Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The prophet Jeremiah issues a great challenge to anyone who wishes to take on a role of leadership. His clear words about what a shepherd ought to be were directed at the rulers of Israel but can easily be applied to leaders of any kind today, especially in the Church. To be entrusted with the care of souls is no small task. And the number of souls in need of spiritual nourishment far outstrips the supply of shepherds! I am so grateful for the privilege to minister to this community and to have the outstanding assistance of Fr. Tim. Please pray for us, that we would be good and faithful shepherds! Please pray also for an outpouring of good and holy vocations, that from our own parish, God would call young men and women to serve as priest and religious sisters.
The role of shepherd, the role of leadership, is not limited to the priesthood, of course. The first shepherds of our souls are our parents. You who are raising families are the first teachers of your children in the ways of faith. I would like to address two points that I think are especially pertinent to our families and parents.
1. To be a good shepherd or leader, one must continually learn and grow. A growing body of knowledge and wisdom allows a leader to effectively teach, guide, and form those who follow or are in our care. I want to invite you to increase your knowledge of our Catholic faith. As you experience and know your faith more completely, you will be strengthened for the role of leadership and shepherding to which the Lord calls you. To that end, in the fall we will begin to offer monthly sessions to encourage and enhance lifelong discipleship in the life of every member of the parish. One Sunday per month, we will gather after the 9 AM or 10:30 AM Mass for a time of study, discussion, prayer, community building and growth in faith. You can sign up here: https://www.st-pius.org/lff-monthly/. I hope you will join us and grow as good, holy, shepherds and leaders in the ways of faith!
2. Young people are hungry for real answers to deep questions about their faith. Youth ministry has, as you know, played a significant role in my ten years of priestly ministry. I have worked with grammar school children, high school students, young men and women in college and beyond. I find in them a genuine curiosity about the faith and openness to the truths taught to us by the Catholic Church. In my experience, young people can handle the answer and would prefer to hear an honest challenge than a watered-down version or facile explanation. Do not be afraid to share with your children the fullness of the Gospel and what Jesus teaches through the Catholic Church! Our lifelong discipleship sessions will help us understand the truth we proclaim. We are always in need of adults who can help our sacramental preparation programs, our Edge Middle School and Life Teen High School Youth Ministries. We welcome your help – please just call the parish office for more information. Most of all, please be encouraged to share your faith with your children and with the young people you know.
As a parish, we have a tremendous gift in faith. Woe to us, if like the bad shepherds Jeremiah speaks to, we mislead and scatter the flock by failing to learn the Gospel message and share it with those around us. But what a blessing to be called to leadership by the king who shall reign and govern wisely, who will save us, and lead us to live in peace.