This year is the 60th Anniversary of the founding of our St. Matthias Parish. You must have already heard this from the pulpit/bulletin announcements. The actual date of the founding is June 8, 1962. A committee, chaired by Anne Marie Francis of our Parish Pastoral Council, has been formed and they are looking at various ideas, focusing on what is practical in these challenging pandemic times.
In the meanwhile, I wish to remind us that this anniversary of our parish can be an excellent opportunity for us to rededicate our efforts to grow more familiar with the Word of God. How do we do that? One easy way is to better utilize the excellent plan we already have in place: the Bible sharing in small groups that we began during 2019 Lent, which continued during the Fall and Lent seasons every year since. We had 27 groups who had an amazing time of learning God’s Word while experiencing true bonding with group members. It brought a renewed interest and familiarity with God’s Word for them. They brought a new energy to our parish life. Even when the pandemic forced us to go online, some 16 groups continued meeting via zoom.
Thank you to Dee Nann, our Faith Formation Director, and her dedicated team who have been organizing these small groups, with the steadfast interest and help from the Facilitators. As we will soon enter Lent 2022, I wish to invite the rest of the parish to prayerfully consider joining a small group.
This pandemic has required us to remain isolated from our brothers and sisters in faith. Pope Francis had encouraged the whole Church to accept the challenge called “Connected in Christ” by joining a small group. Each group decides if this connection should be remotely, socially distanced at the parish or at a parishioner’s home. This is a great way to connect with other parish members. Here’s what one participant said:
“Our own parishioners and others have so many wonderful experiences of Bible sharing in small groups. We are a lively group. I was deeply impressed by the quality of the members’ responses which I find highly spiritual and thought provoking We had such a profound spiritual experience which made everyone eager and looking forward for our next session. We now feel we have a much closer tie with the parish community, with each other and most specially a greater love for our God.”
Here’s another testimony: “Truly an amazing program; it helped me so much to deal with my daily challenges with a peace that I got from these group sharing. Thank you for bringing this to our parish.”
This weekend you will hear testimonies from four of our parishioners – Nick Grippo, Gondee Tibay, Joe and Eileen Mancuso, and Sean Smith – who will share their experience in small groups. After listening to them, I hope and pray that you will be inspired to give 90 minutes once a week just for six weeks of Lent to become familiar with God’s Word in the happy company of a small group of God’s people. Please see page 7 for registration info.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal