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Appleton, WI

April 17/18: Day by Day with Father Bill – Weekend Edition

This is a Beautiful Time by Jessica Powers (Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit, Order of Carmelites Discalced)

This is a beautiful time, this last age, the age of
the Holy Spirit.
This is the long-awaited day of His reign in our
souls through grace.
He is crying to every soul that is walled:
Open to Me, My spouse, My sister.
And once inside, He is calling again:
Come to Me here in this secret place.
Oh, hear Him tonight crying all over the world
a last desperate summons of love to a dying race.

Acres we are to be gathered for God: He would pour
out his measureless morning
upon divinized lands, bought by blood, to their
Purchaser given.
Oh, hear Him within you speaking this infinite love,
moving like some divine and audible leaven,
lifting the sky of the soul with expansion of light,
shaping new heights and new depths,
and, at your stir of assent,
spreading the mountains with flame, filling the
hollows with heaven.

What a beautiful characterization of the Holy Spirit! Sadly, sometimes it seems to me that the Holy Spirit is the forgotten person of the Blessed Trinity. Make no mistake about it: the Holy Spirit is the enlivening force in our church and world today. When we open our hearts to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we are on board for a wonderful adventure into the future which is filled with hope and healing. In the Church, the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart and mind of every baptized believer. Together people and pastors, bishops and believers journey on a path that makes the Church relevant in our modern world. The Church is in the world and needs to be attentive to the signs of the times. The Church is not in opposition to the world but looks to proclaim its message of faith, hope and love to a world that thirsts for something or someone more.

In the city of Appleton, Saint Mary Parish is one of the parishes that has a mission to accomplish. Our only mission is to attract people to the Lord and His Church. Our only mission is to provide opportunities for people to encounter the Lord Jesus and grow in friendship with Him and others. Jesus is not a proposition but a Person. Jesus is not a something but a Someone.

Perhaps you have heard the Good News that the Senior Leadership Team of our parish family has called for a synod to be held on the Eve of Pentecost, Saturday, May 22. Our beautiful community room will become the Upper Room where we will meet and call on the fire of the Holy Spirit to guide us into a future filled with hope and healing. Synod  comes from the Greek word which means to walk together, to journey together. Our task for the day is for friends and followers of Jesus, who are bold and courageous, to dream for the best for our parish family and beyond. There will be a genuine desire on the part of the participants to spend the day together. There will be preparatory documents to study and questions to ponder that will be provided before the Synod meeting. We will embrace our Mission and Vision Statement, which has been developed with input from many of our spiritual family members over the course of the last six years. We will explore specifically what the Holy Spirit is asking of Saint Mary Parish in the future. We will begin a process that will require ongoing listening of the voices of many people. We will embrace the mission and vision of Pope Francis. We will hone in on our unique identity as one of the Catholic parishes in Appleton. We will trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to shake us up and empower us to be a leaven for the transformation of hearts and minds in our community. 

Stay tuned for more reflections on our Synod Meeting.

Find below our St Mary Parish Family Synod Prayer. Please, please, if I could ask of you a favor. Offer this prayer to the Lord everyday between now and Saturday, May 22. Please remember, too, to pray for me and our Senior Leadership Team!

 

LORD JESUS, 

realizing that with your Holy Spirit abiding in us
all things are possible
We embark on the synodal path as a parish
We journey together
     as baptized believers empowered with a great responsibility
          to live and spread the Good News of your marvelous Love
     as parish leaders together with our pastor
          commissioned to guide and inspire
We journey together to listen and learn from the Holy Spirit
     speaking through every member of our parish family
     trusting that the Lord desires all that is good, beautiful, and true for us.

Come, HOLY SPIRIT, Love of the Father and of the Son
[make the Sign of the Cross together]      and renew the face of our parish family
Bless our journey together
Give us one heart and one mind
     as we embrace our holy mission and vision
Draw us closer to you and your Church
     the People of God, near and far.
Amen.

Father Bill +

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