I hope you are having a wonderful summer, filled with grace and peace. As we look toward Autumn, a few important events for the life of the church are making their approach. First, as you must know by now, Pope Francis will visit New York City later in September and celebrate a Mass at Madison Square Garden on the evening of Friday, September 25th. Each parish in the Archdiocese is awaiting a share of tickets for this amazing liturgy. I don’t know how many tickets we will receive or when they will be coming so please stay tuned to our website and bulletin. We will post more information as soon as we have it.
To no surprise, quite a few of you have asked for tickets already. Assuming that we have more requests than we will have tickets, the parish will conduct a lottery. That seems to be the only fair way to proceed. If you happen to be one of the “lucky winners,” please be advised that security measures are likely to require your arrival at the Garden several hours before the Mass begins. Just a heads-up so you can plan accordingly!
Next, the Synod on the Family will take place in Rome through most of October. I am so hopeful that the Spirit will move powerfully and lovingly throughout this critical meeting of our leadership. But whether the Synod results in exciting new teachings or simply confirms what already is, we will have our work cut out for us in trying to understand the will of God. Let’s move into this together, in prayer and in hope.
On December 8th, Pope Francis will convene a “Jubilee Year of Mercy.” I am in discussion with the other pastors of our west side deanery to think about creative ways for engaging this year-long initiative. I expect we will receive some suggestions from Cardinal Dolan as well. And, peaking of our deanery, several west side parishes (SFX included) are teaming up to conduct monthly seminars based on the pastoral priorities of Pope Francis. The location sites will rotate to encourage broad participation, giving us the chance to interact with our sisters and brothers from other parishes. The seminar schedule will be available in a couple of weeks.
I hope you like the recent renovations we made to our lobby. The new tile floor is a lot easier to keep clean and the new paint and ceiling make the area look young again. Of course, all of this began with the “Take Back the Tap” campaign and the arrival of our environmentally-conscious water fountains, thanks to the Peace & Justice Committee. On a related note of renovation, please be very careful when moving through the sanctuary. We have had several falls in recent months. No broken bones, thank God, but bad enough! I am considering the installation of additional rails in the sanctuary to help prevent falls in the future. For now, please take care of yourself by using the ramps whenever possible and watching where you step.
Finally, too many beloved members of our parish community are suffering in these present days. Whether it be physical illness, issues with aging, emotional stress, financial burdens, or a host of other problems, these good people need and deserve our love, support, and prayers. Please remember to check the prayer list published in each weekly bulletin and pray for all those mentioned there. It’s essential that we never forget the most vulnerable in our midst. And as a new school year begins, let’s also remember to pray for the growing number of children in our parish. They are the future of the Church and it so good to have them among us.
For those of you who have been away, I look forward to your safe return to Xavier! May the days ahead be filled with God’s grace for all of us.