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Well, it's that time of year: "New beginnings" have begun! Grade school and high school are in full swing. College students have packed their cars and sped off to college. Sports are kicking into action at all levels - grade school, high school, college, and professional. And we even have a marriage every weekend from September 9 through November 11 (except one)!
When I think of these new beginnings I think of the THX sound advertisement before movies. In fact, the cover of the bulletin looks like the THX logo. Just as the THX ad sounds like an orchestra powering up, our new beginnings are powering up into a symphony of activity. But not just a new school year, new sports season, or new marriages - more importantly new faith activities.
Over the last year we have had the privilege of seeing 15 new faith opportunities open up at St. Francis. New opportunities to grow in our prayer life include Vietnamese Prayer Group, Healing Mass, God Squad Lenten Season, and the Novena for the Deceased. New formation opportunities include the young adult group, summer RCIA, Lay Carmelites, Church School, Mary's Mom's, Women of Faith, Discovering Christ, and all day pre-kindergarten. And new service opportunities are presented in the Master Server Program and Compassion without Borders. What a joy all of these opportunities are!
I want to thank all of those men and women who have so generously offered their time and talent to make these groups happen. These new beginnings have only taken place because men and women saw a need and responded to the call to serve. Thank you so very much!
Growth is a sign of life. Like the fresh green tips you see on pine trees in the Spring, new beginnings are true signs of life that add beauty to the community. There are other signs of life on our parish campus too, such as, the 20 men, women, and children who will be entering the Church on October 4 through the summer RCIA program. We also have six seminarians in the seminary this year: Deacon Garrett Burns, Deacon Todd Shepherd, Hayden Charles, Andrew Hamel, Matthew Cooke, and Thomas Timmermeyer. We also see growth through Mass participation and increased adoration.
The implementation of our parish vision is another new beginning. Our parish vision has given us a glimpse of future realities for which we want to strive. This year will be a foundational year in our five-year strategic plan. Over the summer our councils have entered into deep dialogue about how to match conciliar structure to the needs of our vision. And within the next two months we will begin prioritizing the steps of action to move forward in the three goals of our parish vision. Not to mention, that much information from our parish surveys has already been shared and some has even been implemented.
Like a THX sound system or new buds on pine trees our parish is experiencing new beginnings and is poised for more growth in the near future.