To Be Faithful Servants Walking God's Talk
A Message from Our Pastor...
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Belonging, Believing & Loving…
“Go forth and announce the Gospel of the Lord!” After being nourished by His Word and Body in the Eucharist, we are exhorted to go forth into the world, and bring Jesus to our families, our schools, our workplaces, our communities. How to do this? Our Archdiocese has provided us with a Pastoral Plan to guide us in our efforts (www.archtoronto.org/pastoral).
St. Patrick’s has taken very seriously the first point of the Plan: Parish Vitality. It is in the parish where the faithful gather every Sunday to be fed by Jesus so that they can reach out to their neighbour. As the saying goes, “Grace builds on nature,” so we bring our very best efforts to our Sunday liturgy, to our varied and diverse ministries, to our family life, to our personal lives believing that God does the rest in bringing about His plan of salvation. Faced with space limitations in the parish, we have not let this get in the way of living the joy of the Gospel. As a parish we have striven to feed the gathered and reach out to the scattered and we can be proud of our efforts. Not in a smug way but in a celebratory way, confident that we are on the right track, happy that we are glorifying God by being fully alive in our faith, in our hope, in our love. Have we arrived? Of course not, but we are on the way to being faithful servants walking God’s talk.
Yes, we face challenges in our parish community and some of them are self-evident, particularly at times like Christmas and Easter when we have to ask people to come to a later mass as there is just no more room to safely accommodate people. We face a similar challenge when it comes to accommodating the various ministries who carry out such important apostolates of prayer, of study, of Christian formation, of music, of outreach, of engaging our youth in the life of the parish. But these are challenges, not obstacles.
Over the years, even when there was only a little church on Rouge Street, our parish has always been characterized by growth – growth in Christian witness, faith and service. In the past almost 6 years, particularly at times when I celebrate a funeral of a long serving parishioner, I have become more and more aware of how the parish has flourished because individuals have made the personal decision to belong, to believe and to extend themselves in charity. People have recognized that they have been gifted and entrusted with sharing their gifts. This is why the community has grown.
We who stand here today in 2017 have much for which to give thanks. What we have today in this parish, from God’s bounty, we have because people did not bury their gifts in the ground but rather offered them in service to God and His People. They took up the challenge, they heard the summons of Jesus, “Come and see.” They stepped out in faith and took up the call to discipleship. This is why St. Patrick’s continues to be a welcoming, dynamic Catholic community. This is why people from a multitude of backgrounds, conditions and concerns come to our parish believing that they can like the three magi, find Jesus, worship him and serve him from their gifts.
If our parish is to continue to flourish and be a joyful beacon of Christian witness, faith and charity then each of us must make that personal decision to belong, to believe and to grow in loving service of our neighbour. We must face the truth that God has equipped each of us in a unique way with gifts that are meant to be exercised, grown and celebrated. We cannot leave it to that “other person,” thinking that somebody else will do it. No, each of us must make an account of ourselves, not our neighbour. From our Baptism, Jesus has been calling out to us, “Come follow me! Who do you say that I am? Feed my sheep!” I pray that each of us may heed his call. May we give God total permission to infuse our human nature with his grace so that the work of building his Kingdom will be concretized in this community of St. Patrick’s.