Dear Friends in Christ at Holy Spirit and St. Helen’s,

So why all this talk about branding? What is the value of having a common symbol to identify the unique relationship of our two parishes? Why can’t we just go back to the way things were five or six years ago? All these questions have value because they do address common feelings that any group of people would have when the group they have been so closely connected to, begins to address changes within the reality of the group. Many of those changes are inevitable and beyond our control.

The emotional side of this equation is complex and far reaching. The practical (reality) side of the equation is actually pretty simple and straight forward. The most basic change has been on the horizon for some time now. There are simply fewer priests available to cover every parish as we have experienced in the past. More and more priests are nearing retirement age and fewer younger priests are being ordained. The math is simple: less priests = the necessity to cluster, group or merge parishes. This phenomenon has been occurring across our country for years. It is inevitable that parishes will have to share a pastor and figure out how to work together in unison with each other to continue to thrive as a Catholic parish community.

The Gospel today speaks about vigilance. It is evident from the stories within the gospel story that we Catholics must be aware of the situation in which our faith is being lived out. God is at work in the very activities of our lives, so we are being asked to take note and respond by working with God in the effort to reveal the Father’s Kingdom being revealed to us. This requires vigilance. It requires an awareness of the larger task at hand. We are being asked to lend our lives to God’s plan to build up the Kingdom of God.

There is more and more evidence that this vigilance takes shape in the effort to establish missionary disciples or often called “intentional disciples.” What is being asked of us as Christians is that we return to our original calling to be a light to the people and salt that flavors the earth. Followers of Christ are to live in a way that leads others to want to join Christ and embrace his message. We are to intentionally act as disciples. The purpose of being a Christian and a member of the Catholic Church is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and invite others to join us on a journey to discover the love of God for us and the desire of God to form a bond of love with us. We are being called to be family. We are urged to enter into a deeper relationship with our Lord.

Branding and bonding as parish communities is a direct response to this calling. As parishes we are not merely a place to fill the tanks of our spiritual lives. We aren’t sacramental service stations providing grace to get through the day, the week, month or year. No, we are a community of believers called to imitate Christ as one who invites others to join Him in building up the Kingdom of His Father. We are being challenged to move from maintenance (keeping the status quo) to mission (developing a deeper relationship with Jesus in order to assist us with the task of making the message of Christ come alive within us. Branding and bonding is intended to help us achieve our mission. It makes us intentional in our efforts to be like Christ.

       Fr. Tom

 

Flocknote is a way for you to connect directly with St. Helen, Holy Spirit, or the diocese through text messages or emails.   You will receive links to video messages, notifications about parish ministries, upcoming events and more. You can choose which flock to join or you may join them all.

To join Holy Spirit’s flock:  There are two ways to join.  Visit our network at flocknote.com/holyspiritwinfield and follow the steps to join, or using your cell phone text belong to 845876 and follow the steps.

To join St. Helen’s flock: There are two ways to join. Visit our network at flocknote.com/sthelen and follow the steps to join, or using your cell phone text helen to 84576 and follow the steps.

To join The Pastoral Center for the Diocese of Gary’s flock:  There are two ways to join. You can visit www.flocknote.com/DioceseofGary and follow the sign-up steps. Or, you can text the word GARY to the phone number 84576, which will take you to the sign-up page.  When you sign up, you’ll receive links to video messages from Bishop Hying, notifications about upcoming events and much more.

**You don’t have to download an app. You don’t have to pay to join. (Text STOP to 84576 to stop txt notifications at any time. Text HELP for help. There is no charge for this service, but your carrier message and data rates may apply. View privacy policy & conditions at www.flocknote.com/txt.