Nourishing a Welcoming and Inviting Parish

Have you ever wondered who the persons sitting next to you at Mass each week are - and who they really are? Have you ever felt alone or even ignored in a time of great personal need? Do you have neighbors that might accept and benefit from the love of Christ and from sharing in the life of our parish community?

Although a good number of Saint Elizabeth parishioners are actively involved in living out their Catholic Faith at home, at the parish, and at work or school, many other parishioners experience little sense of belonging and engagement in the parish and in Catholic life as a whole. So we all have a tremendous opportunity to nourish a more welcoming and inviting parish and to enrich one another’s participation in the Body of Christ.

Naturally, this demands far more than simply saying “hello” or “welcome” to people in the church building. A genuine interest in others and an empathetic listening to their personal spiritual journeys is needed, together with a convincing personal witness to the centrality of Jesus Christ in our daily lives. The disposition and attitude that each of us extends toward others bespeaks who we are as disciples of Jesus and as a community of faith. Many people around us who are struggling through life might find hope and strength in Christ Jesus through our interest and care for them. May we continue to warmly welcome and openheartedly accept every person that we encounter at church and in our daily lives in the name of Jesus, our Lord!

Building a Community of Grateful Stewards

The call to Catholic Stewardship has been at the heart of our parish life since the founding of Saint Elizabeth in 2000. This call invites all of us to recognize the many ways in which God has blessed us and to respond in gratitude for these blessings by making a personal commitment to share our time, talent and treasure with others, both in the parish and in the world.

By the grace of God, Saint Elizabeth has grown into a vibrant community of faith in which many parishioners eagerly live out this commitment to Catholic Stewardship. More than forty-five parish ministries have emerged so far and each year we explore new opportunities to serve Christ and to advance His mission in the world through our stewardship service to others.

Because all of our lives are already filled with many daily demands, finding time to share our gifts is often very difficult. And while time is always a challenge, many parishioners may also feel lacking in the skills needed to take on leadership responsibilities in new areas of ministry. So the pastoral plan will include efforts not only to expand the variety of parish ministries, but also to develop new training programs for servant leadership. May all of us gratefully receive God’s gifts and share them abundantly with others, both within and beyond our own parish!

Growing in a Christ-centered Life through the Sacraments

How many times have you heard someone you know complain that he or she gets nothing out of the Mass? Have you expressed the same sentiment yourself? How long has it been since you experienced the merciful forgiveness of God in the Sacrament of Penance? How does the grace-filled Spirit of God given to you in the Sacrament of Confirmation shape your daily living as a disciple of Jesus Christ?

By our Baptism into Jesus Christ, each of us has been incorporated into a unique spiritual family - the Church. And it is in the Sacraments of the Church that we continue to encounter Jesus and are strengthened by His grace to live faithfully and responsibly as His disciples in the midst of our families, friends and neighbors, our work colleagues and local communities. As mature disciples, we are challenged to make decisions every day that reflect how much of our hearts we have given over to Christ and to the mission of His Church in the world. May all of us renew our Baptismal commitment to follow Christ and to draw nourishment and strength from the Sacraments on our spiritual journey to the Kingdom of God!

Knowing and Practicing our Catholic Faith and Traditions

Do you have unasked or unanswered questions about Church teachings on faith and moral living? Have you ever taken an opportunity to understand the Catholic Faith in an adult manner, rather than in the images and the expressions of the elementary catechesis you received in your childhood? How mature is your understanding of our Catholic Faith at this point in your life?

All of us are called to an ongoing faith formation through which we come to understand our Faith more fully, embrace our Faith more sincerely and practice our Faith more consistently. In today’s pluralistic and increasingly secular world of everyday living, it is even more critical for adult and young adult believers to invest some of their time and energy to prayerful reflection, studying the Word of God in the Sacred Scriptures, reading and openly discussing with others what the Church teaches and why. As the First Letter of Saint Peter reminds us: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear.” (1 Peter 3/15-16).

May all of us continue to grow into a fuller appreciation of the gift of our faith in Jesus Christ, renew our commitment to put our faith into practice, and willingly share it with others!

Offering Compassionate Pastoral Care

All of us have encountered sick relatives and friends, lonely people who need someone to talk to, those unable to find employment, men and women struggling with addiction, families weighed down by conflicted relationships, and those who for whatever reasons have withdrawn from the Church. So many human hearts are aching!

In his public ministry, Jesus was particularly drawn towards people who are suffering in any way. In his own person Christ demonstrates the truth of Psalm 103: The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Our God is a compassionate God!

Extending compassionate pastoral care to others in need in not solely the responsibility of priests and deacons. Every disciple of Christ shares in His pastoral ministry by offering personal and spiritual support to those we encounter in everyday life. Saint Paul calls us to “put on the attitude of Christ” and to model our lives after the pattern of Christ in caring for the needs of others.

Calling Others to Christian Discipleship

Have you ever felt a call to speak to another person about your faith or the power of Christ’s love and been too afraid to do so? Has your faith become solely an individual spiritual journey rather than one of evangelization - that is: sharing your great gift of faith with others? How often do you think  “I wish that he or she knew Christ as I do? They would be so much happier handling the challenges of life.”

A personal invitation, supported by our own example of faith-filled and upright living, is the most powerful call to others to open their hearts to Christ and to experience His love in their lives. How we live each day as disciples of Jesus committed in service to others is a convincing witness to all whom we encounter. Through this combination of selfless service and personal invitation to others, we can expand the church of Christ in our midst, one person at a time. All of us share in the commission Jesus gave to his first disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).