This past week the staffs from our three parishes met for the first time to talk about the upcoming Family of Parishes. There each person was able to share their hopes and fears about the future. Hearing them encouraged me greatly. Here are a few things that people said:
- This can be a new beginning; we have tremendous
opportunities to improve on things we’re doing well and stop doing things that aren’t fruitful.
- We can learn from the other parishes and communities.
- We hope we can accept change and use our gifts to help those who don’t have the same gifts.
- A sense of community could lead to ministry and volunteerism like never before.
- Our baptismal call is unifying ground: this can strengthen our understanding of our call.
- I fear we will get bogged down with details and miss the opportunity for spiritual renewal.
- The identity of family may not accurately reflect the
richness and unique characteristics of the individual
Those are such important things for us to consider, as hopes to strive for and fears to avoid. As we move forward, we will be communicating our progress each step of the way. Soon we will have the transition team formed, with pastoral ministers and representatives of the councils of each parish and community. I look forward to your input as well.
In this weekend’s gospel passage, Jesus tells his disciples that they are to be salt for the earth and light for the world. Salt was quite important before refrigeration; it was how you kept and preserved food, so it was a life sustaining commodity that drove many economies. If you accepted salt from someone you were considered in their service. The word salary comes from the word salt, since people were often paid with it. And when night descends, light provides security and comfort. Both of these improve the quality of life. So it seems to me that Jesus was actually telling his disciples that he wants them to be agents of life change, improving the quality of life in our parishes and in those we serve. Now as we move forward towards the activation of our Family, I’m glad I have Jesus to keep encouraging me and strengthening me to really be salt and light for others. I encourage each of you to be beacons of hope, of discipleship, and of mercy to others.
We can work together so that these changes will be life giving for our communities. Join me in praying that through the intercession of Our Lady of the Assumption, Saints Alphonsus, Angela, Benedict, and Daniel Comboni, our Family may be salt and light in Windsor.