August 13, 2017

GOD’S SAFE HARBOR

Life can be viewed as journey, pilgrimage or still better as voyage – because often we’re driven by forces more powerful than ourselves, like wind and wave of unexpected situations. We sail upon a rippling surface of events, feeling the joy of movement, being alive and going somewhere. When things go well, we feel the contentment of those experienced sailors, the apostles, on their way home across the quiet lake of Galilee.

However, life is not always composed of quiet and enjoyable sailing. Our own life-voyage has its share of storms too; like anxieties, problems and pressures of various kinds. How often a sudden turn of events can disturb our inner peace. Are we on a charted course, or just drifting along without any determined direction? Many find it hard enough to stay afloat in bewilderingly changing times. We are often struggling with family, work relationships or we are painfully insecure in ourselves.

Those frightened apostles in the storm can be us today. We are those sailors tossing about in the waves. Various remedies are tried to ease the upsets of our voyage, like varied brands of medication for sea-sickness! A long quiet rest, a change of occupation, psychiatric help or counselling, Yoga, Tai-Chi or Meditation, each has its own advantages. But what better remedy can we find in times of stress than an understanding friend? Today’s Gospel suggests that our best and most constant recourse is none other than Christ himself.

God is present where we least expect him. Sometimes He is a hidden, unseen presence, not always easy to discover. It takes faith to see God at work in our lives when things are going south. The apostles were amazed to see Christ coming to them in the middle of the storm, for – at that stage – they were men of little faith. We don’t expect to be immune from the hardships and problems faced by all the other voyagers on this sea of life. Indeed, being tested as we are, our Lord shared fully in all of these anxieties.

So, if the Church is like a boat – with no idle passengers, for all are needed to row – then we have as destination the safe harbor of eternal life. With the compass of faith, and Christ himself as unseen captain of the ship, that harbor will surely be reached. In the meantime, though tossed about by circumstances, He tells us: “Courage! Do not be afraid, you of little faith!”

Father Matt

MISSION APPEAL IN OUR PARISH

On the weekend of August 19 & 20, Rev. Thomas Rayar who is originally from India and serving in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will be here to make a mission appeal for his native diocese, Sivagangai. The diocese of Sivagangai was established in 1987. This is a relatively new mission diocese in the State of Tamil Nadu (India) consisting of Sivagangai and Ramnad civil districts, which are the poorest districts in the State.

The diocese is in need of external help to run its mission consisting of about 190,000 Catholics in the population of more than 2.5 million in the area of 8400 square kilometer. About 30% of the diocesan Catholics belong to the low caste who are economically and educationally poor who live on $2 – $3 per day. About 50% of the population consists of small farmers and unskilled laborers who heavily depend upon the erratic monsoon for their livelihood. The rest of the population (20%) belongs to the fishermen community whose livelihood has been supported by the seasonal fishing.

When the diocese was established there were only 38 priests, many of whom were aged. Today the diocese is proud of having nearly 200 diocesan priests, 96 religious priests and 434 religious nuns serving in its mission. During the last 30 years, the diocese has started many orphanages and high schools and higher secondary schools, middle schools and primary schools (183 total). There were only 39 parishes when the diocese was started. At present there are 84 parishes and 737 mission stations.

The fund collected through this mission appeal will be used for the work of evangelization and educational ministries for the poor children in the orphanages in the diocese of Sivagangai.

MINISTRIES AND ORGANIZATIONS

Bereavement Support & Ministry
“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”
The Monday Night Widow/Widowers Group:
A social group for widows and widowers. Next meeting: August 14th in Cerullo Hall at 6:30 PM.
Spouse Bereavement Group:
A support group for people grieving the death of their spouse. Next meetings: August 22nd at 7:00 PM in the RUSSO ROOM. For information contact Dr. Rachel Rengifo at 201-500-2068.

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