This past Monday-Wednesday, I was in Cincinnati for a conference called "the amazing parish." It is about helping pastors to lead parishes well, both spiritually and practically. I am certainly happy that St. Rose is one of the four parishes chosen from our diocese to attend the conference and to implement the amazing parish process.
The transformation begins with each pastor having a leadership team with whom he consults a least weekly. The team provides the pastor both support and accountability in leadership. I can speak from experience that isolation is the biggest challenge to a pastor being an effective and joyful leader of his parish.READ MORE
It is certainly the time for graduations in Murfreesboro. MTSU has already graduated. All the high school graduations took place over the past week and this weekend. Saint Rose School celebrated graduation this past Friday. Congratulations to all who have graduated. Congratulations as well to all who have supported the graduates over the years, especially parents and teachers. Graduation is an accomplishment for all of you!READ MORE
I may be getting into dangerous territory in talking about Mother's Day because for a number of people, this day may not have happy associations. My mother died the same year that I was ordained. Her approaching death was the reason for my ordination being moved up from June to March. I have therefore not had my mother during almost all of my priesthood. I do however cherish the memories of my mother and, in particular, those few months when I was a priest at the end of her life when I was allowed to spend a great deal of time caring for her. I count it one of the special blessings of being in Murfreesboro, which was her hometown, that I am able to visit her grave frequently and that of my father, who are both buried here in an old family plot in Evergreen Cemetery.
Whatever our own personal experiences or associations with Mother's Day, one fact that I appreciate more and more is that we all have a real mother in the Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus gave His mother to be our mother while he hung upon the cross. It is the most beautiful gift that he gave to us. Accept this gift of His Blessed Mother to you. When you need the embrace and encouragement that only a mother can give, let her embrace and encourage you. She is powerful, and she is good. She cares for you perfectly as her child. So Happy Mother's Day to the mother of us all in the family of God.
I remember from being a pastor of a parish with a school that May is a busy month, and it comes after a busy April with a late Easter. I would say that May is second only to December for extra events. Things will then settle down to a somewhat slower pace for the summer. Right at the beginning of May, I want to ask for your patience because I know that I will not be able to get to many things as soon as I would like to. This year we are short handed both with priests and with staff for the time being. I expect that we will be back up to full staffing over the summer, but in the mean time we are managing with what we have. Please be assured that we are responding and making appropriate changes in our financial procedures and that I will be reporting on these changes and new staff to you as soon as I am able.
All this being said, Saint Rose is an exciting parish. Last weekend, for example, a flood of God's mercy washed over the parish in the celebration of many, many confessions. On Saturday, there were three First Communion Masses. The graces just keep coming!