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December 18, 2016

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

JMJ

A few weeks ago we completed our State-of-the-Parish Report in which we invited representatives of our various ministries to share a little bit about what they do. Because we are a church, each of these groups may legitimately share a common status in that what they do is essentially done for the glory of God. With that in mind, some activities which might not be normally identified as “ministerial” could be included in the definition.

The word “ministry” comes from the word minister. This can be a noun, or a verb, which means to help, or to assist. And the implication is that you are helping or assisting someone; a person, a family, or a group of people who are in some way in need.

I do believe that some people have too narrow a view of what it means to be a ministry. A priest or deacon or a religious brother or sister, or a missionary, are certainly ministers. But a parent can be a minister as well, especially if they recognize that they co-minister with God himself in helping their children.

Certainly the St. Vincent DePaul group ministers to the needy of our area. Tony, our DRE ministers to those who are learning the faith. Leo, our music director, along with his musicians, minister to the hearts of our parishioners as well as to those who attend funerals and weddings; same with Shawnie and Mary Ann and their customers in the bookshop. Could it also be said of Marie and Andrea, our parish secretaries, or Krisztina in the finance office? Or Tim and Dave in facility management?  If they do it for the glory of God, then yes. How about our St. Joseph Guild which doesn’t minister directly to people, but mows lawns and sweeps floors, and decorates the church at Christmas, and about a thousand other things? Can they, too, share the title: Ministry of Holy Spirit Parish? Again, yes!

Our newest ministry is called the Environmental Ministry, and I suspect there are some who take issue with it, too, being called a ministry. They might ask what recycling has to do with helping or assisting people in need. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, had some ideas on the matter that I’m sure were deeply influenced by his life among the poor in Argentina. He wrote an encyclical recently and shared some thoughts that went way beyond mere recycling. I encourage all of you to read what he had to say. It should also be noted that his predecessors also shared the same views.

God does, indeed, expect us to take care of what has been given us. We are called to be good stewards of our planet and our home.

Addenda:

Again, thanks to all of you who contributed to the Witness to Hope Campaign. Bishop Earl called on Tuesday to congratulate us for meeting our goal.

Earlier in the week, a parishioner stepped forward to “minister” to the rest of us. He said that he would match all donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000 with the stipulation that all donations to be matched must be received and processed by December 30th, 2016. Now remember that we will receive a much higher percentage return on any funds we collect over our goal. We will get our first big check in March.

For those of you who have chosen not to participate, I hope this will inspire you to reconsider. As a matter of fact, our benefactor would like to share this following thought with you. “From the time of our pre-marriage encounter weekend until now, we have found that our financial and spiritual contributions have been rewarded in kind, with spiritual and financial gain equal or greater to what we have given.”

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