November 3, 2019

Friends, this week we continue our stewardship of treasure renewal. I am grateful to Judith and Jesus Gomez for their reflections last Sunday. I found their story inspiring and it prompted me to deepen my own reflections on all the gifts God has given me and how I can make a return to the Lord in thanks.

My reflections have also been informed by our pilgrimage to our Sister Parish of St. Bernadette in Samoya, Kenya. The seven of us who made the journey to encounter our brothers and sisters was richly blessed.

One of the things that becomes clear as we spend time with our friends in Kenya is that we share a faith and a call that is universal. Just like us, our brothers and sisters in Kenya are invited to live from a place of gratitude for all that God has given them. And while their material wealth is much different than ours, it was clear last week, that they still take seriously the need to make a return to the Lord in thanks for all their blessings.

One of the most touching parts of the Sunday Mass at St. Bernadette is the beautiful procession of folks coming forward to offer monetary and food gifts to support the life of the parish. There was joy on the faces of these folks as they handed their gifts to Fr. Mike and me. It didn’t matter if they were handing us 5 shillings (5 cents) or 500 ($5.00), they were giving this money as an expression of their faith.

As I received those gifts my thoughts turned to our own stewardship of treasure renewal. What we did two weeks ago at St. Bernadette is what we do here every week. From the abundance of gifts God has given us, we give some back as an expression of gratitude and to help further the mission of the parish.

When we met with parish leaders before we left that Sunday, they asked me if there was anything they could pray for that we needed. I asked them to pray fervently for the stewardship of treasure renewal that we are undertaking this year. They also asked for prayers for their initiatives at the parish - the completion of their hall, a fix to their well so they can start producing water for the community, and a new program for supporting widows in the community. We assured each other that we would keep these intentions close to our hearts.

There is something very moving for me to know that our brothers and sisters in Africa are praying for us and we for them. Our Sister Parish experience makes concrete the universal nature of our Church.

On the long flight home last week, I reflected on how grateful I am for our relationship with the people of St. Bernadette. That blessed time in Kenya also renewed my gratitude for you. It is such a privilege to serve as your pastor.

I am grateful for your faithful stewardship of time, talent, and treasure that is both an expression of your thanks to God, and tangible support for the life of our parish. I pray that the Lord touch all of our hearts so that we can continue the great work he has entrusted to us at St. Joseph.

As I shared in last week’s Bulletin Column, we need to increase our giving in order to keep up with rising costs. Please consider at least a 10% increase in your pledge as a way to say thanks to the Lord and to support the work of our parish.

We are storming heaven with prayers this week - from Vancouver, Washington to Samoya, Kenya - that God may touch our hearts and that we may respond generously.

Have a great week!

God Bless,
Fr. Gary