Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.
I know for sure that I have been greatly blest by God and many times despite myself. Aside from the gratitude that comes with that I always ask myself, "what does God want of me"? Why does He bestow gifts if He is not expecting them to be used beyond my own well-being? How can I then return to the Lord with increase?
One way that I have tried to use my experience, strength and hope is to help families struggling with a young person with problems such as drug use, cutting, and eating disorders through our FullCircle Program. Experience has taught me that many families are broken and don't know where to turn for assistance. So many parents are praying that God will help them with their teen and I hope that I can be part of the answer to their prayers. And that is the essence of good stewardship.
Are you, through whatever gifts and blessings you have received being or trying to be the answer to someone else's prayers? Have you realized that God has brought you to this point in your life, not just for your own well being but for that of others as well? Or are you hiding your light under a bushel basket?
One of the reasons we hold our annual People Raiser next weekend is to highlight the various ministries of service that can help you become the answer to another's prayers. Most of the service opportunities were begun not by an official mandate of the Church but because at sometime someone was inspired to do something. That something grew in an organized way and opened the way for others to use their resources, gifts, and blessings for others.
For instance our Parish's participation in Meals-on-Wheels started because some of the members of our Women's Sodality realized they cooked everyday so why not make a little extra for those who are infirmed and can't cook for themselves. Likewise our Meals-for-Moms that provides meals for post-partum mothers for two weeks after giving birth got its start from other moms who knew the help would be most appreciated. In every case it starts with someone realizing they have something to share and then make the effort to share it. And then they become the answer to someone else's prayers!
While our People Raiser highlights ministries that are already up and running and need assistance we certainly welcome new ideas that come with the willingness to put them into action. And remember as our Parish community has grown so have our ministry needs. In fact this year we have a Miscellaneous Ministry for those who have unique talents or abilities and are willing to give us your name and skill so we can possibly call upon you at some point during the year for assistance. Are you a good electrician, carpenter, counselor, teacher, butcher, baker or candlestick maker? Then we can put your talents and experience to good use.
Each year we host a People Raiser, not only to resupply our ministries or grow new ones but also because it helps us be who we are. As Christians the command to serve others is integral to the exercise of our faith. In fact if you are not serving in any way then you are not fulfilling your baptismal promises. Participating in the sacraments, attending Mass, going to confession, and otherwise praying are not the only part of being Catholic. This weekend challenge yourself to fully implement your faith and be faithful to all the precepts of the Church. It is simple, though not always easy. But we suggest you follow the Rule of One: one hour of prayer (not including Mass), one hour of service and the first hour of wages dedicated to the Sunday collection each week. This is place to start. My hope is that you build on that and bring yourself to one hour of prayer a day, ten percent of each week's time to service and the entire first morning of your work week to the collection.
Christian service brings joy. If you are wondering why you're not so joyful, happy or act like you were baptized with vinegar ask yourself how and how consistently do I serve? And why not try to become the answer to someone's prayer?
Fr. John B.