Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you to all who have returned your annual offertory pledge cards.

To those who have not returned it, a reminder letter has gone out this week.  The contribution of every parishioner as a steward of the parish is vital to our faithfulness to our mission.

For the past 20 years our mission statement (on the cover of the bulletin each Sunday) has guided our parish as a gospel faith community to embrace the cross of Jesus and reflect the light of Christ, as the lantern above our main altar signifies.  The mission has also motivated the expansion of our facilities, our peace and justice ministries, the addition of pre, elementary and middle schools to the mission of our parish as we welcome with joy all those who come to us. From the mission statement we set our strategic initiatives. The past few years the council has been looking at ways to better articulate and refine the mission.  Why?  To use an example, the Nicene Creed has 225 words and our mission statement has 244. Quite simply the goal is to simplify the mission statement and in fewer words capture the essence of our striving to build the reign of God. Effective mission statements ought to be meaningful, memorable, and simple; whereas vision statements are equal parts inspiration and expectation. Therefore the current mission statement will become our vision statement. The pastoral staff has been involved in discussions and last Sunday the Pastoral Council met with the ministry leaders of the parish to invite them into the discussion. The council is undertaking a thoughtful process to refine the statement to better serve us. I’m grateful for their deliberations as stewards of the mission. As this takes shape, there will be more communication.

For the past many, many years – since the last century actually – Shawn Subasic has served on the pastoral council. The past six years he has served as the chair of the council and has been a trusted and faithful advisor to me for which I am very grateful. Given Shawn’s background in construction he was also tremendously helpful in our Growing In Faith Together facility expansion. I am tremendously thankful to Shawn for his service and the many sacrifices that he has made to lead our pastoral council and parish community. We all owe Shawn a great debt of gratitude for his service to us.

I would also like to express thanks and appreciation to Brian Fitzsimons, Maureen McFadden, and John Morch who have just concluded a three year term on the council. Together with Shawn their insights and guidance have been invaluable. Beginning in October parishioners Thomas Graham, Alberto Lopez, Jane Paris, and Vince Pappa will join the council as at large members for a three year term. Kevin Rooney will also join the pastoral council ex-officio as chair of the school advisory council. I look forward to welcoming these new members who advise me in the leadership of St. Francis of Assisi and serve as the stewards of our mission.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark