August 18, 2019

Last week we had a wonderful celebration of our Sister Parish. Many thanks to our Sister Parish Committee for wonderful hospitality (including a great Sunday Supper!), the video of the pilgrims’ visit, and the wonderful photo display. I want to offer, again, a special thanks to our pilgrims who gave witness talks about their experience at St. Bernadette’s last month. I am so grateful to Patty and Matthew Jayne, Lori and Sara John, and Erin Ball for their informative and inspiring sharing.

I also want to thank you, our faithful parishioners, for your contribution to our annual collection for St. Bernadette’s. Last weekend we contributed more than $9,000 to support scholarships for St. Bernadette students and the work on the parish hall in Samoya. May these funds help the people of St. Bernadette to continue to flourish.

In my column a couple of weeks ago I invited you to join us for a Parish Convocation next month. There are two dates to choose from: Monday, September 9, from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm, and Sunday, September 15, from 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm. Both gatherings include a simple meal to begin our time together. I am asking all parishioners to attend one of these gatherings.

At these gatherings we will pray together and discuss the future of our parish. We will ask the Lord to guide us, through the power of His Holy Spirit, as we discern where he is calling us as a parish community.

Over the last eleven years that I have been your pastor we have done many exciting things together. We have also seen our community shift and change. We have seen the establishment of new parish ministries, the continuation of many long-standing parish events and ministries, and the decline or elimination of other events and ministries.

My hope in gathering us next month is that we can reflect on where we have been, where we are today, and where we want to go into the future. I want us to discern together what ministries, events and activities the Lord is calling us to support today and into the future.

There are some obvious ministries that are part and parcel of the life of every parish: worshiping God, particularly at Sunday Mass; forming children and adults in our faith; caring for the sick; burying the dead; and reaching out to those in need. Some of those basic ministries of our parish have been struggling recently to operate with enough volunteers. I hope we can discern how to meet this challenge.

There are other ministries and traditional parish events that build up the community of faith that are well attended and well supported. There are others that are struggling. I hope we can discern together which of these ministries and events we are willing and able to support.

My hope in calling us together for discernment is that we will listen together to each other and to the Lord, as we assess where we are today and look toward the future.

Our listening and assessment and discernment take place within a vision of parish life. In next week’s column, I would like to share several elements of a vision of parish life that come from Pope Francis and Archbishop Sartain. I think there is a cohesiveness to their thought that can really help give a theological framework for our conversations next month.

Have a great week!

Peace,
Fr. Gary Lazzeroni