In July of this past year, I became pastor of St. Mary Parish in Charlotte. Like a number of parishes around our diocese, St. Mary is blessed to have a parish school as part of its ministry. To some, it may sound a bit strange to think of a parish school as part of a parish's "ministry," but it has been my experience, having been pastor of two different parishes with schools, that it is vitally important for our parish schools to see themselves as ministry fields, rather than as private schools that happen to be Catholic.
From the Editor
Advent is my favorite of all the Church’s seasons. Its four weeks are a breath of fresh air in the midst of the busy commotion of this time of year. Advent reminds me that even with reconciliation services, Christmas parties, pageants, and the hectic preparations for Christmas, we still need to be quiet and reflective. In the midst of the everyday happenings of my life as pastor and my work as editor of a thriving magazine, there is indisputable need to take time to be quiet.
As an editor, I see (and hopefully correct) the occasional spelling error before an issue of FAITH goes to press. Every now and again, one of those spelling errors catches my eye and makes me stop and think. One such example is “conformation” as a mistaken spelling for “confirmation.” This spelling error triggers my sacramental imagination, inasmuch as one of the hopes we have for anyone who is being confirmed is that they might be more closely conformed to the person of Jesus Christ by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Through the course of the summer months just passed, we have been journeying with Jesus in Saint Luke’s Gospel. Each of the Gospel selections we have heard recently form a kind of handbook from Jesus that helps us to understand the nature and the cost of discipleship. When summer began, we witnessed Jesus sending the disciples out into the surrounding countryside. As they made their way from town to town, they received their first taste of what it would mean to minister in the Lord’s name. They discovered both the joys and the challenges of proclaiming the Good News.
I’m envious of teens today who are preparing to receive the sacrament of confirmation. When I was confirmed back on May 6, 1943, in the middle of World War II, there was little in the way of preparation beyond classroom sessions. We were more passive recipients of the sacrament, and it didn’t feel much like a celebration.
During the first week of July, I began my ministry as pastor of the Catholic Community of St. Mary and St. Ann in Charlotte and Bellevue. A few weeks prior to my arrival in Charlotte, I received my keys to the parish complex. I also began the process of moving my belongings into the rectory and getting settled into the parish community that will be my home for the years ahead. I also started the very important process of learning the names of parishioners.