700 people came to our parish on Sunday night to hear Raymond Arroyo speak of hope in what many would consider a hopeless time for the Church. He gave us Padre Pio as a model of hope. God configured this simple friar to himself even to the point of impressing Christ’s bloody wounds upon his body, and it was precisely these wounds that made Padre Pio a man of peaceful hope. He was a Catholic priest, ordained to offer Mass. No one who attended one of Fr. Pio’s Masses could ever feel the same about the Holy Eucharist.
The heart of our parish, and of our faith, must be the Holy Eucharist. After consulting with the parish councils and staff, I’ve ratified our parish mission statement as “To Evangelize God’s People, beginning with the gift of the Holy Eucharist.” The Church’s primary mission is to evangelize, because all of God’s children have a right to the Gospel. But I, who am sinful and weak and not brilliant, can evangelize only by relying on the Holy Eucharist. The Gospel of Hope, the Joy of the Gospel, the Gospel of Life, the Peace this world cannot give—all comes to us through the Eucharistic presence of Christ in our world. We begin our evangelizing on our knees at Mass and continue it through Eucharistic adoration.
I am greatly consoled that so many are attending daily Mass, and that Sunday Masses continue to grow slowly. The Mass, and Eucharistic adoration, must be the heart of our parish. Many are attending our weekly holy hours, and someday, please God, we will reach “perpetual” (24-hour) adoration. Let us pray to Our Lady (to whom we will reconsecrate the parish the last weekend of May) to bring all the people of our parish to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.