In many more basic cultures around the world today a family’s wealth is assessed by its possession of livestock. In many cultures young boys from about age six onward are delegated the task of caretaker of the animals. For months at a time the youngsters will live outside the village, outside of the family’s home, caring for, guiding, protecting and sleeping among the animals in their charge. Needless to say they too have to forge for their own food and water. In most counties around our country a summer tradition is the County Fair. Many people come together with their prize winning crops, crafts and livestock in order to share their accomplishments, compete with other local growers and even sell their animals to the highest bidder. We city folks when we attend these yearly week long events are often overcome with the smell of the animals that are huddled together in display barns. But the animal handlers, many youngsters from the farm families, don’t even detect the smell. The youngsters smell like the animals they care for. This weekend’s Gospel of John highlights Jesus as the good shepherd who has a relationship with His sheep. Unlike a hired hand who just does his job and leaves, the Good Shepherd has a caring, nurturing, and protective relationship with those in His care. Jesus too, smells like His sheep. The call to ministry is not the sole responsibility of Church leadership but belongs to all the Baptized. The first Letter of John reminds us: “Beloved, We are God’s children now.” As God’s children we are call to share the Good News of God our Heavenly Father. We’re not called to stand on street corners with bullhorns shouting messages that people are often too busy to hear. Rather, we are called to live among the sheep. We are called to encounter people where they are, live among them, care for them, assist them in their daily tasks and become living witnesses to the Gospel message. This task doesn’t happen accidentally but only when purposefully intended. As community gatherings of the Body of Christ, let us take on the task of purposefully reflecting on our Mission Fields and where we need to place our ministerial energy so that the Good News of Jesus may be preached and lived authentically in our world today.
PASTOR’S TRAVEL As founder and director of ROTA: Reaching Out 2 Africa, I have the great opportunity to occasionally travel to mission countries to begin, supervise and/or dedicate the completion of various mission projects. For the last few years ROTA has been lending support to a gentleman from Kenya who has been studying for the priesthood in the Diocese of Torit in Southern Sudan. Because of the tribal conflicts plaguing Southern Sudan, Deacon Richard Oduor will be ordained a priest in his home town of Kisumu Kenya by the retired and former Bishop of Torit, his lordship Paride Taban. Having hosted Bishop Taban during his visit and stay in Buffalo as well as supported Deacon Richard through the years I have been invited to attend his ordination. I will be leaving our country on Monday, May 7th and return two weeks later on the 22nd of May. While there in Kenya I will also make a brief visit to our mission friends in Masaka Uganda and Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa. Please pray for my successful and safe mission travel. Thank You…… Fr. Ron.
MESSAGE FROM OUR BISHOP’S OFFICE: Bishop Malone and his Presbyteral Council are currently looking into ways to promote both the spiritual welfare of priests and the liturgical life of each parish. They are particularly concerned about the number and quality of Masses celebrated at each parish. With a declining number of priests, we should not expect priests to celebrate more liturgies on a weekend than are needed; and, fewer Masses with larger attendance would encourage more vibrant celebrations of the Eucharist. The Bishop is asking all parishes to engage in a collaborate effort to look at Mass schedules and Mass attendance. This will be coordinated at the Vicariate level with suggestions to be sent to a Diocesan Task Force that has been established by the Bishop. Engagement in this process at the parish level will be vital in creating a revised and coordinated Vicariate Mass schedule that will promote the physical and spiritual well-being of priests as well as provide quality liturgical celebrations in each parish. This procedure will take place through this month of April.
THE PASTORAL MINISTRY TEAM of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, located at 8500 Main Street, Harris Hill, NY welcome all Charismatic/Pentecostal Catholics to worship with our community of faith four times a year on every Fifth Sunday. All are most welcome on Sunday, April 29th at the 5:00PM Mass. Music ministry will be provided by the People of Praise Christian Community. Let us gather to express our joy in our Risen Christ and Lord.