It’s New Years.
It’s a time for possibilities and a time of transition from one year to another. Unfortunately for these communities, it is also a time of transition from a familiar priest to a new priest to guide you. As with so many other times in our lives we have a choice as to how we will approach the upcoming time in our lives.
Again, I say it is a time for possibilities for dreaming of what can be. What do you want next year to look like? Some would call this visioning (an important step in accomplishing). As I look into my heart and think of what I would want a parish community to look like I think of the following:
A community of welcome that also invites others to come
A community that steps up when needs are identified both externally and internally through works, prayer and financial giving.
A community that treats each other like family.
A community that comes to Mass to celebrate with whatever they have, participating fully in the midst of trials and joy.
A community that goes forth and proclaims the Gospel in whatever way they can through actions and words.
A community with a beautiful and warm church that only increases in beauty and warmth when the people begin to enter and fill the pews.
A community that is overflowing with the love of God.
A community with children and noise and singing and wiggling and awe.
I am sure there is so much more, but I only have so much room in the bulletin. I include this reflection that I have used many times before. The first time I heard this and still today, I feel it speaks directly to me and challenges me to something more for my church community.
My church is composed of people like me –
I help make it what it is.
It will be friendly, if I am.
Its pews will be filled, if I help fill them.
It will do great work, if I work.
It will make generous gifts, if I am a generous giver.
It will bring other people into its worship and fellowship,
if I invite and bring others in.
It will be a church of love and faith,
if I, who make it what it is, am filled with these same things.
Lord, help me to dedicate myself to being all the things
that I want my church to be.