Dearly Beloved in Christ:
For three consecutive Wednesdays in the month of October – October 11, 18 and 25 – we will be holding Listening Sessions for the entire parish at St. Mary’s Basilica, starting at 7pm each day. These listening sessions are similar to Town Hall meetings. They are intended to create a space for us to listen to each other about our desires, aspirations, hopes, observations and even frustrations about our Holy Family Parish. Holy Family is our parish and we all have the collective responsibility of helping each other grow to greater maturity in our Christian discipleship. Thus, these listening sessions are meant to help us engage in a communal discernment process, and to prayerfully listen to each other so as to be better able to discern the movements of the Spirit in our midst. Everyone is invited. Please mark your calendars, and come and let your voice be heard.
St. Luke, in describing the early church said that they were “devoted to the teachings of the Apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” (see: Acts 2:42). The church is built on apostolic foundation; nourished by the Eucharist, the font and source of all Christian life; and held together in unity by the bond of love, the Holy Spirit, especially whenever we are gathered in the liturgical assembly to offer our praise and worship to the Heavenly Father. Our faith is a gift that has been entrusted to us as faithful stewards of the Gospel.
Through our baptism, we have all been endowed with gifts of the Holy Spirit. These varied gifts (or graces or charisms) of the Holy Spirit are strengthened by our participation in the sacramental life of the Church. Therefore, we are called to exercise our charisms for the benefit of others. “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace”, St. Peter tells all Christians (see 1 Peter 4:10). This is Christian stewardship.
At the heart of stewardship is the recognition that we have all been graciously gifted by God, and that we are called to use these gifts for building up the Church, the
body of Christ. St. Paul eminently echoes the words of St. Peter above when, in writing to the Ephesians, he exhorted them thus: “Grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. … for building up the body of Christ” (see: Ephesians 4:7-14). Faithful stewardship therefore is about using our Time, Talent and Treasure – all gifts from God – for the building up of the body of Christ and the proclamation of the message of God’s kingdom.
On Sunday, October 1, 2017 we will have a parish-wide Stewardship Fair, starting from 8:30am at the Parish Life Center. The different groups and ministries in the parish will be present at this occasion. These ministries and groups serve as wonderful avenues for all to participate more fully in our parish community. Sadly, only a small percentage of parishioners are involved as members or volunteers in these groups. Our Lord is always inviting us to work in his vineyard for the furtherance of the Gospel message and to build up his church. He invites you, too … today. May we always respond generously to his gracious invitation.
Next weekend, the Dominicans of the Southern region will be present at all the masses for a Mission Appeal to support their global missions. Some give by going, some go by giving. Your generous contribution to this mission appeal is another way of living out faithful stewardship.
Beloved in Christ, we are stronger together. Let us continue to strive to be good stewards of God’s varied gifts by using our Time, Talents and Treasures for the building up of the body of Christ, starting here at our parish. In doing so, we grow as one Holy Family parish, united in the joy of the Holy Spirit and in charity, as missionary disciples. To all who are already committed to this work in our parish, thank you! May God who sees all that is done in secret reward you abundantly, amen! Have a blessed week!
In Christ’s love,
Fr. Jude Ekenedilichukwu Ezuma