Dear Parish Family:
September is a time of transformation. Every year at this time, we come back from our summer vacations and our church is reinvigorated. Children return to their formation classes and our parish becomes a center of activity for our families, a place of encounter. This year is no different. In September, the Universal Church emphasizes the importance of family as The World Meeting of Families takes place in Philadelphia from September 23rd - 27th.
We eagerly await the message that Pope Francis will have for us in his homily during the Papal Mass on Sunday, September 27th. What will the Pope have to say at the culmination of the World Meeting of Families? We know that our families are domestic churches, centers evangelization and encounter which mirror the Parish family, or the Church. Pope Francis recently said that "families and parishes are the two places where we encounter, in every age, that communion of love which has its ultimate source in God. Just as our families are domestic churches, our parishes are called to be welcoming families."
Over the last few months, our bulletin has been exploring the concept of what it means to "encounter" Jesus. What does a personal "encounter" with God look like? How can we be open to this experience? How does it affect us? Personal stories of fellow parishioners, featured in the bulletin, witness to us that this type of living relationship is truly transformative, calling us out of ourselves and into a deeper connection with Christ and others.
In March of 2015, Pope Francis spoke on the importance of this type of personal relationship with Jesus. "Everything in your life, today as in the time of Jesus, begins with an encounter. An encounter with this Man, the carpenter of Nazareth, a man like all others, but, at the same time, different. We think of John's Gospel, where he recounts the disciples' first encounter with Jesus (Cf. 35-42). Andrew, John, Simon felt that they had been looked at in their depth, known intimately, and this generated surprise in them, a wonder that made them feel immediately bound to Him…"
On October 7th, we will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and the renewal of the Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. The Rosary gives us a practical way to meditate and grow in our relationship with Christ. I invite you to begin to pray the Rosary if you don't already. Perhaps start with praying one decade and work your way up to praying the full Five Decades. There are pamphlets in the book rack in the Narthex explaining how and why to pray the Rosary. We invoke the intercession of the Mother of God, Our Lady of the Rosary, as we embark upon this period of transformation in our parish life. We have much to do, but it is really only one thing; seek first the Kingdom of God!
Joy in the Holy Spirit,