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One Month In

Tomorrow I complete my first month at St. Michael’s in Newark.  Of course, the month has been full of meeting new people.  Every parishioner is a new face to me.  While every person has been a new face to me, there still have been connections to the past.  One of the parishioners here is the son of a couple I knew in my last parish in Ithaca.  Another is good friends with a different parishioner from Ithaca.  There are parents here of two different priests I have met.  In all my parish assignments, I have always had some connection to Catholic Charities.  That is beginning to develop here.

Of course the most familiar thing here is the sacraments.  I’m in a different church and the building is a little different but the Sacraments are celebrated in the same way.

Certainly simply getting to know the parishioners and the parish have been the center of my focus.  Here things are a little less busy than at Immaculate where, in addition to the church, there is also a school, two cemeteries, and there was a gift shop.  With things a little less busy I have already been able to do some home visits.

I love the small village setting and enjoy my walks around town.  It is a nice, peaceful place to live.  In the midst of the peaceful setting here, I think about all the violence going other places.  It has been a small part of my preaching at yesterday’s Daily Mass and last Sunday.  I think it is important that every one of us be praying for the victims and for an end to all violence.  We also need to think about what we can do. Last Sunday I spoke about this in the context of “thy kingdom come”.  Part of life in a small town is how people more tend to know and care about each other.  We need to show that others are important to us, that all lives matter.  We may not know everyone but we can care.  As the pastor of St. Michael’s, I do my best to serve the people of God.  My interest in Catholic Charities is because I care about the people in the community.  I will never know all of them but that doesn’t stop me from caring.

I think back to a parishioner in the first parish where I served.  She was a probation officer.  I asked her what led her to this job.  She knew she had been richly blessed by God and wanted to help others in their struggles for a better life.  This is what is frequently called an “Attitude of Gratitude“.

We can help make God’s kingdom known by sharing what we have been given, materially and spiritually.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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