Last weekend, we were gifted to hear the challenging news of our parish's financial condition. While tough to hear, Fr. George gave us a painless path forward -- asking us to give an extra dollar each week per family. After a week's reflection, how are we going to respond? Will you respond with an uncaring “no”, or will you allow your heart to respond with a generous “yes.”
Before you answer, let me share a reflection I wrote a few years back that might influence your decision:
Some of us say "yes" but live "no." Others say "no" but then change our minds and live "yes." The way of God's love is the way of unconditional love. No matter how far we wander from God, like lost sheep, he gently seeks us out and brings us back to himself. No matter how foolish or wasteful we've been with our lives, God is ready to give us a new start. No matter how hopeless or desperate our situation might become, God has already prepared a way out for us. Why? What have we done to deserve this attention? Because no matter how many times we loose the focus of where God's call is leading us, God is still there, through our family and friends and community, inviting us to continue to try again and again.
It is in our actions that God sees our "yes," that we live in stewardship for one another and give back to God. For instance: You say "no" because you don't have time, but then say "yes" when you interrupt your plans to help your little brother with his homework. You say "no" when you choose to ignore the homeless person on the street, pretending they aren't there, but say "yes" when you acknowledge their presence by giving them a sandwich and something to drink. You say "no" when you race to cross the street ahead of the elderly person struggling with their walker, but say "yes" when you are concerned for their safety and choose to walk along with them, not worrying how long it may take. When we say "yes" but live "no," God is not deceived by the appearances of our holiness. He sees within our hearts what is truly there in our response to his call.
We have been called to support our parish, our family, the place we call our spiritual home, with generous hearts and giving spirits. Will we respond to Fr. George's call with a generous heart? For myself, I have chosen to give an extra five dollars a week because I love St. Joseph and I am very grateful for the love I have received. I invite you to take some time this week to pray about your giving and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.
May each of us be faithful to what we have come to know, love and believe as we live each day as Jesus continues to teach us.
As we celebrate World Mission Day this weekend, I'd like to focus on the Salesian missions. The Salesians of Don Bosco in Karnataka and Kerala have missions in Yemen, Nepal and other countries as well as throughout India. I owe my priestly vocation and pastoral gifts to them. I was a Salesian for over 40 years, only becoming a diocesan priest when I became pastor of St. Joseph; my heart is still Salesian! In thanksgiving, I created the "Don Bosco Missions" foundation to support their work. I have invited two Salesians to visit us this weekend, so please join me at 6pm Saturday night in Notre Dame Hall to view a presentation on their work and a reception. Show your support by your presence and your prayers - and with a contribution to the Don Bosco Missions if you can.
I’d like to remind you about the value of the new eGiving option through Faith Direct. It offers some important advantages over the current Sunday envelopes: It’s green. Less paper. Less postage. No need to mail envelopes every two months. It’s labor saving. Less work for those who count and deposit the collection each week; less effort for you with no need to write a check. It helps parish finances. Vacation time can cause a big drop in the Sunday offering, even though the parish expenses continue. The predictable and steady income provided by eGiving allows us to better support our ongoing parish ministries.
You can fill out the form available at church or mailed to your home and return it to the Parish Office or drop it in the collection basket, or register online HERE and use our parish code CA702. They also offer personalized offertory cards to replace your envelopes so you can continue to participate in the physical act of giving during Mass. Please give eGiving your prayerful consideration, and give envelopes a permanent vacation this summer.
Fr. George Alengadan