“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Dear parishioners of Most Holy Trinity,
I want to take this opportunity to share with you how our parish has been doing this last year and give you a sense of what is to come.
From my perspective, I feel that the Scripture I quoted above from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians really speaks to what I see happening this past year. I have always said that I believe that all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, both ordinary and extraordinary are present here in our parish. I feel that I have been watching the Holy Spirit do this work here in our community of faith. Not that we have “arrived” or that all the gifts have been recognized and nurtured, but rather, that the Holy Spirit is leading us. I see this through the Encounter Evenings with the Holy Spirit, our Adult Retreats, our Healing Services, our continuing work of Formation and Evangelization, our Youth Ministry and Catechesis and School.
Among a couple of notable examples, the Grade 8 Retreat and the High School Retreat this past fall were both really powerful times. The Lord really manifested His love and His power.
I see more and more people stepping up to help in all our ministry endeavors. We are always looking for more people who are willing to step up, but as we develop our parish ministries, I believe more people will sense the call to serve.
It’s important for us to remember why we’re doing all this. Because God wants His Church to rise up in this time and culture, which seems to be moving away from Him and be the witnesses that the Lord has called us to be by our baptism.
There is a spiritual battle going on in our world. As I mentioned in my homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent, quoting St. Pope Paul VI’s pastoral exhortation on Christian Joy, speaking about our world that is more and more pushing God to the side the Holy Fathers says: “The meaning of life escapes him, that he is no longer sure of himself or of his transcendent calling and destiny. He has desacralized the universe and now he is desacralizing humanity; he has at times cut the vital link that joined him to God.” I believe that is why God is raising up a generation to respond to the call to evangelize and transform our culture.
Regarding Sacraments, one of the signs of life in our parish, this past year we had: 25 baptisms, 12 weddings, 20 first communions, 34 confirmations, and 12 funerals. We had also 2 catechumens in the RCIA. We have 3 young men in the seminary and others discerning. We have several young women in religious life, which is uncommon these days. One of the signs St. John Paul II spoke and wrote frequently to young people. “Young people have you ever thought of committing your existence totally to Christ? Do you think that anything can be greater than to bring Jesus to people and people to Jesus?”
Just a few weeks ago we published our financial statement online, and you can access this through our website. If you do not have internet service, please call the parish office and we can provide you with a printed copy. In terms of our overall financial picture, things are going well. We were a little nervous to see how the success of Witness to Hope (WTH) would affect us over the past year. Our fund balance continues to increase. Our Sunday collections took a slight dip over the last year, but that could be expected with influence of WTH. We have received just over half of the pledged money for WTH. This will continue to come in as pledges are paid over the remaining three and a half years of the five year campaign. We all saw the first fruits this summer when we redid the parking lot. This coming summer we hope to renovate the parish offices. We are also working with the committee to put together plans for the Activity Center.
Again I want to thank all our parishioners who are giving of their time, talents and finances to our parish. The Church faces many challenges in our world today. But I am convinced that with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can meet these challenges. I pray that we will continue to partner with all our brothers and sisters so that the Gospel can be proclaimed to all.
Fr. Dennis Howard