From Our Pastor ~ 17 January, 2016

Dear Good People of Saint Mary,Banner Family week

This bulletin is packed with information this week, I hope you have a chance to take it all in. So many great things are coming up soon: please consider joining Saint Mary as we go to Richmond to speak with our legislators on February 17 as well as reserving your chairs right now at the Parish Night Out dinner and orchestra April 29. Last year tickets sold out, it is one of the best nights of the year.

Mostly what I would like to share with you is the results of our annual Family Week in Religious Education. For the past four years we have had special classes/activities the first week back from Christmas vacation, inviting parents to come and participate and focus on a particular theme. Our parish theme this year, “People of Thankfulness, Sowing Seeds of Mercy,” helped us spend the week reflecting on what we are thankful for. Students gathered with parents and talked about what is really important, what we are most thankful for in our life. More on page 5.

But what we celebrate this week and in this short season of Ordinary Time before Lent begins is the results of those classes. We took the totals of the  children’s answers and arranged them on banners on either side of the sanctuary in church. The answers which had the highest totals are represented in large type, the smaller totals, smaller type.

They are going to serve as a reminder why we come to church. Sometimes, maybe, people think they come to church because they have to, or because they will get some special feeling or strength for the coming week. Of course, these things are true, but not the primary reason. We gather because God has given us all these things that now appear before us as we celebrate Mass together. God has given us so much that we can’t not celebrate the liturgy of thanksgiving, the Eucharist. Sometimes we can start thinking of too many other things on our minds. These banners will help us focus, I believe.

The old idea that the priest did everything was an error that grew over the years and Vatican II reminded us that all of us have equally important roles in the Mass. It isn’t just the priest who does all the work. You gather, pray, sing, remember the promise of God and his saving action in Jesus whose prayer we pray, that is, the Mass. And you bring all of your gifts and yourself to offer all of it to God with bread and wine so that he can consecrate the bread, the wine, all of you, all of the world through you. The Mass is yours! And how glad we are that we have a place in it! God doesn’t do all these things by himself! He relies on you to be present to him, just as you believe he is present to you. Let us spend the year celebrating the mercy of God, and our thankfulness.

God bless you.

 Fr. Don