I am writing you today to speak about ways that all of us are called to serve. Each of us is called by God to live out the greatest commandments, “to love the Lord your God, with all your heart, all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) Jesus also taught us that when we give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, welcome to the stranger, clothes to the naked, comfort to the sick, and when we visit the imprisoned we are doing so to Jesus himself. Many of our church’s formal ministries have been based on these human needs. But, as Christians each of us are asked by God through our baptismal calling to serve our brothers and sisters, especially those in need.
I am amazed by how many people I see who reach out on a regular basis to their elderly neighbors by giving them a call or stopping by for a visit. So many of our elderly brothers and sisters live alone, and that phone call or visit not only gives them much needed contact with others, it can also be life saving! Many times it is that concerned and compassionate neighbor checking in on an elderly person, who is the one who finds them after they have fallen and are in need of help. I remember once when my own Dad fell in our front yard and couldn’t get up by himself. It was a young teen visiting our next door neighbor who saw him and came to his rescue!
The same concern and compassion can be applied to those we worship with at Mass each Sunday. That begins by getting to know one another. I encourage you to introduce yourself to the people you celebrate Mass with each week, especially those who sit around you. When we know one another better we are more apt to notice when someone is missing at Mass. If you notice that someone you usually see at church is not present, give them a call or stop by for a visit. If you find out that they have been sick, you could bring them some soup or a hot meal and let them know that you are praying for them. Maybe they are missing from church because they are going through a spiritual crisis, your concern and compassion towards them might help them to know that God’s love for them is real.
Many parishioners recently signed – up to be members of a prayer chain or prayer tree. We currently have one in the parish, but I wonder how many parishioners realize we do. I must admit I am not sure how it is organized and who those are who currently are a part of the prayer chain. I have though personally asked to have people added to it, my brother David being one when he went through transplant surgery. It is my hope that this ministry is strengthen by the new volunteers and that everyone in the parish is aware of this intercessory ministry. On the front of this bulletin the contact persons for Prayer Requests are listed. If you have a prayer request simply call or email them, and the request will be sent out to those who are praying.
God’s peace and blessings, Father Bill