"Observing him carefully" (My weekly update)

A blessed Friday, everyone! It's been a while since I've posted one of these updates, and much has happened (and is happening) lately around the parish. I continue to be humbled and amazed at how the Holy Spirit is at work, calling us back to Himself and enlivening us in our journey of discipleship. In this Sunday's Gospel we find Jesus dining at a Pharisee's home, and he has a lot to tell his companions (including us!) about how we are to live. Before you come to Mass this weekend, take a few moments to prayerfully reflect on the Scriptures and allow the Lord's words to sink in to your heart.

Now for a few updates...

WELCOME, SAM! This month we welcome seminarian Sam Hill to Holy Spirit. Sam just completed his 2nd Theology year at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, and he'll be with us for his pastoral year assignment, which concludes in August 2023. He'll be introducing himself at all of the Masses this weekend, so please be sure to introduce yourself.

CLOTHING CLOSET: Thank you to our Vincentians and other volunteers who generously helped with the back to school clothing drive and distribution in recent weeks. We were able to provide clothing and school supplies to a great many children in our community, helping them to begin the school year on the right foot. Because of a tremendous influx in donations over the summer, we are not currently accepting donations to the Clothing Closet. We'll keep you posted as that changes and when specific needs arise. Thank you to everyone for generously sharing with our brothers and sisters in need!

PARISHIONER PORTAL: By now you might have noticed that our website is undergoing some significant maintenance. I like to call the website our "digital front door," since for many people it's the first thing from/about the parish they come across before visiting us. Of course, the website has also become a place where parishioners can find essential information and resources to help in their own faith journey. We're hoping to simplify and streamline our website, making it easier for visitors or inquirers to learn about the parish, while having a single place where parishioners can find the resources they need. To that end, we've created a new "Parishioner Portal." The password for this page will be in the bulletin insert this weekend, and this page will be updated with links to important forms and resources for parishioners. This will allow our main page to be geared toward those who are not yet a part of our community. Thanks for your patience as we explore new opportunities to serve and to share.

YOUTH DISCIPLESHIP VOLUNTEER MEETINGS: In the coming days we'll be having meetings for Youth Discipleship volunteers. "Youth Discipleship" refers to our K-8 faith formation program, and the name change reflects part of the essential mission of the Church entrusted to us by Jesus: to make disciples! Check the bulletin for meeting times, and thank you in advance to everyone prayerfully discerning being a part of this important ministry in the coming year.

KEEP PRAYING! Lately I've been preaching a lot about the stirrings of the Holy Spirit in our parish (and beyond) calling us to return to the fundamental mission of the Church: to love God, love our neighbor, and make disciples. To embrace the simplicity of this mission requires a total surrender to Jesus and His divine Providence, which can be intimidating...and a bit scary! Please be sure to keep our parish community in prayer, and I humbly ask for your prayers for me, as well. As we discern and dedicate ourselves to the Lord, we do so together and with the confidence of knowing that the Lord will show us the way and provide the means for us to undertake what He asks.

SPEAKING OF PRAYER... To conclude this update, let's pray together St. Augustine's prayer to the Holy Spirit:

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,

That my thoughts may all be holy.

Act in me, O Holy Spirit,

That my work, too, may be holy.

Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,

That I love but what is holy.

Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,

To defend all that is holy.

Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,

That I may always be holy.