Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As we begin this season of Lent, it is a time for us as a Catholic Community, locally and globally, to remember who we are and who our God calls us to be.  I urge you to take time each day for prayer, sometime during the week for fasting and to give of yourself to some worthy cause (which for young parents may simply being aware of the precious gift of life you have been entrusted with to care for).

Earlier this month as you know while rushing to a pastoral council meeting, I fell, badly dislocating my ankle and breaking my foot.  It continues to heal and I continue to be grateful for your prayers.  Why was I rushing to the pastoral council meeting?  Well, it’s a great group of people to work with and I very much enjoy the energetic exchanges that we share.  The purpose of the council is to be “stewards of our mission.”  In addition the council advises and supports me in leadership of this Catholic Community.  It is made up of seven at large members (ranging in age from 20 to 60+) and five ex-officio members (representatives of the pastoral staff, finance council, school advisory council, preschool advisory council, and myself).  The complete listing is in the back of the bulletin every Sunday.  Terms are for three years, meaning every three years we have a mostly new council with some overlap.  In October 2011 a new council began working together.  Last month we gathered for a retreat day for team building exercises led by parishioners Tom Attaway (Myers-Briggs specialist) and Dave Vogelpohl (leadership consultant).  It was a lot of fun as we learned more about each other’s strengths and preferences.  It also helps to build a foundation of trust so that we can share ideas and opinions openly and encourage diversity of thought and opinion.

Over the past 2000 years the Roman Catholic Church has been continually renewing itself.  Most recently, Pope Benedict has declared a Year of Faith beginning in October to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council – a way in which the church continues to renew itself.  It will also be a time for us to continue to renew ourselves in our Catholic faith and identity.  The previous pastoral council and now this current one have been working on making the current mission statement (on the cover of the bulletin each week) the vision statement and creating a concise, memorable statement to guide us and all ministries of the parish.  By its nature this is a lengthy process as we receive input from ministerial leaders and pastoral staff to assure that the mission is concisely written and yet comprehensively inspiring.  It is a worthwhile process as we seek ways to better live out the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The natural image that comes to mind is the lantern above our altar that exhorts us to be the light of Christ as we embrace the cross of Jesus.  Our mission attempts to use words to guide us in being faithful to our baptism.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark