April 22, 2018 – Good Shepherd Sunday

I. Congratulations to our High School Graduates! Ignite your faith! Graduates, use your brain, develop your talents, make long time friends  selectively, enjoy life and have fun, but do not neglect God. If you take the time to develop your faith, allowing God to walk with you, your life will be fuller and happier. There is no better resource for life  than nurturing your relationship with God, and staying in touch with the Church Jesus founded, a Church which is messy but wonderful. Congrats!

II. World Day of Prayer for Vocations: While appreciating all vocations, the Church concentrates its attention this day on vocations to the ordained ministries (priesthood and diaconate), to the Religious life in all its forms (male and female, contemplative and apostolic), to societies of apostolic life, to secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership, and to the missionary life, in the particular sense of mission “Ad Gentes” (To All Nations/Peoples).  Considering that 73 percent of women and men professing final vows participated in one or more parish activities and 88% served in one or more parish ministries before entering religious life, we invite our young people to get involved in our Church community. As we celebrate the 55th World Day for Vocations today, make it a daily practice, make it a family practice to pray for vocations.

III. Gratitude to Donna Murphy for her five and a half years serving as Director of Faith Formation for our Cathedral faith community. In addition to the many tasks under her growing  job description: the RCIA process, Faith Formation for both children and adults, Holy Family prayer partners after Christmas, Christmas/Easter book give away, Rice Bowl program, Mary Crowning in May, tribunal advocate,  & media center, to mention a few. Donna has been an invaluable member of our pastoral team. Her insights, contributions have enriched us, and her lived faith continues to make a difference. Thank you, Donna!

IV. Director of Faith Formation: to date we have received 12 applications for this position, with the cut off date being April 15. Thanks to the following who are on our Search Committee: Patty Blair, Ross Leigh, Amy Payne, Sr. Monica Seaton, and Mary Hall (HR director for the diocese). This competent team will recommend to me the top two, possibly three, candidates. I ask all of you to be praying that the Spirit of God will direct our discernment process.

V. Earth Day is April 22: Caring for creation is as old as Genesis, as clear as the Sermon on the Mount, as transformative as St. Francis. The sainted Pope John Paul II and the retired Pope Benedict both spoke frequently and eloquently about the Christian requirement to “tend the garden and protect the poorest.”  Caring for creation is one of the seven tenants of Catholic Social Teaching. Pope Francis affirms what the previous popes have said in his encyclical, “Laudato Si” (“Praised Be”), a Catholic teaching on climate and justice, and the challenge  to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.”  Perhaps the most important new focus of the encyclical is the relationship between global poverty, catastrophic inequality, and worship of the golden calf of consumerism that leads to environmental destruction. Pope Francis calls us to care for the planet on which God gave us to live and thrive in.  Go to the Vatican or the USCCB websites to read, reflect, and study this teaching.

VI. Feast of St. Mark, April 25: according to tradition, Matthew and John were apostles. Mark was not, although he could have been an eyewitness to the events he describes in his Gospel account. He is thought to have been a friend and disciple of Peter, and we know from New Testament references he ran into some difficulties with Paul. We know that his account of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was written in Rome between the years 60 and 70, following the martyrdom of Peter and Paul. Mark’s symbol is a winged lion, an allusion to the desert wilderness with which his Gospel account begins. Mark is the patron saint of Venice, and his relics are venerated in the great cathedral of San Marco.