I want to thank you for making this past Advent a very special time for me and our parish. Many of you shared how it was very special and fulfilling. Looking back, I’ve asked myself the question, What was it that helped make this Advent different? The main ingredients I saw were, we had a vision of where we wanted to go and we were intentional in getting there.
Without vision, without direction, we wonder aimlessly. Without a sense of purpose, our mission never gains traction. This Advent our vision was Prepare for a Person, Not a Day. We kept Jesus as our vision and preparing for Him as our mission. This theme kept us focused. We wanted to make this Advent different than any other. As you remember, we sought out to accomplish four goals during the advent season: go to confession, attend mass, attend the mission, and pray with Theotokos. One measurement of the success of this mission was the line at confessions, which showed me that many of you were compelled to go deeper than before.
What would happen if we applied the same strategy as we did in Advent to our lives year around? What would happen if our parish were organized to help you remain focused on the goal all of us have on our heart, to grow in relationship and develop a deeper love for Jesus?
I would like to invite you on this journey. The parish team has been working on directing our efforts towards having a vision, creating a clear direction, and encouraging intentional living. In the next five weeks, I want to talk about what we have planned to offer you.
The Parish Life Cycle
We all need help in life. Direction helps to orient us just like a road map helps the traveler get to the desired destination. The traveler can have a vision of the destination, but without the aid of the road map, he will get lost.
Without a vision, direction, or intentional living we run the risk of
treating our parish like a sacramental vending machine. We show up each weekend at our regular time to Mass, receive the sacraments and return to our former way of life. The danger is that we don’t encounter the person of Jesus in our hearts and our lives are not changed.
The Parish Life Cycle will help you in the following ways
1. Move from formal knowledge to intimate relationship with Jesus.
2. Facilitate an encounter with Christ in your heart.
3. Cultivate a movement in your heart that goes from knowing about a Person to knowing The Person.
In the upcoming weeks, we will help you understand the process of how this happens and put steps in place to help you get there. This movement we will call the “Parish Life Cycle.”
Simply put, this invitation is to stir the desire in our hearts for more and to receive the desire in God’s heart to give us more.
Over the next five weeks, I invite you to remain open to me and the parish staff as we uncover and share our prayer of the last 9+ months. God is doing something big at Sacred Heart of Jesus. The philosophies of the Parish Life Cycle aren’t new, in fact, its roots run deep in Catholicism, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the lives of the Saints, however to some this idea could be the first time anyone has ever invited you to live and share your faith. For those of you that fit into that category, I am most excited.
Through this process, I invite you to ask questions to myself or any of our parish staff.