Mar 062020

Our community is a family

community

It is easy to focus on the negative in life. Everyday the news helps us bury ourselves in negativity by bringing us one bad piece of news after another. And during Lent, we are so focused on our shortcomings and failings that we tend to buy into the negativity. So for just a moment, I want to look at some positive things. And our continuing message of community building is just what we need.

Lent is a great time to resolve to deepen our commitment to the church and to our faith. So many people today refuse to come to church because of past bad experiences in church. Others feel there is no need to go to church because it is just full of hypocrites. In that logic, you would never go out to a restaurant because people get sick eating out and some even die from the food served to them. You would never go to the movies because people have been hurt at movies. I might never sleep again simply because I had a bad dream.

Focusing on the negative and painful parts of our lives leave us stuck in a rut that we find it hard to get out of. It also helps to cut us off from others who have been through those experiences. Those same people can help us navigate our own path thru the pain and hurt.

I am not absolving the church of its responsibility for the pain it causes people. Rather, I am saying that not all churches are created equally. Our church is born out of the pain, abuse and mistreatment many of us suffered at the hands of mainstream churches. We work to be better than those churches by treating everyone as we would want to be treated. Our focus as a parish and as part of a larger national church is to help those who have been abused and to stop the cycle of abuse.

This Saturday evening, our parish will be offering the Stations of the Cross. However, it is not your typical Stations. It is a version of the Stations of the Cross that focuses on the plight of the immigrants and migrants in our communities. It looks that what they experience when they are forced to leave their homes because of war, famine or violence.

We continue to build our Blessing Bags and distribute them to the homeless in our community. The Blessing Bags are made with love and care so that those who need them most not only get the supplies they need, but they also know they are loved by someone.

And we continue to welcome everyone into our parish without reservation. It is our mission to build a safe space for everyone. This is especially true for those who have been mistreated or abused. We welcome, accept and affirm everyone regardless of who you are, what you look like, who you love, what religion you come from, what your nationality is, or what language you speak. It does not matter if you are rich, poor, or something in between.

Here at Saint Francis, everyone is equal and everyone is part of our family and our community. You need only come and experience a radically inclusive and affirming way to be Catholic!

Feb 152020

Lent and community building

lent

We are continuing our focus on building community here at Saint Francis. And as we prepare to enter Lent, now is a good time to look at ways we can strength our community and help others during this time.

Lent is not just about giving up things, but it is also about picking up good habits.

One of those good habits is helping others. Here at Saint Francis we have a Blessing Bag program that gives much needed food and supplies to our homeless friends and families. We can always use help putting together these bags as well as purchasing the supplies to fill them. Then comes the fun part: distributing those bags to those who need them most.

Another good thing you can do is you can participate in our parish life. We all can benefit from your support at Mass. Whether it is being a lector, altar server, gift bearer or just participating at Mass, your help is vital to our parish. On top of that, you can help spread the word about our radically welcoming and inclusive parish. You can share our blogs and postings with your friends and families members.

There is so much we can do to build our community this Lent. But in order to do so, we need you to be a part of our parish family. Join us as we work to build a parish that values each and every member and who is radically inclusive and supportive!

Feb 012020

Helping our community

community

Adjusting to a series of changes in my life this past month has been difficult. However, anything worth doing in life is sometimes difficult. You see, I have not only gone back to college full time, but I am also working as an on-call chaplain at a local hospital. Both experiences are educational and provide help to our local community.

Saint Francis Parish is continuing our commitment to helping our community whenever it is possible. Father Matt works in the medical field at a local hospital as well as heading up our Blessing Bag Ministry. Deacon Dana is also in the medical field at a local hospital and heads up our Hospitality Ministry. Subdeacon Luna is going to college and works with various diversity programs on campus as well as being a representative to our National Church’s Office of Social Justice.

We believe that being the church requires action. Going to church makes it a spectator sport where you come to see and be seen. Being the church requires that you participate at Mass, in the life of the parish and in our larger community as well.

In our Christ’s great commission he calls us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”. (Mark 16:15. NASB) Saint Francis in the Rule of 1221 tells us, “Nevertheless, let all the brothers preach by their works”. It is our duty as Christians to live our lives as examples of the great things that God has done for us and within us. This requires us to get our hands dirty and to work in the communities we live in. Our calling is to help the homeless, the orphan, and the widow specifically. However, that call has a deeper meaning. It means to help all those who need our help.

Here at Saint Francis we are trying to live that call. We are trying to build a place where everyone is welcome and loved. It is our desire to help all those in our community who need it. And in the process, we continue to create a safe place for those who are hurting. Hate has no home at Saint Francis.

We pray that you will come and help us in our mission to live the Gospel.