Fr. Mike’s Communication for the Aug 1, 2020

“There is no need for them to go away;
give them some food yourselves.”

-Matthew 14:16

2 Aug 2020

Brothers and Sisters,

Peace and prayers as we move into August and prepare for a new school year! 

Before Jesus began his public ministry, other prophets and miracle workers attracted the attention of crowds. Many were interested in the teachings of John the Baptist, who encouraged everyone to be attentive to God and prepare for the imminent arrival of the Messiah. For those who listened to John, they were likely disappointed as Herod killed him. Later, when crowds gathered to hear Jesus, they came with their expectations for what a Messiah should be but still eager for a person they could trust to bring about God’s kingdom. 

Likewise, many in our parish and the broader community are experiencing discouragement while facing the uncertainty of the pandemic and disappointment when witnessing prejudice and racial injustice throughout the country. 

As we look for a reason to hope, we are reassured by Psalm 145.  I encourage you to pray through this Psalm of praise and be reminded of our Lord’s graciousness and goodness. In the Gospel, the heart of Jesus is full of compassion for those who search for him. While in these times of spiritual and emotional hunger, let us turn to him as the source of nourishment that satisfies our hungry hearts and souls. He is waiting for you, come, encounter the Heart of Jesus and find rest and peace.

After Jesus instructed the crowds, the disciples told him of the masses’ hunger and need for physical food. Jesus surprises them as he commands his disciples, “…give them some food yourselves.” This call to action remains the same for our Parish today! We must feed our community on both human and spiritual levels. In offering social and emotional “food,” we satisfy our longing to BELONG, in relationship with each other.  Jesus’ challenge to meet our community’s physical needs is a call for us to go BEYOND our comfort and our campus and meet the needs of our neighbor. Might you consider the following OLPH based opportunities as a next step to offer support and hope to our immediate neighbors? 

Be the voice of love to a fellow OLPH Parishioner.  Many of our fellow parishioners have not been able to return to campus, have endured hardship or loss and long for their parish community. A phone call or simple note is a reminder of our love for them. CLICK HERE if you are able to give of your time with a note or a phone call.

Help another bridge the gap to make ends meet. Donations to the OLPH Poor Box are used by our St Vincent de Paul ministers to meet the financial needs of neighbors close to home in Howard County and throughout the Baltimore area. If you would like to support their ministerial works with a one time gift or recurring gift CLICK HERE.

Pray for your neighbor. Our parish remains committed to active prayer for those Parishioners and friends of the Parish that have called upon their OLPH community to lift their intentions up to our Lord. Just like the prayer list that was published in our weekly bulletin, we now share our Parish’s prayer list on our WEBSITE and Facebook page. Visit the list and pray for your neighbor by name, interceding to the Lord for His work in their lives. You are also invited to CLICK HERE to fill out our online prayer request form for yourself or on behalf of a neighbor.

This coming week, our Vacation Bible School aims to focus on the early Church, let us imitate the first Christians who understood all that they had as tools for the Lord’s work. By physically sharing all that they had, our earliest faith communities demonstrated equitably by striving to meet the needs of their entire community. At times, we know they struggled with this ideal. The Greek-speaking community was being neglected, which led the Holy Spirit to guide them to lay hands upon seven from among that community (including Stephen and Philip). While not formally labeled as such in the Acts of the Apostles, these seven are often considered the first deacons. While I do not encourage the emptying of bank accounts, each family is called to model these early Christians and acknowledge our blessings from the Lord and seek ways to be generous and compassionate in sharing our resources and talent with others.

Over the past weeks, I have reflected on our discipleship pathway, FOUR in my pastoral letters to you. This pathway offers each parishioner a framework to grow as disciples of Jesus. As I considered each pillar: Belong, Believe, Become, & Beyond, I would ask for your feedback, questions, and reflections. Did I neglect an area of concern that should be a goal for growth and deepening our discipleship? Or can you offer a different perspective on the emphasis that I shared over this past for weeks? I invite you to share these thoughts with me, which I will share with our Parish Staff and our Pastoral Council as we continue to clarify the vision of OLPH Parish with our Church’s mission.

Some of the key considerations for this week:

    • Recently, Governor Hogan has encouraged–and in some cases mandate–the use of masks. While his increased directives are already met by our on-campus activities, I encourage our families to continue complying with the expectations for those joining us on campus. Moreover, for the safety and health of our community, I ask that anyone who is on campus and later tests positive for COVID-19, to please let me know. The names of individuals who test positive will not be released, with the information held in the strictest confidence. This will, however, allow us to communicate to anyone that may have been in contact at the same Mass or activity, as well as take precautions such as increased cleaning and sanitizing or closing of space on the campus.
    • In my pastoral letter next week, I intend to reflect on the recent publication by the Congregation for the Clergy, entitled, “The Pastoral Conversion of the Parish Community in the Service of the Evangelizing Mission of the Church.” This document serves as a good summary of the role of the local parish as an integral element in the Church.  I share the document with you now for your preview.
    • Archbishop Lori published an article, “How church teaching can help explain why ‘Black Lives Matter’” in America Magazine [July 27, 2020]. Archbishop Lori expresses well the reasons that we as Catholics should understand the movement and encourages us to enter into dialogue, as much of the movement aligns with our Catholic teachings.
    • In August, Archbishop Lori will ordain a bishop, priests, and a deacon. Please pray for Scott Kady who will be ordained a deacon on Saturday, August 8; for Bishop-designate Bruce Lewandowski who, on Tuesday, August 18, will be ordained a bishop and serve as an Auxiliary of Baltimore; and for Deacons Justin Gough, Jeremy Smith, Evan Ponton, Brendan Fitzgerald, and Zach Crowley who will be ordained priests on Saturday, August 22.
    • Sadly during this week, August 6th and 9th mark the 75th Anniversary of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The destructive power of weapons has gotten exponentially more destructive. Let us join with others throughout the world for ten days of prayer for peace from August 6-15. In solidarity with the Church in Japan, let us pray with the words that Pope St. John Paul II shared at the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima on February 25, 1981.

To the Creator of nature and man, of truth and beauty I pray:

Hear my voice, for it is the voice of the victims of all wars and violence among individuals and nations;

Hear my voice, for it is the voice of all children who suffer and will suffer when people put their faith in weapons and war;

Hear my voice when I beg you to instill into the hearts of all human beings the wisdom of peace, the strength of justice and the joy of fellowship;

Hear my voice, for I speak for the multitudes in every country and in every period of history who do not want war and are ready to walk the road of peace;

Hear my voice and grant in sight and strength so that we may always respond to hatred with love, to injustice with total dedication to justice, to need with the sharing of self, to war with peace.

O God, hear my voice and grant unto the world your everlasting peace.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett