Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.
But you're gonna have to serve somebody,
yes indeed You're gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.
—"Gotta Serve Somebody" by Bob Dylan
The values we hold and the choices we make reveal to others who we are serving. The problem we face is that left to our own devices we tend to rationalize and justify choices that are really self-serving. So we need something outside of ourselves to hold us accountable for our choices. Being part of a community helps us to do that but only if we are willing to use the community of the Church to measure our choices so that they are made not by a self-deluded standard but by the standards of Christian service.
This is one reason every year we hold our "People Raiser". For some it is the time to recommit to some form of service, for others it is a time to discern if God is pushing you into a new or different ministry and for some it will be the first plunge into a service commitment. At the People Raiser you will find a variety of ministries on display but service is not limited to these only. If you have a new idea for how we can build up the Kingdom let us know.
Also each ministry has its own training and mentoring program so you are not going at it alone. Additionally all volunteers at Mount Carmel are required to attend the Safe Environment Training for our Diocese and continue with a yearly renewal process. No exceptions. These trainings not only help us to serve in a manner consistent with our faith but also to do so with the highest ethical standards.
The People Raiser is also an opportunity for me to present to the Parish the Annual Stewardship Report. The Report outlines both the pastoral and financial reports for the previous fiscal year. The numbers in the report help us to measure how well we are serving the Lord, how much we are giving to the Lord with increase and where are deficiencies lie.
This year in addition to our annual People Raiser video (which I hope inspires you!) we have produced a new CD entitled "The Stewardship Rosary". This rosary includes the Luminous and Glorious Mysteries as well as a recording of Matt Maher's "Christ is Risen". The Stewardship Rosary will take you through a meditation on the many ways we are called to be stewards of our Parish, of the gift of Faith entrusted to us and of the spiritual and temporal resources we are privileged to be stewards of. So make sure you take one with you, you can download it on your i-Pod or phone or listen to it in your car.
So then what motivates a responsible Disciple? Many of us start out on this stewardship journey because of fear or guilt. After all we know we will all be called to give an account of our stewardship. Sometimes we do it for the rewards we perceive we will earn. It is the misconstrued "prosperity gospel" that we follow: I give in order to get. Others might be motivated by the need for social approval. I'll do it because others are looking and it might help my standing in life and fill out my resume. Or you might be in that
group that will only give if there is a certain need. In this way you seek to exercise control over your gifts rather than allowing the Spirit to use them as he wills. Often as Catholics we can serve or give out of a sense of obligation only. And while recognizing that being a responsible disciple is indeed part of our obligation hopefully we can eventually be motivated by gratitude. Gratitude starts with the recognition that all I have and am is pure gift.
You gotta serve somebody. Who will it be? What do your values and choices speak about whom you really serve? Christian service is at the heart of a disciple's life. As your pastor I will not enable you to live a lie. The simple truth is: you gotta serve somebody and it needs to be the Lord.
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Fr. John Bonavitacola