Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: September 17, 2018

 

Recently we had a visit from a priest in the church from another part of the country. He had never been to Saint Miriam, but left with a wonderful feeling. Later, upon his return to his home diocese, it was reported back to me that he spoke about me, as pastor, with profound respect, and he had much praise for my vision, but loved the people of the parish. In the end, he viewed Saint Miriam as one of the leading Old Catholic parishes in the country. I was humbled.

I’ve thought a lot about his words, and what he witnessed firsthand. Oftentimes, even I take this place for granted. Truth-be-told, we all do in some respects. We have such a vibrant and growing parish, a wonderful and dedicated school, and we care for the dead with our stewardship of an historic cemetery. We even have a pet memorial garden, because – after all – we are Franciscans! And, all of this, has been done with dedication and sacrifice to make sure we grow, care, and outreach beyond our doors, and we do it all without ever once forsaking our mission of a ‘radical welcome’, and by keeping our children and parishioners safe, too.

I think at that is at the heart of our heart: we love beyond what the world thinks is wise, and we welcome because we know what it is like to feel rejected, and we do it all with a joy that is rarely found in churches today! This place of love has been built on the love of Jesus and that is worth celebrating, remembering, and caring for.

St. Francis once said, “It is not fitting, when one is in God’s service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look.”  We sure live up to that vision, and perhaps, that is the feeling Father left with after his visit. May it always be so.

How will you care for a place that brings joy to a world often dark? How will you spread the joy found here in your daily loves to others? Do you use the foundation of unconditional love and welcome at your parish, to welcome unconditionally all those you meet in your daily walk? Do you recognize how blessed we are…together?
 

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