Monday, October 28, 2013

Week of October 27

Dear Friends,

Next Friday is the Solemnity of All Saints, a holy day of obligation.  Our Mass schedule on Friday will be: 7:30AM, 9AM and 5PM. November is a time when we traditionally pray for all of the deceased.  We pray in hope that they are with our heavenly Father. We pray to the saints to pray for us as we seek to be saints ourselves.  Throughout the month of November we will have the Book of Remembrance set up near the baptismal font.  You are invited to write in the names of deceased relatives and friends whom you would like us to pray for whenever we gather for the celebration of the Eucharist.
November 1 is also First Friday.  Following Mass there will be Eucharistic Adoration until 8PM.  The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available until 6:30PM.  At 7PM there will be formal Evening Prayer concluding with Benediction.
The Office of Readings for the Solemnity of All Saints has a section of a sermon from St. Bernard, one of my favorite saints.  I would like to share with you part of that reflection:

“Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honors when their heavenly Father honors them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.

“Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them. 

“Come, brothers, let us at length spur ourselves on. We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us. We should not only want to be with the saints, we should also hope to possess their happiness. While we desire to be in their company, we must also earnestly seek to share in their glory. Do not imagine that there is anything harmful in such an ambition as this; there is no danger in setting our hearts on such glory.”

Fr. David

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Week of October 20

Dear Friends,

As you are aware, our parish’s Annual Appeal has begun. We have spent the last 8 weeks trying to update our database, however, we are discovering that there are still parishioners for whom we do not have addresses for. If you haven’t received the appeal letter or any of the other mailings that occurred over the last three months, please contact the Parish Office so we may be sure to have accurate records. This appeal is different from the Catholic Charities Appeal conducted in the spring. That Appeal funds the many diocesan ministries and apostolates. This Appeal is strictly for the parish of St. John the Evangelist. To be honest, this is a part of the job of Pastor that I dread. However, the reality is that to continue the many works of the parish and to address some of the projects that need to be done to buildings and property, funding is necessary. I want to be clear though that as important as the funds are, the prayers are even more important. Please be sure to keep me in your prayers and to pray for our parish. Be assured of my prayers for each of you and your families.

On Monday Patty Parsons, our new secretary, begins her employment here. We will be moving offices on Monday, so please be patient with us this week as we get things settled. I am very grateful for Patty’s arrival, partly because I think she will be a great addition to our parish, but also because I’ve fallen behind in some of my own work during the time that I’ve covered the office. Thank you for your patience during this entire transition!

My help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:2) These words from the Psalmist this weekend remind us of the power of faith and serve to inspire us to persevere in growing in faith. It is important that we understand what the words convey and not to “over-interpret” them. The psalmist is not saying that the Lord will help us drive the kids to school, soccer, religious ed, etc. or will deposit an extra $500 into our bank account, or even miraculously cure all of our ills. So how the heck does the Lord help us? When we take time for the Lord and to nurture the seeds of faith planted in our hearts, we become more aware of his love and presence in our lives. We recognize him at work in our family, community and world. Our hearts and minds remain connected to the “big” picture that reminds us that there is something more than the stresses and trials we experience in life. This faith feeds our hope that helps us to remain calm and focused even in the chaos that sometimes marks our lives. This spiritual calmness helps us to recognize the resources before us to help us in our times of needs, to realize solutions that we may not have come to in a frenzied state. Prayer is not a way to kill time, but the answer to many of our very real concerns and problems.

A couple of weeks ago we started some bible studies at UMass Dartmouth. I am very happy to report that the response has been very good. Actually, I am very pleased with all that is happening in Campus Ministry throughout the diocese. While it has created a lot of work for the staff and I, it has certainly strengthened our hope and faith in our college students. Plans are underway to offer a bible study here at St. John’s. There will be different times offered to accommodate all of our parishioners. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for more details!

This Tuesday evening is the Women’s Guild Potluck Supper. As a result the Catholicism series won’t be shown this Tuesday. We will resume on Tuesday October 29.

Have a great week!

Fr. David

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Week of October 13, 2013

Dear Friends,
There are two new staff joining our team that I would like to make you aware of.  Mr. John Brennan will be joining us as our Music Director.  He will oversee the music ministry program, organize and schedule cantors, instrumentalists, develop choirs, etc. He will begin his services here the weekend of October 19/20.  

Mrs. Patty Parsons will be joining the staff as our new Parish Secretary.  She is a parishioner of Christ the King parish, helps out with their faith formation program and has been very involved in the ECHO program on Cape Cod.  She will begin Monday October 21.  

I am very excited that both John and Patty agreed to join our pastoral team. Please join me in welcoming them to our community.
Two quick notes about the office:  First, the office will be closed on Monday October 14 (Columbus Day). Also, as of October 21 the Office will be open Monday through Thursday 9AM to 1PM.  Thank you for your patience during this transition.  It has been an eye opening experience serving as the parish secretary! 
This Sunday marks day 110 since my arrival as Pastor.  It really is difficult to believe that over three months have already passed!  I am incredibly humbled to be here as your pastor and so grateful to you for the welcome and support.  The last three months have been spent getting re-acclimated to the area, reestablishing the parish office and bringing on some new staff.  In addition, we have updated our census, computerized many of our records and day to day functions and processes.  We are in the process of implementing new procedures in regards to funerals and our outreach to families, baptismal preparation and follow up, welcoming new parishioners, and the care of our homebound parishioners. A couple of weeks ago we started showing the Catholicism series to provide parishioners the opportunity to learn more about their faith. I am very excited to let you know that we have a couple of adult parishioners who are seeking to be Confirmed and a couple of parishioners who are seeking to become Catholic through the RCIA. I still owe you a finance report for FY 13 as well as a first quarter report for FY 14 and we will be scheduling a second “town hall” meeting in the near future.  We are also rearranging the offices around a bit.  The Cloak Room in the Parish Center is being transformed into the new parish office.  Room 6, where the office has been, will at some point be divided into two rooms: one will be my office and the other a work room for some of our part-time staff.  Believe it or not, this is not an exhaustive list, there are still other ministries, outreaches and processes being worked on! 
This weekend 15 men were ordained permanent deacons for the Diocese of Fall River by Bishop George Coleman.  Please be sure to pray for them and their families.  Also, let us be sure to pray for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life!

Fr. David