Dear Good People of Saint Mary,
We have just recently completed compiling all the responses you graciously gave to our Parish Life Weekend call for ministry participation in parish groups and ministries. Thank you. If you haven’t heard from someone already, it is now the work of our group and ministry leaders to contact all you who are interested in actively participating in various activities in the parish and you should be hearing from someone soon. If you don’t, please give us a kind reminder.
Of the nearly 4,900 catalogues that were mailed to registered families, we received 765 responses, all very different, each beautiful in its expression. You see, a tangible commitment is more likely to be carried out than an “I’ll get to it” in a rare moment of calm. But the overwhelming sense that I get as I read through your comments, nearly all of which were kind and constructive this year (thank you again!) is that there is a remarkable amount of love, charity, involvement, service, commitment that could never be measured by a survey or quantified into a total analysis of “who we are.” I am humbled by the sheer immensity of the ways our people serve one another and never mention it or are never recognized for it.
Although the 765 responses, which constitute a 15% response rate, would be considered an excellent return for a direct mail piece to strangers, I think they are probably only scratching the surface of what we go about doing quietly in the name of Christ. Because the Church is not a professional association of dues-paying members and does not require any sort of annual report of our activities, we are not accustomed to the idea that it might actually be important for the benefit of all the faithful that we share what we are doing at this point in our lives, and how we are living the Gospel.
I would like to include here one such response I received attached to a returned commitment card. It was so inspiring to me, I called up this person and asked if I could use it in the bulletin. Her message was for me, itself, a work of ministry and I hope it illustrates for you this idea of what I am talking about. You just never know where people are coming from, and what they are dealing with at the present time.
Dear Fr. Don,
My husband and I have been in the parish for the last three years. We are both graduates of Jesuit universities where we were deeply formed in service. I have participated in many ministries during our parish lives in Boston. Now, retired and in our early 70s, I am a 24/7 caregiver for my husband who has had Parkinson’s disease for the past 20 years.
We were Eucharistic Ministers from 1976 to 1987. My husband has been rector in Cursillo many times and both of us on teams as well. I sponsored a candidate for RCIA. I was president of a parish organization and my goal was to sponsor a Laotian family from a refugee camp in Thailand. They eventually moved to Rhode Island and one of their sons graduated from Providence College. We were active members of the “Voice of the Faithful” in Boston when we were stunned by the sexual abuse scandal. I could go on and on!
My desire is to attend daily Mass (which was my habit) and be involved in as many parish activities as possible. Unfortunately, or fortunately, my altar is at my husband’s side – helping him live as normal a life as possible for as long as possible. Thus, the limited offering of time, talent, and treasure.
In Christ’s love.
And she signed her name. I wanted to share her message with the whole parish as a word of encouragement and inspiration for all of us in this Advent of hope-filled waiting. Trust in the deep goodness which God has placed in your hearts, and let this goodness become visible in you as we prepare for Jesus’ coming.
God bless you.