JPS

CAPTION: Father John Stokely celebrated his first year as our Parochial Vicar.

This past June 20th marked Father John Stokely’s one-year anniversary as Parochial Vicar at Saint Elizabeth Parish.

“I recognize that God has blessed me in many ways, and I am happy to add this past year – and I hope many more – to that list of blessings,” he remarked. The Spirit asked Father Stokely to reflect upon what he has observed about our parish community after his inaugural year. Below, he shares five adjectives and their meaning to him as exemplified by our parish community. 

Welcoming. From day one, the members of our parish community welcomed me with open arms. This warm and inviting spirit puts a smile on my face when I see the kindness of our parish family in action.

Talented. I quickly noticed how many talented people comprise our parish. It is great to work with a pastor and staff who are so knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. We are also blessed to have highly skilled professionals on parish councils and committees who offer their expertise to benefit the church. But, where I see such immense talent is in the young people of our parish. I remember walking into our parish school's performance of Beauty and the Beast and wondering if we imported a few professional singers... only to discover that it was our own students!

Generous. Saint Elizabeth is a stewardship parish. After a year here, I now have a much better understanding of what this really means. We have many parishioners who are heroically generous. When most people would say, "I've given enough," these stewardship heroes continue to give, time and again. It is quite remarkable.

Vibrant. When people work very hard and love what they do, they naturally create a vibrant community. There is always something going on at Saint Elizabeth Parish. Whether it is in the gym, school, ministry center, or church, I bet someone is in there. The liveliness of our community points to something deeper within each person, and that brings me to my last defining characteristic of Saint Elizabeth Parish.

Holy. Maybe this should have been first, but this is a critical observation I have had about the people of Saint Elizabeth. I love seeing our students put their hearts and souls into First Friday Mass and EFF prayer services. It is a delight to walk into the church during the afternoon and see a parishioner sitting quietly in prayer. I have been humbled by the many people who have shared with me their struggles, sorrows, hopes, and joys.

I have been privileged to see the love of Jesus Christ in the hearts of many people here, and feel truly blessed to experience it myself.

 
                                                                                                                                                                                 -Father Stokely with forward by Amy Giampietro