5th Sunday of Lent – “State of the Parish”

Thoughts from our Pastor

This past week our Archdiocese celebrated the Annual Cultural-Diversity Mass at the Cathedral with Archbishop Chaput. Over twenty seven countries were represented in the opening procession. (St. Thomas Aquinas parish was WELL REPRESENTED in this Liturgy!!!) As each country’s banner was carried in I could not help notice “IRELAND” and the adult carrying that banner accompanied by 5 or 6 children. So few! And then, the next day the St. Patrick’s Day Parade with over 150 groups marching with thousands upon thousands of young and old lining the parade route. As far as Irish heritage representation at the two events it would be fair to say “a noticeable difference!”.

There are many, many reasons and explanations for the difference in “attendance” and each has something to offer to the understanding. But one “question” does seem to surface “Are we (the Irish?… Or Indonesian?… Or Vietnamese?… Or Filipino?…or African American?… Or Italian… or ???) experiencing a separation of “culture” from “faith” that has not been the case in the past. Three to four hundred youth… dressed in green… were gently but firmly dispersed by the police at the parade as they chanted “U.S.A” while the groups marched past. Were the youth saying “We are here (in the U.S.A.) but we are different (from our immigrant ancestors!)??

Perhaps, we as a parish of immigrants, need to examine “who” we are and “who” we are called by God to become. Jeremiah tells us that God “placed my law within them and wrote it in their hearts”. As we move through these final days of Lent toward the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter, it is probably fitting for us to examine just “what” God has written in our hearts. And following the image of Christ’s Resurrection on Easter to ask ourselves just what kind of parish/community we want to become. Is there a “rising again” needed here at St. Thomas Aquinas? Is God challenging us to come up with a better way to respect our faith, our culture, our traditions as we live in this “U.S.A.”? To that end I am going to ask you to reserve on your busy calendars two “State of the Parish” meetings. History would say that we could “rest on our laurels” and as a parish “go gently into that good night”. Or, when others say “we would like to see Jesus” that we be still alive and well to help them meet Jesus here at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish!

Mark your calendars, please Tuesday May 12th 7:00 PM and Tuesday May 19th 7:00 PM Lower Hall “State of the Parish “ meetings. Father Shields


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