Having now completed the celebration of the Christmas season as a parish family and acknowledging that it was under very different and challenging circumstances this year, I wish to highlight some aspects of our journey this year as a community of believers:
First, I want to let you know that your perseverance in faith has greatly touched my heart and deeply impacted my priestly ministry. In the midst of this terrible pandemic, you have continued coming to our liturgical celebrations or have participated in them from home by watching the live stream. Your dedication has shown me how driven your lives are by hope and charity. Having now been named pastor, my heart is filled with joy to be among such a strong faith community. I have now shouldered a great responsibility and a deep honor to participate in such a meaningful way in your spiritual lives. I want to walk alongside you, helping you to always feel God's presence. That is my job. That is my vocation and my purpose. I want to have the heart of a pastor, to be dedicated to his community. When the faithful approach a priest, it is not to find a psychologist or a professional minister, but above all, a pastor who has the heart of Jesus, helping you to find new perspective in your life. Please, pray for me so that I can fulfill this responsibility.
Secondly, your generosity has touched my heart very deeply. I have been so moved over the past several months to see how God has put me in a community where parishioners know how to and desire to share their time, their talents, their human and Christian values. I thank you once again for this generosity because, despite the impact of this pandemic, you have not stopped donating whether online, mailing your envelopes, or putting them in the collection baskets each weekend. For that sacrifice that you continue to make, Fr. Carlo, Fr. Zack, Dcn. Jim, Dcn. Frank, all the staff, and I say thank you for your great generosity. We continue to live in difficult times and I am sure that we will move forward together as a parish family overcoming any future challenges that await us.
And finally, I am deeply grateful to all the ministers and ministries, to the volunteers who - with so much dedication and love - have prepared, decorated, and made our church look beautiful during the Advent and Christmas seasons. I know they have worked diligently, full of faith and joy. For all this effort, dedication, and love, God bless you all.
Again, on behalf of Fr. Carlo, Fr. Zack, Dcn. Jim, Dcn. Frank, and myself, I invite you to walk in faith as we approach Ordinary Time. During this season, we are reminded that there is hope. We will journey with Jesus through this difficult time and, together through prayer and discernment, we will stove to make the best decisions for our community. God always bless you all. I love you!
Pastor, St. Paul Parish