Fr. Greg's Pastoral Letter - March 4, 2018

Dear Sisters and Brothers –

As many of you are aware, at the end of April we gather together all our parish “ministers” – those who perform works of service for the parish in all types of volunteer roles: supporting our liturgical celebrations, as well as our outreach and advocacy programs; filling roles in faith formation and community-building events; and tending to the administration of our parish.  We also invite those discerning whether to get more involved in parish ministries and leadership to hear testimonials directly from fellow parishioners.

This year, we are trying something new to capture a broader and more comprehensive understanding of what makes parish service meaningful to you, what programs are of the most interest to potential volunteers, and what impedes or supports parishioners’ commitment to service.  We will be offering a simple survey to everyone in the parish – those who volunteer regularly, those taking a bit of time off from service to their neighbor, and those not yet fully engaged in our parish life.  The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete, is done anonymously, and provides an opportunity to hear directly from each of you about this vital aspect of our faith experience and life together.

The survey will be emailed to all registered parishioners, as well as those who shared their email address with us next week and hard copies will be available for those who wish to complete it that way.  Please take the five minutes to share information about your experience in parish service.

On another note, at the end of January, I wrote about the 2018 Archdiocesan Annual Appeal.  As I did then, I must begin by saying thank you for your generosity in 2017 – we reached our target of $263,534, which is an incredible achievement!  This year, our goal is $230,240.  The funds we raise are our contribution to the running of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and to the services it provides to us and to our brothers and sisters throughout the three counties.  I am proud that St. Ignatius is such a pillar of support in the Archdiocese.

As I noted earlier this year, we are returning to the way we used to collect those donations, which is to run the AAA campaign separately from our own parish fundraising; this is the way that all other parishes in the Archdiocese conduct this drive.  I believe this will bring greater clarity and focus to our own mission as we more consciously share in the financial support of critical ministries and services managed outside our parish by the Archdiocese.

By now, you should have received a packet that includes letters about the Appeal from Archbishop Cordileone and me, as well as a pledge envelope that lists the many programs supported by the AAA. This weekend, some of our parishioners are highlighting how the programs of the Archdiocese benefit our parish, our parishioners, and the entire San Francisco Catholic Community.  Furthermore, next weekend is Appeal Sunday when I will be asking each household to make a special effort to give a meaningful gift toward our goal to support the work of the Church as a whole.

During my first year in the Novitiate as my class of 18 novices was preparing to get together with novices from another, much smaller, religious community of men, our Novice Master gave us a talk that has stayed with me for these 34 years.  He noted that we Jesuits, by virtue of our education, lengthy formation, and wide experience, can tend to do things on our own: when we need an expert to give a talk, we tend to look for a Jesuit, or when we need some wisdom or have a problem to solve, we look to ourselves.  He continued that we are part of a larger Church, of the Body of Christ, and we must look beyond ourselves if we are to find the fullness of the Spirit.  I’ve remembered his caution in my roles as the director of two Jesuit institutions, and tried to keep in mind that both Jesuit High School and St. Ignatius Parish have sibling institutions from which to learn, with which we share, and to which we have mutual responsibility.  I think my Novice Master’s wisdom has something to offer us as we embark on this fundraising campaign.

Please keep our efforts and those of the entire Archdiocese of San Francisco in your prayers.

Oremus pro invicem.

Fr. Greg