I am so very grateful for the kind welcome and hospitality that I have received since my arrival as pastor of Saint Julia’s in June. The summer months have allowed me the opportunity to meet many in a quieter, less hectic, time of year. It has been wonderful to reconnect with some old friends from my prior years in Lincoln and get newly acquainted with parishioners at both of our Churches. Your spirit of hospitality is a tremendous gift!
As we move ahead with our Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan, “Disciples in Mission,” this grace of hospitality is seen as a critical component in evangelization. Each one of us is challenged to be welcoming not only to others in our community but to the stranger, the struggling, even the snarky. We are called to be respectful, open, and invitational in sharing our Catholic faith.
In the year ahead, we will be engaged in more formally implementing the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan as a new Collaborative Parish. This offers us, as St. Julia Parish, a great opportunity to reflect upon what we have been doing and what we hope to do in the future. It is meant to inspire us, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to bring forth a deeper commitment to the Lord from those already “at home” in our Church and those who still need to hear a word of welcome.
The following (adapted) prayer comes from the United Sates Catholic Conference of Bishops to help us in the work of evangelization:
Stir in my soul the desire to renew my faith and deepen my relationship with your Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ, so that I might truly believe in and live the Good News.
Open my heart to hear the Gospel and grant me the confidence to proclaim the Good News to others.
Pour out your Spirit, so that I might be strengthened to go forth and witness to the Gospel
in my everyday life, through my words and actions.
God, our Father, I pray that through the Holy Spirit
I might hear the call of the New Evangelization to deepen my faith,
grow in confidence to proclaim the Gospel and boldly witness
to the saving grace of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
With blessings and best wishes,