Our Scripture readings seem a bit scattered thematically speaking this weekend. Some weekends they focus on one specific theme, other times they are more diverse. Nevertheless, the Word of God is always rich, enlightening and directive. Our Gospel acclamation is most straightforward, “I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father, except through me.” These words of Jesus remind us that He is truly our Savior, the One who redeems us and sets us free. Because of Him, may we take to heart the concluding words of our second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, “So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.”
It has been many months since we concluded our Discipleship and Generosity Effort for 2019. You recall that it was an invitation to consider our level of charitable giving in light of our discipleship. Conscious of how eternally generous God is towards us, we give charitably from His many gifts to us so as to reflect Him in our lives to others. We also focused on the fact that our charitable giving is a conscious decision, one that we ought to review regularly.
Please know of my profound gratitude to all who responded so generously, increasing their charitable giving to our parish. Some of our families returned their commitment cards, sharing with us the determination they reached about their charitable giving. We are also aware that some families increased their giving to the parish without returning the commitment card. Thank you one and all for taking the time to look at your level of charitable giving and to make a decision as to what you are able to do for 2019, whatever your decision was.
We did receive from the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia a detailed report about our Discipleship and Generosity Effort for 2019. The results reported by them are based on the commitment cards that were returned to the parish, which indicates a projected yearly increase in Sunday collections of over $76,000. Additionally, a number of folks took the opportunity to provide a one-time gift to our parish. Once again, heartfelt thanks to each and everyone of you for your generosity and commitment as disciples of the Lord Jesus!
Many of you, as I do, read and listen to Bishop Robert Barron, a truly remarkable and engaging evangelist in our times. If you follow him, you know that he has written a book entitled, Letter to a Suffering Church, A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis. Perhaps many of you have picked up a copy of it. Bishop Barron’s organization, Word on Fire, made the book available at a very reasonable cost and so we have copies available at the Church entrances, free of charge. Please pick one up as you leave Church. We have included with the book a FAQ sheet that highlights many important points discussed by Bishop Barron in his book. The book was written to encourage Catholics who are demoralized, angry and confused. We are making available Bishop Barron’s book hoping that it might help at least some of our people as we navigate these difficult times. The Word on Fire website is: www.wordonfire.org . You will find more information there as well.
Next weekend is the ending of summer for so many, Labor Day weekend. May everyone have a safe and enjoyable holiday. Please remember there is no 7 pm Mass next Sunday, September 1.
God bless you, God love you,