This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - Jan 27, 2017

Dear All:

Christ’s Peace! And special thanks to our Youth Minister, Bob Ferretti, for providing “This Week” last week.

This Week in Prayer

Each one of us is sent, by our baptisms, to help others know, love and serve God. The Sunday readings of January 15 gave us great pointers about enabling others to know God. Last Sunday, January 22, gave us great insights about helping others to love God. 

One of the best ways to help others love God more, is to help them feel more grateful to God. How do we do that? By helping them to recall the amazing things God has done for them. How do we do help them to feel God’s kindness? By sharing our stories of God’s kindness, our gratitude, and the resulting love.

Isaiah encouraged his listeners to recall the “Day of Midian,” the day when God enabled Gideon to defeat the Midianites, even though the odds were stacked completely against Gideon and his companions. That Day of Midian was not as dramatic as the night of the Exodus, but it was pretty great. Isaiah encourages people to recall God’s kindness, that they may feel more grateful and love God more.

The passage from Matthew’s Gospel ends with a mention of Jesus’ great kindness. The gospel closes with the report that Jesus went “around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.” His kindnesses to all those people calls them into a gratitude that invites them to love Jesus – in much the same way that His kind invitation to Peter, Andrew, James and John calls those four apostles into gratitude and love.

Recollections of God’s kindness begets gratitude which begets love – and that love yields a peace like no other. As we strive to cultivate the memories of kindness, the gratitude and the love for Jesus in others, we realize that our own stories can do a load of cultivating.

So, what about you? What have been some of your “Days of Midian,” some of those moments when you knew God was doing great things for you? And what about the great kindnesses God has bestowed on your loved ones and your ancestors? What are some of recollections that deepen your gratitude to God and thereby lead you to love God more? If you had to give a witness talk about God’s kindness, your gratitude and the resulting love, which kindnesses of God would you recall? Creation? Redemption? Inspiration? Large miracles and gifts? Minor? What’s on your list? 

  • Gentlemen – Once again, stay tuned for information about a prayer group for men. As the women have benefited so much from the “Walking with Purpose” program, the “Cornerstone” program might be excellent for the men. Tell a friend.
  • It has been a joy to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation with so many of you on recent Saturdays. Remember, if you don’t get in before 4:30, you can always ask me to hear your confession after Mass and you can always make an appointment to come to the office. And thanks to the generous parish family that recently donated a new chair for the confessor!
  • Listen to this week’s readings and homily.
  • Read this week’s readings
  • Read next week’s readings

This week in service:

  • Our parish is doing an ever-greater job of serving people with special needs. One way we do that is by encouraging local school districts to use our church as a place for high school students with special needs to receive job coaching. Our own parishioner Chris Demetrio has been job coaching here for quite some time and has done superb work with her clients. We are glad for Chris that she is retiring to spend more time with grandchildren and we thank Chris for the way she has enabled St. Joe’s to serve this very special segment of our community.
  • Attention all ministry heads – If you haven’t already done so, please let Suzanne Kral know what you need in terms of communications and tables in the Gathering Space for ministry recruiting in February.
  • On February 11 our high school teens are spending a day performing Random Acts of Kindness all around Hillsborough. If you want to be part of the day you can sponsor a Random Act for $5 by placing your gift in the 'poor box'.
  • This weekend you will be able to learn what is happening in the world with the AIDS epidemic. One of our high-schoolers, Sandra R. will be available after the masses.

This week in community:

  • Every now and again, an urgent call to serve reveals what an extraordinary parish we are. The tragic death of Jim Jungels’ daughter, Nicole Falt, has been one of those occasions. We thank Nicole’s family for the privilege of hosting Nicole’s funeral. And we thank the women who transformed our parish hall into a beautiful reception venue to host the lunch after the funeral. With one day’s notice, they devised and implemented a plan that was nothing short of astonishing. Endless thanks too to all who helped serve the food, clean up the hall, and host our guests. It has been one of those moments of unmistakable grace and lasting inspiration. Thanks to Angelo and Rosie at the Flower Barn and thanks to Andrew and JoAnn at Culinary Creations. And thanks to everyone who helped with the funeral.
  • The final version of the Winter/Spring fellowship calendar is out and excellent. Each month provides at least one excellent reason for us to get together at church for fun and more fun. Most of the activities are suitable for people of all ages. Check out the posters in the gathering space. Take a reminder card and put it on your refrigerator from the Gathering Space to remind you of upcoming fun. Random fridge checks are in the offing.
  • BINGO! Yes, that Catholic social staple is back for one night only. February 17th will be Family Bingo Night! All proceeds will be donated to the youth group's 30 Hour Famine charities - World Vision, Elijah's Promise and S.H.I.P. Come have some fun and feed the hungry!
  • Mark your calendars now for Nashville Christian Recording Artist PJ Anderson. March 4th at 7pm. 

Remember, as of next week, we are half way from the Winter Solstice to the Vernal Equinox. Chin up and best blessings.

Fr Hank