Dear Community of St. Bernard,
In May we held ZIP Code meetings for the three regions of our parish – Central, West, and East. Once again I thank each and every one of you who took the time to participate. Although the turnout was light, the benefit was huge. This past week the Pastoral Council received the compiled responses from the participants.
I have asked the Council members to read over the responses, prayerfully! Not so we can formulate some big strategic plan, but more importantly to see what God is doing in our midst. Our patron, St. Bernard (1090-1153) taught that a wise person is one who reflects on the working of the Holy Spirit in their life. He said ‘be like a reservoir that receives water and retains it until the water overflows its banks’. Our parishioner, Jim Burand (11:30 Mass) pointed out this insight of St. Bernard to me. Jim compared our parish to a reservoir that receives people from all over Akron, like water, and is filled with God’s Holy Spirit by your presence. For this reason, it is important to reflect closely on God’s presence and action in our personal lives and that of this parish. And then discern where and how that Spirit overflows into the lives of those around us.
Make sense to you? How then are you allowing the Spirit of God’s grace to come into your life? Do you take time to pray DAILY, listen to Catholic speakers, read spiritual books/articles? Often I hear people say that they intend to be more disciplined about spiritual practices (exercises). I’ve even said it! St. Bernard is often quoted for saying: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Being disciplined is being a Disciple. With a busy schedule, I know the challenges personally to be disciplined in prayer, Scripture reading, spiritual exercises, etc. You just have to make the time, I tell myself.
For over two years now the parish staff has been working at a hectic pace. (Keep in mind that the staff is also responsible for St. Mary Parish and its School.) Staff and volunteers have been working overtime in order to serve the needs of many (people and buildings). Since summer is usually a slower time in most parishes with a school, we are cutting back our daily office hours for THIS summer (9:00am – 1:30pm). We ask your cooperation by making your non-emergency needs known when the offices are open. Small groups that meet here are asked to do so before 1:00pm; or on a Sunday before or after Mass; or in a participant’s home.
This cut back will also be a slight financial savings to the parish. As the fiscal year comes to a close on June 30, we will publish our statement and projected budget this summer. Each week we publish in the bulletin the monetary sacrifices you make at all the weekend Masses. I do not publish what we ‘need to get’ every weekend. It leads to minimalism. What needs to go in the Mass offering is your sacrifice to God because of your trust in His providential care and out of gratitude for His blessings. IF you do that, I trust He will keep us open; and be an ‘overflowing reservoir’ of His Spirit of love in downtown Akron. God give you Peace, Fr. Dan