Gary Wright, SJ
We’ve begun a new year, and I want to “give thanks ahead of time” (à la Fr. Solanus) for the new life God is giving us. But first let’s take a moment to look back with gratitude. Many thanks to all who joined in our Christmas celebrations, especially our many guests. It was our largest Christmas Eve in recent memory, with over 750 participating! Thanks also to our parishioners, who were outstanding hosts and served in all the ministries – Julie Ford, our Director of Music and Liturgy, and the choir, who helped us pray and praise in song; our many Greeters and Ushers, Readers, Acolytes, and Communion Ministers; those who spent hours decorating and preparing the church to bring us so much beauty. Thanks also to those who gave generously for the support of the church and its ministries, so that we can keep moving forward. As I was waiting in the church for the procession to begin, I noticed we had over a dozen children in the procession bringing the Christ Child to the crèche. Then one of our young married couples shared with me the news that they are pregnant. Next, another young couple announced their engagement. I was moved with much joy and gratitude by all this new life even before the liturgy began, realizing these were but signs of all the vibrancy and growth the Lord is giving to our parish.
By way of further examples, let me introduce six new movements in the parish, which we will hear more in the future. 1) A Social Justice group is exploring different ways the parish might expand its outreach to those in need; 2) a Young Adult Board is developing programs and activities especially for that age group; 3) a marketing and media group is working on a communications plan and increasing our online presence as a way of spreading the Good News of Christ’s life among us; 4) to undergird and nourish all these efforts, a prayer team is forming to pray for the needs of the parish as a whole, and also for the needs of individuals; 5) Mara, our new Director of Parish Life, is formulating plans for new service, social and spirituality programs; and 6) our Pastoral Council will be engaging all of us in updating the parish strategic plan over the coming months – so that we can keep opening ourselves ever more to the New Life the new-born Christ wants to give us. A Happy New Year, indeed!