October 18, 2020 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I.  “Here Am I, Send Me!”  (Isaiah 6:8) Today, on World Mission Sunday, we respond, “Here I Am, Send Me,” to our Baptismal call to Mission, and we offer, at the Eucharistic celebration, our prayers and our financial support, through the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, to continue the mission of Jesus. Catholics celebrate that we are a universal Church and our mission is local and worldwide. Pope Francis invites the entire Church to support the young mission Dioceses in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and parts of Latin America and Europe, where priests, religious and lay leaders serve some of the poorest of the poor. The annual collection for Mission Sunday will help missionaries give to the poor of these areas practical help as they share the mercy of God. It will ensure the development of a local Diocese, and support the work of priests, religious and lay leaders who serve those on the margins and in most need. 

II.  Mass Schedule Change: a hearty “Thank You” to those who have given us feedback on the weekend “Mass Time Survey.” Based on your input, beginning on Sunday, November 1 (the weekend that we begin Daylight Saving Time), our Mass schedule will be 8:30am & 11:00am on Sundays, and the anticipated Saturday Mass will be at 4:30pm. (We have lots of weddings at Saint Stephen Cathedral, and this will make sanitizing the church building more timely after the Saturday 4:30pm Mass). I realize there is no perfect Mass schedule for everyone. My hope is that this will benefit the majority, and everyone will continue to make Mass (the Eucharist) central in your life. We are blessed to live in a time where the Eucharist is so available. 

   Furthermore, beginning in November we will restore the 7:00am Mass, Monday through Friday. Of course, there will continue to be a 12:05pm (noon) Mass Monday through Friday as well. I realize that some parishioners, during this coronavirus season, prefer a weekday Mass which is less crowded. Let’s pray for one another! 

III. Use Scripture as much as your Cellphone: Pope Francis has asked Catholics (approximately 989 million people, or  15% of 7.13 billion people in the world) to rely more on Scripture as part of one’s daily diet. Pope Francis challenges Catholics: “What would happen if we turned back when we forgot it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cell phone?”

     Our spiritual leader is urging followers of Christ to turn that energy we place in our cell phone away from the screen and put it into Scripture. The Bible contains the Word of God, which is always “topical and effective,” the Word of God can inspire, comfort, engage, enlighten, guide, and challenge us. “The iPhone you bought last week will be obsolete next year,” but not the Word of God which is always in season and never obsolete.

IV.  “Living in FAITH & Giving in GRATITUDE:” The Annual Diocesan DISCIPLES RESPONSE FUND (DRF) looks a little different this year (as so many things do at this time in our history), but it is so much more important this year than any year before. This appeal assists with Clergy and Seminarian Formation, this year COVID-19 Assistance for Catholic Charities, Faith and Family Life Enrichment, Missionary Discipleship and so much more. The Church has a responsibility to teach what Jesus taught. To do so, we need your support. We will hear a few words from Bishop Medley this weekend. Every family was mailed materials from the Diocese to complete and return. If you cannot give at this time, you are asked to complete the card marking the proper box and return. If you have not done so, envelopes are available at the church doors. Please pray, reflect and respond.

V.  Fall Work Day will be this Saturday, October 24th, 8:00am to 12 noon. We will meet in front of the Rectory garages. Please bring your rakes, trimmers, paint-brushes, window cleaning materials, etc. Much can be accomplished in a short time with many hands and hearts. 

VI.  Super Scripture Apps: there are many apps which one can use to keep God’s Word ever on his/her mind. One such Catholic app is Laudate (which means in Latin “let us praise”). This app is free and full of possibilities: the American Bible, Divine Office, daily Scripture readings and reflections, Mysteries of the Rosary, saint of the day, prayers, confession and examination of conscience, and much more!  I use this app daily and highly recommend it.