The excitement of a new school year is upon us. Children have new clothes and new hopes for classes, teams and friendships. We have new hope in Religious Education, Sacramental Preparation, and RCIA [Rite of Christian Education for Adults]. This year is the final year of our two year preparation for Confirmation. We have a dynamic Jesuit Volunteer for our Youth Groups. Families are preparing for baptism and couples are receiving Matrimony. Young people are responding to the Holy Spirit with greater participation in their Catholic faith.
We live the faith as volunteer teachers/aides for religious education and on Pastoral Council. Our parish needs you! Yearly we replace members of the Pastoral Council, the Knights of Columbus are looking for men, and we still need teachers and aides. We desperately need people as Annulment Advocates. Pope Frances just amended the Annulment process, but that will do no good if we do not have English and Spanish Advocates to help couples resolve marriage problems. This is keeping some from receiving Communion and being Godparents. Stewardship is asking God about how we are to support the parish with our time and talent. I need support with training and managing altar servers.
When I became pastor, I removed the tracking system that demanded more effort from the teacher and staff than parents to ensure a student was ready for Confirmation. I clearly stated that to receive Confirmation, you must go to Mass every Sunday and actively participate in class. This is the responsibility of the one seeking Confirmation and their parents. Preparation for Confirmation is a two year program. If you were not in the program last year, you will not be confirmed at St. Mary this spring. It is not the responsibility of the staff and myself to track you. If we do not see active participation, you will receive a warning or rejection by letter.
Parents, it is your responsibility to see that your teen fulfills their obligations to be confirmed. If a teen is not meeting obligations, they will not be confirmed this year and may have to wait for 2017. This is not an issue of loving or not loving your child, it is an issue of justice for those who have been actively participating.
The High School Youth Group has moved to Sunday afternoon. We also need youth as religious education aides, altar servers [no upper age limit] and lectors. If someone wants to participate in leadership, I would love them on Pastoral Council. This year is off to a good start and I wish the very best to all of our students and those studying to enter the Church.
Peace in Christ, Father Paul