May 27, 2021

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I am writing this the Tuesday after St. Mary’s Festival of Ministries after all the Masses on Pentecost. I was completely blown away by how all the ministries and organizations went beyond what I suggested and hoped each would do. The hall was indeed a Festival! The information was all laid out detailing each ministry’s and organization’s mission and workings. Smiling, welcoming and eager faces sat/stood behind each display, sharing their experience in the ministry/ organization. Homemade cookies and candy were in abundance, enticing every parishioner walking by.
Our Sunday Fellowship after the Sunday Masses is legendary. Our hospitality teams are so dedicated in providing a spread that draws the assembly in church who have been fed with the Word and Eucharist to the hall for another filling meal. But the team on duty for the Festival of Ministries also went above and beyond what I dare to imagine. Not only was the menu meticulously planned but they were in the hall kitchen all Saturday morning/ afternoon making and baking egg/bacon casseroles and rolling over 250+ tortilla wraps. That’s in addition ti all the other delicious offerings that were set out to suit and satisfy everyone’s taste. What I found so impressive and inspiring were their smiling faces, welcoming their fellow parishioners to the feast. I know they must have been exhausted. They arrived early Sunday morning before 7am and remained to clean the kitchen after the 10am Mass and get the kitchen ready for the last Mass at 11:30.
That brings to mind how special and inclusive the entire weekend of Pentecost and the Festival of Ministries was for every Mass. Hats off to the team headed by our administrator, Bill Jones, and the office staff in spreading out the lavish feast after the Saturday evening Mass and the last Sunday Mass. Not as lavish as the hospitality team’s homemade concoctions, but swarmed upon and enjoyed by all who might not have been accustomed to come to the hall after those Masses. Not regularly having hospitality after the 5pm Saturday Mass, a special enticement was provided in addition to delicious food trays; wine and beer. The response was, to say the least, dramatic…ha.
The Music Ministry did an exceptional job of incorporating music with a variety of languages to highlight the special character of the Solemnity of Pentecost. We sometimes take for granted the planning, practice and presence that the members of our Music Ministry put into every weekend celebration. They went overboard also for Pentecost, providing music and song for the 11:30 Mass, which is usually without. I rave over the quality of our Music and the participation of the Assembly. I have to give special applause to the community of St. Joseph who belts out the Liturgy with gusto at the early hour of 7:30am. Pentecost was exceptional with the songs in other languages. Hard at that hour to do it in English…ha.
I am proud also of the response of you, the parishioners, to the Festival of Ministries. So many commented that they never knew so much happened in our parish….that so many people were involved….that everyone was so welcomed/invited to be part of all that was going on….there was always room for more. That’s what has made so many choose to be part of our family of faith. The operative word is ‘choose’. Everyone has the choice of what parish they want to belong. Not like in the ‘old days’ when parish boundaries determined where you ‘belonged’. The celebrating of our Faith with enthusiasm and living that Faith with joy and open arms has made our Community known throughout the Archdiocese. My fellow priests have asked how we do what we do. I tell them it’s a secret….ha.
Now that the Festival of Ministries weekend is over, the work begins anew to continue building up the Church here in this tiny part of Texas entrusted to us. Pentecost is considered the birthday of the Church, when the disciples rushed out of the room they were huddling because they were afraid and, filled with the Holy Spirit, began to spend their lives bringing others to Christ. Our churches have been privileged of sharing our lives in joyful service. If you haven’t yet decided where you want to use your time and talents in the service of our parish, there’s always time. The Holy Spirit will guide you. Listen up.

NOW WE URGE YOU TO PRAISE GOD. THAT IS WHAT WE ARE ALL TELLING EACH OTHER WHEN WE SAY ‘ALLELUIA’. YOU SAY TO YOUR NEIGHBOR, ‘PRAISE THE LORD!’ AND OUR NEIGHBOR SAYS THE SAME TO YOU. WE ARE ALL URGING ONE ANOTHER TO PRAISE THE LORD, AND ALL THEREBY DOING WHAT EACH OF US URGES THE OTHER TO DO. BUT SEE THAT YOU PRAISE GOD NOT WITH YOUR LIPS AND
VOICES ALONE, BUT WITH YOUR MINDS, YOUR LIVES AND ALL YOUR ACTIONS.

ST. AUGUSTINE

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