It was important that last weekend I was able to address all the parishioners who attended Holy Mass and to put into a spiritual context the changed realities of parish life since I arrived at Holy Redeemer in January. As I explained, we have moved from a position where we had five priests available to serve the needs of the parish, to our present situation where we now have only two priests available to serve the parish full-time; Fr Scott and myself. This is something that each of us is going to have to adapt to, whilst continuing to believe that we are always living in and through the grace of God.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for the very positive and supportive response to my words. Indeed I was overjoyed that so many of you immediately offered to do more to respond to the call of God and to serve Holy Redeemer in whatever ways needed. This is indeed a sign that God’s presence and grace is truly amongst us.
Of course, it is the Redemptorist community as a whole that has been given the grace to serve our parish. Our elder members of the community, even although no longer to actively serve in parish ministry, do so much for all of us through their daily celebration of Holy Mass and through their life of prayer. Their acceptance of weakness and illness also serves as a source of great grace for us.
So too, both Br Richard and Br Gavin serve the Redemptorist community and Holy Redeemer in so many ways, most of which happen behind the scenes, and therefore easily pass unnoticed. For all of us, the primary witness of their Gospel way of life is to remind us that we are all called to bear witness to the truth that we are called to love and serve each other in a spirit of communion and unity.
But, in this Year of Mercy, I believe strongly that our present state of being at Holy Redeemer is itself a time of grace for us, and an invitation for all parishioners to take spiritual ownership of our parish. We are all being personally asked by God to contribute whatever we possibly can for the well-being of all, and to do so with a spirit of joy and trust. This is not a time of crisis but a time of grace!
I am aware that we are already blessed in that so many people are already fully committed to serving the parish in many different ways. The fact that we have so many thriving ministries here already bears witness to that.
But now is a time when each of us is asked to take a personal responsibility to ask what we might do to further God’s kingdom among us, and to accept that each of us has a vocation to bear witness to the Good News to one another. The approaching festival of Christmas will not simply be a time for us to give thanks for the coming of Jesus amongst us. It will also be a time for us to reflect on how best to give thanks for such grace and blessing.
Fr Gerard, CSsR