Below is my homily of 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 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.
[from September 4, 2005]
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 worthy any faith community, indeed any Roman Catholic parish such as ours. We call it “A Parish Synod for the Formulation of a Mission Declaration and Pastoral Plan,” which is meant to guide and direct the parish life and ministry of Saint Rita’s Church, School, 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.
That was then. This is now. We have been living our mission and implementing our 2007 Pastoral Plan for seven years and all the while believing and trusting in the Lord’s promise that where two or three are gathered in his name there he is in our midst. I am often pointing out these days that since 2007 we have added 14 new ministries to our parish life here at St. Rita; with the beginning of our Young Adult Ministry, you can make that 15 (and counting). None of this means anything if it does not mean the many ways one can encounter Christ at
As we prepare to hold our St. Rita Annual Ministry Fair at the end of this month, I am reminded of a book titled CHRIST AMONG US: A MODERN PRESENTATION OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH. The author, Anthony Wilhelm, must have been thinking of today’s gospel passage from Matthew when he chose that title. As pastor, I am excited to journey with you as we lay a sure foundation for the vital and vibrant future of St. Rita Parish. And we know there will be challenges ahead—there always are—but as long as we are conscious and aware of CHRIST AMONG US, we will have all of the strength and graced needed for the journey. In the meantime, plan to visit the St. Rita Ministry Fair, after all of the Masses September 27-28, and enjoy seeing all of the wonderful, wonderful ways Christ walks among us here at St. Rita! —Grateful pastor, Msgr. Richard