15 November 2020
“Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.”
Brothers and Sisters,
In this week’s Gospel, the familiar parable of the talents challenges us to consider a few concepts. How should we best develop our “talents” or the gifts and resources bestowed upon us by the Lord to bring about his glory? Additionally, talents may also relate to “knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Cf. Matthew 13:11) and the truth that what Christ has entrusted to us is something of infinite worth, a path to salvation!
Like the servants in today’s parable, we all have a choice of what to do next with our gifts. The gift of faith retains no value if not lived and shared. Sadly, the servant, hindered by fear, made a conscious choice to do nothing. I urge you not to choose the same. We must brush aside what might be a lack of confidence, doubt, and even fear and keep our eyes fixed on the mission of our Church, to develop modern-day disciples. As a parish, we desire you to recognize the spiritual gifts (charisms) bestowed upon you at Baptism and Confirmation. Your talents can be ministers of the Gospel and to your neighbors. It is our hope to help you discern your talents while cultivating the gift of faith. Our parish discipleship pathway FOUR is a simple, straightforward way of living out the plan and purpose for life. I also encourage you to reach out to me if you desire to assess your giftedness while cultivating the gift of faith. For it is when we go BEYOND that God is able to transform the world through you as you bring his love out to your neighbor and the world.
As you may be aware, the McCarrick report was released this past week and highlighted what happens when priests, bishops, or ministers fail to live an authentic expression of faith. Serious damage and hurt is caused along with placing the proclamation of the Gospel at stake. Consider how many faithful have questioned their faith or turned away from the Catholic Church entirely due to the abuse and lies put forth by leadership and priests alike? Sadly, the culture of abuse surrounding McCarrick was neither taken seriously nor investigated. As our Gospel reminds us, we are accountable. Our Church has entrusted us with the profound responsibility of spreading the Gospel and the salvation of souls. And to effectively do so, we must restore and strengthen that trust within our parish and the wider community. The first step in restoring trust is placing confidence in the victims of abuse and their stories. Though harrowing to hear, they are courageous in sharing, and we must meet them with great compassion. As a wider Church, steps and policies continue to be developed in response to abuse and neglect. In addition to reading the McCarrick report or executive summary, I encourage you to read Archbishop Lori’s statement and familiarize yourself with the appropriate steps to report abuse, should a family member or fellow parishioner entrust you with their stories of abuse or neglect. First, believe them. Please do not take it upon yourself to investigate or establish credibility before taking measures to ensure safety. If they are actively being abused, call 911 or the local police. Report abuse or neglect (even suspected) of a minor to Child Protective Services. In Howard County, call (410) 872-4203 or after hours through the County Police Department, (410) 313-2929. For other surrounding counties, find contact information here. If a Church deacon, priest, or lay minister is suspected of misconduct or committing abuse, neglect, you are strongly encouraged to make a report. If a bishop is suspected of abuse or mishandling reports of abuse, be assured that your voice is heard by reporting online or calling (800) 276-1562. The Archdiocese of Baltimore has taken steps for accountability in the Church, including employing an independent committee to review all reported allegations.
Please know abuse, neglect, and boundary violations that potentially allow unhealthy access will not be tolerated here at OLPH. I take the care of you, my parish family seriously, and I am always available to listen, and I will seek justice and care for anyone in need.
Next weekend, we will release the financial statements for the parish and school for fiscal year-end 2020. While certainly not the only measure of the parish’s overall health, these reports represent an extremely important measure of accountability. The financial statements offered along with the oversight of a finance committee, corporators, and an internal audit review ensure that I, as your pastor, along with the leadership team are held accountable for our efforts. We will remain transparent in all things fiscal and your questions regarding financial management of the parish are welcome to me, our Finance Committee or our Parish Administrator. We all remain committed to being faithful stewards of your gifts entrusted to us for the sake of carrying out the Mission. Next week we will celebrate what we have accomplished because of your trust, sharing of resources, and service to the community.
Thank you for your generosity – may we hear from the Lord Jesus when the ultimate accounting is due, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.”
Some of the key considerations for this coming week.
- “Sign up” for Mass for November 21-22, register here.
- As we prepare for Thanksgiving, despite our current challenging circumstances, I encourage families to practice the prayer of thanksgiving. Offer around the dinner table, in the living room, or before bedtime, a time of prayer that acknowledges what we are most thankful for. Even at this moment, amidst many struggles and difficulties, there are blessings to be named.
- Our school continues to thrive in serving our students. The teachers and staff have done an amazing job in educating both in-person and virtual learners. While we celebrate their great works we also look to support their fundraising in a year when so many events were canceled. If you would like to explore ways in which your purchases may aid our school please consider these options: 1-Christmas and special occasion gift cards may be ordered through our Scrip Program, (a portion of your purchase is donated to the school); 2-when using Amazon Smile search for “Our Lady of Perpetual Help School” in Ellicott City; or 3-send a holiday gift of fruit to your distant friends and family (or to your own table.)
- Our Pastoral Care director, Christa Weyant will lead a webinar, Coping with Anxiety. This free webinar through Zoom will be on Monday, November 23 at 7pm. Email Christa at Christa.Weyant@archbalt.org to register.
- Taking care of our parish campus requires a lot of hands. I am grateful to so many who lend a hand, caring for our various gardens or simply picking up a bit of litter here and there. This past week, the Scouts did a terrific job helping to clear away the leaves and many fallen branches and twigs. Thank you!
- Lastly, as Maryland experiences an 82% increase in Coronavirus cases this week, I ask all parishioners to follow best practices regarding wearing a mask, physical distancing, remaining at home when ill, as well out of state travel recommendations. The parish remains committed to sound practices, including cleaning and sanitizing to ensure the safety and well-being of all who visit us.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett