Since my March 17th letter to parishioners about the planned purchase of Bldg. 611, located next door, many have expressed support for this much needed room. Thanks to a loan from the Diocese of Charlotte, we are moving forward and expect to close on the purchase June 11th. By the end of the summer, you will begin to learn more about the upcoming Capital Campaign that will be launched to repay the loan to the diocese. We have presented a name for the new building to the Pastors Advisory Council, Stewardship Council and Master Plan Committee and all agreed to calling the new building the St. Joseph Center. More details will be coming shortly.
School is out for the summer. Congratulations to our 8th graders who graduated this past Wednesday.
How does one measure success in the area of faith formation? It is said that figures provide a very concrete idea. But do they, really? Let’s give it a go: 263 students signed up in faith formation from K-5, 115 in EDGE 6-8 grade, 40 in LIFETEEN, 67 kids celebrated Confirmation, 120 celebrated First Communion in English and Spanish, 3 kids were received into the Catholic Church this Easter. What these numbers show is that we still have parents interested in having their children celebrate the Sacraments. That is good. Is it sufficient? No. The Church proposes creating opportunities for encounters with the Living God. How do we do that? Beginning at a small age we help children become attentive to the small voice inside who calls them by name. This voice calls them first to be and as a result of being in relationship with Christ, then we are called to do. We strive to help the child fall in love with the God of the Covenant, the God who constantly seeks for the pearl of great price, who never tires of looking for us. He lures us into relationship by giving us gifts. Therefore, early childhood is the moment for the serene enjoyment of God. This lays the strongest and most important foundation of the child’s moral life. As the child advances in years a time will come when she will need to explore the standards for human behavior as exemplified in Jesus’ moral parables, the Maxims and the Summary of the Law. Upon entering the Confirmation age the child should desire to show his/her love to Jesus by acting in such a way that people will know and recognize his/her as a child of the Light.
Parents need only do three things: Always celebrate the Eucharist as a family honoring the Sabbath. Nurture the child’s need for relationship with Christ through prayer whether it be spontaneous or traditional. Open up the Scripture together and contemplate the beauty, goodness and truth of our loving God. The first reading of the Bible should only guide us to sheer delight, nothing else.
For the first time in our parish we will have a parishioner to be ordained as a transitional deacon on Saturday, June 2nd. Alfonso Gámez and his family have been long time parishioners here at ICC. God willing, next spring he will be ordained a priest for the Diocese of Charlotte. He will be preaching at the Spanish Masses on June 3rd with a reception in the gym after the 1:30 Mass.
Another vocation blessing for our parish is Will Kater, who serves as either a Minister of the Eucharist or altar server at the 9:00 Sunday Mass, who will be entering the Capuchins on June 18th. We will have a reception for Will on Sunday, June 10th after the 9:00 Mass in the St. Francis Room.
WOW, two vocations! Let us continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Did you know: Behind and before every vocation to the priesthood or to the consecrated life there is always the strong and intense prayer of someone: a grand-mother, a grandfather, a mother, a father, a community. (Pope Francis)
On the lighter side: The Will of God never takes you to where the Grace of God will not protect you.
On this feast of Pentecost, may the gift of the Holy Spirit fill you all with His grace and blessings!
Monday Fr. Roberto will be leaving for Italy as part of a special Franciscan program. Then next Sunday, May 27th, Fr. Praveen and I will be leaving for our yearly Province retreat after the 11:30 Mass. Fr. John Pagel will be with you all week while we are gone. Pray for us as we will pray for you.
Have you ever submitted prayer intentions into the school pray box? If so, join us Friday for the 8:30 Mass. Immediately after Mass we will have a burning of the petitions. As scripture says, as incense goes up, so our prayers fill the temple.
One final reminder that today will be our last 4:30 Mass until further notice.
On the lighter side: God loves everyone, but probably prefers 'fruits of the spirit' over 'religious nuts!'
Happy Mother’s Day! Today we pray for joy, for grace, for wisdom, for great peace...for all moms, for moms to be, and for women who nurture and lead. Thank you and God bless you.
Next weekend is Pentecost. Be sure to wear RED or other vibrant colors to Mass. 5:00 Saturday will be bilingual followed by our Taste of our Heritages dinner in the gym. No fee, just come and taste the many flavors of food from many countries. When you see one of our first communicants in their communion dress or suit, be sure to congratulate them.
Did you know: Mothers are indispensable to society and the church, showing the world what it means to generously give oneself for others, to respect life and to display tenderness and moral strength even in times of trouble, Pope Francis said.
On the lighter side: God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Have a blessed week!