Since September the parish leadership has been actively discerning our mission and vision. We have been using material from the AmazingParish.org website which was developed to help “Catholic leaders build amazing parishes,” through the experience of Catholic leaders from around the United States. Out of the seven pillars that they put forward as foundational elements of any amazing parish we have decided to focus on the first three: prayer, a real leadership team and a clear vision. These first three pillars are absolutely essential as we strive to build our community for the future. Our parish staff and pastoral council are making sure that we have the right leadership in place with both paid and volunteer staff along with helping to craft a parish vision that calls upon every member of our community to proclaim the gospel with joy. However; all too often the first pillar gets overlooked and compromised, PRAYER. To this end, I am asking every member of our parish family to pray the AMAZING PARISH PRAYER every day. In other words…pray for your parish and pray for one another. This prayer will be introduced at our weekend liturgies beginning the 1st Sunday of Advent and will continue through the Solemnity of Christ the King on November 22, 2015. This prayer will end our general intercessions and will be prayed by everyone at each Mass. It will be located in the front cover of your hymnal or missal and personal prayer cards will be handed out after Mass for the next two Sundays.
I would also ask that you invite others to pray for our parish. This might mean approaching family, friends, coworkers and even classmates. It could also mean contacting local religious orders and prayer groups to see if they might add our parish to their daily intentions. I would also ask that this prayer be a part of every parish gathering, meeting and formation opportunity. By offering the same prayer and asking others to join us in solidarity we will be united as a parish family. It is only through constant prayer that we will remain faithful to our mission and be able to craft a vision of ministry that is life sustaining and faithful to the church we are called to serve through our baptism.
As we begin our Advent journey with a spirit of hopeful expectation I humbly ask everyone to open their hearts a little wider and make a little more room in their daily schedule to be in solidarity and communion with one another. Our “Amazing Parish Prayer” is available below and I invite you to take a pocket version with you over the next two weeks. Let us pray unceasingly for our parish and in doing so build up the Body of Christ in our midst.
I Love you all,
Fr. Mark Bialek