* High School Graduates
In times past high school graduation was a big milestone. In today’s world, where we know that further training and ongoing education needs to happen, it does not have the same status, but it still is an important achievement. It is one of those markers toward adulthood and coming into one’s own identity. Group structure and frameworks give way to more personalized paths. Friendships necessarily become more intentional. The responsibilities of life take on greater urgency. For those who continue on to college—depending on one’s college, choice of courses and professors—learning can be quite challenging, including challenging one’s understanding of faith. In such situations, some come to believe that the Catholic faith is something that does not stand up to other viewpoints. My hope is always that young adults realize that the Catholic understanding of faith is quite wide and deep. It can stand up to any question—theological, scientific or otherwise, if one is willing to explore an adult understanding. Here is part of what I would like to say to each of this year’s high school graduates:
“Dear graduates: I hope you continue to explore knowledge and life with honesty and integrity, wherever it leads you. At times some college classes (sociology, psychology, history, various sciences) can raise questions about faith. Don’t be afraid of those questions, but don’t assume that one has to give up on one’s faith in order to properly answer them. You do not. In my years at the University of Michigan and then graduate school in Michigan and in Europe, I found my faith challenged and tested again and again. But I also discovered a rich, deep intellectual tradition of Catholic thought and life that wasn’t afraid to ask questions, explore possible answers and find a way to integrate the best of human wisdom into a mature adult Catholic faith.
For a few years I taught theology full-time at the graduate level for seminarians and lay students involved in a Masters-level program. When I became a pastor over thirty years ago, I continued to teach theology part-time at various universities, and I still try to keep up in the area known as fundamental theology—where the questions and concerns raised by science and the humanities intersect with our understanding of God and faith. If you find yourself ever needing or wanting to discuss something about what you are learning or experiencing, you can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I would enjoy exchanging thoughts on any areas of study you become involved with.
Whether or not you contact me, stay connected in some way to that deep Catholic tradition. At every university and college there is a Catholic campus ministry that is active. Introduce yourself to the people there. Both for those going to college and those not going to college, parishes need your gifts and talents and questions you bring to the table as young adults. I don’t expect your journey of faith to necessarily parallel mine or anyone else’s. But I do know that a life willing to search for what is true, good, and beautiful can be deepened through prayerful reflection, connection to the Eucharist and a Catholic community of faith, and a willingness to make a difference in this world. Learn to trust the Spirit of God at work in your life. Even when you hit periods of uncertainty maintain those patterns of prayer, Eucharist and service. They will not fail you and they will lead you to where not only God wants you to be, but to where you will be the person you want to be.”
* Ministry Recognition and Feast of St. Regis Celebrated Next Weekend
June 16th is the feast day of our namesake, John Francis Regis. For those who do not know anything about this saint, I would encourage you to read what is on our website (under “Church/About Us”). Each year we celebrate this feast at the weekend Masses nearest the date and make that our “Ministries Recognition Weekend” as well. This will take place at all the Masses next weekend. Anyone who has volunteered or been involved in any parish-related ministry—catechist, liturgical minister, Christian Service project, member of a council or commission, C.Y.O. coach, school committee, Eucharistic Adorer, Prayer Team, other parish committees and areas of involvement—is invited to stand, be recognized, and be blessed. We have a memento for each of you as well. Continuing our custom, it is a small pocket cross with this year’s parish theme imprinted on it (“Poured Out”).
* Outdoor Masses
We will celebrate a monthly outdoor Mass this year during the summer, weather-permitting. Please mark your calendars for Sunday 12 noon Mass on June 27, July 25, and August 22. The August Mass will include a parish picnic. We will set up the chairs and altar on the back field behind the school near the trees. This has worked well in the past. Because it will be outdoors, even children or others who are not vaccinated will not be required to wear masks.
* Upcoming Surgery
Please put in a prayer or two for me on June 15th in the morning. I will be getting a new left hip and taking about three weeks off from work to get through the initial healing process. I hope to begin celebrating Masses again in early July. During that time, Msgr. John Budde has graciously made himself available for most of the Masses on our schedule. The Tuesday early morning Mass at 6:45 a.m. will turn into a Communion Service for three weeks, led by Deacon Dan Gonos. Some have asked about dropping off meals and such. I appreciate the offers, truly, but for the first week I will be fine. After that, I will let the parish office know if I have any food needs or am open to visitors. Prayers for full and quick recovery are what I will most need. Thank you.