THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY AND LIFELONG FAITH FORMATION
My respect, love and devotion to Mary doubled last weekend on the Feast of the Assumption. I preached about how God offered Mary an opportunity for lifelong faith formation, not unlike the lifelong faith formation into which we invite parishioners in the autumn of each year. I came to respect and love Mary even more for an insight related to the Gospel on the Assumption. Let me explain.
One idea I like to reinforce often, something I, myself, need to be reminded of constantly, is that “If faith is not growing, it is dying.” It is a misunderstanding to think that faith can just stay static, especially a strong faith. Like any relationship, our relationship with Jesus and his Church, is like our relationships with others. Take my brother Tim for example. If I haven’t spent some quality time, sharing experiences, insights, struggles and joys… and hearing the same from him, our relationship is dying.
This is how couples can feed, clothe, shuffle children hither and yon and keep up the household…and at a point come to the realization that their love for each other has died. Unknowingly, they failed to tend to their relationship, drifted apart imperceptibly while doing commendable things and yet, are so far apart that working toward unity seems impossible. How does all this relate to Mary and faith formation? At the Annunciation, God gave Mary an invitation to participate in lifelong faith formation. Wonderfully, she took full advantage of it! When the Angel told her about Elizabeth being six months pregnant, as a senior, and said, “nothing will be impossible for God” it was like God was saying to Mary, “Go see for yourself how powerfully, miraculous and loving I am…and let your faith grow because of it!”
And Mary did! In fact, she went “in haste,” probably arriving out of breath, sweaty and grimy, perhaps making the four day journey in two or three days. Mary grows in faith by visiting Elizabeth and, that is not all. For Mary’s growth in faith is subsequently a blessing to Elizabeth, as Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and John kicks for joy in her womb! Mass, as minimum requirement, when we spend some of our time in faith formation (prayer, reading, learning, especially in groups, sharing with others) we grow in faith…and we can feel it! Closer to Jesus ourselves, wonderfully and mysteriously the Spirit touches our children, grandchildren and friends, bringing them the Holy Spirit and Christ, inspiring them to want a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Thanks to those who do their part to grow in faith by participating in some kind of faith formation. Your faith is growing…and we are blessed for it!
Office Renovation Dust Clears
Now that not only the office renovation dust has cleared, but also that staff members have moved into their offices and are settling in, it is high time for a few thank yous.
Major thanks goes to Maria Schertler. As with several other parish/school projects over the years, as an outstanding steward, Maria designed the office renovation, offering outstanding creativity and spending countless hours of work. The design is wonderful, creating three new offices, respecting and complementing the existing office design. Her gift to the Lord and the parish in this project are considerable. Major thanks also goes to Incarnation Plant Manager, Rob Theewis, who helped in all stages of the process, logging countless hours of work. He guided the process from putting together a spec proposal, facilitating the bidding process, and submitted paperwork for archdiocesan contractual approval. Rob, himself, accomplished electrical, phone and IT wiring renovation, along with other hands on accomplishments. Most of all he was project manager. Thanks to Maria and Rob for the generosity of their good stewardship! Thanks to the good stewards of Incarnation Church whose great stewardship of treasure allowed for office expansion!
Engagement Position Filled
As many will note, we listed a new full-time employment position several months ago for a full-time volunteer/engagement coordinator. The Incarnation Strategic Plan calls for the position which would do much to organize better and coordinate our many volunteers. While we interviewed for the position, we did not find quite the person we wanted.
Therefore, for the time being, we are going to be flexible and creative and try something different. Primarily through the work of the Holy Spirit, a longtime parishioner has been found to take this position part-time, as a volunteer. Debbie Field, one of our gardeners and faithful5:30 PM Mass regulars, will be giving the role a bit of a test drive. She is a hard worker and has energy behind the role.
As a part of the organizing process, she will be making contact with parishioners in leadership positions, confirming contact information and asking for a roster of volunteers. Please welcome her call and facilitate this important endeavor to help Incarnation Church become more organized.
Sincerely and with Love in Christ,