Saturday, January 21, 2012

Not passing when the hat is passed

First, some business: My congratulations and thanks to all of you who participated in the Cardinal’s Appeal this year. As you can see in the accompanying insert from the Archdiocese, the Appeal raised a record amount last year, mainly to assist all those in Washington who look to the Church when they have true needs that cannot, or will not, be met by anyone else.

As for our part in that, Saint Bernadette was assigned a goal of just over $139,000. We pledged over $160,000, but actually contributed only 137,070 by the time the Appeal closed accounts this month. What happened to that $27,000? I don’t know – things come up, folks get distracted, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs even when it comes to giving. But remember this in coming Appeals when it seems that already enough has been pledged to meet our goal. Not everyone can or will follow through on those pledges, so we still need you!

The other fun fact is that our participation this year up again: 455 households donated (or pledged, I don’t know which), which seems respectable at 42.55 percent of the 1,082 households currently registered in our parish. Interestingly, this is very near the percentage and count of households who participate in our parish offertory. Now that number may not strike you as being quite so respectable, especially if you give steadily and know from experience how important that is to your relationship with Christ! I don’t want to alarm folks, but will mention further that the percentage of parishioners who give steadily is lower still.

It is a tough sell in this demanding world to point out that we need to give – we need to give in order to live. There is so much insistence that the opposite is true; this call to give can seem a small voice indeed. It is the still, small voice of God Himself; the voice crying in the wilderness; and in fact the very Word, who took flesh and dwelt among us. This is my beloved Son; listen to Him!

Now for a story. In July of 1978, the Smith family was returning to Alabama from a three-week, 6,000 mile journey through the American and Canadian West, from Pike’s Peak to Columbia Icefields, including Banff, Lake Louise, Glacier, and Yellowstone parks. Having stopped in St. Joseph, Missouri, for their second-to-last night in a hotel, they awoke to find a message at the desk informing them that their Oldsmobile station wagon had been robbed overnight. There was little in the car to steal, but among the items taken was the tote containing undeveloped rolls of vacation pictures from several of the family’s cameras, and one cherished souvenir: a black cowboy hat from Calgary.

While in Tucson last week with my parents, sister Suzy, and her family, we hiked the mountains and the desert, visited missions and galleries, and had many delightful meals, including New Mexican, Poblano, barbecue (in a train car no less!) and home-cooked. On my last afternoon in town, having seen and done everything we could think of, my folks asked if there was anything else I wanted to do before we headed back to the casita. I suggested that I would like to try to find a hat. The iPhone indicated a nearby place called Arizona Hatters.

Half an hour later, as we happily drove away from the store wondering how I could safely lug my purchase on the long plane trip, I noticed a deeper satisfaction than I could explain by the hat’s fit, shape, or color. Then I remembered that sad day in Missouri in 1978.

The ancient wrong has been righted. You’ll see the evidence about campus. God bless!

Monsignor Smith

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