frmark_headshot_150x150From the Pastor…

At the bottom of page 2 of this and every other weekly bulletin, there is a short item, so short that it is easily overlooked. It reads: “Join STM
Parish: We invite you to join our parish community by registering as a parishioner… A registration form is available online at www.stmgaparish.org and in the pamphlet racks in the narthex.”

We get several new registrations each month – as many as 20 to 25. The number of registered households at STM is roughly 1,500. This amounts to roughly 5,000 individuals. Nevertheless, we know that many who regularly join us for Sunday liturgy are not yet registered.

If you worship with us, even if only occasionally, we welcome you and will not neglect you, but we still encourage you to register. There are lots of reasons to register, some practical and some principled.

Practical reasons include making it easier for us to be of service to you and for you to be of service to us. When you register, we’ll know who you are and where you live and how to get in touch with you. We’ll put you on our mailing list and send you information about the parish. At a minimum, we’ll invite you to regularly join our community for Sunday Eucharist.

We’ll also encourage you to participate in one or more parish ministries. And, yes, we’ll send you “offertory” envelopes (unless you tell us not to do so) and parish pledge materials and ask you to financially support the work of the parish.

Registering as a parishioner may give you certain advantages should you enroll your child at our parish school or at another Catholic school in the Archdiocese and you want a reduced tuition rate, or if you want to be married at STM.

If you want to serve as a sponsor at a Baptism or at a Confirmation, your registration at STM will enable us to establish more easily your qualifications for these roles. More and more dioceses are requiring that prospective godparents and Confirmation sponsors obtain from their local pastor a letter verifying that they are registered parishioners in a Catholic parish and are in good standing there. You will put me in an awkward position if you ask this of me and you are not registered here.

But beyond these practical implications – and more important than these, as far as I am concerned – is the symbolic value of registering as a parishioner. When you register, you say to us and to yourself that you freely and deliberately join St. Thomas More parish and that you intend to participate in a meaningful way in our community. You are saying that you are committing yourself in a more public sort of way to the well-being of the parish, that you want your relationship to STM to be more like a relationship to your family than a relationship to your local supermarket. Registering is your visible and audible “yes” to the Lord’s call to become part of the Body of Christ in this time and place, and to put your gifts at the service of God’s people.

If you are not yet registered at STM, consider doing so. There are registration forms in the pamphlet racks in the rear of the church, or you can register on-line at the parish website.

Fr. Mark

P.S. Since I have mentioned the parish bulletin and the parish website, I am reminded to give a “shout out” to Charlotte Collins of our parish staff and to Shelly Stafford, a parishioner and a principal in the communications firm, Marblesmedia, Inc. Charlotte does our parish bulletin and Shelly does our parish social media, parish newsletter, and parish website. Both do a wonderful job, and I am grateful to them. Communication is a critical ministry in any parish, and Shelly and Charlotte do well by us all.