This week marks the feast of Pentecost – the occasion when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples. As a result of this gift, they were ‘on fire’ with energy to spread the word and to build the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit helps God’s will for our lives to impact every dimensions of who we are and what we ought to do. When we opt to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, God’s call penetrates every light and shade of our personality and of our community.
Among the signs of the Holy Spirit that I observe in our parish community in the last year are the fruits of work begun almost four years ago in Adult Faith Formation. What I see:
Over 300 people have participated in the Discovering Christ program (8 evenings that include dinner, input and table fellowship);
A street evangelization team is taking the message of the Gospel to Sykesville town events;
The parish pastoral plan signed off last June was steered the Parish Pastoral Council and it is focusing us more and more clearly on being missionary disciples.
These events were crowned this year with the emergence of more faith groups in the parish; those of parents with children, of couples, and wonderfully our young adult cluster: CACOYA.
Today I give thanks the Holy Spirit is working in many lives at Saint Joseph. The evidence for this movement gives me hope that we are, in the main, growing in the mystery of the faith. The gift of the same Holy Spirit also gives me confidence that the concerns I have about the numbers worshiping and the numbers registering children for Religious Education will help us grow. These two issues don’t frighten me, as once they would (!) they are a call to be creative and flexible and more clearly responsive to how God wants to shape the church into the future. As we are learning as a parish staff these days: changes are not the problem, the transition is what we avoid but we do want what the Holy Spirit is calls us to do: be joyful when celebrating the Eucharist and be excited for those children whose families want them to know the Church’s teachings on issues big and small.
Happy Pentecost – lets be thanks and hopeful.
Fr. Neville O’Donohue, S.M.