Fr. Tom’s Letters

 

Each week Fr. Tom writes a letter to parishioners in our bulletin.  Every letter is comprehensive, including current information about the Parish, an explanation of Scripture for that Sunday, and an invitation to become more engaged in the faith life of our Parish.

 

 

 

 

April 23, 2017

Dear Parishioners,

Today we complete the eight day Easter Octave and move forward in the 50 day celebration of the Easter Season which culminates with the Solemnity of Pentecost on Sunday, June 4.  So much happens during this time at St. Anne’s.  Throughout these seven weeks, we seek to be people of Easter faith, that Easter faith first experienced by Mary Magdalene when she arrived at the empty tomb of Jesus.  With her discovery and Easter faith, Mary is the first to share in the mission of announcing the Good News: He is Risen.

The gospel we hear today is the same gospel that we hear every year on the Second Sunday of Easter.  It is the story of Thomas coming to believe in the Risen Lord.  Thomas comes to Easter faith in a very different way than did Mary.  Thomas is resistant to the belief that the other apostles shared.

The apostles come to Easter faith behind locked doors.  Their fear causes them to hide.  Jesus stands in their midst and addresses them “Peace be with you.”  He shows them his wounds and they rejoice.  The Risen Lord then commissions them and breathes on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  Jesus then empowers them to forgive sins.

As I reflect on this gospel, I am struck how Jesus meets head on those elements of human experience that may cause resistance to faith.  He meets the disciples as they cower in fear.  He brings peace where there is confusion, sadness, and disillusion.  He breathes on them, sharing life where there was once death.  He insists on forgiveness where there is sin.  The presence of the Risen Lord is powerful and overcomes obstacles of many different kinds.

The gospel then goes on to tell the story of Thomas.  Here the Risen Lord overcomes Thomas’ skepticism.  Thomas’ earlier statement of “I will not believe” is transformed into “My Lord and my God.”  The presence of the Risen Lord in a person’s life brings transformation.

The appearance stories of the Risen Lord in the gospels often tell us how Jesus transformed the life of a particular person or a few people.  Today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles demonstrates for us how belief in the Risen Lord transforms an entire community.  The communal life is described in many different ways.  They gathered for teaching, for the sharing of meals, for prayers.  They shared property and possessions and addressed the needs of others.  The description concludes telling us they grew everyday.

We have heard frequently the theme of Dramatic Missionary Growth that Bishop Barres raises at every opportunity.  This first reading from the Acts of the Apostles surely provides inspiration for Dramatic Missionary Growth.  In some ways, we see how even in our time there are elements of this description from the Acts of the Apostles still present in our experience of community.  In other ways, we know this reading challenges us to an increased sense of sharing and generosity.  Our lives are now more complex; the communities in which we live include diversity of religious belief and practice; economics and the principles of capitalism dictate often how we do business and commerce.  Still, the divides between the rich and poor, the hungry and the well-satisfied, and other divides present in our society and culture cry out for a leadership in Christian communities that is inspired and directed by the Easter faith that we celebrate these 50 days.  It is this Easter faith that will lead to Dramatic Missionary Growth.

MEN’S CLOTHING COLLECTION

We often get inquiries about accepting clothing for those in need.  Today from 9:30AM to 1:00PM outside of church or in McCloskey Auditorium lobby if raining, two girl scouts will be collecting men’s clothing for participants in a faith based recovery program for men who have been suffering substance abuse.  Maryann and Marisa are working on this clothing collection as part of their Silver Award for Girl Scouts.  They are giving us all a good opportunity to share some good clothing with those who will use it.

PLAYS & PROMS, CONFIRMATIONS & COMMUNIONS

These next several weeks will involve some special events for the young people of the parish.  Next weekend is the school play.  Students will act, sing, and dance through the scenes of Mary Poppins.  Weeks are spent in preparation for the play.  Performances are at 7:30PM on Saturday and 2:00PM on Sunday.  All parishioners are invited to support the St. Anne’s School students and enjoy the play.

On Friday, April 28, St. Anne’s kicks off the 2017 prom season with our annual Respite Prom.  The prom theme is Aloha Luau and involves dancing, games, dinner and lots of smiles and good friendship.  The prom includes the Respite participants and lots of teenage and adult volunteers who help to make this prom a great success year after year.

Rehearsals will take place on Tuesday, April 25th for all our Confirmation candidates.  Bishop Brennan will be here on Monday, May 1 to confirm about 200 St. Anne’s students from Faith Formation and the parish school. 
We have been preparing for Confirmation for two years with classes, retreats, service projects, and parent-child meetings.  A lot of effort goes into Confirmation preparation and the celebration; the day has always been a very happy one for everybody involved.  We are all looking forward to May 1.

On the first three Saturdays of May we are celebrating First Holy Communions with our second graders and their families.  These are among my favorite days in parish life.  They are one of the few occasions when everybody wants to be here to join with these beautiful children as they receive Jesus for the first time in Holy Communion.  Many of us will be getting invitations to First Communion parties.  Know there is always room in the Church for anyone who wishes to come to the First Communion Mass.

Dramatic Mission Growth flows from Easter Faith!

Peace be to you!

Fr. Tom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The letters are available in PDF and require Adobe Reader to view.  If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can download it for FREE by clicking the graphic to the right.