The Pastor’s Corner for this week is replaced by the important announcement below. We can’t stress enough how crucial these listening sessions are. Please be a part of St. John the Baptist’s history and attend the listening sessions by registering.
Caring for Creation
For Mass there are 10 different Eucharistic prayers that can be used: four regular ones, two for the theme of Reconciliation, and four for special needs.
During the Season of Creation, I have been using the fourth of the regular Eucharistic Prayers. Throughout this prayer, there are references that not only has God “made all that is” but God also wills the salvation of all creation, not just us human beings. We pray that “the whole of creation be freed from the corruption of sin and death.” This prayer also acknowledges our role in caring for creation. First, we human beings speak for all creation. The prayer states that with the angels in heaven, “we, too, confess God’s name, giving voice to every creature under heaven.”
We are also called into partnership with the Trinity. The Father has “entrusted the whole world to our care.” Gifted by the Holy Spirit, we are called to bring to perfection in the world Christ’s work so that Christ “might sanctify all creation.”
As the people of God, we must work together on behalf of all Creation, as part of that mighty river of peace and justice. Find out more about The Season of Creation at seasonofcreation.org
Join Us for Date Night!
I would like to extend my invitation to all of you to join us for our Parish Mission presentation, which begins next weekend. Our Mission director, Tom East, will speak at all the Masses. The first session is on Sunday evening, September 17, at 7:00 pm. There will be morning and evening sessions on Monday, September 18, at 10:00 am and 7:00 pm, and Tuesday, September 18, at 7:00 pm.
Tom and his family live in Gig Harbor, Washington. He is a popular speaker at ministry conferences nationwide and author of numerous books including, Leadership for Catholic Youth Ministry. Tom holds a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles. He is the Pastoral Assistant for RCIA, Grief Ministry, and Marriage for Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Tacoma. Most recently, Tom was the Director of the Center for Ministry Development. Previously, he was Director of Youth Ministry and the Associate Director of Religious Education for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
This year’s mission will help prepare us to enter into Partners in the Gospel, as we look at what it means to accompany one another in faith, focusing on the freedom we have received from Jesus. With Partners in the GOSPEL, we are entering into a historic time for our local Church. Our Mission will help us enter into it with deeper faith and stronger bonds with one another. I hope you will be able to participate.
We will be offering childcare (registration required) so that some of our younger couples can attend. Consider it a date night at the parish!
Determine our Future Here at St. John the Baptist
Next month, we begin a parish-wide consultation of the proposed parish family to which St. John the Baptist Parish will belong. Partners in the Gospel will bring most parishes in the archdiocese together into a new family structure with two or more other parishes. This parish family will be under the leadership of one pastor and have about three years to join together to become one canonical parish. The pastor, parish leaders, and parishioners will determine how this new family will best join together to carry out the mission of the Church as one parish.
Consultation and a synodal approach to this effort gives everyone a chance to review the potential family structure, pray to the Holy Spirit about it, and provide input. The process was built intentionally to ensure everyone has the opportunity to offer input. Specifically, we will be asking you to name your concerns and the challenges the proposed family may have. In addition, we would like your insight as to what opportunities and possibilities the proposed family may have. What are your hopes for being a parish in this restructuring?
As a priest, I have already had the opportunity to offer my feedback. However, most of you know the parish and the area here better than I do. Your feedback will be very important. We have scheduled the following dates for listening sessions:
- Wednesday, October 11, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (abbreviated to coincide with Middle School Program)
- Thursday, October 12, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon
- Thursday, October 12, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
- Saturday, October 14, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon
- Sunday, October 15, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Please plan to attend one of these sessions. RSVP for one of the above sessions at this link: archseattle.ccbchurch.com/goto/forms/589/responses/new, or by calling the office at 253-630-0701. Be sure to mark your calendars now! Your voice is important. There is also a session October 5 for parishioners who serve on parish councils and commissions
Once all the input has been collected, the Oversight Committee and the Presbyteral Council will finalize a recommendation. Archbishop Etienne will discern the recommendation and then officially promulgate the new parish family structure in early 2024, which will take effect on July 1, 2024.
For more information go to: archseattle.org/partners/
Our Disabled Brothers and Sisters – We Welcome You
I am not a morning person. It takes me a few cups of coffee to get going in the morning. That is nothing compared to the efforts of many of our brothers and sisters living with disabilities or mobility issues and in need of walkers, canes, or wheel chairs. I am deeply impressed by the efforts they make to be able to celebrate Mass with the community. Their determination shows a deep love and devotion for the Eucharist.
We have now designated five (5) special seating areas for those with walkers or wheel chairs, marked by a decal on the floor. This gives greater visibility to these special areas. Those with walkers or wheelchairs can sit anywhere in the assembly they wish. We simply ask folks not to block aisles or impede the communion procession. The decals mark areas where chairs have been removed to give greater room. They also serve as a reminder not to put chairs in those spaces after rearranging chairs for different events.
The chair next to the decal should also be reserved for those who accompany the one with the walker or wheelchair. One reserved spot has access to a power outlet in order to allow for a respirator connection. If you need Communion brought to you, please ask the greeters and they will attach a yellow cover to the back of your chair to help the Eucharistic minister find you. To those living with disabilities, thank you for the witness you give and for your love and devotion to the Eucharist you express. If your disability is keeping you from church, please call the parish office and we will try to arrange a Eucharistic Minister to bring you Communion during the week. Also, call the office if you would like to volunteer for this ministry.
Ponder this: Spirituality
Some of you all know that I am taking a few graduate courses in theology. Last weekend, I met my online cohort in person at Gonzaga and spent a wonderful time in conversation and movie-watching, among other more academic pursuits.
The last reading assignment was Dr. Leonard Doohan’s book, Spiritual Leadership. His premise is that leadership in general needs a conversion, a change from a focus on technique and behavioral “rules” to a more transformational style that can only exist in a leader with deeply held values and mature spirituality.
Go ahead, try this: define spirituality.
One cool distinction I learned is the difference between spirituality and religion: spirituality concerns itself about the big questions while religion offers up the big answers.
Doohan offers a lot of definitions of spirituality that I will leave with you to ponder. Do so, as we consider joining another faith community that may express its spirituality very differently than we do. Spirituality is:
- a transitory manifestation of perennial values
- faith birthed in the ever-changing circumstances of modern life
- rooted in a faith experience and a deep resting place for the heart
- taking a positive approach to creation (an embodied faith)
- developed in the presence of others
(for vacationing Father Bill)