This coming week three of us friars will be in Denver, Colorado for a week-long gathering of friars from around the country called a “chapter of mats,” after a term used by the early Franciscans. Some background: there are seven provinces of Franciscan “O.F.M.” friars in the United States, of which Holy Name Province is one. Six of the seven U.S. provinces agreed a year ago to begin a process of merging from six provinces to one province. That process of merging has begun and it will likely take another 3-4 years to work out the details. In the meantime, the “U.S. Six” have been exploring ways to come together and meet one another, and this week’s chapter in Denver is one of those ways. Steve, Jason, and I will be attending, Fr. Jim will be staying behind to mind the store.
Last weekend, we had a first gathering of our new pastoral council; we met on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday. Members of the council are: Delynn Alexander, Julio DeLaRosa, Nancy Dilger, Tricia Henry, Michael McMyne, Jacob House, Shauna Morin, David Shick, Jennifer Slusser, Cathy Smith, Gladys Whitehouse, Tim Throndson, Patrick Curran, and myself. Our days together were excellent: we discussed such things as “ways of working together,” by-laws for the council, current trends in pastoral councils, our parish’s participation in the Communities of Calling initiative (for which we received a grant from the Lily Foundation and which we will be looking at more deeply in the coming months), data and trends in the church and culture around us, and we also spent time in prayer and reflection on our Franciscan identity. I can say with confidence that we have a very good pastoral council, and I have asked them to help me “look at the road ahead” for our parish so that we can begin to look in depth at how God might be calling us as a parish to respond to “the signs of the times” (in the words of the Second Vatican Council) in the world around us.
Blessings on your week!