The weekly collection, every week at each parish, belongs to the parishioners, not the pastor. Every pastor who is doing his job has to be very serious about how that money is spent. It has to be for the parishioners’ welfare. I am happy to say that, while I’m convinced we need to save more for future capital needs (painting, roofs, plumbing, etc.), the parish has always paid its debts in a very timely way, and that is due to your generosity. I thank you!
So many pastors and parishes cannot say the same. In fact, sixty-five parishes rely on outside assistance to pay for their ordinary operations. An additional sixty-three schools also struggle financially. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be choosing between the ministries and activities to support, and which ones to let go, because there just isn’t enough…but there are many pastors who have to make those kinds of decisions every week.
Back when I was teaching full-time in the seminary, I travelled quite a bit, throughout the United States, giving continuing education talks on the Scriptures to many groups of priests. One of the things that I discovered is that many dioceses throughout the nation have big campaigns, like Together in Mission, but almost all of them aren’t for the poor parishes, but for the support of the chancery offices. I applaud the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for having a collection strictly for assisting our poor parishes. Let’s have it clear in our minds, these are our parishes. We belong to each other and share a common mission to bring people to an experience of Jesus and to become His disciples.
The Together in Mission collection enables the parishes and schools it helps to fix or replace roofs, paint walls, and upgrade electrical systems. It buys school textbooks and classroom technology. It keeps the lights on and pays for employee insurance. It helps parishes with their ministry and education programs. It pays essential salaries. It provides security at Catholic schools in tough neighborhoods to keep children safe.
The cause is just and the need is great. There is a careful distribution of the money raised, and prudent monitoring. In essence, it is money well spent. I can’t encourage you enough, please be supportive of this collection. You have done so much to ease my mind of great financial struggle. Can we do the same for others?
Also visit: Together in Mission - Our Story is Hope
Jeremiah was a true prophet of God and he was horribly treated – remember the passage about his being cast into a muddy pit because the king didn’t like the prophecies he was making? Jesus Christ was a true prophet and we know he was horribly treated: scorn, torture and cruel execution.
This can all be a little unsettling for those of us who have comforts in this life: enough to eat, adequate clothing and shelter, gainful employment, the love of families and friends.
But our second reading from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians has juxtapositions of its own and reaffirms the truth about Jesus to which we cling – that he was not only a true prophet, but the Son of God, risen from the dead:
If for this life only we have hope in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all.
Now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
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Thanks and blessings for being a part of this effort to support Youth Ministry!
Fairways to Heaven event:
Part of the special character of Padre Serra is the way the music is so uplifting. The trouble is it is so consistently good that, if I’m not careful, I can begin to take it for granted.
When that happens, there is nothing like going to Mass anywhere else to refocus my awareness on how good we have it. Celebrating with other communities when I am away schools me in the need to appreciate the efforts of directors, musicians and singers who enliven our worship here in Camarillo so dependably well.
Part of our parish’s special tuneful equation is just how varied the repertoire is, from classic Catholic polyphony, to modern compositions, old standards, spirituals and praise hymns, from ancient to new. I’m sure you’ve noticed that, while our texts are overwhelmingly in English, some are Latin and, occasionally, Tagalog and Spanish. That kind of musical breadth and linguistic depth takes open spirits, the willingness to stretch and a lot of practice and experience.
Now, doing music as well as our choirs do it demands competence, artistry, and hours of practice. Children’s choir rehearses weekly on Mondays after school, the 11 am choir on Tuesdays, and the 9 am on Thursdays, both in the evening. When we get into the special liturgical seasons of the year, before Christmas concerts, to prepare for Holy Week, etc., additional rehearsals are necessary. I am truly grateful that our parish contains so many people with generous hearts, willing to make that double commitment, to be at a given Mass time and its preceding rehearsal.
On a side note, I hope you’ve noticed how often the words of the songs reflect the content of the readings. Time after time, Dominic has managed to find sung texts that reflect what I’ve tried to communicate in my homilies. I can’t say that it’s never an accident of grace, but most often it’s because of Dominic’s deep knowledge of the texts, and his willingness to do long range planning.
Having sung in choirs in the ten years I was in the seminary, I know the particular struggle of keeping my music in order, attending to meter, maintaining melody and pitch, faithfully observing the director’s leads, and…praying. The whole purpose of the music program is to lead us into sung prayer, where sacred texts and musical artistry combine to lift our minds to the holy presence of God. Musicians and singers have to commit deeply to prayer to stave off distractions. I am so thankful to them for this.
The best way to support the choir, besides occasional, obliging kudos when they’ve really done a spectacular job, is to sing and pray alongside them. Nothing affirms their efforts more than a deeply praying and exuberantly singing community. Have you found yourself singing the final hymn for the rest of Sunday as I have? I suppose ear-worms can be annoying, except when the melody is both catchy and compelling and the words speak to the heart. We’ve been learning, these many years, some very beautiful prayers, haven’t we?
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