This verse from this Sunday’s psalm reflects how I often feel here at St. Mary’s, when I consider all the good things that God’s providence causes to emerge in our parish. This last Sunday in Ordinary time before Lent might be a good time to share a few recent blessings.
Firstly, some really good news: we have undertaken to sponsor a refugee family of four, a father and his three young adult children who are presently in a refugee camp in Uganda. We are able to do this because all they are asking of us is that we sign on as the formal sponsor. Their family here will provide the funds they will need upon arrival, and take care of their re-settlement and the costs of lodging.
Secondly, we have a new ministry! A digital ministry team. A bunch of young experts in everything having to do with computers, the internet, and digital design. They have gotten us onto Instagram, they have freshened up our Facebook page, and are discerning how to go about achieving a much more engaging webpage for the parish. They have plans for other things as well, like posting videos and providing podcasts. The ultimate goal is to reach out as a parish, in a language that is relevant to them, to people, especially young people whose natural home is the world of social media. They are already getting results. This is all thanks to Edwin and to a team of young adults that are working with him in PREP and RCIA.
Thirdly, Ave Maria Gardens, a brand new ministry here at St. Mary’s of which I’ve already spoken here, have the wind in their sails. They have connected with all kinds of groups and ministry teams in the parish, and their own flower-making based ministry is growing fast and wide. It seems to appeal enormously to all kinds of people. Who knows where this will lead us!
Fourthly, last Wednesday evening I was at our regional Catholic High School, Notre-Dame’s AGM. I was extremely impressed, and touched, by all that I heard. The verse from Psalm 126 ran through my mind: “Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy.” When I left Vancouver in 2006, poor Notre-Dame was struggling seriously. What was then still just a dream of expanding the school seemed like something hopelessly beyond our grasp, for all sorts of reasons. And there were so many other issues in the school. Fourteen years later, Notre-Dame has experienced a complete turn-around. The school is built and almost completely paid for. There remains only the playing field and parking lot to be completed. The school is full to capacity, and therefore its finances are very sound. It is excelling in every area of endeavour, academically, in the sports world, and in the world of fine arts. From the source of great concern that was for me 14 years ago, it has become a school to be envied in every respect. I left that AGM in a very joyful, and deeply thankful mood. God has turned our tears into joy. Thanks be to God.
God’s providence to us at St. Mary’s and at Notre-Dame is such that I have come to actually expect unexpected, unforeseeable, unhoped-for blessings!
I hope and pray that sometime soon, there will be announcements of yet other developments that, God willing, will enhance our parish’s vitality. But we don’t know in advance what they are. We can only propose. God, walking on the waters of our initiatives, always brings to life what He wants for our parish.
May our life as a parish unfold entirely according to His will.