Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pushmepullyou

It’s déjà vu all over again!  Father Seith is here and suddenly you remember him from two years ago, when he was a seminarian just finished with second theology.  But the same weekend, there goes Keith Burney after eight weeks with us, heading back to seminary to complete the two years remaining before he, too, God willing, be ordained a priest.  Coming and going, one is as the other was, the other how they both will be.
You may think that they are here in our midst for what they have to offer, and so indeed they are.  But do not neglect to be aware of what you (individually and communally – I guess that would be “y’all”) have to offer them.  As Pastor, I receive them here in our parish, both as seminarian and new priest, with the confidence that you will give them freely all that you have, to help and form them as Christ would form them, by their union, each in proper Order, with His Body, the Church.
Keith left a note for me to share with you, so I pass it on to you below.
Monsignor Smith
Letter from Our Seminarian
This week in the Gospel, we hear Jesus use multiple parables to describe the Kingdom of Heaven, from it being like good seed in a field, to being a small mustard seed that grows into the largest of plants, to finally being like yeast that leavens the batch of dough.  Having spent eight weeks with you this summer, I can testify to the fact that the good seeds of faith have been planted here at Saint Bernadette and are growing abundantly. 
During my after-communion reflection last week, I related how I truly encountered Christ once again, and have been reaffirmed in my vocation, through the beauty, truth, and goodness that I experienced during my assignment here.  Consequently, it occurred to me while writing this column that this is precisely the yeast that leavens the faith of the parish. 
We know that the various vices of our times and culture provide more than enough weeds to choke the faith.  However, the beauty, truth, and goodness that we experience through the liturgies we celebrate, the Gospel that is preached to us, the virtues of our communal life together – not to mention the sheer fact of receiving the living God in the Eucharist and other sacraments – gives us everything we need for the faith to grow and flourish, even in the midst of those weeds.  That is why it is so important for all of us to remain rooted in the Church’s sacramental and communal life, so that we may remain united to Jesus and allow the Kingdom to grow strong in our midst.
So, as I move on to another year of formation in the seminary and another pastoral assignment, I give thanks to God for the presence of Christ here at Saint Bernadette, for the vibrant faith of its parishioners, and for the blessing of spending this short time with you.  The seeds of my own vocation, which I described in my first column as being planted in my own home parish many years ago, have certainly been nourished and continued to grow stronger by my eight weeks here in this parish. 
Please be assured of my continued prayers for you all, and please continue to pray for me and all of my fellow seminarians, that we may remain faithful to the Lord’s call and that we persevere in doing His Will.  May God bless all of you!

Keith Burney

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