No one in their right mind wants to suffer. However, Jesus knew that there was no other way. He had to pay the price in order for us to be saved. We could not save ourselves.
The biggest lie perpetuated by Satan is that we can save ourselves—that we are self-sufficient—that we don’t need one another and that we don’t need God. Perhaps that’s the reason that some folks don’t come to Church. Some who come do not get involved or make any kind of commitment. Lots of Catholics come when they need something—sort of like car service department—they replace the oil, check important gages, fill the windshield wiper container and off we go. Remember Ash Wednesday? Remember the great amount of people who received ashes? Next week is Palm Sunday—lot of folks will come for the palms. There’s a lot more to being a Catholic than receiving ashes, getting our throats blessed and talking a palm home. The Church is about belonging, being family, working together. We are not suppose to be perpetual pilgrims by going to the Basilica or shop around from church to church for a better deal. A real Catholic registers, keeps their information current, takes a bulletin home and reads it. You have probably noticed that we have young adults who give the announcements. (The reason is simple. Priests do not go off to prepare for 8 years of Philosophy and Theology to give announcements.) We need to look for opportunities to involve as many people as possible at every Holy Mass. The Church belongs to all of us—the faces of young people need to be seen—they will be in charge sooner than we think.
At the direction of the Pastoral Council, I want to spend a few moments to address the building project facing our Parish Community. The new Adoration Chapel will accommodate about 35 people. The Chapel will be opened 24-7. The Adoration ministry has grown since the start and continues to welcome new ministers. Adoration is about spending time with the person who loves us the most. We look at Him; He looks at us. We are the ones who benefit. There are countless testimonies of lives that changed because of Adoration. The new hall will hold about 280 people with seven rooms available for meetings, classes, small groups. Msgr. Ralph Hall is a gymnasium. It’s for big functions. The Conference room is for 80 people. Therefore the need for something in between. Meeting space is a challenge, given the many organizations in our community.
The ideal is for all of us to make a gift to the needed facilities which will be built. People have asked when? When will the building start? When all the money is in the bank. I would like to meet with each person making a pledge. However, I cannot—given the fact that I cannot stop my priestly duties and dedicate 100% of my time to raising money. Again, that’s not my job. But I can meet with some of you, which is my preference. Dinners have happened, yielding good results. However, if you know what your family can sacrificially contribute—remember the Stewardship model of time, talent, and treasure. God wants us to give from the top—not form the leftovers. If you have an idea what your gift will be for the project, fill out a form and deposit it in the collection or bring it to the office. If you want to see me, the encounter can happen, you will just have to be patient. Our community is composed of about 3,000 families and only one of me. All the more reason to conclude that our Parish is not about just the priest, but about all of us working together to build for the future. What we enjoy was done by those who came before us. Now it’s our turn. Don’t be a spectator, waiting to see what happens. Be a participant.
Life is about participation. God has distributed His gifts among us. Our call is to share, regardless of the amount. As long as our gift is the best that we can give. God will use our gift and bless us many times over.