First of all, I would like to offer congratulations to all of our graduating seniors! So much study, hard work, and prayer… And, put simply, so much gutsy commitment and love has gotten them to this threshold in their lives. We are so proud of all of them! In a particular way I want to congratulate and thank those seniors who participated in the last couple of pilot years of our YDisciple program. We never could have gotten this program off the ground, without your daring willingness and faith. Of course, what’s most important is not the successful program in itself, but students who were willing to live their life on the front lines in high school, doing their best in all of the extracurriculars, and all the sports, etc.… and doing it all for the love of Jesus Christ and His Glory.
Graduating Seniors, please continue to keep the faith in college! I guarantee you that it will not always be easy. Your faith will be challenged in classes, and outside of classes. But those challenges do not make Jesus Christ any less true or relevant for human flourishing. Given my studies, even up to through the doctoral level, I have thought the Faith through pretty critically. And I’ve only grown in my confidence that the wisdom of the Church – in matters of doctrine and morality – because of the Holy Spirit, is greater than any other. If any of you are going to a campus where there is an outreach of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), please join them yesterday. I think this is absolutely the best college program available in the country. If you would like to receive a hardcopy of our parish bulletin in the mail at your dorm room, please contact the office with your mailing address. If you ever need special prayers for yourself or your friends, please call the office to be put on our prayer line. Finally, if I can ever be of any assistance, please call the office and leave a message for me. [Find yourself in a dangerous situation… e.g., boyfriend late at night tempting you to do something you know you shouldn’t? Have the parish emergency number on speed-dial. This goes right to my cell phone. Put your boyfriend on the phone with me ASAP! Guys, tempted to do something stupid? Speed-dial the parish emergency number!] You will always be in our thoughts and prayers. Of course, once you get back to Paulding, come to Mass as often as you can. And, once you are back permanently with us, register with the parish as an adult, and meet with me to figure out what ministries you can undertake! (Hope you don’t mind your pastor’s boldness planning all these things out for you!) Jesus has a plan, a future and a hope for you!
On another note, flight arrangements and costs have been finalized for our pilgrimage to the Holy Land in February 2018. We have had many people express interest in the trip, and now we will be able to accept initial deposits to reserve your spots. Please call the office, if you or anybody you know needs a copy of the itinerary with the current costs. I know it will be an awesome trip. I lived in Jerusalem for a couple months between my licentiate and doctoral studies. And I chaplained one pilgrimage to the Holy Land since that time. Also, my own classmate, Fr. Mike Dandurand, just returned from a trip to the Holy Land with our pilgrimage company Catholic Faith Journeys, with my good friend Margie McDaniel at the helm. If you go to their website, you will be able to see the pictures from that most recent pilgrimage. We will actually visit almost exactly the same sites that this last group did. If you request a flyer from the office, you will have our exact itinerary, as well as contact information for Catholic Faith Journeys. Feel free to contact me with questions as well.
On a final note, thank you to everyone in our parish and school community who played a role in supporting Chase Holt and his family throughout this last couple of years, and especially surrounding his death and funeral. At critical moments such as these, it is so very clear to me how blessed we are to have a school community where the Faith is actually the foundation upon which we build. Everything flows from this. All of us try to step up to the plate and live the virtue to which Jesus calls us, especially responding to the call of Love in every moment, to the best that we can discern it. I was very content seeing our teachers and staff in action Monday morning in school, the day after Chase’s death. I was also grateful for the atmosphere in the school, where it was clear to me students could be real about their grief and tears, and at the same time reach out to support students around them. The Faith always matters. But at moments such as these, when we lose one of our treasured loved ones, we tend to appreciate the Faith all the more.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,