Welcome to Guardian Angels
Dear Friends and Families of Guardian Angels Parish,
We complete the Easter Season with Pentecost! This fifty day (Pentecost) ancient harvest celebration goes all the way back into the Book of Leviticus; there we find all the rituals and calendar and hierarchy of the Jerusalem Temple given to us. The Church rarely reads from Leviticus because so little has to do with the form of Catholic Liturgy today, but our liturgical calendar remains very ancient, about 3,700 years old. It’s a harvest feast, celebrating God’s bounty and blessings.
Pentecost was transformed by Christ and the Holy Spirit. The concept of harvest however remains deeply embedded. The Holy Spirit empowers the Church to go to all the nations, peoples, languages, races to prepare for the great harvest of God’s reign. This is the mission of the Church.
Despite being a small parish, I see the Holy Spirit’s harvest by all the people we’ve welcomed here, by the new members of the Church who completed the RCIA, by the crowd of confirmandi and children who received first communion. We report this harvest to you in the fall in our annual financial, sacramental, and parish activity report.
Current and future prospects for the harvest and our mission strongly advise us to build a new church and a new hall facility. I believe that everyone sees and knows this fact. Together we’re going to do this and spread our wings.
We have work to do. Soon the parish staff will be on retreat for a day at St. Walburga’s Abbey to plan and prepare for coming year. The parish is grateful to the staff for all that they do, each from the gift that the Holy Spirit has given them. Like the staff, so too in the parish, we need everyone to offer their gifts to the parish so that all things are accomplished for the common good. By gifts here, I mean the talents and skills that individuals have, when brought together and offered in service, makes our parish what it is becoming and keeps us on task for the mission we have been given by Christ.
I was reading an article lately about this phenomenon in our culture. The author claimed that we might look at people as if they were of two kinds: taxpayers and citizens. The taxpayers make their contribution and then act as if they are then finished; the government owes them things, like infrastructure, etc. but they themselves don’t have to do anything about it. The taxpayer is isolated and individualistic in their attitudes, believing that they have little or no responsibility for their neighbor or the common good. On the other hand there is the citizen who understands that their participation in society is necessary for the good health of that society; they operate out of a set of principles regarding their neighbor, to help, to protect, to care in ways that lifts up the whole society around them. They have a sense that we are in this together, and they’ve thrown their hat in the ring completely.
These two paradigms in some ways describes two kinds of Catholics. The “taxpayer” Catholic makes their offertory contribution weekly and faithfully, but then demand services of the Church; in other words in this thinking, Father does everything for them. The “citizen” Catholic gets involved, joins up, and is a leader in liturgy or mission.
I think you can see which sort of parish is going to be the more active, alive, and successful. You probably can see that Guardian Angels is becoming a “citizen” Catholic model parish.
Part of this model also applies to Confirmation. Based on an educational model and viewed as a “graduation,” we experience a large attrition rate nationally for the newly confirmed; they think that they have now jumped all the hoops and they’re finished. In a discipleship model, Confirmation invites the person into a life of faith, personal encounter with Jesus, and begins a journey, by grace of the Holy Spirit, for the rest of life. This is one of the rationales for the restored order of the sacraments of initiation as shown in the Bible, but only rearranged by Pope Pius X in 1910; in other words, only the last 105 years has veered away from the tradition. None of us are old enough to remember the way it used to be. There will be more coming your way on these important topics.
May the Holy Spirit be poured out on our parish to grace us with all we need to have a great harvest here at Guardian Angels!
Fr Alan Hartway, CPPS