From Our Pastor ~ September 28, 2014

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

Express Announcements ~ September 28, 2014

Express Announcements ~ September 28, 2014

* Commitment Sunday is today. Remember to offer your commitment card at Masses this weekend. If you forgot, please mail it in or bring it to the office. Thanks. We ask everyone in the parish to make a positive commitment to living faith in love.

* More adult formation classes are starting this week. Please look in the bulletin for information – one Bible Study begins on Wednesday and two more begin on Thursday.

* Both Fr. Mealey’s presentation on Marriage and the Annulment Process (Thursday evening, Oct. 2) and our Seminar on Life Decisions (Saturday, Oct. 4) will be held depending upon response. At the time of this printing, we have not had any registrations. If you wish to attend, please call the office and leave your contact
information so we may notify you if the meetings are to be held at a later date.

* Don’t forget the Saint Francis Feast Day Animal Blessing next Saturday, October 4, in the parking lot on the office side in front of the church by the statue of Saint Francis.

* SCRIP is on sale this weekend in the Parish Life Center after all Masses except Saturday 7pm and Sunday 2pm. Please use SCRIP and help our school.

His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, has asked the world to pray with him for Christians and religious minorities who face unspeakable suffering in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and other countries:

Lord,
The plight of our country is deep and the suffering of Christians is severe and frightening. Therefore, we ask you Lord to spare our lives, and grant us patience and courage, to continue our witness of Christian values with trust and hope. Lord, peace is the foundation of life; Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us to live with each other without fear and anxiety, and with dignity and joy. Glory be to you forever.

Express Announcements ~ September 21, 2014

Express Announcements ~ September 21, 2014

* Parish Life Weekend is this weekend. Take advantage of our time to visit with ministry leaders and representatives outside under the tents about various ministries — and choose one for your commitment this year. Remember to bring your commitment card to Masses next weekend, December 27-28 for Commitment Sunday. This is the time of year when we make an account of our activity and make resolutions of prayer, service and support of our parish mission.

* Adult formation classes start in earnest this week and next. Please look in the bulletin for information – most require registration in advance! One Bible Study begins this Thursday, and next week one on Wednesday and two more on Thursday begin.

* Fr. Mealey’s presentation on Marriage and the Annulment Process will be held Thursday evening, Oct. 2. Please, if you or someone you know needs to come back to the
sacraments, plan to attend. Also, Our presentation on Life Decisions is coming again on Saturday, Oct. 4. Please see p. 8 for details.

* Don’t forget the Saint Francis Feast Day Animal Blessing on Saturday, October 4 in the parking lot in front of the church.

* SCRIP is on sale this weekend in the Parish Life Center after all Masses except Saturday 7pm and Sunday 2pm. Please use SCRIP and help our school.

His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, has asked the world to pray with him for Christians and religious minorities who face unspeakable suffering in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and other countries:

Lord,
The plight of our country is deep and the suffering of Christians is severe and frightening. Therefore, we ask you Lord to spare our lives, and grant us patience and courage, to continue our witness of Christian values with trust and hope. Lord, peace is the foundation of life; Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us to live with each other without fear and anxiety, and with dignity and joy. Glory be to you forever.

From Our Pastor ~ September 21, 2014

From Our Pastor ~ September 21, 2014

Dear Good People of Saint Mary,

It was a flawless day, I don’t remember having had such a perfect day for the Ice Cream Social Cakewalk and Dance. I found myself standing back, looking at what we have done in building this community and felt a deep sense of joy. Here, at least, was a capsule of peace, where people could come together and just enjoy the afternoon, the ice cream and one another, kids could run around in safety and real connections were made among people.

If only it were so everywhere – right? We are so grateful that God has given so much to us, but we are also painfully aware that it is not so in many places in the world. The stories of human cruelty and suffering multiply daily becoming uncountable instances of desperate need. What can we possibly do to help ease their sadness and suffering? To make the world a safe and peaceful place for all God’s children?

Of course, we reach out in whatever way we can. And we pray. When I was writing the intercessions for Mass last week this idea was on my heart, and we prayed: “That the wrongs that others do may NOT be kept alive in us in the form of discrimination, judgment and hatred; that we may be examples of Christ’s love, we pray to the Lord.” I think this is the most difficult aspect of evil and sin, that its damage can cause us to sin, too, as we are dealing with its effects. We can decide to keep the effects of these sins alive and damaging. Sins of hatred must not cause others to hate; it is easy to fall into this trap. Then evil has won the day.

But if we were able to respond in love? Well, that is the idea we are all familiar with, but it is
not so easy in action as it is in concept. “Hate the sin but love the sinner” is a hard teaching.
We can’t condemn whole peoples or cultures for what we are seeing happening around us, no matter how horrible the images on television or unthinkable the reports. Terrible crimes have been committed in the name of religion – ours, too – ever since human beings have been involved. It isn’t the religion driving it, ever; it is in the evil choices of extremists who have hijacked truth and twisted its interpretation to their purposes.

But we must condemn the actions and do what we can to prevent them, together, and do everything we can to make sure that the actions end there. In response, then, we must be people of truth who reveal it in our own lives. We seek it in others, and respond to it in love when it is found. We encourage it, we teach it and form it in our young people and learn it from the wisdom of our elders. And we keep alive in our memories the beautiful afternoon and the gathering of family and friends as a reminder that God continues to bless, and to guide us.

God bless you.

Fr. Don