Fr. Greg's Pastoral Letter--September 8, 2019

Dear Sisters and Brothers –

At the combined 10:00 a.m. Mass on the Solemnity of Pentecost last June, I shared with you that one feature of my ideal parish is one in which parishioners feel seen – or heard or noticed or known. Choose the verb; you get the idea. I want all of us to feel like we belong to this faith community and – to one degree or another – to each other. If we do that, then we will begin to see one another through God’s eyes: the God who delights in us; who is proud of us and grateful that we get up each day and try to love, to live the Gospel.

I ended my homily with an invitation to do something that both might reveal how the Holy Spirit is working and give her something to work with. I then introduced the Be Seen books that have been and remain available in the church. My goal was to hear how the Holy Spirit (Pentecost!) moves in your heart, stirring your deepest longings for our faith community. I want to hear your big thoughts about how to “do” parish life. I want to hear the things that might be judged by some as too far out of the realm of possibility. I believe that for us to understand what God is doing, where the Holy Spirit might be leading us, everyone’s voice is critical. When we get all these longings out for us to see, we’ll see more clearly who we are, how diverse we are, how big and deep our dreams are. And not just as the 8:00 a.m. Mass or either of the two 5:00 p.m. Masses or the 9:30 or the 11:00. But all together, as one parish faith community.

As promised, I have been reading your comments (I encourage you to do so, as well), and I have found what you have written extraordinarily moving (which I’ll write more about in the coming few weeks). While many people have used the books to write their intentions, so many ideas have also surfaced: desires for small groups to share faith or study Scripture, for Eucharistic adoration, for open discussion about the ordination of women and married persons, for a greater openness to those who identify as LGBTQ, and for much more. Also as promised, I will be taking to our parish leadership groups what you have said, after formulating some thoughts on how we might move forward. I’m eager for those conversations!

I’m throwing out a “last call” for the Be Seen books. I’ll like to close them in two weeks, so the weekend of September 21/22 is your last chance to write in them. Another option is to submit your thoughts online. There’s a bright red link on the top of our homepage, “Be Seen Submission Form,” or you can click HERE. Also, you can write/type your ideas at home, bring them to church and put them in the black box located on the Communion rail near the Be Seen book at the St. Joseph Altar. I look forward to hearing from you, if you have not yet participated!

Last Sunday, about 15 parishioners gathered for our first Laudato Si’ Circle, joining the Global Catholic Climate Movement. There was prayer, reflection, and discussion about taking some meaningful action as a faith community. The Circle will meet each of the next four Sundays after the 11:00 a.m. Mass, in the Blue Room at the back of The Shop. I hope you can join this committed group of women and men.

Finally, because the bulletin was not delivered two weeks ago on account of some fires in northern California, I am going to reprint the bios of our two newest staff members, Teresa Cariño and Travis Russell, S.J. In the interest of space, I’ll do one this week and the other next week.

Teresa is our new Director of Faith Formation. Teresa is an alumna of both St. Ignatius College Prep and USF, where she earned a B.A. in Theology & Religious Studies. After graduating, she spent a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, living in NYC and working as a tenant organizer. The four years prior to coming to our St. Ignatius Parish, Teresa was at the St. Ignatius Parish in Manhattan, where she was responsible for Youth and Young Adult ministries. She brings a great deal of experience! Maggie Warner, our Coordinator for Worship, was attending the Jesuit ordinations on the east coast in June, where she heard Jesuits exclaim various versions of, “How did you guys get Teresa Cariño?!” and “Do you know that she has the best young adult program on the east coast?” and “You are so lucky!” I prefer the word “blessed.”

Have a great week.

Oremus pro invicem.

Fr. Greg