Stir into Flame the Gift of God

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 6, 2019

Dear Parishioners, 

Praying is my favorite activity.  Yes, more than watching sports.  When I see, hear, or read something that even comes close to the topic of prayer, I want to discuss it.  These readings, in my opinion, can be connected to prayer.

The first reading from the prophet Habakkuk is itself a prayer, and a beautiful one at that.  The author is in a difficult situation and authentically calling out to God for help.  The Lord answers him, basically telling him to hang tight and trust.

Saint Paul tells Timothy to "stir into flame the gift of God"—something that can happen in prayer.  Then, our Lord's sayings about increasing faith and "We are unprofitable servants" also hint at prayer.  If we want to be faithful people who are ultimately fulfilled and not always looking to the next, best thing, then we need to be good pray-ers. 

There's so much to say about prayer.  Let me leave you with this quote to think about it.  It is from spiritual writer Ruth Burrows, who was a Carmelite nun from the 20th Century.

It becomes obvious that prayer has far more to do with what God wants to do in us than with our trying to 'reach' or 'realize', still less 'entertain', God in prayer. This truth eliminates anxiety and concern as to the success or non-success of our prayer, for we can be quite certain that, if we want to pray and give the time to prayer, God is always successful and that is what matters.

This Sunday, October 6th is the courtyard dedication and reception following the 9:30am Family Mass (see inside for more information on the new family Mass and Children's Liturgy of the Word).  The courtyard will be open all morning, so please stop over to the school to check out the beautiful new space.  For more information on how this project developed, please read my letter in last week's bulletin. Thank you to all who made this possible!

Please pick up in the back of the church a free copy of I Am: Rewrite your Name, Reroute Your Life by Chris Stefanick.  Feel free to grab a few extras for family and friends.  Thank you, Chris Stefanick, for donating these books to our parish.

Tomorrow, Monday, I will have Mass at Regina Dominican High School and look forward to seeing some of our parishioners.  That same night school board will meet. On Wednesday we will have the Religious Education opening year Mass.  RE began a few weeks ago.  Welcome students, parents, and catechists, and thank you Patty Collins for your hard work.  Next Saturday, October 12th we will have the pet blessing in the front of the church following the 8:30am Mass.  And next Sunday, October 13th we will offer flu shots in the back of the church if you are interested.

I'm looking to start small men's and women's faith groups here at Saint Juliana.  If you are interested in being part of a group of 4-6 individuals, please send me an email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).  I will then follow up with you about a time to meet to initiate the group.  The general concept is that these groups would meet regularly (frequency determined by the members) and keep the conversation intentional and spiritual in nature.  The group might have a particular topic for a meeting (how to find time to pray, how to juggle a crazy schedule while maintaining your core values, etc.); the members might share their struggles or blessings at work, in their marriage, with their faith; a particular book or article might be read and discussed.  There really is no pre-determined structure.  It's whatever the members of the group find life-giving and helpful.  It's these kinds of groups that can help invigorate and deepen your faith, not to mention build life-long, Christian relationships.  Please pray about being part of a group and feel free to let me know if you have any questions or ideas!


Yours in Christ,

Fr. James


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