Monday, August 19, 2013

Week of August 18

Dear Friends,

During our “town hall” meeting a couple of weeks ago, one of the desires expressed was for there to be better communication to the people of the parish as to what is happening.  This has certainly been a concern for myself and the staff over the last six-seven weeks.  There have been some steps that we have taken.  First and foremost is the Sunday bulletin.  Claudia and I have been working to transform it into a weekly newsletter of the parish. In addition to letting you know about upcoming events, there are resources to help you grow in faith, and news from the parish.  Summer is the slowest time of year for a parish, even a Cape parish.  Recognizing this, we are working on expanding the size of our bulletin and what it contains.

The bulletin is online as well.  If you click the bulletin link on our website, it will take you to the bulletin company’s webpage for our parish.  Not only will you find the current bulletin, but a small archive of the past few weeks.  Also, this letter is published on our blog ( each Monday.  We also post things on our Facebook page and twitter account.  Flocknote is a new tool as well.  If you go to you can sign up to receive updates to your email, Facebook, Twitter or phone.  You can also sign up by texting “sjeparish” to 84576.  If you are in high school or college, you can sign up for our special lists by texting “sjecollege” or “sjeyouth” to 84576.

When I came on board here at St. John’s I asked Kelley Spodris if she could join us part time.  Kelley works at Our Lady of Victory in Centerville, but has also done some work with me over the years in the different ministries I have been involved with.  She will be helping us in the business and technology areas of the parish.  Currently we are in the process of putting our parish census into the computers here in the office to help us in our communications.  She is also working with me to put together our finance report and to create a budget for the upcoming year.  When the new Finance Council is constituted, she will also work with that group.

I have mentioned before that there is a transition committee in place.  This group is made up of a cross section of our parish and are serving as an advisory to me for this first year.  They will be helping to form a mission and vision as well as a 5 year plan.  In addition, they will help me to discern and form a new pastoral council and a new finance council in the Spring.  The members of the transition committee are: Jeanne Towers, Cheryl and Jerry Grant, Mark and Lynn Sabina, Joe Sullivan, David Saba, Leslie Milstad, Pascale Fernandes, Andy Murray. I would like to thank them for their willingness to serve our parish during this time.

Just an FYI that our new phone app is out.  It can be found as a mobile app or on Google Play (SJE Pocasset).  I am waiting for Apple Developer to go back online so it can be submitted to Itunes.  In the meantime though, Iphone users can download it as a mobile app. The Link is on our Facebook Page and Twitter feed.

Fr. David

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 11 2013

Dear Friends,
One of my roles in the diocese is Chaplain to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.  As you know, the BSA motto is “Be Prepared”.  Not a bad bit of advice.  Jesus is telling us that very thing in our Gospel this week. “You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” (Lk 12:40)
Without proper preparation, life can be very difficult.  So it is in the spiritual life. A question that comes to my mind is, do we prepare ourselves for what we do here each Sunday at Mass?  Certainly if I don’t prepare, it would be obvious in the homily or in the presiding during Mass.  But it isn’t just the priest that has to prepare for Mass, all of us do.  Otherwise it is just something that we go to, not a prayer we participate in.  How do we prepare for Mass?  Read the Scriptures before going to Mass.  They can be accessed online, phone apps or in a missal.  Spend a few minutes in quiet to focus your thoughts on the Lord. Ask the Lord to help you open your mind and heart to his Word and presence.
There are prayers in the Roman Missal to help the priest in his final preparations for Mass.  Let me share with you one of those and suggest that maybe it could become part of your preparation as well.  It is a prayer attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas:
Almighty and ever-living God, I approach the sacrament of Your only-begotten Son Our Lord Jesus Christ, I come sick to the doctor of life, unclean to the fountain of mercy, blind to the radiance of eternal light, and poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth.
Lord, in your great generosity, heal my sickness, wash away my defilement, enlighten my blindness, enrich my poverty, and clothe my nakedness.
 May I receive the bread of angels, the King of kings and Lord of lords, with humble reverence, with the purity and faith, the repentance and love, and the determined purpose that will help to bring me to salvation.
 May I receive the sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood, and its reality and power.
Kind God, may I receive the Body of Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, born from the womb of the Virgin Mary, and so be received into His mystical body and numbered among His members.
Loving Father, as on my earthly pilgrimage I now receive Your beloved Son under the veil of a sacrament, may I one day see him face to face in glory, who lives and reigns with You forever.  Amen.
Fr. David

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 4, 2013

Dear Friends,

This Sunday’s Gospel seems to present us with a startling question by Jesus: “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” What Jesus is stating in this statement is that his mission is not about the petty squabbles of everyday life.  He is about sharing the Father’s love and message of Hope and Life. He understands who he is as the Son of God and what His purpose is. 

In the last couple of weeks we have engaged in a survey.  The purpose of the survey is to be part of an effort to get input from the people of God at St. John’s to see where we are, what our strengths are, our challenges are and the areas that we need to grow.  One of the results so far that is of concern for me is our parish mission and purpose.  Yes, the majority of those who participated stated they feel we have a clear mission and purpose, yet there is a noticeable number of people that do not.  The results suggest that indeed, we need to come to a better understanding of who we are and what we are about if we hope to move forward.  One of the first tasks of the Transition Committee will be to begin to answer that question.

There is a necessary element to this issue that rests with all of us.  To understand who we are as a parish family, we need to first understand who we are individually as children of God.  So often we identify ourselves by our work or our relationships with others.  These certainly are important and are a part of who we are, but fundamentally they are only a part.  We need to grow in our understanding of who we are, what our gifts and talents are, what areas of our life we need to change.  We need to love ourselves as God loves us.  I’m not sure we are so good about that part. Loving ourselves is different from being self-centered.  

This again emphasizes the importance not only of taking time for quiet prayer as well as communal prayer, but also being sure to appreciate beauty in all its forms.  This contributes to our well- being as a human person and as a child of God.  So take time to smell the roses, to take in the beauty that surrounds us on Cape Cod, enjoy a good book, listen to music, appreciate art, enjoy life!

Fr. David