People Raiser XV

10-06-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

People Raiser XV is on its way next weekend: What Return Shall I make to the Lord? This is an invitation to put your gifts at the service of the Lord. “And why should I do that”, you ask, “I have enough to do already”? Well simply put, whatever you have belongs to the Lord. And if you are a follower of Jesus you know that He has told us again and again that we will be asked how we have leveraged our gifts for the Kingdom of God.

Remember our new Parish motto that we unveiled last year: Pray, Serve, Give, Connect. Well this is the Serve part. The People Raiser provides you with an opportunity to find ways to serve, to match your gifts with a ministry that needs what you have and what you can do. I have never met anyone who regretted serving. I have never met anyone who at the end of their days on earth said: I am angry that I volunteered so much or that I donated so much or I spent so much time helping other. No, it is usually the other way around: “I wish I had…”

I know for sure that I have been greatly blessed by God and many times despite myself. Aside from the gratitude that comes with that I always ask myself, “what does God want of me”? Why does He bestow gifts if He is not expecting them to be used beyond my own well-being? How can I then return to the Lord with increase?

Are you, through whatever gifts and blessings you have received being or trying to be the answer to someone else’s prayers? Have you realized that God has brought you to this point in your life, not just for your own well-being but for that of others as well? Or are you hiding your light under a bushel basket?

One of the reasons we hold our annual People Raiser next weekend is to highlight the various ministries of service that can help you become the answer to another’s prayers. Most of the service opportunities were begun not by an official mandate of the Church but because at some time someone was inspired to do something. That something grew in an organized way and opened the way for others to use their resources, gifts, and blessings for others.

Each year we host a People Raiser, not only to resupply our ministries or grow new ones but also because it helps us be who we are. As Christians the command to serve others is integral to the exercise of our faith. In fact, if you are not serving in any way then you are not fulfilling your baptismal promises. Participating in the sacraments, attending Mass, going to confession, and otherwise praying are not the only part of being Catholic. This weekend challenge yourself to fully implement your faith and be faithful to all the precepts of the Church. It is simple, though not always easy. But we suggest you follow the Rule of One: one hour of prayer (not including Mass), one hour of service and the first hour of wages dedicated to the Sunday collection each week. This is a place to start. My hope is that you build on that and bring yourself to one hour of prayer a day, ten percent of each week’s time to service and the entire first morning of your work week to the collection.

Christian service brings joy. If you are wondering why you’re not so joyful, happy or act like you were baptized with vinegar ask yourself how and how consistently do I serve? And why not try to become the answer to someone’s prayer?

The way to avoid regret at the end of your life, to not find yourself saying, Gee, I wish I had… is to pray now, serve now and give now.

Love,

Fr. John B.

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