Words From the Pastor
Words From the Pastor
Saint Simon the Apostle
As a young associate pastor, I was the on-call priest for the week. It so happened that during this particular week the pastor was away and I was in French Lick at the Priest Convocation for the priests of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. In the middle of the night, before I was scheduled to preach at a Mass where the Archbishop and all of the priests of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis would be in attendance, I received a page. The person calling asked for the pastor. I explained that he was away and that I was on call, however, I am currently in French Lick Indiana. When I asked what it was that she needed help with, she told me, “I need a pack of cigarettes.” I asked her to repeat what she said and she responded, “I need a pack of cigarettes.” I apologized, explaining that I am in French Lick, 2.5 hours away from Indianapolis. I said, “I am sorry that I am not able to do anything for you.” She responded, “You can pray for me!” That is when she preached the Gospel to me. Even when I feel powerless or helpless to fix or change something, I can always pray for and with others.
In my observation, it seems that during these past several months, post summertime travels, our Sunday Mass attendance overall has declined. I’ve been pondering what might be happening. Perhaps it is because these past months have been a difficult time to be a Roman Catholic Christian with all that has been in the news. Perhaps people have been out of town over the weekends. Perhaps some have allowed a life of recreation and leisure, athletic schedules and the busyness of activities to take over weekends. Perhaps some have become lazy or indifferent to coming to Mass. Perhaps some have struggled with the change of priests and pastoral staff. Perhaps some feel or have succumbed to the complaints of another that “they don’t get anything out of Mass.” Perhaps……Perhaps……Perhaps.
Whatever the reason might be, I ask everyone to reconsider Keeping Holy the Sabbath. In all times the one thing that we can do for each other and with each other is pray. Pray for our Church, pray for our community, pray for the many members of our community who carry their struggles silently and pray for the world. The celebration of the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of our faith. At Mass, we first and foremost give “Thanks and Praise” to God as we encounter Christ in Word, Sacrament and each other. Giving thanks and praise doesn’t require that we get anything out of it only that we give something to it. During the Mass, there is a dialogue between priest and congregation near the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. P: The Lord be with you. All: And with your Spirit. P: Lift up your hearts. All: We lift them up to the Lord. P: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
All: It is right and just.
It is an important reminder that celebrating Mass is both right and a just thing to do.
Both our presence and absence impacts others and our whole community. Our presence has a positive impact on others as we build a community of faith, hope and love. We can lean on each other and God as we find strength and are renewed in the power of our communal prayer. Our absence has a negative impact on others as those present can feel dispirited, wondering where the other is. One thing to consider is how through personal preparation and participation you might make Mass more spiritually fulfilling.
I ask everyone to please prayerfully consider how we can make the Sunday celebration of Eucharist, either Saturday night or Sunday morning, the center of your weekend, building the rest of your weekend around it. To commit to gathering as the parish community of St. Simon the Apostle each and every Sunday: giving thanks and praise to God, following Jesus’ command to “do this in remembrance of me,” and praying for each other.
Sent by Eric Marasco on Wednesday, October 3 at 1:58PM