From Fr. Godfrey
– BEING AWAY. Being away last weekend offered me the opportunity to see the dynamics of another parish. It’s always a blessing to see good ideas to steal! The parish where I was in California has over 3,000 registered households – nearly three times our size. They have nearly a dozen people working in religious education – for all ages. They have five different choirs, each singing every week at a particular Mass. They have two priests. On Friday evening, we had evening prayer with a homily I preached and benediction. There were about 75 people there. On Saturday morning, I gave a recollection to the liturgical ministers – nearly 100 took part. Monday evening, I was a keynote speaker for their January GIFT program (Growing in Faith Together). They provide some catechetical offering every day from after Epiphany through the end of the month. The Masses are almost all full, except the earliest one on Sunday and do they ever sing! They have PowerPoints on big screens at the front of the church instead of hymnals. So many of them offered me a kind word as they came into church. They have a modern-looking church built in the 1970’s. They’re working to expand their understanding of stewardship – the pastor preached three weekends in a row on stewardship in November. As far as I could tell, there are only Saturday afternoon confessions. They had done a beautiful job with Christmas decorations, especially varied colors of locally-grown poinsettias. The nativity scene was in the back of church. Honestly, there are elements of their life together (only some!!) that I would love to emulate. And I think there are parts of our parish life that they would do well to imitate. Being in another place allows me to come up with ideas for us. I also had a little time on Monday to go see Mission San Jose, one of the California missions. It’s beautiful. The parish there uses it only for daily Mass, funerals and weddings. It’s a lovely piece of architecture. No matter where I go, though, after a few days, I’m always eager to come back home to St. Ben’s.
– GROWING IN FAITH. Plenty of work goes in to planning and preparing things like Theology UnCapped and Catholicism 101. Please consider coming as they’re offered. Growing in faith is the evidence of genuine discipleship. And for those of you with children, I offer this encouragement: sharing the faith now will more likely head off the wandering away of young people later. Knowing Christ — and about Him — will help guide those young people in our families!