Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
It has been a year like no other in recent memory: a pandemic, a recession, a contentious election, dispensation from Mass, sacraments postponed—and a new pastor and principal in the midst of it all. The Church, in her wisdom, begins the new liturgical year before the end of the calendar year, giving Catholics an opportunity to reflect on and prepare for the good news of Jesus coming into the world, in history and at the end of the age. To that end, this issue of DISCIPLE will focus, in large part, on the state of this particular Body of Christ as we move into 2021.
In many ways, the news is good: Your generosity has kept our parish financially stable, and we are halfway to the $8M initial goal of our BOLD FUTURE Campaign. Enrollment in our Catholic school is strong, and this month we are increasing the number of Sunday Masses to safely accommodate the families who are returning to the Mass.
On the other hand, we do have a budget shortfall. Extreme Faith Camp and our teen discipleship groups—the heart and soul of our thriving Youth Ministry—have struggled under the weight of pandemic restrictions. Campaign fundraising has slowed with the rise in coronavirus cases, and space constraints at the church and school remain unaddressed. When parish life resumes with some sense of normalcy—which it will—we will need to work hard to invite everyone back to the church and a renewed, personal encounter with the living God.
Ultimately, that is what the season of Advent is about: preparing to receive the God who loves us enough to come to us and enter the struggle of our earthly lives. That is good news indeed, and we are heralds of it—evangelists—to the ends of the earth.
Wishing you a blessed Advent and Christmas!
Fr. Brian Park
THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY
With strong support from parishioners like you:
- In May, St. Michael Catholic School’s (StMCS) first-ever virtual Bids for Kids exceeded its $125K fundraising goal.
- In September, our revamped Fall Festival generated more than $89K, up $9,000 from the previous year and well above average for the past decade.
- In October, the School Marathon went virtual and garnered more than $100K for the first time in school history.
Your support helped keep our doors open and enabled us to donate nearly $20K this year to support the mission of Options for Women-Cornerstone, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Hanover Food Shelf, Sharing and Caring Hands, Tutwiler Clinic and Mustard Seed Communities, and provide emergency assistance to people in need.