From Father's Desk

From Father's Desk

From Fathers Desk web

Dear Parish,

Be on the lookout for Good News! We are in the middle of our message series on Good News. I admit that some of the news and commercials during these past weeks have got me focused on the bad news, especially some of those campaign ads. And I have noticed that personally I need to “accentuate the positive” and look for the glass to be “half full.”

Here is some headline Good News: the Fightin’ Phillies are going to the World Series! In local Good News, we held our second annual Halloween Town on a perfect evening last Saturday. Lots of families on campus, mingling about, sharing time together. Thank you to all the volunteers who made the day possible. Some far-reaching Good News: so far, a dozen people are joining me on the pilgrimage to the Holy Land on 12-24 April, 2023. See the bulletin for more details!

Dear Parish Family,

The Gospel means “good news,” literally “news that brings joy!” This is the second week in our Good News Message Series. This week we focus on the good news about mercy and humility.

Today in the Gospel, two men arrive at the temple to pray. One has confidence in himself, the other in God. One is thankful for his own goodness, the other thankful - nay hopeful - that God is good. One compares himself (favorably) to others. The other compares himself to no one, but merely admits his need. In this case, we see two very different beatings of the breast. The Pharisee pounds his chest like Tarzan: triumphant, confident, energetic and assured. The tax collector beats his breast in humility, reparation and sorrow.

Dear Parish Family,

We have just spent some weeks reexamining our faith, both what it means to believe and how we might take some steps to grow deeper with God. We covered some of the S.T.E.P.S. of growing with God: Serve, Tithe, Engage, Prayer, Share. Last week we followed Naaman the Syrian as he received healing and the deeper gift of faith in the one true God of Israel (see 2 Kings 5.) How many of the S.T.E.P.S. have you taken to grow with God over the past five weeks?

This weekend we begin a new series called “Good News!” Over the next weeks we will be walking together with more the “what” of our faith. By that I mean, “8th Grade Faith” was more about the “that” of faith - having faith and growing in faith. Now we are turning more to the content, to the “what” of what we believe. Does that make sense?

Dear Parish Family,

This week we are wrapping up our message series called “8th Grade Faith.” Over these past few weeks, we have been seeking to take a new and fresh approach to our faith. Faith means a personal intimate friendship with God. Prayer is speaking and listening to that same friend. Faith is a living thing that requires nourishment, attention, and a commitment. We grow in faith individually by embracing the Christian life, but also corporately, communally, as a body, we grow by sharing the journey with others, especially in small groups.

Next week, we begin a new series called “Good News” - where we take a big bite at the apple of the Gospel and seek to appreciate that indeed Jesus invites us to believe in the good news (gospel). And we seek to know more deeply what it means to live by this Good News!

My Dear Parish Family,

Over the past few weeks, we have been taking some S.T.E.P.S. toward growing with God. We are taking stock of our faith and seeking to move beyond an “8th Grade Faith” to a more substantive, relational, and intimate understanding of God and his desire for us to live the abundant life.

S.T.E.P.S. is a shorthand way of summarizing the different ways we are invited to grow in our relationship with God. We take S.T.E.P.S. to grow in our faith. S.T.E.P.S. stands for Service, Tithe, Engage, Prayer, Share.

It has been great seeing how you have shared your faith and your love for our parish with our lawn sign campaign. Be creative with those signs! And if you would, send me a photo; drop me a line: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dear Parish Family

As we approach our faith anew and seek to renew our faith in God, we can appreciate how faith is about growing with God. There are several aspects of this growth, sometimes summarized with the word S.T.E.P.S. We take S.T.E.P.S. to grow in our faith. S.T.E.P.S. stands for Service, Tithe, Engage, Prayer, and Share.

Last week we began our lawn sign campaign to give you the opportunity to SHARE your faith, to tell your neighbors what you love, that you love our parish, OLPH. If we still have signs left, please take one this weekend and place it in your yard. Keep it there until you put your Christmas decorations out… and be ready to tell folks why you love your church. Sharing is caring, as the Care Bears would say. (Am I dating myself?) We show what we care about by sharing what we treasure.

Dear Parish Family,

The Fall Season is underway. We held a workshop on Mission and Vision for all our volunteers on Saturday. We are preparing for Family Catechesis this week. This weekend is Catechetical Sunday when we commission all our catechists. Lots of different meetings and projects happening. The lull of summer is over, and we are in full swing.

Last week we began our message series called 8th Grade Faith. The main idea is our faith is a life-long journey with God. Our faith is a treasure that gains in riches with each passing year, as we continue to appreciate our beautiful relationship with God. Faith is not (only) a bunch of facts or rules about God that we learned in the 8th grade; although for many of us, our faith had been presented that way, primarily as regulations to be adopted. And we may have adopted them, or we may have chosen to ignore them, and move on with our lives. God wants so much more for us than that; he wants that new and abundant life that comes through living our faith, which is first, our relationship with God.

Sisters and Brothers,

Greetings. First, thank you for the outpouring of love and prayers on the occasion of the passing of my Grandmother, Cecilia Elizabeth Wilson. She was my last living grandparent and the one who accompanied me the most throughout life, so she will be sorely missed. Gram taught me how to drive, how to throw a spiral, and even how to float over the ocean waves. She was a lovely woman with a bright twinkle in her eyes, slightly mischievous but with great warmth, and always ready for the next adventure. When that sparkle left her eyes about a year ago, a deep sadness overcame me, and I thought: “She’s gone already.” I am grateful to you for your prayers and to the Lord, that he died for her, and calls her home. One day, may I enjoy her friendship again, in our Father’s House.

Second, thank you for your prayers for my health. I did come down with covid and have been recuperating. Nothing too serious, but it felt like a cold and flu mixed together for 3 days. This article was written on Labor Day; by the time you read it, I hope to have returned to full duties. I am so grateful for the way my brother priests have rallied to offer you the Sacraments in my absence. It reminds us that we are all expendable and need to plan and design back up plans for unforeseen absences. Once again, thank you for your love and support. It has been an eventful transition to September!

Dear Parish Family,

It has been a while since I have written to you. We took the summer off. I had been in the habit of writing every week, with few exceptions, for the first four years of my pastorate. That’s a lot of letters! As we approached the end of the school year and began preparing for the summer, I was ready for a break. We took a break from our message series. We encouraged everyone to go on “Summer Mode.” We invited our members to stay connected through online worship while traveling, and to continue to support our mission through Givelify. Summer 2022 was a great time to pause after two years of pandemic and to breathe. I have been grateful for this time and space to recharge.

Now, the summer is winding to a close. Schools are coming back in session. It is time to get back to our regular rhythm. Our regular rhythm of life includes communal worship of God on the Lord’s Day. If you have not been able to be with us for in-person worship, we invite you to join us. Please consider this my personal invitation. We hope you will take the time to join us again in the pews on Sunday. I look forward to worshiping our Lord with you.

Dear Parish Family,

Last week about two hundred people gathered for Mass in the gardens followed by a picnic to celebrate the feast day for our patroness, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Sure, it was hot, about 90 degrees near 5pm, but a breeze and the setting sun gave us hope for what became a wonderful evening. Thank you to everyone who made the feast day such a success! I am grateful to everyone who pitched in to make our outdoor Mass and picnic possible!

And while I did hear that some stayed away because of the heat, I also heard that folk really enjoyed having the Mass in the grass. Inside we can seat many more people. Inside it is climate controlled. One day we may have to return inside to accommodate more people, but there is something special about being outside. Everyone who passes by Fellowship and Main can see us, there gathered. Outside we are witnessing to what is important to us. With the Eucharist at the heart of our gathering we are making a statement. And that testimony needs to be offered in our world today.