News & Events
Back Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Thursday, February 28, 2019
From the Desk of Fr. Ron…….
We often hear the idiom: “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Most times this saying refers to the behavior of children and how their behavior, exceptional or problematic is but a symptom of their upbringing and parental influences within their childhood home. In a similar way our Biblical lessons on this last weekend of Ordinary Time before our Lenten Journey, using agricultural images, speak of the fact that our actions speak of the care and discipline of our upbringing. “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit….” (Luke 6:43-44). And from the wisdom of Sirach: “The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had,” (Sirach 27:6). Each year the Church gives us a Holy Season of forty days and forty nights of personal and communal spiritual care. This holy season challenges us to engage in spiritual discipline, so as to bear more fruit for the benefit of God’s eternal kingdom. In addition to reclaiming our Sundays for family and church family time, we are being challenged to engage in ways to care, intercede and lift each other up in prayer. This year we are called upon to experience “solidarity” with fellow parishioners as well as people in our community and around the world who have no one to intercede for them. Let us not miss our opportunity to reclaim and renew our spiritual walk as we strive ever more urgently to hear, learn and put into practice the teachings of Jesus our Messiah and Lord.
RENEWING LAY LEADERSHIP….
At the end of July, our parish’s Parish Council met and had a discussion about the vitality of the current parish council. As recorded in its notes of the July 25th meeting: “In light of the resignations of four current members, three more terms expiring in August and the lack of new candidates for the council, it suggested a hiatus in PC (Parish Council) operations and a review of council operations take place by an appointed group, beginning in September. Their task would be to make recommendations for the operation of a new council or an alternative by December so that it could begin operating in January 2019.” In light of the challenges associated with restructuring the Parish Council, I decided to take a different approach to promoting lay leadership in the parish.
During the summer months the parish trustees convened a group of lay parish leaders who met with me in order to express their support and guidance. In mid-September the link between Nativity, St. Lawrence and St. Martin de Porres parishes was to be relaxed and I was slated to move into the rectory, where with Fr. Daniel, our full time attention would be Nativity Parish. The support and willingness of this group of lay leadership was most welcomed and encouraged. In late September, I moved in and with Fr. Daniel began to work out our ministry schedules and prepare to embrace the challenges ahead. As we all are aware, these future plans were temporarily put on hold by my Administrative Leave that began, Nov. 3rd, 2018. The lay leadership group continued to meet and encouraged and assisted Fr. Daniel in his new task as Parish Administrator.
Also last November 28,th many lay leaders within the Church and Educational Community joined together to form “The Movement to Restore Trust.” It began with a symposium organized at Canisius College and headed by its president John J. Hurley. What is it? It is “an independent organization of concerned, committed Catholics in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, formed to assert the laity’s rightful role in the Church and to help lead a movement to restore trust and confidence in the Church in the wake of public disclosures about the Diocese’s handling of clergy sex abuse cases.” It is also defined as “an independent group of concerned Catholics who are committed to our faith, to restoring trust in our Diocese and to the Vatican II ideal that we, laity and ordained alike, are all the church…..We seek to give voice to Catholics, who share deep concerns about the state of the Diocese. Through constructive reform, not revolution, we seek to act in conformity with Catholic beliefs and canon law. We are recruiting interested lay people, religious women and the clergy of the Diocese in developing a path forward for our Diocese, in line with Catholic beliefs, ecclesiology and canon law.” Even while I was on leave I had the opportunity to attend the symposium and was glad to see many lay leaders of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in attendance.
With my reinstatement as Pastor on December 21st, 2018 this group of lay leadership, many of whom were active participants in the Canisius College Symposium and workshop day, met again and pledged their support to assist Fr. Daniel and I in our role as clergy pastors of our parish. I saw this as a special opportunity to develop a sense of shared ownership of the parish, on the part of the parish’s leadership and its laity. After much prayer, discussion, and reflection upon the direction we as a parish should move in, I’m happy to announce that these lay leaders have pledged their time and talent to continue to assist our parish as we move forward and have formed the new Pastoral Leadership Council of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish
Initially our members include our parish trustees: James Beardi and Nancy Dobson; School Board of Trustees Vice-President Victor Martucci, Finance Council Chair Bruce Zgoda, former parish council chairpersons: Robert Poczik and Margaret Cusack along with Fr. Daniel and myself.
This new Lay Leadership Council will work collaboratively with the Pastor and Parochial Vicar to identify areas in need of improvement and to develop strategies to ensure the future growth and vitality of the parish. The Council may engage in activities such as developing a new parish mission statement, engaging in long range planning, as well as promote connections and coordination with other neighboring parishes. Further information about the work of the Council and opportunities for parishioner input will be shared in the upcoming months.
LENTEN LEAVE THE LIGHT ON FOR YOU: CONFESSIONS will take place at Nativity each Wednesday of Lent from March 6 to April 17th 5:00-7:00PM in the Church. Come and take advantage of this time to learn from our failures and receive healing and restoration for our lives.