Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
Life has certainly become easier in the mobile society where we find ourselves; but it has also become a lot harder. This is especially true of the Church, making the work of priests both easier and more difficult. In days gone by, it was easy enough to walk down to your local parish for Mass, Confession, or devotions. Driving to Mass is something that would be foreign to most of our ancestors, but is something to which each of us has grown accustomed.
It is easy to get into the mentality of shopping for a church, but it can become a mentality that is dangerous. The Church exists to both sanctify and challenge us, so that we do not become too comfortable in our ways, or attached to the world. If we allow our consumer mentality to affect our choice of a parish – that we go only where we are comfortable and will leave when we are made uncomfortable – then we run the risk of never attaining the perfection to which God has called us.
Our goal here at Old St. Mary’s is the perfection of each of our parishioners. We see our little parish as a family. Usually this means coming together in Adoration of Almighty God; but also sometimes coming together in sorrow at the loss of a parishioner or in support of some tragedy. Sometimes the priests have to mention uncomfortable topics, or make decisions that are unpopular. At the end of the day, the parish is still a family. These are things that happen in every family.
In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, one gains a parish in one of two ways. Either by where you live, or upon registering in another parish with a pastor willing to accept the registration. In this way, each person living within the Archdiocese has a parish and a proper pastor. Many of you have made the conscious choice to be parishioners of Old St. Mary’s. We pray and hope that soon those who live within this neighborhood, who are also parishioners of Old St. Mary’s, will join us in these pews. We welcome anyone who desires to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.
Occasionally I hear of dual parishioners, where time is split between parishes. Today’s society makes this easy. However, I want to stress the importance of sticking to one parish. One can only belong to one parish at any given time, as you can have only one pastor at any given time. It is my hope that if you consider Old St. Mary’s your parish, that you are with us week in and week out. In discussing this at recreation several weeks ago, I was told this was one of the topics Fr. Lauer stressed, the importance of coming to adore God at your parish on Sundays.
I will be addressing this point over the next few weeks, as we lead up to Lent on March 1. I believe that this is an important topic for the spiritual growth of the parishioners and the well being of the parish. I will also seek to clarify the proper place, and who the proper minister is for Baptisms, Confirmations, weddings, Anointing of the Sick, and funerals, in the hope of avoiding confusion when these moments of life arise. Have a blessed week ahead!