Happy Thanksgiving from Fr. Ken

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. And it’s not even a religious holiday. There is no real decorating of homes necessary, no crazy rush to buy and exchange gifts. It’s a time to enjoy the company of others, eat well and probably too much, watch some football, and be thankful. “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, Abraham Lincoln declared when he officially proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November as a national holiday in 1863.

We know the story of the pilgrims who celebrated their first harvest. Their feast lasted three days, attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 pilgrims. It’s not just about what we eat and drink, but also about whom we share the day with. For that, we are thankful.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for YOU. Yes YOU. For all of you, for the dedicated staff members, the many volunteers on all levels, all of you who participate in the life of our parish by helping out on commissions, committees and in the various groups and clubs. I am thankful for ALL of YOU, those who challenge me, those who strive to raise our parish to the next level, and to those of you who share comments and sentiments because you want our parish to be even greater in serving the Lord and all of God’s children. Thank you.

“Father all-powerful, your gifts of love are countless And your goodness infinite; As we come before in Thanksgiving With gratitude for your kindness, Open our hearts to have concern For every man, woman, and child, So that we may share your gifts in loving service. Through Christ our Lord. Amen” – (From the collect prayer of Thanksgiving Day Mass)

Fr. Ken

Liturgy training sessions and other news

The liturgy training sessions for our Eucharistic volunteers are nearly completed. Thank you to all who have participated, and to those who prepared the sessions, and to the coordinator who is working hard to prepare the schedules. The openness of all of you to listen, to learn and to share your views was very helpful. This is a big step in the growth of our young parish community.

Hopefully now we are all on the same page. We can always use more volunteers. If you have any concerns, please contact the team captain (coordinator) of your specific ministry; they either will be able to help you or will bring the issue to one of us.

The Parish Pastoral Council has been meeting monthly since July. I am pleased to report that most of the members of the transition team agreed to stay on as Council members for the year. Thanks to all of you for your willingness to help. I know that some of you have been asking about public meetings; we discussed this at the last meeting and have decided that, first of all, it is important for us to gel as a group and to get to know each other and how each of us acts and reacts. This is allowed according to the regulations of the Archdiocese. After that time, some of the meetings will be open meetings; we will let you know ahead of time which ones they are. If you have a concern and want to bring it officially to the PPC, please send an email. That email address will be made available in the future in the “Joyful News”.

I am very much aware that one of the major concerns of many of you is that you cannot hear well in the church. We have been working to fix this. We thought that just adding a couple more speakers would help fix it, however it seems that is not the case. We have been in contact with the local company that installed the system a couple of years ago to get the right answer to the situation. I know that it is frustrating for you; it’s frustrating for me as well. Please pray that we can find the right solution quickly and economically. God Bless you for helping our young parish to grow and develop into an active, joyful and faith-filled community.

Fr. Ken

Something old and something new

Something old and something new. It sounds like a line from an old adage referring to brides and weddings. I think that it refers to more than that. Our lives are filled with things that are old, and, if we are open to it, things that are new. Most of us don’t like change in our lives, but we know it is inevitable. As we grow our bodies change, we change jobs and houses. Some of these things we face with great excitement, looking forward to what the future brings. Other times we dread any change and just wish things would remain the same. Always. However, they don’t; they won’t.

When I was preparing to move here to St. Mary, Cause of Our Joy, in addition to the anticipation of becoming pastor, I had some concern, just a little, about the house. I was giving up a comfortable bed and room where I had lived contentedly for many years. Would all of my things fit? How much privacy would I have? I was moving to a new house that I didn’t even pick out for myself. Looking back, now they seem like silly concerns, but they were real ones, for sure. And it all turned out fine. God is good.

St. Mary Cause of Our Joy Parish is new. Just over 12 weeks new. Think of all of the new things that can lie ahead, the new experiences coming, the new friends to meet, the new ways of living our faith. There may be a little fear and anxiety in it, but in the long run we know that God is here and will take care of us. He has so far in our lives, right? If we continue to hold on to everything that “was” in the past, if we only want to “go back to this or to that,” there will be no room for freshness, for newness, for the Spirit to move. We will stifle the Spirit because we are holding on so tightly. Let go. Let’s not exhaust ourselves trying to replicate everything (or at least the “everything” that I want).

Pope Francis, during his visit to the United States a year ago this month, said “Jesus came to save us from the lie that says no one can change.” Yes, it may be tough, but you can. Trust God a little more and give it up to Him.

May the Spirit lead us in ways that we could never imagine.
Fr. Ken