This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - July 7, 2017

Dear All: 

 

As Paul wrote to The Thessalonians: “Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!”

 

This Week in Prayer

 

The more we contemplate God’s goodness, the easier it becomes to celebrate our dependence on God. If our God were a thorny god or a vengeful god or a dismissive god, who would want to declare dependence? But our God is everything we could hope for. The last Sunday in June reminded us that our God is infinitely compassionate and caring and loves us profoundly, even in those circumstances that suggest God has lost interest in us. Of course we want to re-declare our dependence on such a God.

 

The readings of July 4 weekend also nudge us to re-declare our dependence on God. Those readings remind us that God constantly enables us to find our way to the people who multiply life’s joy, divide its grief, and help us to say “yes” to God. They might not change our worlds, but they provide priceless company.

 

God enabled Elisha to find his way to the inspiring woman of Shunem, let’s call her “Claire.” Not only did Claire supply Elisha with food and first-rate lodgings, she enabled him to keep saying yes to God. Elisha first encountered Claire after his treacherous engagement with the Moabites and just before his negotiations with Naaman the Syrian. Perhaps Claire’s assistance kept Elisha from giving up during those difficult times.

 

Sunday’s gospel reading comes from Matthew’s tenth chapter, the “missioning chapter.” This week’s passage contrasts sharply with most of chapter ten. Having warned the disciples that hardship is inevitable, Jesus now tells them that some people will receive them and, on murderously hot desert days, supply cold water. Jesus is pointing to the Claires they will meet along the way. 

 

What about you? Who have been some of your Claires? Like Claire in the Elisha story and the water-providers in the Gospel, they might very well be people you didn’t know before the Claire-moment. Was it a coach or a teacher who restored you to self-confidence or help you set more inspired goals? Maybe it was a doctor or a nurse who steered you toward healthier choices? Was it a neighbor you don’t know too well or maybe someone at work? Perhaps the person was not a member of your inner circle but was still an agent of consolation and inspired self-assurance. Who have been your Claires and what is the best way for you to return the kindness? And finally, on Independence Day, we wonder about the persons who have enabled our nation to keep evolving toward the nation that God calls us to be. God bless them and God bless America.

  • The renovations of our Blessed Sacrament Chapel are basically finished, but our staff and our Buildings and Grounds Committee continue to welcome suggestions. Thanks to the parishioners who recently recommended that we replace the small votive lights with longer-lasting, glass enclosed candles. The candle changes will start to unfold next week. Be sure to let me know if you like the minor tweak.

  • Attention parishioners who bring communion to your home-bound loved ones – Most of our home visitors are EMs who went through the group training that Bill Gibson senior so graciously provides for those who would be EMs at Mass. They bring communion to parishioners who are homebound for relatively long stretches and who they did not know before the visits began. A very small number of other parishioners are bringing communion to loved ones who are homebound for short periods – e.g., the duration of chemo treatments. These EMs have been trained by me. If you are one of those EMs – i.e., trained by me to bring communion to a temporarily homebound loved one – please consider completing the training to be a regular EM. Also stop by the office for the updated instructions concerning your Eucharistic visit.
     

  • Listen to this week's readings and homily
  • Read last Sunday's readings 
  • Read the coming Sunday's readings 

This Week in Service:

  • Attention all servers – Your team names are IN!!! They will be posted on the servers’ bulletin board this weekend. You have until August 1 to suggest a new name. Thanks to the team leaders who submitted some terrific names.

  • More “attention all servers” – The competition to “lift high the candles” is reaching new heights. As more servers are grasping the notion that the goal is to make the candles visible to everyone in church, the flames are climbing. Please don’t strain yourselves but please keep them way high. Should we have cash and prizes for the team with the consistently greatest altitude?

  • A little advanced notice – the Buildings and Grounds Committee is organizing its list of small projects that small groups of parishioners could complete in a very few hours – e.g., clearing brush from part of the prayer path, pruning a few bushes and trees, etc. The list consists of projects that would be nice to have completed but never get to the top of our staff’s “to do list.” Maybe think of organizing a small crew?

  • Boundless thanks to all the members of our community who donated to our Catholic Heart Workcamp 'Giving Tree'. The scholarships are being put to good use helping to offset the cost of taking 54 young adults (and slghtly older chaperones) on a mission trip. 

This Week in Community:

  • This week’s “First Wednesday” Mass and celebration was our most-attended yet. Thanks to everyone who showed up and extra thanks to all who provided the great food. First Wednesday? The time each month when the 8:35 Club (i.e., the regular attendees at 8:35daily Mass – along with the occasional attendees) take a moment after Mass to enjoy superb carbs and caffeine and sing robust rounds of “Happy Birthday” to all present who celebrate birthdays that month. Put it on your calendar. Our next wing-ding is Wednesday August 2nd.

  • Attention would be ARCHIVISTS – Through the work of two very dedicated parishioners, we are making great progress in sifting and winnowing many of our old documents. Once the sifting and winnowing is complete, we will need help in organizing. If you have ever worked as a librarian or an accountant, or if you have that great mix of imagination and attention to detail, we could use you.

  • Pay extra special attention to the signup sheets for the Patriot Stadium ministry.There have been a few changes in the schedule. There is still plenty of room on the lists for newbies. See you at the game!

Hoping you are having a terrific week and enjoying consoling moments of connecting the dots between your happiness and God’s boundless love.

 

Fr Hank