Pastor Corner November 3rd, 2013
Was Zacchaeus a Saint? According to tradition he was indeed a saint. He was one of the 70 disciples sent out to prepare the way for Jesus, a companion of St. Peter after the Resurrection and the Bishop of Caesarea.
How could such a great “sinner” become a saint? Part of the answer lies in his name: Zacchaeus means ‘pure and righteous one’. As God formed him in his mother’s womb He gave Zacchaeus a mission. His lifestyle blinded him to the fact that he was a gift and had a gift to give. Underneath all that worldliness was the ‘call’ to know Jesus. This ‘vocation’ could not be silenced, it had to be acknowledged. The encounter with Jesus created a place were repentance could take place. Repentance led to the desire to reform, reform to understanding love and love to service.
Today, there is a great cacophony of worldliness that tries to drown out the call to serve Jesus. It is affecting us all but especially those called to the “Vocation of Priesthood”. Our Diocese has been severely affected and infected. In the mid-sixties we had 650 priests and 1000 seminarians. Today we have 130 active priests and 16 seminarians. This year 14 priests died and 11 priests retired. They were replaced with “one”. Next year and the year after we will have no Ordinations to the Priesthood in the diocese. We are more and more becoming a “mission” diocese, dependent on priests from other countries to take care of the spiritual needs of the diocese.
It is imperative that we pray for vocations to the Priesthood. Bishop Sullivan has made this one of his top priorities but without your assistance, pray and witness it will not prove fruitful. Our priest have been under serious attack for some time but statistics reveal that those serving in the Priesthood are among the happiest and most joyful people simply because they choose, like Zacchaeus, to seek Jesus. Pray daily for vocations and for all the priests that have already chosen to “come down quickly” and follow Jesus.
On Monday evening, we will celebrate our annual “Mass of Remembrance”. During the past year we buried 54 people from our Church. Each of these families has received an invitation to come to the Mass. I invite the whole parish to come and pray with them for their own healing, for our families and for all of our deceased. It is a gift we bring!
Last month, Jane DeShan, one of our most faithful parishioners died quite suddenly. We will celebrate a Memorial Mass for her on Saturday, November 9th at 10:00 am. Please make an effort to attend this Mass and support her memory and family as she has supported so many through her work and love in our parish.