New Habits for the New Year

12-30-2018Weekly ReflectionFr. David Poecking

Big changes are coming:

  • Parishes are consolidating. At Holy Trinity, St. John of God, and St. Malachy Parishes, we’re actively considering how we should proceed as the RocKenRo grouping. We’ll need to adjust to thinking of ourselves as part of a much broader population than we’re accustomed to.
  • Mass schedules are changing. Around the Diocese, a quarter of all Sunday Masses have been cut out. Many churches no longer have Saturday afternoon Masses or Sunday mid-morning Masses. At RocKenRo, we haven’t yet changed our Sunday Mass schedule, but the changes are coming. A lot of us will have to re-learn our Mass attendance habits.
  • Catholic elementary schools will reorganize over the coming years, becoming regional schools. If we follow examples thus far, in the North Hills, we’ll likely see some close, some merge, and some change the grades they serve. Others will swell with new populations.

These changes can seem to threaten cherished goods. Nostalgia for our favorite churches enriches us. We rely on fellowship with the familiar worshipers at our usual Mass. Changes can also inconvenience us: I’ve heard more than one Catholic from other parishes exclaim, “They took away the X:00 Mass, but I used to go to breakfast [or coffee, or dinner] after that Mass!”

We can sympathize with our Blessed Mother, who endured “great anxiety” when she learned that her boy Jesus had gone missing. Imagine her distress! But note also her faithfulness: When she hears Jesus’ explanation, she refrains from scolding him, but instead “kept all these things in her heart.” Our Lord Jesus himself is also able to remain faithful to both his heavenly Father and his earthly father: He goes to God’s Temple to contemplate God’s Law and instruct the teachers. But he also goes to Nazareth to be obedient to Joseph.

So let’s imitate the Holy Family. Let’s imitate Joseph’s diligent labor in seeking his lost boy. Let’s imitate Mary’s contemplative, prayerful effort to understand how God revealed himself in Jesus. And let’s imitate Jesus, who perseveres in loving obedience to the Father and in loving service to Joseph, fulfilling the duties of love for both God and man.

  • Carl Stuvek, the young adult minister at Holy Trinity Parish, resigned effective December 31. Please thank Carl for his past service. I am currently in consultation with advisers at all three RocKenRo parishes and with young adults to discern whether and how to replace Carl.
  • Last week, I wrongly named Pat Kulak as one of my advisers at St. Malachy. I since learned she prefers evangelization to the pastoral council. Sorry! But thank you, Pat, for your help.
  • Tuesday, January 1, is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and a holy day of obligation. The special Mass schedule is published elsewhere in this bulletin.

Happy New Year!

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