Church of the
Annunciation

7580 Clinton Street
Elma, New York 14059

716.683.5254

August 07, 2022

19th Sunday Ordinary Time C

What would you do if someone gives you a million dollars to help people in need? I may be tempted to use the money for an exotic trip or a fancy car but a choice to use the money for myself would trouble my conscious as going against the expressed wishes of the donor. God has entrusted us with something infinitely more valuable. It’s the gift of faith. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews, our 2nd reading, highlights the story of Abraham and Sara, being called by God to leave their home, to journey to a promised land and to share the blessing of the gift of faith with their descendants. It is no small undertaking for Abraham and Sarah, considering their age and being childless, to trust in God’s promise.

In the Gospel according to St. Luke, Jesus challenges his disciples to keep the faith by living with vigilance and faithful service until Jesus returns in glory as the Son of Man. Jesus does not want us to “keep the faith” for ourselves. As Jesus says in the longer version of the Gospel, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much.’’  We need to put our faith in action and to share our faith with others -- especially those entrusted to our care. God wants us to help people come to know how much God loves them. Yet as we go about our daily lives, it’s easy to get sidetracked and distracted by the things of this world. Then, like the servants in the parable, we risk missing opportunities to live and to share our faith.

In my experience as a priest, I cannot remember one occasion when a granddaughter or grandson, doing the eulogy at the funeral Mass of a grandparent, ever thanking the deceased grandparent for leaving them money! What I hear in eulogies are grandsons and granddaughters thanking their grandparents for the example of their lives, for showing them what is truly precious -- wisdom, character, values, sacrifice, kindness, integrity, caring, compassion, and the gift of their faith in God.

Today, I am pleased to introduce Melissa Weisenburg, Director of Family Faith Formation, to speak to you how we are sharing the gift of faith in the Church of the Annunciation.

Good morning. I am Melissa Weisenburg, the Director of Family Faith Formation here at Annunciation, and I am here to tell you about our upcoming program year. We are very excited to be back FULLY in person this year. After two years of virtual and hybrid learning, we are all looking forward to coming together as the beautiful vibrant community we are. While it was nice to have technology keep us together during uncertain times, there is nothing like learning and practicing our faith in community - with friends and family. So, for those of you who hung in there with us over the past two years… thank you!! And if you were one of those families that stepped away for any reason… we’d like to welcome you back to our community. We’d love to see you this year!

In today’s Gospel, we learn about the importance of being prepared and vigilant because no one knows the hour or the day when the Son of Man will come. When I think of being vigilant in regard to faith formation, I think about how it is so important to continue in the mission Christ passed on to us…  to go and make disciples of all the nations. And how did he do this? Jesus had his 12 disciples, and he sent them out to teach and preach. He knew the importance of gathering others around him, instructing them, and sending them out. In this way, Jesus is a model for faith formation. We gather teachers, catechists, volunteers, prayer partners, and active and involved parishioners. It takes all of us to build a strong program and pass the faith on to the next generation.

So how can you help? 

  • First and most importantly, pray for us! Pray for volunteers, pray for the staff, and pray for the families who will be in our program this year. Never underestimate the power of prayer.
  • Secondly, help us spread the word that we’re back in person. There are flyers by all the doors. If you know a family with children in PreK through high school and you’re not sure if they have registered yet… please give them the flyer. Help us spread the word and bring families back!

And if you can do a little more…

  • We are looking for hall monitors, substitute teachers, and even volunteers to help once per month on the days we offer hospitality at our family gatherings.

And maybe you can do even more than that…

  • We are looking for a few more teachers for our classes. We have several openings available, and I would love to discuss the options with you.

Our program this year will include a monthly family talk followed by Mass where the children will take part as readers, greeters, ushers, members of the choir, and more. Then approximately twice per month, children will have classes in the school building where they will learn with a catechist and dive deeper into their faith and explore the Sunday readings. We are also returning to in person sacramental prep for 1st Reconciliation, 1st Eucharist and Confirmation. In addition to in person classes, we are looking forward to several opportunities for community service and a few fun events scattered in, like hiking, gym nights, and a Christmas concert and party.

The flyers by the doors have tons of information including a way to find more program details on our website, a link to registration, and even our schedule for next year. If you have children in our program or would like to pass the information to someone who does, please grab a flyer!

And, if you are interested in any of the opportunities I have mentioned, I will be available today, after Mass in Selbert. I would love to talk with you. Or, you can send me an email. My contact information is on the flyer. 

Thank you!

 

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