In the mid 90’s when I experienced “Mission” in Eden, NY, the one song that most impacted me was the one with the lyrics: “Open my eyes Lord, I want to see Jesus. To reach out and touch Him and say that I love Him…. I want to see Jesus.” That sums up the major theme of this fourth Sunday of Lent. The man born blind is in the presence of Jesus. He may have been listening to His teaching. In ancient times physical illness and infirmity was thought to be a consequence to one’s personal, family or corporate sin. Jesus rightly affirms that this infirmity was so that God’s glory may be manifested. In this encounter with Jesus the man’s eyes are opened and he is physically healed. Now begins the power of conversation. Throughout the text the conversation requires that the man give witness to what Jesus did for him again and again. Each time the man himself gains a deeper understanding as to who Jesus really is. As with the woman at the well last Sunday, this healed one calls Jesus a prophet. His healing is complete when he finally sees Jesus face to face and professes his faith in Him. We Catholics are often a “silent majority.” Though members of a church of unbroken tradition from the Apostles, though the largest Christian communion in most countries, we oftentimes are silent about our encounters with Jesus. Often our eyes are closed and we are blind to the mercies of God and how Jesus touches us each day. This week make the lyrics of the Mission Song your own. “Open my eyes Lord, I want to see Jesus.” Let us speak of our encounters with Him in our conversation thus giving witness and give glory to God our Heavenly Father.
MANNA FROM HEAVEN MINISTRIES led by Pastor Dillis Wall and her congregation began their congregational worship within our church building last Sunday at 1:30PM. We welcome our new friends and look forward to being a witness together of the saving power of God’s love for us in Jesus. Prayer, Worship, Biblical Study and Service to the Community at large will be their focus. Their monthly contribution will enable us to continue our own ministry and presence here. We welcome Pastor Wall and her congregation. We thank them for joining us in our commitment to “Pray, Proclaim & Provide” for our neighborhood and beyond.
“UPON THIS ROCK” Many of you may have heard about a project titled Upon This Rock, a historic campaign that is taking place throughout WNY. This project will help the Catholic Church in Western New York address the needs of today, and provide the strength and security needed for future generations. By June, every parish in the Diocese of Buffalo will have participated in this effort. For this year only, the 2017 Catholic Charities Appeal will be bundled with Upon This Rock. Further information on how to contribute to both campaigns will be mailed to you within the next several weeks. The ambitious campaign goal for our Diocese is $100,000,000 Dollars. To date we $91,000,000 has been raised in pledges and gifts over a five year period. This campaign is all encompassing and will strengthen our faith in many ways for the future. There are many components to this campaign. A full page color flyer has been inserted into this week’s bulletin. The PIE CHART graphic there lists the areas of investment. Some of the most crucial pieces include:
- Investing in our seminary to assure there will be ample priests in the future and creating a long distance learning program for lay leaders.
- Providing Healthcare for our retired Diocesan priests
- Engaging our youth and young adults to strengthen their relationship with God
- This is critical as we look to pass on our faith to the next generation
- Educating our lay leaders and parishioners how to most effectively bring people back to Church. We must all play a role in encouraging others to learn about Jesus and his teachings
- And investing in our own Church.
Our Diocese has already established a new home in Buffalo with programs that provide shelter, stability, safety, and education to new and single mothers. This is called the Mother Teresa Home and it is completely supported by Upon This Rock. This is especially important to our faith as it aligns with our belief to respect all life from conception to natural death. I am glad we have the Mother Teresa Home that carries out our belief.
In the coming weeks, you will receive an invitation to participate via the mail. We will also have an opportunity to make a commitment to the initiative on a future weekend here at St. Lawrence.