Last Saturday’s first gathering of the “Holy Hikers” was very enjoyable to me. We leisurely walked the trail to the Stone House at Salt Fork State Park. One of the hikers provided a map of the various kinds of wildflowers in bloom along that mostly wooded, hillside trail. I learned about Dutchman’s Breeches, Virginia Bluebells, Mayapples and many more. I’m already looking forward to Sunday afternoon on May 23rd, for our next opportunity. Since some families with younger children have expressed interest, we will plan for a trail that can be navigated by a full range of hikers.
This past Monday and Tuesday, we hosted a two-day diocesan retreat gathering at Sts. Peter & Paul in Lore City. This was for five pastors of our Diocese to learn about approaches to parish renewal. It was an encouraging gathering to consider ways for our parishes to gain a more dynamic focus, shifting our emphasis “from maintenance to mission.” We spend a lot of time in our ministry as pastors on some of the “nickels and noses” aspects of parish life. The approaches we focused on during that gathering have an emphasis on the “mission” of being parishes alive in Jesus.
I am looking forward to sharing with our various parish groups, ranging from our choirs to advisory councils to outreach groups, the vision expressed in that gathering. This will be unfolding over several months. We would have support and interaction with other parishes, too, which is another component of enabling more dynamic renewal of our parishes to happen.
This past week’s gathering also had an emphasis on renewal of my own relationship with the Lord to then help me as a pastor to remain better grounded in my prayer life. For me, it was an opportunity for a renewed personal connection with the Holy Spirit. I am definitely looking forward to seeing how the Holy Spirit will guide enlivening various aspects of ministry and parish life.
This time of year, as many of you are working on lawns and in gardens, please note that we will be reviewing our cemeteries and their needs. I am grateful for the many who have been keeping an eye on the many maintenance needs of our cemeteries. Our cemetery Regulations and Prices are due for review. You can see them at our parish website at this address: https://www.christourlightparish.com/Cemetery. Additionally, several parishioners have asked about the possibility of a mausoleum at one of our three cemeteries. That is certainly worth weighing. There are some possible locations, such as near the Sacred Heart statue (currently under repair) at our St. Benedict Mt. Calvary Cemetery. New signage to our Sts. Peter & Paul Cemetery is being planned as is additional work on straightening many of the headstones at our Holy Trinity Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Byesville. Do we need a cemetery advisory council/committee?!
May the Lord help us to experience the transforming power of God’s love and mercy. Happy Easter!