Grace and peace to you in our Lord Jesus Christ, today and always. I hope you are enjoying some restorative time over this holiday weekend, as we celebrate the legacies of our nation’s leaders.
Speaking of leadership: As many of you know, we have two leadership councils here at Xavier. The Finance Council, as mandated by the canon law of the Church, monitors the fiscal operations of the parish and advises the pastor in its overall management. The Pastoral Council shares in the ministry and care of our community and prayerfully helps to guide Xavier into the future according to its mission. I am extremely grateful for the wonderful women and men who comprise both councils and who take their roles so seriously.
The Pastoral Council held its annual retreat over the weekend of January 31st, at the Jogues Retreat Center in Cornwall, NY. It was the perfect place to get away from the noises of the city and enjoy some beautiful winter scenes, as well as the company of some obviously well-fed deer. Hmmm, I have a sneaking suspicion that a few of the Jesuits have been sharing some of their morning bagels!
We all made it home in time for the Super Bowl but, during our time at Jogues, the Pastoral Council engaged in discussion, discernment, planning, and prayer in very substantive ways. We remembered the year that had passed in order to revisit some of its lights and shadows. What went well and not so well? We looked to the year ahead to discern together how and where God is calling us as a parish. Some of the action items that emerged include the imperative to follow up with and support the parish’s various ministry groups that met with the council last year. If you happen to be a ministry leader, you will be hearing from a member of the council soon. We identified the promotion of Ignatian spirituality as an essential priority for the parish, along with building closer collaborative relationships with Xavier High School and the local Jesuit community. We re-elected Jackie Perez as the council’s vice-chair and appointed new member Deborah Olley-Murphy as our recorder. Thank you Jackie and Debbie! And we reserved some time for brainstorming about new initiatives that can help us build upon our history and mission, not the least of which will be a collaboration with other parishes in our area that will be both blessed and challenged by the Archdiocesan pastoral plan “Making All Things New.”
In short, our days at Jogues were sacred time. The spirit of the Center’s former superior, Fr. Ned Coughlin, was quite palpable. And the memory of St. Isaac Jogues, the Jesuit martyr for whom the house is named, inspired us to stay on task and on mission as a leadership council that clearly has the very best interest of our parish at heart. Please keep the good people of both leadership councils in your prayers.
And, now, let’s enter into Lent together and trust that the Spirit of Christ has something wondrous in store for all of us.