November 10, 2019

The summary of our parish mission is sketched on the windows in our narthex: Love God, Love Our Neighbor, Make Disciples. That is what we strive to do here at St. Joseph. This past week I spent time doing what I often ask penitents to do as a penance - offer a prayer of gratitude. I prayed this past week in gratitude for you, our parishioners, and for our parish. In my prayer I named that which I am grateful for.

I named the love of God that called me to St. Joseph as your pastor in July of 2008. I named the love and care you have shown me as you have helped me to grow as a priest and as a pastor. I named the many people, both staff and volunteer, who have given themselves so generously to our parish over these past eleven years.

I named the quality worship that is the work of so many people, not the least of which are you, who come and pray and give God thanks with such intentional devotion week-in and week-out. I named the commitment we show to the poor and the marginalized that is such a central element of loving our neighbor.

I named the work of making disciples that is so effective here in our parish through our family faith, youth ministry, sacramental preparation, school ministry and our adult faith formation opportunities.

I named the many seminarians and newly ordained priests that we have had the privilege of helping along the road of their vocations. I am particularly mindful of this gift this past week as we celebrated National Vocations Awareness Week.

I named the many families that I have been invited into as you have celebrated the ebbs and flows of life - for weddings and baptisms, for first communions and confirmations, for accompanying you when a loved one is sick through the sacrament of anointing of the sick, and for praying at funerals for those who have died.

I named the consultative leaders in our parish who continue to help us grow in our relationship with God and challenge us to look beyond our parish boundaries to announce the good news. I named the relationship we have with our sister parish of St. Bernadette in Samoya, Kenya, and our new relationship with our brothers and sisters in the Dominican Republic, particularly the people of Franco Bido’, through our annual visits sponsored by Education Across Borders.

I named the development of interfaith and ecumenical relationships that have grown over the years, particularly with St. Andrew Lutheran Church, and our friends who come together for our annual Thanksgiving Eve Service.

I am sure there is much more to be grateful for, and I will continue to reflect on the blessings of our parish in the coming days.

This prayer of gratitude is important to me, as I think it is for all of us, as we recommit ourselves to the life of our parish through our stewardship of treasure campaign this year. As I said in my preaching last weekend, this is a crucial time in the life of our parish. As we give thanks for all that the Lord has blessed us with at St. Joseph, may that gratitude prompt in us a desire to make a return to the Lord in order to support all this good work we are doing.

That is my prayer for this coming week. May the Lord, who has blessed us with so much, inspire us to make a planned and sacrificial gift to our parish as a way of saying thanks. If we do that, then we will look back at this year of 2019 as one in which we took a huge step toward embracing stewardship as a way of life and ensuring that we continue our mission to love God, love our neighbor and make disciples.

God Bless,
Fr. Gary Lazzeroni