This spring, my sister Emily and her husband Garrett received the greatest of gifts—their first child, Eleanor. Praise God! Ever since, their lives were changed forever! Being a father and mother became their new identity. Life is no longer about them. Now, it is all about nurturing, supporting and loving the baby as she continues to grow stronger each day. In the first reading this weekend, we hear about the worthy wife and her husband, how valuable she is and how wonderfully she lives. “She reaches out her hands to the poor and extends her arms to the needy...Give her reward for her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.”
As I have entered this beloved community of St. Francis de Sales Parish, I have connected deeply with this image of a baby being placed in one’s arms. I often ask myself: How do I do this? How do I keep the baby that is this parish alive? As a spiritual father, I have been given the task of extending my arms to the spiritual and temporal needs of this family. How do I do this? When we put it all on ourselves, we can be overwhelmed, forgetting the providence of God and His love for us and the mission He has invited us to live out. But what brings peace to a mother or father is remembering that they are not alone. Through the presence of moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, relatives and friends, support is found. Peace is found. This is what brings me peace.
As your parish priest, I have found great peace in realizing that while I am your spiritual father, I am not alone. Each and every one of you is a part of our spiritual family and has done such a great job supporting one another along the way. When I spoke with Fr. Bline after I received this assignment, he attested to the extreme goodness and generosity of this parish family. In my few short months here, I can already give numerous examples of how that has been lived out. What a gift you are. If we can get through this year, we can get through anything!
Below is this year’s financial statement. This past year was full of uncertainty as we experienced a drop in our weekly offertory as we could no longer gather in person in March, April and May, as well as add expenses due to Covid cleaning regulations. But this didn’t stop the good news of your generosity in giving to the Memorare Project! Of increasing our parish census to just over 2,000 families! Of preparing for Deacon Alex Clark’s Priesthood Ordination this coming spring! What good news! I pray that we can continue to do the good work we are called to do so that our works can praise us at the city gates!
Thank you for being family to me!
Fr. Jeremy Merzweiler