Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
First of all, many thanks to everybody who helped plan and accomplish the welcome reception last Sunday for our summer seminarian, Deacon Scott Perry! What an appropriate way to welcome our summer Deacon; and – no surprise – so many Divine Mercy parishioners made it happen! Thanks also to Shawn Dooley for all his work organizing our altar servers baseball game at Tin Caps Stadium in Fort Wayne. It was a fine event – a small expression of our great appreciation for the service of our altar servers at the Sacrifice of the Mass each Sunday, and at school Masses during the week. Any young man who will turn nine years old in a given semester is eligible to start server training. Just contact the parish office to let us know you are interested.
Secondly, please remember the parish girls’ junior high and high school retreat that is coming up on Tuesday, June 27th at our Antwerp campus. The day begins with morning Mass. The Kurivials’ and our own Sister Mary Knuckles, who are leading the retreat, will be focusing on what it is for a woman to have her whole personality balanced in the service and love of Jesus Christ. I think it will be a very rich day for all of our young ladies in junior and senior high! Please contact the office ASAP to register. Theresa Conley can field any questions you have.
Finally, over the past several weeks we’ve begun to use the prayer that Bishop Thomas wrote, to help us keep our diocesan mission in the forefront of our minds and hearts and pray for its accomplishment. The prayer includes the phrase “holy disciples, holy families, holy vocations”. This triplet stems from the Bishop’s original vision, which he shared with us in each of the deanery visits in the couple months after his arrival and appointment to the diocese. In upcoming bulletin letters, from time to time, I want to unpack this mission statement, as it applies to our parish. We want to make the mission statement our own.
Consider, firstly, how holy disciples, holy families and holy vocations are related. Start with the concept of a holy family. Considering the joyful mystery of the Rosary – The Finding of Jesus in the Temple – I think you can summarize the life of a holy family: by the power of the Holy Spirit, focused on the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, the holy family grows in the awareness of our heavenly Father’s presence and providence. Although it was a bit painful at first for Joseph and Mary to lose Jesus, and then to have to search for him for three days, Jesus stated that he was doing his Father’s bidding. The hearts of Mary and Joseph expanded to accommodate such a directive presence in the Heavenly Father, who was ever-more-apparently-to-the-human-eye to guide his Divine Son. This Mystery of the Rosary is called “joyful” certainly because Mary and Joseph found the Son they loved so much, and about whom they were so very worried. What a joy and consolation to find out that He was safe! But I believe that the term “joyful” fits the mystery also because of the expansion of love that happened in the hearts of Joseph and Mary. Their hearts expanded to begin to accommodate the Father’s mission of love for humanity, which was to be carried out by the Son. Greater love always means greater joy! So the hearts of Joseph and Mary would experience greater joy as they gave themselves to the mission of the Father’s love for humanity, as they let their hearts love with His Love.
Now, consider the diocesan mission: holy disciples, holy families, holy vocations. A holy family has to be led by disciples, like Joseph and Mary, who are willing to seek and live out God’s will. Then Mary and Joseph lived their lives, always revolving around the Real Presence of Jesus (He was really living with them – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – each day). Our families center their whole spiritual life around the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – where Jesus’ Real Presence happens for us. Yet holy families are also required to nurture holy disciples. Children learn first in their families to be intentional disciples of Jesus Christ. But in order to have that Eucharistic Real Presence of Jesus that provides all the grace for holy families to live love and discipleship, you need vocations to the priesthood; since it is through the priesthood that Jesus makes His Real Presence happen in the Mass. And you need religious male and female vocations to meet many other service and educational needs of the Church, especially the need always to have these consecrated souls praying for the life of the Church, worshiping God on humanity’s behalf. Holy disciples, holy families, holy vocations are very interrelated, interdependent. Each needs the other two. We will keep meditating on this mission statement – holy disciples, holy families, holy vocations – as it pertains to the concrete life of our parish.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,