From Our Pastor ~ September 28, 2014

Dear Good People of Saint Mary,

First of all, I hope everyone had a chance to stop by the ministry booths under the tents outside Mass last weekend. What a wonderful, generous group of people and what a beautiful spirit seemed to fill the event. Our thanks to all the ministry leaders and representatives who gave up a good part of a weekend to tell our parish story. My special thanks go to the coordinators of the day: Dawn Miller, Beth Merriman, Patti Kaila, Pam Biedenbender and Rick Caporali. Thank you!

This weekend is Commitment Sunday, when we take all that we have learned about opportunity and decide what we plan to do about it this coming year. You’ll notice on the commitment card that there are places to state your intentions to be involved in the parish life of prayer, service in ministry and faithful support of the parish mission that is the life of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. Please, again— each and all—consider doing at least one thing this year as a sign of your good will and thanks for God’s love for you. We have been given so many gifts in love, and are called to use them to advance God’s plan in loving service.

Commitment, Abraham Lincoln said, is what transforms a promise into reality. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t speaking directly about the spiritual life, but it is a fascinating reflection when you consider the ways we are invited to respond to God’s promise. The realization of God’s promises always requires a personal investment of self, an offering, a giving away.

God doesn’t accomplish anything in our lives or the life of our parish without us, fully involved. Consider a vocation, and how a vocation can’t be successful without a commitment. You could have a vocation as a mom or dad, or as a priest or religious, or even as a peacemaker or teacher, but it means nothing if you don’t respond. The word vocation, based on the Latin word voco, vocare (to call), has intrinsic to its meaning that someone has to answer the call. Otherwise it is of no value, unfulfilled.

This Thursday we keep in our prayers one of our parishioners, Joe Farrell, and our seminarian from this summer, Rich Miserendino, both of whom will be ordained as transitional deacons at Saint Peter Basilica in Rome by Archbishop Donald Wuerl of D.C. We pray for their commitment in this step toward being ordained priests here in Arlington next June, and for our church and the commitments we make.

May they be a good example and source of inspiration for all of us to follow through with the good intentions we have, to follow God’s will in our lives and, by our actions, transform God’s promise for us and our parish into reality. Congratulations, Joe and Rich!

On a final note, I promised a parishioner that I would mention his disappointment when
he came back to his vehicle after the 8:30am Sunday Mass and found that someone had
backed into it and driven off, leaving considerable damage. This is not the first time this has happened, sadly. There were other instances of rude behavior which people related. We can only apologize for the parking lot we have for so long. It is all we have. If you do not wish to be parked in, it would be wise not to park in a place where that will likely happen. Choose one of the spaces along the trees, or on a street nearby. Above all, let us make the commitment to take responsibility for our mistakes, and be charitable and kind with each other and with our neighbors.

God bless you.

Fr. Don