frmark_headshot_150x150From the Pastor…

As I move through a typical day at STM, I am reminded how generous and committed so many of our parishioners are.  For instance, just this morning (Monday, November 13) I greeted the several parishioners who come in each Monday morning to count and record the collection proceeds from the previous Sunday.  They don’t get paid; they don’t get public recognition (they certainly don’t seek it).  They do what they do from their good hearts.

Another example: Last Sunday I stopped by one of our kindergarten Religious Ed classes to see how things were going.  I was very impressed with how attentive the kids were and how well they understood the fundamentals of the Catholic tradition, i.e., that Jesus lives within their hearts, loves them dearly, and hopes that the children will share his love with others.  The credit, of course goes first to their parents, who are their children’s first teachers, but their STM catechists were clearly very effective in their work.

The ministry of our Sunday morning RE catechists and our Edge and LifeTeen Core (those adults who assist the parish staff in teaching and accompanying our youth) is the most demanding of any that we ask of any parishioners.  These men and women are “on duty” most every week when they might otherwise be enjoying their weekend.  They do this service not for compensation or honor, but purely out of love for the kids and a desire to share with them what they themselves have received from their Catholic experience.

There are many other examples of this sort of impressive but quiet engagement with our parish community.  Let me list several of these, precisely because STM parishioners may not be aware of these.  For fear of overlooking any particular individual, I will not identify particular parishioners who are involved in these works:

  • Our Eucharistic Ministers who visit the hospitalized and the homebound, several thousand visits each year!
  • The parishioners who participate in our SFactor program whose activities include service to our homebound
  • The parishioners who participate in our parish MoreEats program, providing regular meals to parishioners and many of our seniors
  • The parishioners in Martha’s Ministry who host wonderful receptions for grieving family and friends following funerals at STM
  • The STM More Moms ministry
  • The organizers of our lay-led Walking with Purpose program and Sunday morning Bible Study, and the parishioners who lead the conversations at our Sunday morning CoffeeHouse
  • The ushers, altar servers, lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, and sacristans who assist at our Sunday worship and the parishioners who sing in our Sunday choirs
  • The parishioners on our STM Welcome Committee who greet folks arriving for Sunday Mass and who welcome newly registered members of STM
  • The parishioners who assist divorced parishioners with annulment petitions before the Archdiocesan Marriage Tribunal
  • The parishioners who volunteer in our many parish-sponsored and other social justice ministries, including the Decatur Emergency Assistance Ministry (DEAM), Habitat for Humanity, Birthright and the Pregnancy Aid Clinic, Hagar’s House (Decatur Cooperative Ministry), the Cancer Sewing Group, our refugee resettlement program, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the AIDs ministry at Jerusalem House, the ministry of the Missionaries of Charity at Gift of Grace, the local L’Arche Community, Cristo Rey Atlanta, and our annual mission trips to Jamaica and Haiti
  • The parishioners who organize and manage our parish sports programs, and
  • The many parishioners who serve in parish governance as members of the Parish Council, Finance Council, Social Justice Committee, Education and Faith Formation Committee, School Advisory Council, and the School’s Parent Teacher Organization.

It is possible that I have overlooked many ministries in which STM parishioners are engaged generously and without recognition.  For this I am sorry.  But all of you have my thanks.

Fr. Mark