Fr. Stan’s Article

“Recalculating! At the next opportunity make a U-turn” You may have heard these words when you didn’t quite follow the directions your GPS was giving you. Whether by mistake or decision we often take roads in the wrong direction. This behavior is just as much a part of our spiritual lives as it is our driving.

When Jesus began His public ministry following His Baptism by John the Baptizer, He repeated John’s basic message to repent. By repenting we are to change our direction (literally our minds) and begin going in a different direction. Problems arise when our spiritual GPS tells us to make a U-turn. First of all we may not be paying attention to God’s direction; we may be so pre-occupied with other things that the faint whisper of our conscience isn’t registering. Secondly we may be stubbornly convinced that we’re right and everyone else (including God) is wrong. Finally we may be so lost that we don’t believe there’s a way back. God accompanies us through it all. Jesus is here to preach, teach and heal through His word and sacraments. He is constantly assuring us that the kingdom of heaven is at hand and that we don’t need to be afraid. Let’s start by making that turn toward the light and away from the dreadful darkness.

Last weekend’s major snow storm forced us to cancel Saturday morning’s programs including Parish Council and Commission meetings. We were prepared to announce the dates for future Council meetings which will now be held only four times in 2020 on the following Thursday evenings at 7:00 PM: Feb 27th, May 28th, August 27th, and November 19th.   Parish Commissions and Committees can decide when and how often they would like to meet. Each of these should appoint a representative to the Parish Council. Anyone wishing to become a member of the Parish Council can do so by becoming active in a commission or committee and being chosen the representative from that committee to the council. There are also two at-large representatives that are chosen by drawing from the names of those volunteering when the positions are open. The new task of the Parish Council is to monitor and evaluate the progress of the parish’s missionary strategic plan as well as the spiritual health of the parish as measured by the spiritual inventory that will be taken during Lent. I’m grateful to all who lend their time, talent and treasure to the service of the parish through these advisory bodies. All programs, projects, and activities at St Mary’s are directed through the standing commissions and committees of the parish. Current chairs are listed in the parish bulletin and on the parish website.

We bid farewell this week to Deb Valot who is retiring from her positions of office assistant and bookkeeper for the last 26 years. Deb has been the face and voice of St. Mary’s to so many who have called or come to the parish office to make arrangements for funerals, baptisms, weddings and special celebrations. She and her husband Clem have been faithful members of the parish since 1989 and have immersed themselves in many parish functions including mentoring engaged couples, evangelization and stewardship. Her assistance to and support of the entire parish staff is greatly appreciated and will be sorely missed.  Our prayers go with them as they look forward to spending time with their grandchildren in much warmer climates. Thanks Deb for your smile, warmth, precision, and faithful execution of so many duties over these many years. God bless you and Clem as you continue to witness to God’s love and mercy.

Peace and joy,

Fr. Stan Ulman