Dear Sisters and Brothers –
This weekend we celebrate the feast of Pentecost. Jesus the Christ makes good on his promise not to leave us orphans. As he sent his first disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit, he continues to do that for us in our time and in our lives. But how do we know that the Spirit dwells and is active in us and our world? I think a good starting point is to notice the actions of the Holy Spirit.
In the preface of the Second Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation, we read about the activity and, thus, the presence of the Holy Spirit.
“… by your Spirit you move human hearts that enemies may speak to each other again, adversaries may join hands, and peoples seek to meet together.
By the working of your power it comes about, O Lord, that hatred is overcome by love, revenge gives way to forgiveness, and discord is changed to mutual respect.”
It is the Spirit Jesus sends us that gives us the ability to understand our baptismal identity and to live out our baptismal commitment. It is the Spirit that teaches us how to be faithful to our promises, how to be generous with our time and talent and treasure, how to be kind to friends and strangers alike, how to be good in word and action, how to be joyful in our living and hopeful in our dying, how to be at peace with ourselves and others, how to be patient and persevere in the face of life’s challenges and occasional disappointments, and how to be full of courage when confronting injustice.
It has been by the grace of this same Spirit that I have lived and enjoyed 25 years of ministry as a priest. From my first assignment at Dolores Mission Parish in east Los Angeles, through three different ministries at Jesuit High School in Sacramento, to these past seven years here at St. Ignatius, the Holy Spirit has sustained me and guided me; she has inspired me and nudged me; he has drawn me and motivated me. While much of that movement has come from within, it has been a joy and a privilege to experience the support and the action of the Holy Spirit most overwhelmingly through you and all those whom God has sent into my life, those to whom God has sent me.
Since I was 19 years old, I have known that I was happiest when I was serving God in some way. It took a few years to agree with God that it should be as a priest; it took a couple more to find, meet, and come to like the Jesuits. (The diocesan priests in my parish didn’t like them, so I didn’t either. Finishing my undergraduate years at Santa Clara University changed that, thanks be to God!) I have often said that my vocation to be a Jesuit is God’s greatest act of kindness in my life. And my call to live that as a priest has been one of the greatest gifts. (My faith, my parents, my family, and my dear friends are the others.)
Of course, I am grateful to God for all of that. I am grateful to my parents for the gift of my faith. I am grateful to them and my companions who have loved and supported me across the decades. And I am grateful to you, the dear parishioners of St. Ignatius, to the good people of Dolores Mission, and Jesuit High School for all your love and care, your trust, and your partnership. I am especially grateful for your patience with me as I continue to learn how better to serve you and God as your fellow pilgrim and a priest. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Let us continue to pray for one another.
On another note, this next year, we’re working to reinvigorate our CYO Athletics program, and that includes both children and adults.
We are looking for rising 3rd to 8th graders to field teams. The possibilities include cross country and track & field, volleyball, basketball, soccer, and baseball; we will field teams based on the interests of our young parishioners. Parents, please fill out the inquiry form at http://bit.ly/SIAthletics by Monday, July 15.
Adults, can you coach? We are also seeking both coaches and team managers; women and men with enthusiasm who can mentor young people. Perhaps you have great athletic and coaching skills, but not so many “kid management” skills. Don’t worry – we can pair you up! If you’re interested in helping in any way, email SI Parish Athletics at email@example.com by Monday, July 15.
God bless you and the ministries of St. Ignatius Parish. And, as always,
Oremus pro invicem,