September 6, 2011

New Beginnings

Today was our annual Mass and luncheon to kick off the new school and parish ministry year. Here on Long Island Catholic schools begin classes tomorrow, and parish ministries which have been on hiatius for the summer will begin to meet again.  Our parish is one of two unique parishes on Long Island as we have both an elementary and a high school as well as over 60 active parish ministries. Over 130 members of our parish staff, faculty, and maintainance department gathered to ask God's blessing on this new year.

Even though my own kids are well beyond school age, I still get a bit of a thrill seeing kids in nice new clothes and backpacks standing on the corners with their parents waiting for the big yellow busses to scoop them up and carry them off to school. Today our kindergartners, in their neatly pressed new blue and white plaid uniforms, came in a day early to meet the teachers and explore their new classroom.  I get excited too about the new ministry year. I have several projects in the works, a few new ministries that are waiting to begin, and of course preparing the parish for the revised texts of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal. Then there are meetings and meetings and more meetings.  I think my impending surgery in two weeks will save me from only a few of them.

Yes, there is something exciting about new beginnings. In parish work it is time to get back into a routine, set priorities, meet new people and spread the Good News. It seems that the quietness of the parish suddenly ends come Labor Day and that interest in things with regard to our faith increases in September. We get calls for RCIA, interest in volunteering, and inquiries about courses.  There are last minute registrations for Religious Ed and more parish registrations. I think we all live in that "school year" mentality, but for God there are no seasons, no vacation time and every day is a new beginning.  God in His gracious Love for us gives us the opportunity each and every day to begin again, to let go of all that keeps us from His Love, and to start again.  Taking time each night to reflect on our day, to do an examen of consciousness, to see how we have failed living our Christian faith, where we have done well, and resolving to live our lives in Christ the following day.  It is a wonderful way to end the night.

So as the busses arrive in our parking lot tomorrow morning with kids from three to seventeen eager and ready to begin a new school year, I offer a prayer for their success and that they are open to their academic study and to learning about our wonderful faith.  I pray for the teachers happily greet their new students, that they will treat each student as Christ would. I pray for the parents, especially those whose children are just beginning their school career. and I pray for all in our parish and in parishes all over as they begin the new ministry year that our evangelization efforts, through the Grace of God, will bring new people into the faith, awaken the faith of those who are Catholic in name only, and create in our regular parishioners a deeper desire to know Christ and to live the Gospel.

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