Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This past week we had much to celebrate!  Bishop Burbidge joined us for the celebration of the Eucharist and to personally congratulate us on receiving the National Blue Ribbon Award for academic excellence from the United States    Department of Education.  He also affirmed the preschool celebrating its 20th anniversary.  Following the Mass he blessed our newly installed mosaics of Sts. Francis and Clare of Assisi that have been installed on St. Mary of the Angels Chapel.  Mr. Bill Laxton, Chair of our building committee, presented the bishop with the Silver LEED certification awarded by the United States Green Building Council for our sustained commitment to the environment.  You may recall we received gold certification last year upon the completion of the Assisi Community Center, Elizabeth Hall and St. Mary of the Angels Chapel.

LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that our buildings were designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development; water savings; energy efficiency; materials selection; and indoor environmental quality.  Both Mr. Laxton and the bishop praised us for our community’s dedication to the  environment.  Our patron, Francis of Assisi, would be proud of us.

This weekend our liturgies have focused upon our preparation for Lent and in particular a renewed focus within our parish for Small Christian Communities (SCC).  A SCC is a group of people who gather in the homes of its members, discuss their lives in the light of the Gospel, and share their Christian faith through prayer and conversation.  The early Christians met in homes to share the Gospel and “the breaking of the bread.”  They were people of faith who welcomed others seeking to find a spiritual home. 

The Church as we know it today emerged from these early home-based communities.  You don’t have to be a church leader, serve on numerous committees, have a degree in theology or have a large home designed for entertainment to join a Small Christian Community. Being on a faith journey or even beginning a faith journey is enough. The most valuable resource you can bring to a community, which no one else can bring, is yourself, with your own unique wisdom and experiences.  A Small Christian Community can encourage and enable you to ground your life in the Christian story and to integrate faith with your everyday life.  Communities meet on different days and at different times on a regular basis.  I hope you’ll consider joining a Small Christian Community for Lent 2012.

In the peace of Christ,

 Fr. Mark