This was my homily for September 4, 2005. I was just in my second year as pastor and, after keeping my promise “not to change anything for one year,” was inviting the parishioners to participate in a special survey that would guide us for the next five to ten years. This Sunday I will be making reference to this time in our parish journey together and to a renewal of our commitment as Stewards of Christ’s Mission on Earth.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
What more encouraging words from the Gospel could we ask for as we launch our Parish Synod Process? Today we embark on a spiritual and ecclesial journey worth any faith community, indeed any Roman Catholic parish such as ours. We call it “A Parish Synod for the Formulation of a of Mission Declaration and Pastoral Plan,” which is meant to guide and direct the parish life and ministry of Saint Rita’s Church, Schools, and Organizations over the next five to ten years.
For me, as your pastor of just one year, I cannot stress enough the importance of a parish synod as a way to bond with you and to be on the same pages of parish life and ministry with you. Our Parish Synod and especially the Synod Survey Process is nothing less than the call to BE CHURCH.
The members of the Pastoral Council and I invite you young or older, new or seasoned, over involved or estranged, to be heard and to be counted! We, for our part, pledge to you a serious, prayerful, and professional follow-through to the formulation of our Parish Mission and Pastoral Plan.
Soon you will receive a copy of the Synod Survey with Introduction. While you may simply take the survey and mail it in or drop it off at the parish office, we sincerely encourage you to take the survey in reflection and discussion with your family and other parishioners. Please bring your survey with you to a planned gathering of an organization you belong to, or to attend one of the planned “after Sunday Mass” gatherings, or if you decide to participate in a gathering offered by St. Rita Elementary or Religious Education.
Finally, in the best tradition of our Church, join me in praying COME HOLY SPIRIT!
[That was then. This is now. As a matter of fact, the ten years of our pastoral plan have been completed as of 2016. Our current Pastoral Council has been diligently reviewing our Pastoral Plan and the updated document will be offered to us soon. As we re-enter our beautifully refurbished church and worship space next weekend, we will also be announcing a special St. Rita Holy Year. Please see the SPECIAL FLYER INSERT for the next weekend’s schedule of our Church Re-entry Celebrations and Activities.]