Another new initiative that I am excited about starting in the fall in our parish is the Christ Renews His Parish retreats. There will be a women’s retreat and a men’s retreat in consecutive weekends, Sept. 15-16 (ladies) and Sept. 22-23 (gentlemen). I thank the two teams of about twenty who are planning to give this retreat to us. They are meeting once a week to prepare and pray for those of us who will attend the retreat. Please consider marking your calendar now so that you can keep that weekend free. I have seen this program do so much good for my parish growing up. My parents met life-long friends through this program (they attended a retreat around 30 years ago as young parents) and it helped them feel completely at home in the parish.
Finally, we are also making adjustments in our parish staff. We have re-structured parish staff to work for replacing Vicki Schwab’s role, which was one that she had particular talents to carry out. I am welcoming Abby Kyle, our former director of youth ministry, to assume the role of Director of Evangelization. While overseeing the traditional faith-formation aspects of parish life, Abby will work on redirecting them in accord with the continuous call of Popes John Paul II, Benedict, and Francis to foster the New Evangelization. You may recall that early in Francis’ pontificate he wrapped up a Synod on the New Evangelization with a powerful document, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) which he himself called “the key to my pontificate.” Transforming the parish from maintenance to mission is the vision we have for this parish, so that we all can truly build up the kingdom of God through the good news of Jesus Christ. The Parish Missionary Program which will begin in a couple months, is another aspect of this vision, and Abby will still be the supervisor of this program.
About a week ago, we bid farewell to Ash Scarbrough, who has led our Young Adult ministries for a few years in the parish. As his family has continued to grow, it has become more and more difficult for Ash to be away from wife and children in the evenings while juggling multiple locations of ministry (he split his time with our parish and the diocese). So he has found a more fixed job that has a better schedule for his family, and I wish him all the best as I am sad to see his parting. I’m glad he will be able to read bed-time stories to his kids and pray with them. Talk about being a good father!
Please keep these roles in your prayers as we transition to new circumstances in our parish and in our culture. The church’s mission remains the same: making committed disciples of Jesus through the Gospel and the Church’s sacraments!
Speaking of being a good father, the Serra Club is selling cards this weekend in preparation of Father’s Day. Consider those men in your lives, especially dad and grandpa, who have been a good influence in your life, and shown you a glimpse of the love of God the Father. A card may be a fitting way to show your gratitude for their witness.
Saint Thérèse, Little Flower, pray for us!