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from fathers desk

Dear Parish Family,

Happy Feast Day! There are many titles for our Lady. 101 years ago the Catholics of this parish chose to place themselves under Mary’s loving protection with her title as: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, also sometimes called Mother of Perpetual Help. The image depicts Mary cradling baby Jesus while one sandal falls from his foot. On either side of the pair, a pair of angels show the young Lord the instruments of torture and crucifixion by which He shall make his end, and for all of us, a new beginning in grace. The original can be found in Rome in the Church of Saint Alphonsus Liguori.

I have shared with you about my first encounter with the image. As a deacon in 2008, Fr. Sig and I travelled to Rome. He had been there more than 15 times and took me around. We visited church after church absorbing a bit of the magic and the mystery that makes Rome such a special place. I didn't know she was going to be there before going in. After praying before the sacred image, I bought a poster and had it framed. Presently, she hangs in my dining room, inspiring and comforting me. Over these past two years, I have been happy and privileged to be your pastor.

Quite a lot has happened in two years! Those well known verses ring out, “What a long, strange trip it's been!” Who could have predicted we would be here. The challenge of a parish with such history is to continue to look forward, to press on responding to God’s invitation. Not to abandon history but to preserve it, while at the same time applying lessons from it to the present moment and seeking to respond to the invitation of the Lord to grow in his grace.

Usually, we use the Triduum celebration of new beginnings to welcome new Christians into our church, and to confirm adults who have found their way home. The Resurrection of Christ Jesus is the occasion on the Mother of all vigils, the Easter Vigil. We bring those who seek full belonging in the Body of Christ into the Church on the eve when Jesus rose from the dead. That custom was taken from us this year. I submit that a beautiful alternative is today, the celebration of our parish feast day. And I hope in years to come we can build on our efforts to celebrate our feast day.

This year nine men and women have responded to the Lord’s invitation to grow in his grace and to embrace a life of discipleship in the Catholic Church. Ask any of them and - I dare say - they would not have predicted two years ago that here they would stand, ready to embrace the fullness of the faith. Life is an amazing journey.

Our challenge as a parish family is akin to the challenge each of these fine folk has embraced: to respond to God with a yes in faith and trust. It was the response I made two years ago when our bishop assigned me here. It was the response of Mother Mary when she consented to Archangel Gabriel’s invitation to become the Mother of the Son of Man. As we celebrate our patroness, each of us is presented with the invitation to say yes in faith and trust to a life of discipleship under the loving protection of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us!
Fr. Wilson