Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Happy Pentecost!  Peace be with you.  We celebrate this weekend the many varied and wonderful gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Thank you for sharing so generously your time and talent, the many gifts God has given you for the sake of the building up of the mission of the Church which is the reign of God.

With the traditional school calendars coming to completion, commencement and graduation ceremonies celebrated, summer is upon us.  This past January 31st when we dedicated the Siena Center for Lifelong Learning, three parishioners shared their faith story of lifelong learning.  Though we may take a break from formal schooling, continuing to grow in and develop our relationship with God is truly lifelong.  Below is a reflection by Kathy Long, a mother and grandmother, catechist and volunteer in many ministries.  In it she is responding to the question:  How is Lifelong Learning a foundation for your life as a follower of Jesus?

Fr. Mark

“Some of my earliest recollections are about faith.  Not my faith, but the faith of those surrounding me.  So, like believing that if I ate my carrots I could see in the dark, I believed what those around me believed.  When I was old enough I listened as the nuns taught the Baltimore Catechism.  Today, I can still quote some of the answers without taking a single breath.  In fact, by the time I entered my teens I had it down pat.  I knew all the answers, just ask and I could tell you whatever it was you needed to know about faith.  However, I began to realize that faith wasn’t about producing an answer from a book.  It wasn’t about blindly accepting what others said.  Like everything else in life I had to find my own way.  At first I didn’t know what to do.  I spent time just trying to figure out my next steps.  I continued to go to church and wait for something to happen.  I prayed, asking God to have patience with me. 

As I waited I realized I had lots of questions.  In my impatience waiting for God to respond to my prayer I decided I would start getting my own answers by using the tools available to me.  I began asking others, reading, going to programs at church, retreats, classes, television – anywhere I might find answers.  Many times the answers simply led to new questions.  Even though I don’t have it down pat as I once thought I did, I now know that faith formation is lifelong.  Each day I try to learn something new using my tried and true tools.  Some days the tool I use is simply looking at the beautiful world God has given me and being awed by the God that did, after all, answer my prayer.”                         

Kathy Long