On Tuesday, the parish office re-opened after Christmas break and we had our staff meeting. We hold semi-monthly meetings with the pastoral staff to keep each other connected and up to date with the various activities and ministry work going on in the parish. To build a positive staff culture, we share highs and lows of a personal or professional nature and in doing so we get to know each other on a more intimate level. I call it Peak-Pit-Prayer and it is a suggestion from Patrick Lencioni with the Amazing Parish Group. We share something that is a positive or high point—a peak of the week, then a negative or low point—a pit of the week and then ask for a prayer in which we as staff can hold each other in prayer for the rest of the week. It has been a super positive experience for us as a team, especially during the COVID days when we were not able to get together in person. These are shared in confidence as a staff and we do not share specifics without permission.
Last week, as we shared our peak-pit-prayers, a number of the staff shared the same sequence. Their peak was having their kids or grandkids back for Christmas holidays, their pit was their kids or grandkids were leaving again and they will not see them till Easter. When it was my turn, I shared that my peak was also that so many of my children showed up for Christmas Mass and my pit was they all left again, as I did not see as many of them on New Year’s Day, and perhaps I will not see them until Easter! We all laughed a little, but it is true and hard for all of us to not see each other regularly.
This reminded me of how important staying in touch with family really is for us. I know I have shared this story with you before but when my mother was alive, I called her every Friday at noon. Those calls were so important to her and to me. Sometimes we chatted about something significant, sometimes trivial matters but we chatted weekly no matter what. When she died and I was not able to be there in person because of the great distance, those weekly calls gave me great consolation of our shared love.
I know that all of you are busy with many things and most of them are important. But I invite you to take the time to call your mother and father each week (or another close family member or dear friend) and chat briefly, no matter the history of your relationship. Choose a time that is convenient for both of you, make it weekly and just chat. I promise you that those phone calls will become incredibly important for you and them. Do not underestimate the gift of those calls. While not any one of those phone calls will be particularly memorable or significant, the regularity of the calls will form your heart in love. Stay in contact with your loved ones and express your love for them in this simple way. It will be a great consolation to you one day.
Our relationship with God and his Church is of the same nature. Make a commitment to come to church in person each week if you are able and bring your family or a friend. If you are not able, watch on livestream (a gift to us from the pandemic). While not any one of those Sunday Masses will be particularly memorable or significant, the regularity of coming to church will form your heart in love of His community and of God directly. Stay in contact with God and express your love for Him in this simple way of making Mass a regular commitment again. Make it a habit for you and your children. I promise you that those Sunday Masses will become incredibly important for you and to God. Do not underestimate the gift of community prayer as it will form us into a community that loves each other and God.
Talking of community, I look forward to being with you at the Saint Simon Auction on February 11, 2023. It has been four years since our last auction, and it’s time to get together and build community again. The committee has been working hard to secure donations and plan a wonderful evening for us all to enjoy at Villa Ragusa. Early bird ticket pricing ends this January 9th. To buy tickets and for information on how to make a donation or become a sponsor, please visit our Saint Simon Auction 2023 webpage here.