This Week in Prayer, Service & Community (Jan 13, 2016)

Dear All -

Christ's Peace to you this week. Today's note is a bit longer than usual - a testament to all the wonderful things going on in our parish community. 

This week in prayer:

  • From this Sunday’s readings for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Isaiah 42, Titus and Luke) -- The call to be merciful is easily misconstrued as a call to be a wimp who blesses wrongs. Not true. As Christians, we are always called to pursue “the victory of justice.” A just situation is one that aligns with God’s hopes. Hence, we try to make our worlds the way God wants them to be. In pursuing justice, we practice mercy (kindness to the troubled and to the trouble makers). In what circumstance do you need to recall that is exactly what you are doing, even though you might be exasperated? In what circumstance are you trying to right a wrong and be kind in the process?
  • Once again, what relationships or circumstances most incline you to pray our parish prayer for help to be merciful.
God, help me to bless the troublemakers, the pains in the neck and the real heartbreakers. And help me to help the truly troubled, that their woes may be halved though mine might be doubled.
— Mercy Prayer, St. Joseph Parish Community


  • Thanks to Bob Vornlocker for organizing the distribution of the 200 “GoBibles.” May we use them well to expand our exposure to God’s Word.
  • Prayer Camp will take place on Monday evenings in Lent. Looks like it will be Mass at 7pm followed by an hour of input about prayer – others and yours. Details to follow.

This week in service:

  • The countdown is on for our Souper Bowl Food Drive. Details to follow but the process is simple – bring canned foods to church on Super Bowl Sunday…and wear your favorite team’s colors (as long as they are green and gold).** 
  • Giant “Help Wanted” ads for Liturgical Ministers will make their debut this week in the gathering space. Every Mass needs additional liturgical ministers. No experience necessary. Notice the needs. Make up your mind. Fill in the form. Put it in the box. Complete the training. Serve your community. Be happy. Glorify God.
  • Are financial worries keeping you or people in your life from experiencing God’s peace in a more profound way? If financial pressures are distressing you or someone in your life, consider Financial Peace University (FPU). We are greatly blessed to have Rich Realbuto offer the tried-and-true FPU for his “Point-of-Light” service project. Stay tuned for details.
  • Lent starts four weeks from today. (True.) Pretty much every person in church wants to have her or his Point-of-Light project on her or his drawing board by Ash Wednesday.

This week in community 

  • Thanks to members of the Lazarus ministry. They worked extra overtime throughout December, and always with amazing grace. This is their first week off in ages.
  • The list of fellowship events is almost ready to post. Keep an eye out for it in the gathering space. Mark your calendars for Comedy Night on April 15.  Pay the IRS then laugh.
  • Mark your calendar for the Knights of Columbus pasta night on January 29 – the first pasta cooked on their magnificent new kitchen equipment. Go Knights. And what’s this we hear about a high-stakes “Heads Up” competition? Eaters and players of all ages strongly encouraged to smell the toast and taste the meatballs.
  • Dance Dance Dance! If you like to dance or want to learn REAL dancing, fill out the form in the gathering space.

Hoping that this week’s dose of winter feels ok to you.

All best blessings.

Fr. Hank SJ

**Editor's note: Feel free to wear YOUR favorite team's colors, especially if you like the winning colors blue and red. 

This Week in Prayer, Service & Community (Jan 7, 2016)

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Dear All –

Christ’s Peace;

This week in prayer: 

  • From this Sunday’s readings – This Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, only the third Extraordinary Jubilee in church history, calls us to be kind to the troubled and kind to the troublemakers.  Sunday’s passage from Isaiah and the story of the Magi express the same call.  Who have been the instruments of God’s mercy toward you when you were (a) troubled and (b) a troublemaker?  What aspect of their mercy makes you most grateful?
  • What relationships or circumstances most incline you to pray our parish prayer for help to be merciful:

    God, help me to bless the troublemakers,
    The pains in the neck and the real heartbreakers.
    And help me to help the truly troubled,
    That their woes may be halved though mine might be doubled.

This week in service:

  • Current and new members of all liturgical ministries – our Morning of Recollection will be Saturday, February 13, starting with Mass at 8:30.  The morning will consist of coffee, one retreat talk, a bit of time for quiet reflection, time to meet with other members of your ministry, and lunch.  All are most welcome – even if you are only contemplating joining a ministry and could use a retreat morning.  Please sign up through your ministry coordinator. 
  • The needs for ministers of all sorts and for all Masses will be posted in the gathering space starting next week.  Both new and returning ministers are energetically encouraged.
  • The dedicated ladies of our chapter of Colombiettes have completed their latest Point of Light Project – a donation of 50 pairs of pajamas to the Resource Center of Somerset.  The Pajama Drive is just one more of their Points of Light.  Their list also includes the donation of backpacks with school supplies for needy students and the donation of bags of toiletries for clients at homeless shelters.  The Colombiettes shine an impressive light.

This week in community

  • Thanks to Jay K for cleaning up the long-neglected water garden at the north end of the parish center.  It is a whole new garden.
  • Thanks to all the counters who had an all-hands-on-deck day on 12/28 to count the Christmas collection.  Your help is invaluable.
  • Thanks to all members of the Buildings and Grounds Committee (Dave M., Jo-Ann D, Kevin B, Al G, Joe B, Dan G, Christophe B, (and staff members Monica and Brian) for their remarkable effort.  The fruits of your labor surround us  - -  and help us to make the most of every dime contributed to the parish.
  • The menu of Spring fellowship events is almost ready for prime time.  Keep an eye out for it in the gathering space.

Hoping that your return to routine was consoling – and with all best blessings.

Fr. Hank SJ