The Best Is Yet to Come
Last week our parishes hosted our first ever “Christ Renews His Parish” retreat. Six men from the Petersburg Parishes, who had previously attended a retreat at another parish, joined ten men from Sacred Heart, McCartyville to put on the retreat. They did an incredible job and I would like to thank them for their hard work, prayerfulness, openness to the Holy Spirit, and conviction. These men were generous with time and vulnerable in sharing the work of God in their hearts. May God reward you for your generosity.
Twenty-six men from our parishes experienced the retreat. They spent time listening to testimonies, discussing the work of God, and prayerfully reflecting on God’s activity in their lives. They gave 36 hours to God and the Lord was not outdone in generosity. God worked in very palpable ways. Some were renewed in their relationship with God, others experienced a greater depth of the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives. It was beautiful to witness so many meaningful transformations. Please join me in praising and thanking God for His outpouring of mercy.
The men who participated in the retreat were of all ages (24-78) and were from all four of our parishes. It was powerful to have a range of men with different experiences, insights, and backgrounds. Ultimately, it was the Lord Jesus Christ who united us and the bond that we share in Him is powerful.
As I reflect on the retreat experience, I am reminded of all the different Beacons of Light discussions, bulletin articles, town halls, and meetings that I’ve had over the past few years. These conversations are important and can’t be skipped. We must discuss finances, Mass times, and our identity. If we don’t communicate and listen well, deep issues will arise.
However, I can’t wait until everything related to the Beacons of Light is behind us and we can talk about Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. Once the dust settles from the Beacons of Light, we’ll be able to move forward boldly to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. The focus won’t be on internal struggles in the parish (although these will always be present) but we can turn towards growing disciples, evangelizing non-Catholics, and praising the Lord.
We cannot skip over the important discussions related to the Beacons of Light. We cannot simply run through things to “get it over with.” However let’s not drag our feet in these transitions because the best is yet to come. The Lord will work in marvelous ways in our parishes when we give Him the opportunity. The Lord wants to renew each and every one of us. I’m reminded of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Luke, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (12:49).
Joyfully in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson