My Dear Ones,
May the Grace of Our Lord remain always with us!
Given of some unexpected pressures because of the 4th of July, I took last week off from my column “From Father Jordan” and included the homily of Archbishop Charles Chaput on the occasion of the closing Mass for Fortnight for Freedom; I hope you found the Archbishop’s homily thought provoking. Today we resume and complete our reflection and self study about the three pillars of our Parish: worship, learning and service. How does Saint Catherine’s embody a “culture of service”?
When we first consider how service is part of the culture of the life of Saint Catherine’s and her parishioners, there are obvious answers: the hospitals; caring for the homeless; providing meals on holidays; and, some recent actions to care for the homeless during particular times of stress: the severe cold or heat. Let us reflect together on each of these works of mercy:
- The Hospital Ministry: Saint Catherine’s can indeed be proud of the work we have done in the hospitals that surround us. The Dominican Friars, Sisters and dedicated Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion have served the sick and their families for almost 100 years! Through the insightful leadership and guidance of Sister Margaret, O.P., that ministry has developed to a point that neither the Friars nor the hospitals would know what we would do without our dedicated EM Volunteers! Yet there are challenges! We currently have 75 Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion: we need at least 30 more! Many of our members are elderly and as much as they love this ministry, find it too difficult to perform any longer. If we want to continue serving as we have – and we do – we need new volunteers to stand in the stead of those who have served 10, 15, 20 and more years! Could this ministry be something to which you are attracted? What does it demand? The demands are receiving the proper training; serving one day a week; and when you are unable to be there, to please let us know so that if you haven’t been able to find a replacement, we might or we will cover your assignment. Are you interested? Please call Joe Sullivan at 212 – 988 – 8300, ext. 182. But isn’t there more to healthcare? Given our blessings, couldn’t Saint Catherine’s develop a mission trip to a needy place and have our medical–parishioners help care for those who have no one to help them? Anybody interested? Please call me!
- Caring for the homeless: This is a difficult and complicated work of mercy! The homeless are so often victims of the system and thus they learn how to work the system and often make victims of those who try to help them. Yet, I feel compelled to help them. But how do we help them effectively? While there are many answers to the question I have posed, what would it be like for Saint Catherine’s to develop a program by which we feed the homeless and the hungry one Saturday a month? We would need a crew of volunteers to plan the meals, cook and serve: we have the space.
- On Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter a group of dedicated parishioners take hot meals to those who are alone, shut-ins, needy or homeless. We serve about 12 – 15 meals. It is the same parishioners who are always serving: any new want to help?? Many people comment that they wish to be involved in service; here is a controlled and needed way. Also, given our catering kitchen, do we want to prepare the meals here: one crew to cook; one crew to deliver the meals? Any body interested or have ideas? Please call me!
- Have you ever considered beauty as a part of service? It is! Our little giant of a Parish is developing a wonderful and affordable concert series: consider bringing someone to a concert. Beauty is part of evangelization and evangelization is the greatest service we can offer our brothers and sisters: bring someone to one of our many beautiful liturgies – to hear prayerful preaching, glorious music and meet caring people!
- Here’s another way to serve: on the first Sunday of the month, leave by the 68th Street entrance and stay for coffee and doughnuts! And, talk with someone you don’t know!! TALK ABOUT SERVICE!! Some folks have suggested having coffee and doughnuts more frequently than on the first Sunday of the month: sure!! If you would like to sponsor and serve an additional Sunday, please call Heather at extension 184.
- Have you considered serving by becoming better informed about your Faith by attending one of the presentations of the Siena Forum for Faith and Culture? To learn is a great service, and to help others learn is an even greater service! Think of all the opportunities offered us through the Siena Forum for Faith and Culture and not to mention, the Center for Living and Learning for our seniors! Need more information? Call Paul Zalonski at ext. 182 or Heather Mangal at ext. 184.
For the past several months, the Staff and I have been working on a publication you will soon receive, A Year of Faith. Like its predecessor, A Year of Grace, A Year of Faith outlines all the activities of worship, learning and service that will take place here at Saint Catherine’s from September 2102 – October 2013. In this Year of Faith the Holy Father calls us to stand with the Lord. How will you and I, the people of Saint Catherine’s, stand with the Lord through service? Will we simply allow the ones “who have always done it” to do things; or will we make every suggestion and do no work; or will we serve in ONE new way? God desires our progress not our perfection!
Culture, is a way to reach the fullness of our human possibilities. It is my fervent prayer that that through lives of worship, learning and service, we may come to the fullness of our potential and in that fullness find almighty God and in finding him know the greatest human achievement and thus, Set the World Ablaze for Christ and for the Gospel!
You are with me every day at the altar!
O Mary, conceived with out sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee!
In the Lord,