Fr. Daniel Gifford
WELCOME TO OUR HUMBLE ABODE
Dear St. Louis Parishioners,
We come to the long-awaited Sunday, in which we conclude our preaching series on the
Five Pillars, which help us to dispose ourselves to the Lord building the house - in other words, strengthening and building up our community - by focusing on hospitality. This is the week in which we “open the doors,” figuratively speaking, after the 10:30 Mass, to share what is meant to be a special moment of fellowship, in which parishioners not only enjoy spending part of the afternoon together, but also hopefully get connected with ways that they can become even more deeply rooted in the parish family. As discussed last week, the goal of opening these doors with great HOSPITALITY is to invite others to encounter their Lord and enter into communion with Him. This is precisely the purpose of the keys given to Saint Peter, as recorded in Matthew’s account of this weekend’s Gospel (this year, we read Mark’s account in Mass). Saint Peter was given the keys to open the doors of the kingdom, that people may enter into communion with the Lord. The Church has had the RESPONSIBILITY of these keys in hand throughout the generations. The entry into the Kingdom happens at Baptism, to which we are restored in Reconciliation, which is why it is fitting the the window (front cover) which features the key is found in the confessional, even though this wasn’t a part of the original design of the Church. As I mentioned a few weeks back, the awesome duty of holding the keys is a reminder of the call to INTEGRITY, for priests especially, but to all Christians who represent the Body and are called to welcome people home. The greatness of this responsibility demands that we have the kind of authentic HUMILITY that makes us bold enough to take on a mission that is not about us. For this reason, if we are to carry out these duties faithfully and fruitfully, our efforts must always be rooted in and sustained by PRAYER. That is why I find it fascinating that the window shows the hands receiving the keys folded in a traditional posture of prayer. There would definitely be a different meaning if the hands appeared to be holding the keys tight, which would also be fitting, but in a different way. But, the choice to depict them in the manner the artist did seems to communicate the posture of prayerful receptivity and docility to the Holy Spirit, perhaps even in direct contrast to the grasping, with which Adam and Eve reached out toward what they saw as promising to make them “like gods.” Quite the opposite, may we seek to fulfill our role within the Body (1 Cor 12) with Prayer, Humility, Integrity, Responsibility, and Hospitality.
A NEW SPACE FOR PRAYER: Some of you may have noticed the movement of one of the kneelers, some of which I mentioned I was relocating from the chapel to one of the nooks in the back of the Church. Above it hangs the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I will elaborate upon this in a broader bulletin feature later this year. But, this classic icon features the Christ Child running to His Mother for refuge, when faced with a foreshadowing of His Passion. We have many reasons why we may feel that we are reliving the Way of the Cross. But, in the midst of this, we recognize that Christ is with us, especially in our pain. We know also that we can run to our Blessed Mother for refuge. If Our Lord could do so, so must we. May this new space for prayer be a place of peace and hope for many of our parishioners and guests.
SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES: The Kick-off is what it sounds like - the moment when everything gets going again, after a bit of an extended summer repreve. I am very excited about the myriad of activities coming up, which represent various ways to get engaged and find others to journey alongside in growing together as disciples. If you have a chance to browse the activities fair, one thing you may notice is an abundance of different small group style studies, some of which are designed specifically for parents with children of any age still in the home, while a few others are open to all. All of this is just one part of our new initiative of Family Discipleship. By the time you read this, we will have had both parent meetings, in which we formally announced to the parents that this new approach takes the place of Family Faith Formation. This new approach to attempt to accomplish some of the same goals is a broadening and enhancement of all that we learned and experienced from our years of doing Family Faith Formation. At the same time, it is also designed to engage even more parishioners and give them the chance to get involved, as none of the individual parts of Family Discipleship (Family Events, Formation for Children, and Formation for Parents) are limited to only those families formally enrolling their children for formation. Every part is open to all families with children of any age still in the home. If you were not able to make either of the parent meetings, it is not too late to get involved. Please reach out to Julia Mead for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!