Rebuilding – Pastor’s Reflection (October 18, 2015)
This past Tuesday night at Parish Study, Fr. Innocent Smith spoke eloquently of the nature of Christ’s Universal Church of the Baptized. He made the beautiful assessment that the Church mirrors Christ’s hypostatic union of human and divine natures. She is a gathering of souls held in unity of faith, and in concert of gifts, by the Holy Spirit, and this communion of souls holds across the very boundaries of death. At the same time, the Church manifests Christ’s humanity, for she is subject to change as she moves through time toward her final and complete encounter with her Lord. With paradoxical beauty, she holds to a constancy of belief, but at the same time, and without inconsistency, she takes on aspects of each age though which she passes.
The paradox of constancy and change offers a way to look at the local Church, which seeks to live the Gospel within very specific boundaries of time and place. The Archdiocese of New York, passing through Making All Things New, bears in herself all the marks of the Universal Church in every time and place. By extension, since our parish forms part of the Church we will also expect to see among us what is perennial and what is changeable in her nature. We can expect that a moment of growth, such as our merger, will make our community become more truly “church.”
Our own move through time has been marked by many losses among our parish staff to retirement and new employment. It will be important then to register our newest gain and the growth it entails for the administration of our parish. This week, Lee Ann Rubino joined our staff as Business Manager. She will have charge of managing our two sets of church buildings. She will also supervise all the functions of our Parish Office and staff. Her work will be key to the in-fact merger which is unfolding bit by bit over the course of this parish year. I hope you will make her welcome as she works to establish the kind of working environment that brings empowerment and serenity to all who enter it for any length of time.
Those who look will find another great asset of the new parish in the Shrine of Saint Jude located near the entrance of the Church of St. Catherine of Siena. To St. Jude’s shrine have come countless sick, their families, and their caregivers seeking encouragement, solace, and renewal of the virtue of hope. The Apostle Jude has become the saint people seek out to pray for God’s intervention when all the obvious means of help have gone. Jude is the saint appointed by the faithful to counter despair.
Each year the shrine sponsors nine days of prayer and preaching before the celebration of the Apostle’s feast on October 28. Please consider the areas of life that challenge your hope and come bring them to prayer. We will have novena services at the noon and 5:15 pm Masses at the Church of St. Catherine from October 20 to October 28. The preaching will address the topic “The Practice of Justice and the Ground of Hope.” We will be speaking about how the work we do at perfecting human relationships gives us a deeper and more confident longing for the truly perfect relationship with God, which comes as His gift. By working with what human life can provide, we come to terms with what it cannot, and we look to Him who alone can make up the difference.
This weekend at St. Vincent’s, the Finance Council of that portion of the parish will give its report at all of the Masses. I would like to thank them in advance for their great diligence, skill, and very excellent collegial spirit. We hope to get the numbers for St. Catherine’s in the next few weeks. When we do, the St. Catherine’s Finance Council will make its report. The work of both groups will provide a foundation for the detailed work of the merger ahead.
Steadily, but gently I hope, we have been uniting aspects of Parish life. Since Pat Keegan has retired, Rachel Miller has been bravely producing two bulletins. Obviously, the time has come to craft a unified bulletin for us all. Fr. Innocent and Rachel are crafting a design, and we hope to have it ready to go by November 1. Details will follow.
We have already united the two prayer lists into one. If you would like to place a name on this list, either for the sick or for the dead, please call Rachel at 212.744.2080. Names put on the list will be read once at Mass and then be in the bulletin for the next three weeks. Please feel free to place the names of the sick back into the cycle.
P.S. Dates to Note:
November 1 Solemn Vespers of All Saints at 4PM at St. Vincent’s
November 2 Solemn Parish Requiem at 6:30PM at St. Catherine’s
November 3 Parish Study shifts to St. Vincent’s for the month.