Coming Home - A Time for Fellowship and Healing
Last week I spent a few days with about three hundred other priests of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It was a time of making up the balance sheet after three demanding years in ministry. Our presenter said at one time: "I see so many exhausted faces." And that was true. Some of my fellow brothers in the priesthood hardly had any vacation over the last few years. It was very touching to feel what happened when the presenter asked us to split off in twos and threes and pray over one another. Can you imagine a hall full of priests lifting their brothers in prayer?
What became a refrain in the stories these men shared was that their communities sometimes had changed beyond recognition. Nationwide, we are looking at a 30% to 50% reduction in the number of parishioners coming to Sunday Mass. At Saint Mark, we are lucky to see new faces as well, people who came to our church as a result of our positive response to the challenges of Covid. But it is time now to get to know one another better and build up our post-pandemic community.
We have planned three evenings in the Parish Hall for that fellowship. And all are invited, old and new. We are also reaching out to those in our database that we have lost track of since the beginning of Covid. Remember, in 2020, we contacted every parishioner we could get a hold of. It may be good to do this again.
Please mark your calendars. The three evenings have different themes:
- Wednesday, September 28: Moving beyond a pandemic, uniting our domestic churches.
- Wednesday, October 26: Parish stewardship and financial accountability. Report and consultation.
- Wednesday, November 30: Entering our Centennial Jubilee Year 2023-2024
Join us in the parish hall from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. Childcare will be available.
Nobody should ignore the fact that the pandemic has caused a health crisis. Not only physical but also mental. The statistics are staggering, especially among the youth. During the Fall, Saint Mark will also offer three healing Masses, where everyone, young and old, can receive the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. These Masses will be on the first Sunday evenings of October, November, and December. There will be a strong focus on healing the body, mind, and spirit that we all need so deeply.
- Sunday, October 2 at 5:30 pm - How long, O LORD? I cry for help - Hab 1:2
- Sunday, November 6 at 5:30 pm - He is not God of the dead, but of the living - Lk 20:38
- Sunday, December 4 at 5:30 pm - Prepare the way of the Lord - Mt 3:3
Please spread the word that we are making this happen in the coming fall. It can be a great renewal of our parish and for each of us personally to listen intently to one another and the Word of the Lord.
-Fr. Albert van der Woerd, Pastor