Appleton, WI

August 7/8: Day by Day with Father Bill – Weekend Edition

With guest columnist Tracy Turba, St. Mary Minister of Young Disciples

I am Tracy Turba, the new Minister of Young Disciples here at St. Mary. I am full of joy to be in this position, get to know our parish families, and walk
together in our relationship with the Lord. I have been a teacher for the past 7 years and volunteered in a variety of ministries like Love Begins Here and middle and high school faith formation. I am grateful to be able to integrate my experiences teaching with the joy of sharing faith in this position.

I was struck with the title of this column “In Joy & Sorrow.” They are both titles connected with Our Lady – Our Lady, Cause of Our Joy, and Our Lady of
Sorrows. When I think about the joy of Our Lady, I often imagine the Nativity. I think about the joy of a child entering the world, the joy Mary had
welcoming Jesus into her arms, and the hope and light that he brought with his birth. I sometimes find it easier to lean into joy rather than sorrow, and I think many of us can relate to this. In these summer months, some of us may have opportunities for needed rest or perhaps adventures with families – whether it’s camping, reading a new book, spending extra time outside, or seeing some family or friends that you have not seen for awhile. There is often much joy at this time and a desire to stay here, in the joy.

At the same time, there is plenty of sorrow that happens around us – in our own lives, families, community and the greater world. In coming to St. Mary Parish, I was reflecting on our patron saint, Our Lady of Sorrows. I found myself asking, “Lord, what does this mean? What is the role of sorrow here? How is Our Lady working in a special way in our parish?” Over the course of conversations with some friends, prayer, and getting to know parish families little by little, I think one beautiful gift is the authenticity this saint patron brings to us here. Our Lady stays with Jesus at the difficult times. When Simeon prophesied the tension to come in Jesus’ life and Mary’s too, Mary faithfully continues to say yes. As they flee into Egypt, Mary and Joseph continue to lean into the Lord during the hardships and trust Him. This continues on throughout their lives, and ultimately, at the Cross Mary is right next to Jesus experiencing the greatest sorrow. In the short time that I have been with our parish, I see a gift of hospitality, a welcoming spirit, and people wanting to reach out to each other. I see in this the gift of Mary, of journeying and walking with one another, in joy and sorrow.

Wherever each of us may be today, in joys and sorrows, I see an invitation – 1) to lean into the Lord, and 2) to see how we can accompany one another on our journey. In a message that St. John Paul II wrote to the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows he shared: It is very significant that the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows are advancing towards the third millennium “with the joy of the Risen One”. Who, in fact, better than Mary most holy, so intimately united with the mystery of the Crucified One, knew the joy of his Resurrection? And who better than she can communicate to you, her daughters, this joy, that it may fill your hearts and your witness?

I think this beautifully sums up the interplay of joy and sorrow. With the great sorrows of Our Lady, think how much greater the joy of the Resurrection must have been! As we lean into the sorrows that we encounter each day, may it be with the hope of the Resurrection, trusting in the Lord and the joy that he provides. It is a true delight and joy to be here with St. Mary Parish. As you see me in the weeks ahead, please feel free to come and introduce yourself. I am looking forward to this fall with our Beacon Ministry and getting to share our journey of discipleship together.