From Father's Desk

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.

Someone asked me if I thought the pandemic was “behind us.” Largely yes, or maybe I should say that our society has moved beyond the pandemic. While many aspects of life have returned to “normal” we admit that membership and participation in church has not bounced back. In Mid-2022 this is a common reality for many churches. Former members have not found their way back into the holy habit of worship and fellowship.

Other people have asked me recently: “How large is our parish?” That depends. On the books, we have over 1800 families registered, but it is common to see only about 450 people each weekend. They say “strength in numbers” but that larger number is really not an indication of our strength. We need to pay closer attention to who is coming on a regular basis and how they are supporting our efforts. In reality our parish is much smaller than it appears on paper.

Smiling from the beauty of our parish feast day, I come with two requests.

First, that you spread the good news of our parish life. It is up to each of us to invite people back to church. We hope to pilot an effort to knock on doors and bless members’ homes this fall. Yes, to go around town to check in on parishioners, bless homes and see if there is anything we can do. We want to reach out. In the meantime, each of you can bring others to church. Just like a restaurant is dependent on those who have a great meal to spread the word, so are we. So, spread the word. Talk it up. Share the love.

Second, please make your support of our parish a priority. With inflation a pressing concern, it is important for everyone to prioritize their giving. So, I would ask you and your household to pray about supporting our parish, and if possible, to increase your support of our efforts to build up the Body of Christ. As we invite others to return to worship, it will take greater support from a fewer number to meet expenses. So please pray about your giving and plan for it. Givelify is a great way to support us through the summer. I truly appreciate the way you make what we do here at OLPH possible.

Thank you once again to everyone who attended the feast and especially to those who rolled up their sleeves to make our outdoor Mass and picnic possible! It takes all of us, all of us, to make parish life a beautiful sign of God’s love in the world. There is much work to do. Our world needs to know God’s love now more than ever. Let’s share the treasure of his love we have come to know.

Yours in Christ, Fr. Wilson