By: Fr. John Jasica
As we end the Church’s liturgical year with the Solemnity of Christ the King this weekend, we also shift gears and enter into the second year of our new pastoral plan seeking to transform our family of parishes—moving from maintenance to mission. As you know, the two fundamental pillars of our new pastoral plan are rooted in the following:
(1) FORMING DISCIPLES who are inspired, equipped, supported, trained and offered opportunities to be Apostles in our world today.
(2) REACHING OUT TO ALL who are alone, afraid, lost, forgotten and in need, bringing them the light, faith and joy of Jesus.
Each year of the four year plan has a particular theme and focus that helps us form a comprehensive, active and vibrant fabric of ministry and service in our world. The first year of “WELCOME & FAMILY” calls us to get to know one another—especially after the pandemic—building a sense of family and responsibility for one another while constantly welcoming others to join us.
The second year of our pastoral plan calls us to fall in love with Jesus. If we are going to be true disciples and missionaries in our world today—we need to know Jesus—not just to know about Him. The second year is focused on “PRAYER & CONVERSION”.
ENCOUNTERING JESUS MEANS CONVERSION
Building a relationship with Jesus takes time, effort and setting it as a priority in our daily lives. For us as Catholics, we can draw close to Jesus sacramentally through the celebration of Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In addition, we need a strong personal spiritual life allowing ourselves to talk with Jesus and most importantly, listen to Him.
When we are in a strong and deep relationship with Jesus, we see things differently—more clearly. We can recognize the gifts, talents and opportunities that are given to us to be missionaries in our world today. We can keep things in perspective and have a better view of what life is really about. But encountering Jesus also means conversion—this is a great grace and gift while at the same time be challenging because it requires change and trust.
CONVERSION MEANS CHANGE & CHALLENGE
When we draw close to the Lord and place Him at the centre of our lives, we may have to change our habits, of course turn away from sin, and let go of things that take us away from the Lord and others. We are also called to re-prioritize our agendas. This is much easier said than done. Conversion is transformative but can also be very difficult. Yet, if we love the Lord, and fall in love with Him, we will do anything to follow Him.
The danger of drawing close to the Lord and experiencing conversion will result in being sent out into the deep waters of mission to share the Good News of the Gospel. Often this means a road we would rather not follow as Christ will call us to go beyond ourselves to be a sign of hope in the world for those who seek the Lord. Yet following the Lord brings us fullness, completion and purpose. There is no better life than one that follow the Lord.
PRAYER & CONVERSION IN OUR FAMILY OF PARISHES
Over the next year we will re-establish and begin new forms of prayer opportunities to deepen our relationship with Christ—our Lord, Master, Teacher and Friend. We need conversion experiences often to stay close to Jesus. Here are some opportunities that are already taking place and will be established during our year of “PRAYER & CONVERSION”.
(1) ADORATION – We have many opportunities for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Time spent before the Lord. Every Monday night at Blessed Sacrament Church, monthly during the day at St. Agnes, Friday evenings overnight monthly at Our Lady of Victory and during confessions on Saturday mornings three Saturdays a month.
(2) NOVENAS – We are hosting a number of nine day novenas throughout the year as spiritual pilgrimages. This includes novenas to Our Lady Undoer of Knots, St. Peregrine, St. Joseph and the Divine Mercy.
(3) SPECIAL EVENTS – We are also hosting parish missions, Alpha Series, The Chosen Scripture Series, Grieving Loss Embracing Hope retreat, Horizons of Hope workshop in and so much more. Look for the many opportunities we offer to draw close to Christ.