From Father's Desk

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.

This week we are focused on the “E” in S.T.E.P.S. which stands for Engage. Engage the faith. So often when we come to Mass our participation can be somewhat passive. We come and sit, and everything happens around us. The liturgy will continue whether or not we participate in the prayers and responses. I remember distinctly when I began to serve on the altar as a deacon and then as a priest how tired I was after participating in two Masses. Usually on Sunday afternoon, I need a nap. Sundays on the altar can be a workout! It is all the standing and speaking aloud the prayers, but also the concentration and focus required to really engage the meaning behind the words.

At Sunday liturgy, here are some ways everyone can engage more deeply in the worship of God. Singing from the heart, whether or not we are gifted with a ‘good’ voice. God has given us our voice and He wants to hear it! Also, praying through the readings ahead of time can really help us to engage the Word of God. By reading and discussing the Gospel at the dinner table on Thursday, we can get our hearts and minds ready to hear the Word on Sunday.

One wonderful way to engage our faith and grow with God is to grab the hand of a sister or brother in Christ and journey together in the Faith. By joining a small group, we listen and share (if you want to) from our hearts about faith matters, about the journey. We go deeper with the weekly message. Small Groups give us the opportunity to dialogue, to share the faith, and to share the journey of life with our neighbor. Small Groups are about walking with friends on the road, growing with God together.

Two examples really illustrate the good power of peers. In college, we had great professors, but often, I learned the most and gained the deepest insights or appreciation, not from the lecture, but from the questions. My peers in the room, probing, pondering, exploring, wrestling - these were the best and more memorable moments. Such is the path of small groups.

Also in college, I finally began a regime of fitness, working out and lifting weights. I could never do it in high school consistently. What changed? In college, my buddies inspired me to go. We made a commitment to workout together. That commitment spurred me on when I would have preferred to sit on the couch. This small group of friends helped me to develop the holy habit of exercise. And it has made a significant difference in my life.

So, if you are interested in growing with God, if you agree with the premise of our message series, 8th Grade Faith, then there is no better way to engage the path of discipleship than by joining a small group. So please, sign up for a small group this weekend. New groups will begin the week of Oct 16th, with the new message series called, Good News (sneak peek!)

God be with you!
Fr. Wilson