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

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Dear All: 

 

Christ’s peace! 

 

Before we consider the great graces around us – even as you are reading this – maybe say a prayer for Harvey’s victims and another for Irma’s. In addition to praying for those victims, we will provide material aid. From now until mid-October, all donations to the poor-boxes will go to Catholic Charities in the devastated areas. There will also be a second collection the weekend of September 16/17, the proceeds from which will also go to the appropriate offices of Catholic Charities. Finally, several parishioners are exploring additional ways for us to provide material assistance.

Our concern for those suffering from the storms coincides with a period of great graces for us. 

  • Friday, September 8 is the Blessed Mother’s birthday. Remember to send her a good message;

  • Saturday, September 9 (Feast of St. Peter Claver, SJ) at the 4:45 Mass, Bishop Checchio will install me as St. Joe’s 25th pastor. Join the prayer if you can and greet the bishop afterwards in the Gathering Space. (N.B., installed as 25th pastor in the summer I celebrated my 25th year of priesthood . . . try 0 2 5 in the lottery?);

  • Sunday, September 10 is the parish picnic – and the current forecast is for 75 degrees and sunshine. Bring towels for the kids on the waterslide. You might also want to ponder where you want to be at 2 pm, given the competing options: 

    • Bob Ward, our official parish magician, will start the magic show at 2; 

    • the 4th annual croquet tournament (to which I will bring my new, customized mallet) also starts at 2 and I am feeling mighty lucky; 

    • the volleyball round robin also begins at 2.

      And if you would prefer just to sit back and enjoy the company, the food (Go Knights!), the music (Go Mikey D!), that also presents an inspired option. Also – consider the picnic challenge: get to know the names and a little bit about three people. Name tags are encouraged for all. New parishioners will be wearing specially designed name tags.
      If you want to share a special salad or dessert with the parish, please feel free to bring one for the ‘potluck’ portion of the picnic. Disposable bowls/trays and utensils are greatly appreciated. Finally, the most important thing about this Sunday: Be there!
       

  • Monday is September 11. Join us if you can for the 8:35 AM Mass to pray for world peace.

This Week in Prayer

 

Loving the tough customers is a tall order. Would that tough customers didn’t enter our lives but they do and the call to love them is, as the poem says, “a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied.” Every Sundayin September, the readings invite us to focus on a different group of tough customers. And by “love” let’s agree to mean “act benevolently toward.”

 

That is, let’s hear the call to love as a call to want what God wants for the troublesome other.

 

Last Sunday focused us on those who repay nastiness for kindness. “Hostile” might be one way to describe them. “Malevolent” might be another. But let’s stick with “hostile.” And let’s recall that we are called to be benevolent toward them too. Just like Jeremiah was. Just like Jesus was.

 

Sunday’s first reading recounts Jeremiah’s most bitter lament: “Lord, you duped me and I let myself be duped.” He had had it. More than enough. Over the top. He was doing exactly what God wanted him to do for the people, exactly what was best for the people. And how did they reply? With “. . . mocking . . . derision . . . and reproach.” But as disgusted as he was, as tempted as he was to ditch the whole project, Jeremiah stayed the course of benevolence. He continued to do what was best for them. His benevolence was anything but spontaneous. It was quite deliberate, quite willed.

 

Jesus gives us the perfect example of deliberate benevolence (i.e., acting benevolently toward others when they treat us shabbily and benevolence does not automatically arise). Sunday’s gospel contains Matthew’s first passion prediction “(I) must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed.” Jesus had a pretty solid hunch that hostility would pour down on him, yet he stayed the course of benevolence, the course of doing what is best for all. That course reached its summit on Calvary when he prayed “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Talk about “deliberate benevolence.” 

 

We can never encourage sinful behavior. Neither can we volunteer to be a punching bag or a doormat. But Jesus is always asking us to maintain clarity of heart, to remember that what I want for this troublesome other is what God wants for this troublesome other, what is best for this troublesome other, perhaps the conversion of this troublesome other.

 

Where are you getting that just right? Where are you hoping for the best and doing what is best for a hostile someone who does not treat you too well? Is it a family member? A colleague? Someone in the neighborhood? An in-law or an out-law or maybe a former relation? The grace of deliberate benevolence – the ability to will ourselves to want what is best and do what is best for a hostile other – is a great grace. God gives us that grace and invites us to use that grace and, no doubt, you are using it well. Where are you using it well and where might you use it even more effectively?

This Week in Service:

  • Need Virtus certification? Complete the process on Monday, September 25, at 6:30 pmin the Parish Hall. Sign up here if you need it. And please think of getting certified even if you don’t have a current commitment that requires it. We would be in a very good place if we had a bullpen of Virtus folk.

  • Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) – If you are involved or thinking of becoming involved, please join us for 8:35 Mass and the information session that follows on Saturday, September 23. The session will include light refreshments and an overview of IHN. RSVP to Sue Calamoneri (matlison@yahoo.com) .

  • CAREGIVERS! This Saturday is our morning of recollection. Come to Mass at 8:30 and the morning or recollection that follows. This retreat is for professional and lay caregivers (mostly the latter).

  • GREAT thanks to all who regularly and generously contribute to the parish FOOD PANTRY. Your donations enable us to provide priceless assistance to local food banks. The parish has also responded brilliantly to the recent request for soap, detergent and personal products.

This week in Community:

  • Truly terrific CCD news – truly. For the first time in several years, we filled all teacher slots BEFORE Labor Day Tuesday. This represents a very impressive improvement. Great thanks to all who answered the call. May God bless you abundantly in your ministry and may you have a rollicking good time. Thanks too to our Religious Ed Committee and of course to our staff. This is a giant achievement.

  • Attention all CCD Teachers – Remember the big kick-off meeting is this Monday at 7:00 pm. This is a great chance to connect with the other teachers, learn about our brand-spanking new curriculum, and help pump each other up for this most worthy of undertakings.

  • Attention Veterans – Please mark your calendars for the 11:30 Mass on Sunday, November 12, the day after Veteran’s Day. Your parish wants to honor and thank you. We will soon be requesting photos.

  • Work on the Hospitality Room and St. Francis garden are moving into the home stretch and should be in good shape for the rededication of both areas on the Feast of St. Francis, October 4. 

  • Becca’s Friends Ministry ART SHOW. Check out the bulletin board in the gathering space hallway. All of the art work by the Becca’s Friends Artists. Colorful, happy and a great job!!

Students beware! It's that time of year. On your way into church, I will be asking you about your most favorite aspect of the new school year. Can’t wait for your replies. (Remember some answers are out of bounds. “Nothing” is totally not ok. ”Gym,” “lunch” and “recess” are only a little better!)

 

Fr Hank