Letters from our Pastor, Fr Ben

 

Letter 1    Letter 2

 

02Ss. Cyril & Methodius Slovak Catholic Church

41233 Ryan Road

Sterling Heights, MI 48314

(586) 726-6911

www.saintcyrils.org

 

 

October, 2015

 

My Dear Parishioners, Moji milí farníci!

Pochválený buď Ježiš Kristus! = Praise be to Jesus Christ!

 

Two months ago I had the occasion to be at a conference with a small gathering of priests. One of them told us that growing up, the only time he heard the voice of his cardinal was at CSA time.

 

Immediately I was reminded about my PAST LETTERS to you, my dear parishioners. You usually receive them around Festival time, asking you to sell raffle tickets or tied to some other financial request.

I realized that while MONEY helps to sustain our parish facilities, ministries, staff, evangelization efforts, and helps our mission outreach, I have not shared with you regularly those things that are on my heart or what direction our parish is taking.

 

I would like to remedy that with this letter. At least some of it.

 

In my opinion, our parish is the BEST PARISH God could have given me. I want you to know that you are God's gift to me.

 

Our parish is a growing parish. We have steadiness. Yes, we have tensions.  But, we also have a continuing desire to be better, and to be HOLY.

 

In recent months what has captured my attention and directs my thoughts and efforts is this burning question: Is our parish a MISSION parish or a MAINTENANCE parish? Does it serve only those who come regularly or is our primary effort directed towards reaching out to those who are not yet here, who are random visitors, who are seekers, who are unchurched? Are we happy that we are where we are or does each one of us feel a burning need to bring Jesus to those who are not here with us now?

 

I am very convinced that a parish needs to do both: bring the existing parishioners closer to the Lord, as well as those who are just joining now. Also, each one of us needs to be transformed into a person on a mission who reaches out to those who are not yet here.

 

I would like to suggest something very simple:  

·                     Invite someone to come with you to Holy Mass (and offer them a ride if needed).

·                     Repeat that invitation.

·                     Invite someone to one or all of these suggested parish events like the:

o        Parish Mission with Fr. Greg Bramlage [November 2-4]

o        Men's Conference [November 14]

o        Mother of Mercy, Our Lady of Guadalupe Presentation [December 11]

o        Apologetics Conference, MAC III [January 16]

 

When they do come, help them to follow the Mass and introduce them to your friends. You never know what part of the experience may touch them and awaken in them a desire to return.

 

My other request and plea to you is this: PARTICIPATE in the Holy Mass with your HEART and your VOICE. Help your kids to do it as well. I still see people standing or sitting during the hymns or other responses and not moving their lips. ENGAGE. Being engaged honors Jesus and inspires others to do so.

 

In this portion I would like to write something in Slovak.

 

Moji milí farníci!

 

Som rád, že sa môžem ku vám prihovoriť aj takýmto spôsobom. Spoločne budujeme našu farnosť posledných 17 rokov. Áno, je to už toľko rokov. Som vám veľmi VĎAČNÝ za vašu pomoc, modlitby a akúkoľvek maličkosť, ktorá mi pomáha byť vaším kňazom. Zo srdca prosím o ODPUSTENIE vás a všetkých tých, ktorí odišli z našej farnosti kvôli mojím chybám. Nech ich a nás Boh uzdraví, požehná a vedie ku šťastiu, ktoré dáva Ježiš.

 

Chcem vás všetkých poprosiť o POMOC. O pomoc pri budovaní a rozvíjaní našej farnosti, ktorá nesmie byť len akýmsi klubom, ktorý slúži len zaregistrovaným členom. Rád by som bol, aby sme boli spoločenstvom, duchovnou rodinou, ktorá sa raduje z dobrých vecí v našich životoch a spolucíti s tými, ktorí prechádzajú cez ťažkosti. Rodinou, ktorá sa stále zaujíma, hľadá a opakovane volá tých, ktorí medzi nami NIE SÚ, ktorí sú zranení, stratení, ktorí trpia a zápasia. Budujme spoločenstvo, v ktorom mnohí nájdu uzdravenie a posilu. Spoločenstvo, v ktorom sa stretnú s Ježišom, práve preto, lebo sme sa s Ním stretli my.

 

Ešte jedna vec, ktorú mám na srdci. Naše DETI a MLÁDEŽ.  Sú naším vzácnym pokladom. Ako dobre, že sú medzi nami. Som rád, že mnohí z nich sú pravidelne na slovenskej svätej omši. Teším sa, že mnohí tancujú v Šarišane. Ale aj vnímam, že mnohí sa do svätej omši nezapájajú odpoveďami, ktoré nám, odchovaným na Slovensku, prichádzajú oveľa ľahšie ako im. Pomôžte im, ak sú pri vás. Zvlášť OSOBNÝ PRÍKLAD je nesmierne dôležitý. Povzbudzujte ich. Rozmýšľajme spolu, ako dosiahnuť ich aktívne, živšie zapojenie sa do odpovedí a spevu.

 

Zo srdca vám ĎAKUJEM, že prispievate ku životu farnosti, ktorá je srdečná a otvorená ku každému, kto ku nám príchádza.

 

 

I wish all of us, EVERY DAY, to encounter Jesus, to grow in Jesus and to witness Jesus.

 

 

Fr. Ben

 

Letter 2

 

December 2015/January 2016

My Dear Parishioners, Moji milí farníci!

Pochválený buď Ježiš Kristus! = Praise be to Jesus Christ!

 

This is a beautiful time of the year: Advent – Christmas – New Year 2016.

By the time you read this letter, most likely the Christmas days will be just behind us.  I hope that you have taken the opportunity (or will still take time) to pray at the Manger and truly look at Jesus.  He IS and WILL always be not only the reason for the season but the REASON for your life.  He gives us HOPE and PURPOSE.  He is changing the meaning of our lives, if we will only listen.

 

This YEAR OF MERCY began on a very special day for all Americans.  It began on the Feast Day of the Immaculate Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the Patroness of the United States of America. Our National Shrine in Washington DC is dedicated in her honor. She is the Mother of Mercy and the best example of mercy in words and actions. As you pray the Rosary, ponder this thought:  How did Jesus teach mercy to His mother and disciples, and how did she respond by being merciful to all her children through all generations?  I encourage you to pray at least one decade of the Rosary. A decade a day keeps the devil away!

 

The New Year gives us an opportunity to begin ANEW.  Our God is a God of new beginnings.  Take advantage of this opportunity to begin anew.  Choose to do someting BEAUTIFUL FOR GOD.  Get involved.  Get involved in our parish.  Get involved beyond our parish as God inspires you.  There are so many opportunities to SERVE.  I invite you to attend our Mini Ministry Fair on Janury 9 and 10.  (The five important ministries involved in this Fair are looking for you and really need your help.)  The Apostle Saint James put it so very eloquently when he said that faith can only bear fruit through good works.

 

This is my second personal letter to you, my dear parishioners. When I sent my first letter in October, I had hoped that there would be a good number of people who would comment on it.  I want to thank those of you who commented and acknowledged it.  It is always so good to get FEEDBACK.  When you provide feedback, it shows that the things I communicate matter to you.  It shows me that you take ownership of our parish.  Please know that I am interested in what you think. Whether you agree with me or not, I really do want to know.

 

Based on my first letter in which I asked you to think about the difference between a parish that focuses on maintenance of people and resources versus a parish on a mission that devotes every effort to awaken the faithful and reach the lost, I wonder: Were you a MISSIONARY to someone that you did not know? Were you a missionary to someone that you do know? Did you invite someone to our church?  To a parish event?  How did that go? Did you notice someone that you have not seen at our parish before?  Did you reach out to someone who may be a regular parishioner and who you‘ve never spoken to?  Did you reach out to those around you – family and friends – and possibly minister to them?  Did you invite them to join us?  TRY AGAIN.  The Lord wants us to never give up. 

 

Perhaps you could bring them to Holy Mass or to one of these upcoming special events:

 

·                     Apologetics Conference, MAC III [January 16]

·                     Called and Gifted Workshop [February 13]

·                     Parish Mission with Fr. Ronan Murphy [February 21 – 28]

·                     10 Ways to be a Great Evangelist Workshop [March 4 or March 8]

·                     Lenten Symposium [March 12]

 

A final thought for you to ponder: If YOU and I do not share Jesus and His Good News, WHO WILL?

 

I wish each of us, EVERY DAY, to encounter Jesus, to grow in Jesus and to witness Jesus.

 

In this portion I would like to write something in Slovak.

 

Moji milí farníci!

 

Zo sdrca vám všetkým prajem Požehnané Vianoce a Požehnaný Nový Rok! Ježiš prišiel, lebo nás MILUJE a my ho POTREBUJEME. Nech Rok 2016 je novou príležitosťou osvojiť si Ježišove slová a príklad a zdielať Ho s ľuďmi, ktorých nám Boh pošle do života.

 

Ďakujem tým, ktorí reagujú na rozličné úsilia o OŽIVENIE našej slovenskej komunity. Osobitne som veľmi vďačný Fr. Liborovi, že sa zdieľa so svojou múdrosťou, štúdiami a záujmom o nás všetkých, a tak mi pomáha, aby naša komunita nebola na bočnej kolaji vo farskom živote.

 

Obaja sme VÁŽIME nápady a akúkoľvek spätnú väzbu, ktorú nám dáte. Ak som to ešte nedal dostatočne najavo, prosím vás o spätnú väzbu. Nemusíme mať na všetko ten istý názor, ale nebáť sa otvoriť ústa a dať najavo, čo sa vám páči a čo nie, je znakom, že chcete BUDOVAŤ naše spoločenstvo. Hlboko si vážim zvlášť slová, ktoré nielen opisujú situáciu, ale poskytujú aj riešenie a ponúkajú osobné zaangažovanie sa.

 

Dúfam, že ste si našli čas prečítať si aj anglickú časť toho listu. Sme JEDNA FARNOSŤ a mojou túžbou je vzájomné obohacovanie. Keď sa vnímame ako súčasť celej farskej rodiny, Duch Svätý v nás posiľňuje a vedie ku daru jednoty a spolupráce. Všetci máme „busy lives“, životy naplnené rozličnými aktivitami. Duch Svätý nám pripomína, aby sme nezabudli na misiu, poslanie, ktoré nám dal Ježiš: hľadať stratených, prebúdzať spiacich vo viere a budovať Cirkev svojimi darmi. Každý z nás ich má a tie nesmú zostať nepoužité a zakopané.

 

Zo srdca vám ĎAKUJEM, že prispievate ku životu farnosti, ktorá je otvorená ku každému, kto ku nám prichádza.

 

Fr. Ben

 

 

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