As I write this I am sitting in my new office at Holy Rosary. I have been encouraged this week as I have seen people going back-and-forth between Holy Rosary and Visitation for daily Masses, with people also coming from St. Joseph for daily Mass. I know that all of this change is difficult for people, it is difficult for the pastors also. It was difficult for Fr. Maurer to leave his beloved parishioners at Saint Joseph and Holy Rosary and it has been difficult to shift from being pastor at one parish and school to temporarily three parishes and two schools. While it has been difficult, it also has been encouraging.
I am encouraged by the hope of building on the great work that Father Maurer has built up in his time at these two beautiful places. I know that St. Joseph parishioners are going through perhaps the most difficult of all the changes but I am also encouraged by the response of many of the people there. I pray that some will be able to make the transition, as some have spoken of doing, to the Extraordinary form of the Latin Mass. It will also be important, however, for people from Visitation and Holy Rosary to be welcoming to those who may decide to join those respective parishes from St. Joseph.
I often say, the gifts that we have God has given to us for a reason, to help build up His kingdom here on earth and to spur one another on towards heaven. My prayer is that people who may be shifting to a different parish or even just a Mass time will use those gifts God has given them to build up their new parish community as well. We are all a part of the body of Christ and the body is in need of having all of her members for filling their part in God's plan. When certain parts of the body are not functioning as they could it hurts the whole body and slows it down. On the other hand, when all the members of the body are using their gifts (performing their functions) well, then we are strong. It is the potential of that increased strength which gives me great hope. As we use that strength in new ways there will be challenges, but there will also be great fruit that can be born from our labor together in the vineyard. I pray that our communities will be built up to continue to grow as they have been in recent years, even with this new challenge before us. That prayer can only become a reality by the grace of God and people who are willing to cooperate with that grace. It is not only dependent upon the pastor to make things happen at our parishes, but upon the goodwill and the gifts of the people.
I have challenged the people of Visitation in these past few weeks to rise to that occasion as I am sure Father Maurer has at St. Joseph and Holy Rosary. Now that the transition is here, I am renewing that call which ultimately does come from Father Maurer, myself, or from the Archbishop even, but from the Lord, to be united in proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ and to build God's kingdom. We are called to be a people united in the Lord as the body of Christ, functioning for the good of the whole body, the church, carrying on the work of Christ for the salvation of souls.