Saturday, September 16, 2017

Nothing Fake

After all those quiet Sundays, the announcements at Mass are suddenly filled with news you can use.  Last week, there was a call for help with the upcoming Fall Festival.  I mentioned to the folks at the nine o’clock Mass that it’s a great thing to which to invite friends, neighbors, co-workers, and passersby who are not parishioners, or not even Catholic.
The Fall Festival this year will be the afternoon of Sunday, October first – only two weeks away.  It is usually the most beautiful weather of the year, and a great time to be outside with the family.  There are games and activities and vendors and tents and ponies and Boy Scouts and baked goods and just about everything, but mainly there’s US – the people of Saint Bernadette.  It’s a beautiful time to be together.  And because of that, it’s a beautiful time for other people who ordinarily are not, to be with us.
This is NOT a fundraiser; it’s what we call a community-builder.  We try to bring in more than we lay out, but the last few years we haven’t cleared that bar.  You know what?  It is STILL worth doing!  But the more folks who come, the less it will cost us.  And folks need to know we are not trying to get anything out of them; we are simply inviting them to get to know us.
So please, this week, start inviting folks to come to the Fall Festival here.  Your neighbors who have kids.  Your neighbors who don’t have kids at home anymore and might enjoy spending time around ours.  Your friends from work who might be looking for a family activity for a beautiful fall weekend afternoon.  Invite people!  It will make it more fun for all of us.
That’s not the only thing happening around here.  We had Back To School Nights this past weekend, and it was great to see the parents re-discovering, or learning for the first time, what an excellent school we have.  The kids grow and learn so fast, it is a real marvel to see all that goes into filling that growth with not only knowledge, but also truth; not only ability, but also virtue.   The people who make it happen in our school are truly gifted, and graced. 
Speaking of grace, and wisdom, and truth, I need to restock the tank.  Taking heed of the Master Himself, who said "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." (Mark 6:31) I will be going on retreat this week.   I would be grateful for your prayers.  And since I will be driving that direction, I will be visiting Fr. Nick Zientarski in his new parish, Saint Christopher in Baldwin, New York.  He has invited me to concelebrate the Mass at which he will be formally installed as Pastor, Sunday morning September 24th.  That is too good to pass up, so I will spend next weekend with him, and you will not see me about the place here as I usually am at all the Masses.  But we have a deep bench here on Team Bernadette, so you’ll hardly suffer the loss.  I will assure Fr. Nick of your prayers and love, so don’t forget to send what I am promising!
These are exciting days at the parish, and it would be easy to take it for granted that everybody is as busy and as blessed as we are.  But that is not true; our parish, our Church, our Faith are a great gift, which we have all received from someone who loved us, and cared for us.  One of the best ways to demonstrate our awareness of this debt, and our gratitude for this gift, is to extend it to others whom we love. 
Talk up the Fall Festival; it’s a blast.  If you hear someone expressing dismay with the school situation of one or more of their kids, invite them to examine ours.  It’s a good time to transfer rather than endure a bad year!  And offer somebody a glimpse of the Faith that sustains you, and an invitation to explore it in RCIA.  You see, you have the news that your friends can use.

Monsignor Smith