From the Pastor’s Desk 6/13/2014
Jul 13, 2014
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I came to the parish on Wednesday July 10, 2013, exactly a year ago. I give thanks to God and all of you, who have been so
welcoming and patient with me and my shortcomings. The readings for this Sunday speak to us about bearing fruits! God gives each of us a task we must fulfill; He invites us to be fertile soil and guarantees us the harvest.
Our God given tasks: The reading from the Prophet Isaiah tells us that rain comes down from the heavens, waters the earth and makes it fertile and fruitful; the same way the Word of God will produce fruits. The Word of God is capable of transforming us and giving us new life. The prophet is telling us that between what God provides (rain and snow) and what it yields to our hands (grain and bread) lies our task of sowing and caring for both family and earth. We must make sure that the seed of the Word planted in our hearts will not be taken away by the “birds” of desolation and destruction that revolve around us. We have also the mission of removing “the stones” that prevent the roots to be planted firmly in the soil. Another chore is the removal of “weeds” that take away the nutrients needed for growing and maturing. Living the Word of God has its challenges, but He is with us helping us and strengthening us so that we can build together the Kingdom of God. “You have visited the land and watered it; greatly have you enriched it.” (Psalm 64)
To be rich soil: Jesus is the generous and confident sower that sows his words in our human hearts. The fruits do not depend uniquely on the quality of the seed, but on the diverse circumstances of the fields. Jesus explained to us that the seed can be taken away by the evil one. The evil one brings misunderstanding of the Word of God and the rejection of the Cross. A plant with shallow roots reflects a life that accepts the Word only superficially, lacking commitment and perseverance. The choked seed makes reference to the many preoccupations of the present life, ambition, comfort and pride. We are the soil where the Word is planted with love and generosity. Are we the rich soil? Are we removing the obstacles for a bountiful harvest?
Jesus guarantees our success: The Lord has secured the abundant harvest even when the world seems empty and sterile: young people, society, the lack of vocations, sin and human failures everywhere, even in the church, seems discouraging, but the Word will produce its fruit on time. We must never lose the spirit and the hope. We must trust God always.
Before I came to this parish, I was told that St Mark’s was a wonderful community of faith. A year later I can testify to that. We are a wonderful parish. Together we have done great things: We cleaned our yard, fixed the leaking roof and windows and installed a new sound system in the church. We also installed a new air conditioning unit at the youth center and repaired the air conditioning unit in the Msgr. Albert Room and are about to install a new floor there. We also added a new lower cabinet at the rectory’s kitchen; and a new carpet and new partitions in the Religious Education Office. As of May 2014, thanks to the school rental we have reduced our debt with PNC by $138,000. Soon we will be replacing lighting in the Church and School (LED) for lower energy consumption. A new liturgical team has been hired to invigorate our English liturgies and make it more participative. I understand that some of us dislike these changes, but they are a must as move our parish forward.
We have accomplished a lot in one year, but more needs to be done. We still do not have a pastoral council. Our weekly offertory is not enough to cover the day-to-day operations of the Parish. The rectory is in total disrepair and in need of painting, new floors or carpets, windows repair, and the parking lighting also needs attention. The parish needs your continued support and financial commitment.
I want to assure you that I am committed to do what is best for the parish and our community. If I can avoid it I do not wish to leave important decisions to the next pastor.
Join me in prayer as we work to renew the parish spiritually and to maintain what you have built with love.