My dear Friends,
We have received the welcome news that St Joes has a new Parish Priest commencing in August. I thank the Archbishop for the appointment and I welcome Monsignor Stuart Hall and I look forward to working closely with him over the next two months during our transition period.
Monsignor Hall will be meeting with the Parish Pastoral Council on Wednesday evening. Subsequently he will meet with the Finance Committee the following week. My hope is that over the next two months we can meet with different groups of the Parish.
It is significant that at this point in our transition we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost. I have spoken quite a lot about the Holy Spirit over the last few Sundays. One of the thrusts of the Holy Spirit is newness and freshness. The Holy Spirit takes us forward, renewing us, inspiring us and disturbing us. I came across a reflection on Pentecost by Pope Francis. Allow me to offer some of his thoughts on the Holy Spirit that may be pertinent to our Parish at this time.
Pope Francis observes that The Spirit calls us to “look to the whole”, to think beyond ourselves, to think as a Church [Parish Community] with its wide range of charisms and to look into “a unity that is never uniformity”.
The Spirit works and brings newness in the community, he noted, as with the apostles who are all very different people with varying ideas, visions and gifts. Yet once they received the Spirit, they gave primacy to the “whole” that is God’s plan. If we listen to the Spirit, we can look beyond our differences and accept the call “to unity, to concord, to the harmony of diversity”.
Finally, the Spirit calls us to a humble openness to God, to “put God before yourself”, the Pope said, since “the Spirit affirms the primacy of grace”. We must empty ourselves in order to “leave room for the Lord”. Only by doing so will we truly “find ourselves” and “become rich in the Holy Spirit”. The Pope said this is also true for the Church: we should not become lost in our own plans and projects, but always remember to look up and remember that “the Church is not (just) a human organization; it is the temple of the Holy Spirit”. (Pope Francis, Pentecost. May 2021).
Thanks for all you are doing.