Thank You Parish Volunteers!

As we are finishing another program year, I can’t help but look back and see all of the things we have accomplished in the last 10 months.  Each spring I spend time evaluating how well the various Religious Education programs have served our children and youth.  I look for the weaknesses as well as the strengths of these programs.  Year after year, I can honestly state that one of the strengths that I have witnessed at St. Peter’s is the parishioners who come forward to share their faith and their time with our children.  In addition to those who volunteer their time with the youth, there are a great number of you who volunteer for one or more of the many ministries that we have here.

Just last Thursday, we held our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner.  It is one evening of the year that we, as a staff, are able to focus on you the volunteers.  We celebrate the fact that you have responded to your baptismal call and rejoice that you accept the responsibilities of being a member of the community.  We attempt to show you that we are honored to be part of this community and are happy we are able to work with you to share the Good News and tend to the myriad of duties that it takes to run a parish of this size.  It is an evening of joy and fellowship.  In addition to a tasty meal, we (hopefully!) entertain you with our own “special” style of song and dance.  However, don’t worry; you won’t be losing us to Broadway any time soon!  If you have never attended this event, I strongly encourage you to do so in the future – it is a lot of fun! It is a night to celebrate you and all that we accomplish as a community.  The laughter and fun bring us closer together as a community and may even help heal some of the pain we have experienced this past year.

I believe that most of you would agree that this has not been an easy year for our Archdiocese and for our church.  We have had to face issues and problems that we wished didn’t exist, but that are all too real.  In spite of the confusion, pain and even anger that we have felt, we as a parish have continued to respond to the needs of our parishioners and the larger community.  This could not have happened without you, each of you, who have given so freely of your time, your talents, your gifts and your prayer.  Sadly, I fear we are not through this dark time in the Church, so we continue to ask for your help by sharing with us your time, talents and treasure.  It is only by working together, as a community based on Christ’s love and mercy that we can continue to exist and spread His message.

Even in the best of times, the Church cannot function and grow without the individuals giving (physically, spiritually & monetarily) as they are able.  In today’s first reading, we hear how within the early Christian communities, the Twelve Apostles had to call upon others to be responsible to assist with the needs of others.  As a Catholic Church, we have many responsibilities in a multitude of areas.  We must respond to the needs of the poor, the sick, the dying and the grieving.  We need to develop the faith of our children and youth, assist young families in raising their children in the faith.  We need to be good stewards of our physical space and our finances – from cleaning the windows and pews to fixing the parking lot to paying the electric bill.  And while doing all this and more, we cannot neglect the most important duty of the Church – spreading the Word of God and the teachings of Jesus.  It is simply not possible for only a few to do it all!  The early Christian communities learned this and we continue in this tradition.  We work together for the good of all.  It is because of the love and generosity of the people of St. Peter’s that we are and will continue to be a true Christian community.

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