From Father's Desk

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.

As we get back in the swing of things, naturally we are preparing for a new message series, Eighth Grade Faith. The idea here is that we all learned a bunch in school: English, History, Science, Math - and for many Catholic school kids: Religion. Each of these were subjects to be mastered, with exams to be passed. You mastered the material and acquired the knowledge, passed the exams, and got the degrees. Like many of the things we learned in school, we never found a true use for knowing who the 22nd President was (Grover Cleveland) or the square root of 144 (12). At times all these subjects could be considered important to earn the degree.

Case in point: recently I went for a home visit. A pious homebound person who prayed the rosary welcomed me. When we discussed spiritual life: devotions, scripture readings, spiritual books, lives of the saints and so on, the answer was: “Oh, I learned that stuff in school!” She had studied it once upon a time, and that was plenty. I was confused because we keep our faith alive and vibrant by continuing to develop our relationship with God, by actively nurturing the spiritual life. Faith is not like other subjects we learned in school long ago - that might be one of the dangers of learning everything in a classroom. Faith is different.

But I was a public school kid. I went to CCD. And for us, classes were held once a week. Unremarkable. Unmemorable. But, the Confirmation program changed everything for me. The two year program was called Roots and Wings: roots to drink from the wellspring of salvation and Wings to soar with the Spirit. Those two years, and then working with other teens in youth ministry through high school, really changed my life. I had to embrace the faith as my own, not my parents’ or from a book, or because someone was promising something. That period of my life helped me to interiorize my faith. It made everything different.

Eighth Grade Faith will help us to confront how we think about and deal with our faith, some of our hidden assumptions, and to gain a deeper appreciation of what a life of faith means. With judgment or guilt, we will journey together through the faith we have inherited to embrace our faith anew and begin with renewed hearts to walk with the Lord. Won’t you join us?

In Christ,
Fr. Joel Wilson