Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,
I must confess that I've been a little surprised by the apparent lack of enthusiasm for our 150th Jubilee year. Correct me if I am wrong. My own excitement is a deep sense of gratitude to what The Rock (the people, not the building) has meant in my life. My experience here has truly changed my life. It has certainly changed my spirituality. It has brought to light gifts I was not sure I even had. I have been very blessed to be welcomed into the African-American Catholic community and have learned an incredible amount about ministering in a culture that is not my own; and that does not even touch upon all the wonderful people I have gotten to know over the years.
One of the benefits of being pastor is that I get to hear all the compliments from our visitors, many of which are very affirming and a reminder of just how much of a blessing The Rock is. This has always been my favorite part of our New Parishioner dinners, whether it was a testimony from someone just joining us or that of a long time member. We recently signed up a new Parishioner who told me that she had tried to join another Parish, but no one she asked seemed to know how to help her, and they just didn't seem that interested. Since she had heard of The Rock, she decided to pay us a visit. The warm welcome she received from Parishioners encouraged her to ask about the process of joining. Right away the person got the paperwork, sat down with her to help her fill it out, and then introduced her to several other people. She felt this is where God had intended her to be. While many Parishes claim to be welcoming, I can honestly say we are.
Many Parishes claim to be special, and some probably are, but I can say without a doubt that The Rock is a very special place and it is very important to a lot of people. That being said, I must also say that lately it seems that many Parishioners have lost something. Our attendance is way down, especially at the 11 am Mass. In a year that we should all be excited and thanking God for our many blessings, many seem apathetic (if that is the right word). And so, I am asking for your help. If you are struggling, or if you have some insight, or even if you disagree, please let me know. I need your help. The Parish Council spoke at length about SMUS this past week. Perhaps we can make it a time of re-commitment, an opportunity to stir up The Spirit and get ourselves ready for the next 150 years.
One final request, if you were not thinking about attending our upcoming gala, as your Pastor I would like to ask you to reconsider. I realize that $100 ($200 for a couple) is a lot for some people, but when you start comparing it to other things we spend money on I don't think it is that much to ask for an evening out with family and friends, with a nice dinner and very special entertainment. Two people going out for dinner and a movie can easily spend near $100, if it's a nice meal and theater it's even more. A pair of shoes can easily cost over $100 (even sneakers). This is a very special occasion and we are not likely to do it again. I personally think you will regret not being a part of this, as we come together as a family to celebrate a milestone, to give thanks for the past and all those who got us to this point, and a celebration of what lies before us. We want as many people as possible, not because it's a fundraiser (which I admit it is), but because you are who and what we are celebrating. It is the community that is the real blessing on the corner of Cook & Grand. So please reconsider, clear your calendar, and let's gather as a family on September 8th, and pop-the-cork on 150 years of blessings from our God!
In the Redeemer,