July 23, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

Many non-Catholics think that Catholic priests must be a little bit crazy for committing ourselves to celibacy as part of the call to priesthood. For those born and raised Catholic it does not seem quite so foreign since celibate priests, sisters, and brothers have always been a normal part of the Catholic landscape. Celibacy contributes greatly to the witness value of priesthood and religious life as pointing to an eternal kingdom which lies beyond this earthly reality.

Still many people assume priests must get lonely since we dont have a wife and children. Surprisingly, this is not the case for most priests who invest themselves in ministry and commit to fostering an ongoing relationship with God. Priests experience a normal amount of loneliness as part of the human condition but no more so than other people in other walks of life. As vowed celibates we are probably somewhat more intentional in fostering friendships with other priests and healthy relationships with parishioners as a preventive to loneliness or burnout.

Many priests also belong to support groupsmade up of other priests. I have been blessed to be a member of a priestssupport group for over thirty years now. We meet once each month for an overnight gathering at a retreat house or hotel for the purpose of prayer and fraternity. We may cook a meal or go out to eat somewhere and then spend a few hours talking about the past month and what has been going on in our lives. We are currently discussing a book on the Eucharist by Father Ron Rolheiser.

I mention this because our July meeting is this Thursday and Friday, July 27-28, and so I will not be able to celebrate the 8:00 a.m. Mass on Friday morning. Please check the schedule of our neighboring parishes if you wish to attend Mass this Friday or on any of the other weekdays when I am out of town.

Registration for our Parish School of Religion began earlier this month and ends on August 7 to allow time to order the textbooks. Students in grades 15 now have the option of attending class on Mondays from 5:30 6:30 pm, or Tuesdays from 4:30 5:30 pm. Grades 68 will meet on Tuesdays from 6:30 7:30 pm, and grades 911 will meet on Mondays from 7:00 8:00 pm.

The annual Catholic Mens Conference sponsored by the Men of the Cross is set for Saturday, August 5, 2023. The theme this year is Experiencing Eucharistic Revival,and the keynote speaker is author and biblical scholar Stephen J. Binz. Men are encouraged to visit our website for more information and to register for this event.

Thank you to all of the children, teenagers, and parents who participated in Vacation Bible School last week. Its annual success is due to your generous gift of time, talent, and faith. A special thanks to Jamie Lambert and Alva Childress from our Religious Education OfÞce for their service and leadership. Please consider volunteering to help them with our Religious Education classes this fall and

Lastly, congratulations to the parishioners of St. Mark Parish who celebrate their 50th Anniversary at a special 4:00 p.m. Mass next Sunday, July 30, 2023.

In Christ,
Father Matt