his programs. We have a great debt of thanks to him, so it is appropriate that everyone respond to this request. A spiritual bouquet is a gift we give to another consisting of prayers, sacrifices, good deeds  which we offer in his intention. The benefit of our good deeds is given to him, for his needs and the intentions he has in his own heart. Please respond generously with your gifts of sincere thanks.

Church kids. Parents, please consider the needs of people around you if your children are fussy at Mass. They can’t help it, but you can help us. When children seem to be more than momentarily upset, please know that we share  our frustration but hope that you will enable us to hear and better join in Mass participation. Please do not feel embarrassed if you need to step out of the church for a moment. Again, if  you don’t have children who are upset, you should not be in the cry room at all, it is reserved for noise and those who are looking for refuge with noisy children. It is NOT a play room alternative during Mass. Parents, also please keep your children from damaging our new pews. They are already in bad condition in some places. Also, I’m told, children have been gathering unsupervised by parents in the restrooms and playing, and running us out of paper products. Please keep an eye out for us. Thanks. Nobody likes to stop in and suddenly realize there is no paper, as happened often last weekend.

You are Called and Gifted. Last call: this weekend we begin the Called and Gifted Workshop. October 9 and 10. Please don’t miss it. We don’t know how often we will be able to repeat this blessing to our parish.

God bless you,

 Fr. Don