Having a Voice…

Dear Parishioners,

The Nielson Ratings, as I’m sure you are aware, refer to the statistical analysis of what America is watching on television. The Nielson Company gathers information in a variety
of ways— electronic measuring devices, paper diaries, phone polling, etc—but I have never, ever known anyone who was a “Nielson family.”

Now I am one!

The phone call came out-of-the-blue last week, asking if I would like to participate in the May sweeps this year and I jumped at it! The Nielson Lady took down some basic info and
said that a “kit” would soon come in the mail. I hung up the phone and wondered why I was so thrilled. Is my life so dull that jotting down the TV shows I watch is cause for excitement? Have I watched one too many Turner Classics? Pushing that to the side for the moment, I think being a Nielson Family is exciting because everyone likes to have a voice; everyone likes to be heard….

….which is why these next few weeks are so important for our parish, and it has nothing to do with Nielson ratings. In these weeks, our parish enters again into the prayerful process
of selecting a new Pastoral Council. Last week, as you opened the bulletin, a printed card probably fell into your lap. On one side is a prayer that the Holy Spirit may continue to guide and
direct our parish and that we might be attuned the workings of that Spirit. The other side asks you to lend your voice….. If you’re unfamiliar with the procedure of how St. Anthony’s forms a Pastoral Council, here it is in a nutshell: We believe that the Holy Spirit is in charge and will readily speak and direct us as a parish and as a Church. The tricky part is listening and figuring out the direction in which it leads. To that end, every two years, we ask all parishioners to pray for the parish and for guidance and, if in these weeks, a person feels they might be called or moved to serve on the Pastoral Council, he or she writes their name on the card and drops it into the basket that is sitting in front of the altar. On the Feast of Pentecost, (this year it’s Sunday, May 27) at the 10am Mass, trusting
in God and taking a deep breath, we will draw twelve names from the basket. Those twelve parishioners become the new Pastoral Council for the next two years, lending their voices to the concerns and ideas and inspirations of the Holy Spirit and to their fellow parishioners. The Council meets only three times a year, at a local retreat house, on a Saturday from 9am to 3pm.

This prayerful approach has served our parish very well in the past. We have had four such Councils and each one has helped us tremendously in keeping in touch with the workings of God among us. It seems that always the right names are chosen at the right times to bring us further along as a parish building a Kingdom of God. I hope you will consider this important ministry to our parish. The Holy Spirit, a force far greater than the Nielson’s, may be counting on your voice this time around….

Father Johhn