St Peter says in the reading this Sunday: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you a reason for your hope.”
So I thought I’d share with you some of what I get to see in our parish and in our church that gives me hope in these Easter days.
Our Young People: I’ve had the chance to spend time with both the young ladies from Marymount and the gentlemen from Xavier.(thank you Kathleen and Jim for the invites) I was so very impressed with the thoughtfulness with which these young men and women are able to share their faith with one another. If they are what the next generation of Catholics will look like, then I can breathe a little easier.
Our Families: Sunday we celebrate both First Communions and Baptisms. At the end of the month we will celebrate Confirmations. Each and every one of these families has made a commitment to raising their children carefully and faithfully. We see these families at church most Sundays. What great joy it brings us to get to know them and to watch them participate and grow in their faith. How can we not but smile when we see all the life they bring to our parish.
Camden: I had the opportunity to go visit Br. Mickey McGrath in Camden NJ this week. Wow. They aren’t kidding about how tough things are in Camden. It is pretty bleak. Except for this one block that surrounds Sacred Heart Church in Camden, where the parish priest, now 82 years old and fighting cancer, has spent his life building up the neighborhood around the church. Through the arts and literature, through gardens and creativity, the kingdom of God grows in Camden. It was amazing to witness.
Our Parish Council: What a fine group of men and women. Not only are they committed to helping SFDS grow into the future, but they are concerned about who we will be as a parish in the future. Yes, there was some conversation about how we need to be financially secure, but there was also significant time spent on how we want to be a parish that is loving and welcoming. There was much talk about how we need to find ways as a church family to live out God’s call to justice and mercy. To that end we would like to invite folks who are interested to consider attending local community board meetings and police precinct meetings to help keep all of us informed on how we can better help our neighborhood be a place of peace and justice for all. We are coming to understand, as Pope Benedict XVI told us, that we are all called to live out our baptismal roles, to be co responsible for the church. We are all called to be leaders. How are you being called to lead?
On a personal note, I am more aware than ever that I am so blessed to be in the place that I am, with the folks I work with, and the friends that have become my second family. I can't begin to count the many ways they gift me with their love and support and care. Even when things seem the most difficult, I am surrounded by love. I am grateful that I recognize it, and that I can appreciate it.
All in all, lots to be hopeful and grateful for. Jayne