24th Sunday in Ordinary Time A 2020
Weekend of September 12-13, 2020
Raise your hands if you agree these are very interesting times! So many new situations that we haven’t seen before!
A world pandemic
Rioting and looting and protesting
In a way, out of control bickering between peoples
Crazy hurricane disasters
Wild fires on the west coast
In all of these, our brothers and sisters, all throughout the world are hurting significantly!
Today, my homily is a bit different.
As you all agree that these are very interesting times, where our brothers and sisters in Christ are hurting, I would like you to also believe that these are very good times; when many good things here at IHM, in our own Cuyahoga Falls parish church are taking place and the majority of you may not even know it that our brothers and sisters in Christ are lifted up!
This happens beautifully in your parish church.
We continue to have ministry to anyone who calls us when food is needed for them and their family. Our own able-bodied parishioners meet these brothers and sisters of ours to lift them up in relief providing them with all kinds of food, meats, bread, and whatever we can get from the Akron Food Bank. The look on their faces and the gratitude they share is priceless.
We continue to plan for community outreach during this year called CHRIST ON THE CORNER. It is a parish-wide ministry, inviting almost two hundred individuals from the church, which includes singles/couples/and families to spend one Saturday volunteering in ministry; going out to parishioners and social service agencies and build, plant, cleanup, paint, and serve meals. Our brothers and sisters are most grateful for this charitable corporal work of mercy.
I cannot tell you how many people are lifted up when we serve food at Saint Bernard’s and many of you do this work, whether preparing the food, providing cookies, and actually serving the many in hunger need.
We are also able to provide spiritual life, gathering either men or women in fellowship, prayer, and learning. Several women meet weekly and are led by our pastoral associate, Jen Ricard. The men meet monthly and are led by our parish deacon, Will Yoho. These are amazing and excellent programs that we have going on.
Ancillary but supported by us are the approximately 100 men in the Knights of Columbus whose mission is to bring families together in prayer and fun, work annually with Habitat for Humanity, pray and support seminarians, Right to Life, Eagle Scout projects, and offer grants to our Parish school and PSR. Peter’s Shadow is housed in our convent and provide for the diocese healing ministry, from which many of you have benefited.
Again, there are wonderful things to know about what goes on here at IHM. There is never a dull day.
PSR and the Parish School cannot survive without your ministry to either program, as catechists and/or volunteers…. there are almost 40 individual united in the one purpose of making Christ known, loved, and served by children and young adults all throughout the school year.
You hear about RCIA, but you may not know the behind the scenes care, knowledge, and prayer that is provided to the needs of children, young adults, and adults during their “school year”. These brothers and sisters of ours are lifted up and accepted into the church. Their gratitude each year is quite significant. Many of these converts become some of the most involved parishioners in almost every parish, ours included. The give back and joy they have knowing Christ, having been formed as intentional disciples.
You all experience the best choir and music in our parish liturgies and prayer services. The amount of effort that Jeff Mills puts in for us and helps us LOVE GOD through liturgy is stupendous. The last five years we were inspired to develop a second kind of musical experience for our Sunday afternoon liturgy from the LIFE TEEN BAND, knowledgeably coordinated by Jeff and Kira Andrea brings teens and all of us closer to Christ, through Mary.
Also if you do not know, we open our meeting room’s spaces, efficiently coordinated by Julie Bowling, the parish office secretary, to 5 AA meetings weekly, and Divorced, Separated, and Widowed Catholics, the Boy Scouts of America, and the American Heritage Girls! There rarely is a day without some gathering from these groups.
There is the valuable spiritual help that goes on with people visiting Father Ralph or Deacon Yoho and myself.
And, I also, joyfully take care of all the sacramental wedding preparations for weddings here. This year alone there are 28 weddings, even with COVID-19.
So, I just wanted you to hear how our parish expresses love for God and how we make disciples; lifting up our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I am so grateful to be the Pastor of such a vibrant parish where parishioners:
LOVE GOD – MAKE DISCIPLES – THROUGH MARY.
Thanks for EVERYTHING!