Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
On August 6, 2017, we, along with St. John the Evangelist Parish in Severna Park, are celebrating Msgr. John Auer’s 60th anniversary of priestly ordination. We will begin with a concelebrated Mass with Msgr. Auer and Archbishop Lori at St. John the Evangelist followed by a reception in our parish hall from 1-4 pm. This is a great opportunity to reconnect with Msgr. Auer and to thank God for the blessing of his sixty years of priestly ministry. Many of you have known Msgr. Auer for a long time and I have, too. His first priestly assignment was at my home parish, St. Jane Frances, in Riviera Beach. He taught me religion in the fifth grade, and he was not an easy grader. He sat with my father and aunts and prayed through the night with them as my grandfather was dying. He became friends with my godparents and spent some Sunday afternoons water skiing behind their boat. These are some of my stories about him. I’m sure you have your own. For sixty years, he has ministered to the sick, forgiven sinners, strengthened and inspired spirits, preached God’s Word, celebrated the sacraments, and brought the joy and hope of God’s love to His People. Mark your calendars now and plan to celebrate with Msgr. Auer on August 6! If you are unable to come to the mass, you can join the celebration in our hall.
We welcome Fr. Prem Antony, IMS to Our Lady of the Fields this weekend. He comes to speak to us about the missionary work of the church throughout the world, and to ask for our financial support of the Missionary Cooperative Appeal.
To be baptized is to embrace Jesus’ call to be a missionary disciple. The work of evangelization in our parish, diocese, state, nation, or in a foreign land is at the heart of the Church’s mission and identity. Jesus calls all of us to be missionaries. We carry out our missionary vocation by praying for those who serve in foreign missions and supporting them through the Missionary Cooperative Plan. We also do missionary work in our parish and neighborhoods by living the joy and truth of the Gospel and by helping others discover it in their lives.
Recently, I was reviewing the boundaries of our parish. We cover a great deal of territory, but our church is located in the western part of our parish boundaries. Traditionally, everything we do happens on our campus, and we expect folks to come here; and they do. There are, however, a great many folks who do not come here and may not know where we are or what we are about. The missionary nature of our church requires us to reverse the vector of activity. We need to take what happens here to the distant reaches of our parish boundaries. That is evangelization, the work of missionary disciples that Jesus calls us to do.
Fr. Antony will tell us stories of missionary work in India, on Native American Reservations, and throughout the world. These stories will be inspirational and impressive. Don’t forget we have missionary stories to live and tell, too – stories of how we brought God’s mercy and the Joy of the Gospel to Millersville, Crownsville, Herald Harbor, Sherwood Forest, Odenton, Severn, and Old Mill. Let’s make our stories just as impressive and inspirational.
May God’s Peace be Yours,