Dear Fellow Parishioners,
What happens when the pastor gets sick? This question popped into my mind when I woke up Saturday morning with little strength, a fever and body aches. On top of everything, we had a full schedule; returning to the regular 3-Mass schedule on the weekend, covenant Sunday for Faith Formation at each of the Masses, anointing of a dear parishioner at the 4:00 Mass; anointing of the sick following the 10:30 Mass and Marriage preparation at noon! How can I find a priest to fill in on short notice? When weeks and months of preparation went into these events and continue with homily series: “This is us!” All right, I will rest till I have to come in and do the best I can without infecting the rest of the community. Besides, this too will pass.
As I struggled through the weekend, I like many of us when we get sick wonder where we picked up the germs that take us down? Was it at the hospital on Wednesday? Was it visiting the nursing home? Was it anointing someone in their home this week? Well, what difference does it make? We all need to live the gospel and so I moved on from there.
Then I thought of when I was a newly ordained priest at St. Joan of Arc. We were four priests serving the parish with 11 weekend Masses. A regular weekend was 4 Masses. When the pastor got sick, there were three of us there to kick in and we all knew what was happening that weekend in the parish so no big deal. Well, things have changed, haven’t they? The church looks quite different now. This is the church of the Laity, not the church of the clergy and the sisters that took care of everything.
How important it is for all of us to rise to the occasion and take responsibility for our parish. Taking leadership roles in our parish ministries is essential. If everyone does their part, all will work together for the good. Don’t think, “Let someone else do it.” Step up to the plate and work together. There used to be three priests here at Sacred Heart, now there is me. We want to continue to be a vibrant faith community. To do so takes all of us sharing our time, talent and treasure with the larger community.
I am writing this from home as I try to regain my health. I slept 4 hours Sunday afternoon, and thought, “How am I going to sleep tonight? I’ll be up all night!” Well I went to bed at nine and woke up more than 12 hours later! Guess I needed the rest. I hate to admit it, but I am not getting any younger, and may have other sick days in the weeks, months and years ahead. Hopefully we can all take responsibility for who we are as a parish and work at this together. Even though I was sick this past weekend, did you notice all those around who made sure everything happened without a hitch?! It takes a parish fully involved to keep us on track!