St. Joseph’s Church rocks! It really does. This was the thought I had back in August when I attended Mass at the Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD, the subject of the much-acclaimed book Rebuilt by pastor Fr. Michael White and pastoral associate Tom Corcoran. This is not a criticism of Nativity so much as a renewed appreciation for the vitality and leadership of our St. Joe’s Penfield, New York parishioners and the glory of our liturgy where the Gospel is made accessible for all to take into their hearts and Christian lives.
Recognizing that all churches and organizations have room for growth and enhancement, the St. Joe’s Parish Pastoral Council is reading and discussing Rebuilt. It has many best practices to offer to parishes in the areas of hospitality, faith formation, small groups, preaching, and music ministry.
Last night our Council meeting started with a gut check about members’ reactions to the book. In summary, what matters to our Council members is that we never lose focus on two things: the proclamation of the Gospel and our PEOPLE. ALL of our PEOPLE. There’s no room here for the “mean-spirited” commentary about parishioners that is the serious flaw of Rebuilt.
Pastoral year seminarian Jorge Ramirez, a native of Colombia, beautifully articulated that we need to study the best practices of the Church of the Nativity in the context of where St. Joseph’s is as a parish community today. What are the needs of our people, of the community around us, now, in this time and place?
My prayer last night and today is one of gratitude to our gracious God because St. Joe’s really does rock! I am grateful for the diverse views of our many parishioners, for the leadership of our ministry teams, for our Council members, and for the fellow staff members with whom I have the opportunity every day to collaborate, to pray, and most importantly, to LAUGH!
I cannot conclude this first journal entry without another note of gratitude on behalf of St. Joe’s staff to my husband, Greg. For the past few weeks he’s been donating his time and talent in the social media arena to help us up our game on Twitter, Facebook, our website, and now our blogs. He’s the best.
Blessings to all!