From the Pastor’s Desk
Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time
Sept 10, 2023
“Again, amen, I say to you,
if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.”
Brothers and Sisters,
Brothers and Sisters,
Have you ever wondered what is the true purpose of a parish? At first glance, the question seems simple enough, but if you take some time and consider all of the charisms a parish might embrace or the tone it might maintain, the question is complex. An excellent first step to come up with a good answer is to reflect on the teachings of Jesus and his disciples —specifically Saint Paul; his biblical letters to emerging faith communities aimed to encourage and strengthen the foundations of the Church by forming disciples who know and love the Lord as they learn to live in a supportive community.
We can look to Jesus to help us understand the challenges a faith community might encounter. Such as in today’s Gospel, which highlights how divergent interests can encumber unity and the ability to decide what the Lord is calling us to do together. To truly become a functioning entity in the body of Christ, we must push back against a stubbornness for personal preference or the inclination to settle for the status quo. To do this, we must embrace Christ as our leader, allowing him to guide us. This point of view requires humility and a willingness to put aside the time needed to discern how Jesus is asking us to contribute to the betterment of the whole.
With that mandate in mind, please join me, our staff, our pastoral council, our many ministries and groups, and our parishioners in prayerful discernment of how God is calling us to serve in your neighborhood, home, and parish. Our parish has a strong foundation and framework in our discipleship pathway —Four (https://olphparish.org/the-path/). Laying a priority on our encounter with Christ and building a supportive community, this pathway leads us to Belong, Believe, Become, and Beyond and offers a way to discern our priorities for our limited time, talents, and treasure. Still, like any tool, we must become more adept at using them. Let us call upon the Holy Spirit to aid us and help us all embrace the mission handed on to us.
I am deeply grateful to the many parishioners (and the wider community) serving in our parish faith formation, from working alongside the youngest parishioners to those leading adults in small faith groups. Thanks to those volunteering as catechists and teachers in our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Family Faith Formation with Elementary and Middle School Impact, High School Encounter and Confirmation formation, OLPH School, our neighboring Catholic and Christian schools, as well as our men’s and women’s ministries, evangelization efforts, and small faith communities. Your commitment to teaching and serving is a blessing to our parish! Next Sunday, on Catechetical Sunday, we’ll recognize these many catechists and teachers with a special blessing at all our Masses.