Saturday, May 22, 2010

Neat or Messy? May 23, 2010

I’m writing on Tuesday morning amidst a sloppy desk with papers, memos, folders, and periodicals all over the place. A friend of mine said of a mutual friend that his desk is so neat you could do surgery on it. My desk, my friend said, looks like surgery has just been completed. Staying organized and being attentive to details is not my strong suit.

We are in the midst of a whirlwind of activities. One priority presently is to entice more people (especially males) to be involved in Parish Council. Complacency can settle into any organization. We can assume so easily that other people will step forward. Presently we need interested people to offer some time and talent to this important ministry in the parish. Any takers?

Please pray that the Holy Spirit will enter the hearts and minds of our Confirmation class. This Saturday 95 teens will be confirmed by Bishop Mulvee.

Fr. Bob Hawkins

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Annual retreat - May 8, 2010

One of the most important weeks in a priest’s life is supposed to be his annual retreat. It has been over two years since I made a retreat. This means it is confession, “mea culpa” time for me. I picked this time of the year because of the spring weather and the need to find some balance with the busyness of this time of the year. Yesterday we had three beautiful First Communion celebrations which were so well organized by Pat Grattan. It was a joyful time to witness the excitement of the children receiving Jesus for the first time. In this year of evangelization I encouraged the parents to bring their children often to the table of the Lord. You can have the best religious education program but it means little without parent cooperation. In the weeks ahead we will have Confirmation, the Mass for the high school graduates, the healing mass, school graduation, appreciation night and, by the way, the wedding season will start. Yikes!
Fr. Bob

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Hear the voice of the shepherd May 1, 2010

Last Sunday I reflected on the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd in my homily. I only preached at two Masses (5 p.m. and 7 a.m.) and at the 8:30 I did a children’s homily. Several people asked me to ponder further on the homily. My general theme was the need to hear the voice of the shepherd. When we really listen we take on the heart and vision of the Good Shepherd. As a result we minister by affirming. serving, and protecting others. Then I went on to say we have been painfully reminded in the past few months of so many tragic examples of poor and abusive treatment of young people by our Church leaders.

Recently I read a letter by Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. to the people of his diocese. In the letter he spoke of the beauty of stain-glass windows. So many of our sacred stories and people are depicted in windows. “Yet if even one small part of the window is broken our eyes are immediately drawn to the wound. Much of the beauty of the entire window, its integrated wholeness and message, can be temporarily lost because we concentrate on the broken piece. Years ago we recognized that some of the glass was broken. Some who were called to serve as an icon of Christ and ordained to be his presence in the midst of the community had failed in their ordination promises. Through the damaged glass there poured a harsh glare that caused not only the Church but the wider community to focus on what was broken.”

As a Church we are now called to penance and purification. We are a sinful Church in need of God’s mercy to renew us in the image of Christ the Good Shepherd. Our Church’s credibility and essential mission has been tarnished. Trust between clergy and people is an essential ingredient to effective pastoral ministry. I pledge to you as pastor my renewed commit-ment to be of service in an open and humble manner. May the healing process begin and continue under the banner of God’s grace.

Fr. Bob Hawkins