Date: Sunday, January 12, 2020
It is a dramatic moment for Jesus and for John – the Baptist. John has been chastising and calling people to a baptism of repentance to prepare for the one who is to come. And now Jesus steps forward to be baptized! Jesus has been living in relative obscurity and now he goes public. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord can be an occasion for us to consider our baptismal calling and mission.
We have completed two major projects of our master plan of improvements. The new Committal Chapel and new pavilion & storage facility will be dedicated in the spring. I am into my third term of pastoral service. We are going through a dark valley of shame and disbelief with revelations of clerical abuse of minors & vulnerable adults and mishandling of cases by church authorities. Some have chosen to leave or not to attend weekend Mass. Many of us have discovered the way forward is to deepen our relationship with Jesus within the Church. We ask fundamental question about who we are as Church and what we are called to do now -- in the precious time given to us.
We must ask these questions together. The whole people of God must take part in the process of discernment that guides the Church in its sacred mission to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pope Francis affirms the ancient wisdom: “The flock has an instinctive ability to discern the new ways that the Lord is revealing to the Church.” We must examine ourselves regarding our missionary zeal, our participation, our welcoming and our embrace of evangelical virtues of peace, mercy and communion.
In order facilitate this discernment I have asked our Pastoral Council and Trustees to survey our parishioners and friends to gain your input on how we are doing and how we should set our priorities as we face new realities, challenges and opportunities. The survey will be short, made available online, anonymous and made public. A special committee will review the results of the survey and direct our parish response.
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, our Apostolic Administrator, in his article in the WNY Catholic, underscores the essential role of the laity as we move forward on the path of healing, renewal and holiness. “There remains a great deal for me to do to serve you and your faith honorably, but the full process of healing is yours. I can help you, but you will need to listen and care for one another as well.”