Where is Everyone We Saw Before COVID?

10-17-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Hans Ruygt

Do you know how your neighbors are doing? Have you checked on the wellness of people that previously sat near you in church? Are you one of the people reading this who still has not returned to church?

Christians carry the burden of caring for one another. Thank God our churches have more people now inside for Mass, but we are still way down from normal attendance. Our priests, deacons and lay staff members have tried over the past two years, especially to call upon parishioners to see how they are doing.

Staying connected with our parish family is a monumental task. I remind our leadership from parish groups to call or write to people that previously were involved in their group activities. But even they sometimes lose the connection with their members.

We are all part of the evangelization of the world. As followers of Christ, we are students and teachers. We follow and lead. We preach by words and actions. We draw people closer to the love of God, or push them away. We don’t really mean to push people away, but sometimes our silence does that. When parishioners feel forgotten, or feel like they don’t matter to the community, they can lose heart and even drift away. But it happens. We don’t always know how to reach one another. We don’t know where they live, or their phone number or their email address.

You have heard me many times ask for our parishioners to let us know when they move or change a phone number or get a different email address. You have heard me beg for parishioners to sign up for Flocknote and to update their contact information there. I do this, because you matter to me. I find it incredibly challenging to keep the “flock” that the Lord has asked me to shepherd, united in faith and love. I want to be “there” for you. With over 5100 registered families who are on the “books” as active, that is a daunting responsibility.

I can only do it partially and in collaboration with others. Will you help bring our flock back together for Mass? Will you continue our efforts to meet the needs of our parishioners and let them know that we love them? I’m sure some of us are better than others at doing this and that some people already have a very full “plate” in their personal life and are unable to reach out to others.

The Lord feeds the hungry and shows compassion and mercy to the weary and lost. He does this through his disciples; through all of us. I am so very grateful for you. I hope and pray you are doing well and know that we love you; that God loves you; that I love you!