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May 19, 2024

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake,


Blessed Feast of Pentecost! This is the birthday of the Church – the day when the apostles and disciples who had been waiting in prayer for 9 days after Jesus Ascended, for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Upon receiving this gift, they were no longer the same – they were missioned, they were sent, they were empowered with a strength and life not their own. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, they were sharing in the very life of God. So it is meant to be for us!

 

There is no more fitting time than now to take a dive into our pastoral planning. An important part of our pastoral plan is to articulate our mission (purpose) and vision of how to achieve that purpose. Why do we exist and how do we strive to live it out? Questions we don’t often spend a lot of time thinking about.

 

Our Mission:

· Sacred Heart: We are a Catholic Parish, invested in a school offering Catholic education, serving the Hudson area community.

· St. Mary on the Lake: We are a Catholic Parish providing a home for seasonal, summertime parishioners from other parishes as well as Devil’s Lake and Round Lake permanent residents.

 

Our Vision for both Parishes:

· To be a community of disciples committed to living Christian virtues, spreading the Gospel, and raising up the next generation of disciples.

 

The million-dollar question is always the “How.” How do we as a parish know if we are living our mission? How do we as individual Christians know if we are living our mission? How do we measure success? How do we discern if a particular event or activity supports our mission as individuals and as a parish?

 

To help each of us better answer the “how” questions I will be taking time to preach on the key words of the vision statement. The first and most important word is “disciple.” I asked Deacon John to preach on this recently and you will be hearing more about it. At the heart, discipleship is measured not by what we do but by who we are with. To be a Christian is be with Jesus. This is what fires the preaching of Peter on Pentecost – he is speaking of the mighty acts of God, Jesus who is risen and alive. The Holy Spirit drew them into that relationship and from that relationship they act. We often put the things we do before being with Jesus. But first and foremost is being with Him. That is the first gift of the Holy Spirit – to unify us with Jesus and the Father.

 

Then there is the reality of community. We are not lone wolf Christians; it is never just me and Jesus. It is me with Jesus and every other person in His body. We need to always resist the temptation to isolate ourselves from others. We are a part of the body of Christ and need to love (and try to like!) the other people in His body. It is critical for our own flourishing. If you pull a red-hot coal out of a bed of coals it will rapidly die. But in the bed of coals with others it remains red-hot, full of life and vigor. We can’t be disciples apart from Jesus or the Church. Doing so we will rapidly lose our life and vigor. Let us remain in community!

 

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

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