This weekend we remember our founders, the men and women who made our country possible, declaring our independence from England in 1776. It was not an easy road to get to where we are today. We still rely on countless citizens, countless men and women to lead and guide our country, to uphold the constitution for the rights, liberties, and privileges that we enjoy. On July 4th, besides gathering with family and friends for BBQ, think about your ancestors who came from the four corners of the earth to settle here, be citizens and good neighbors. Think about the Words of the Declaration of Independence and realize the privileges and responsibilities we share, promote and at times defend.
Similarly in the church, in our parish, wonderful women and men step forward to assist the ministry of the church by taking on roles of leadership, chairing one of the parish committees, pitching in wherever there is a need to catechize, serve, minister or take care of others because the parish relies on everyone’s participation. Priests, and pastors, and parish staff members have vital and essential roles, but they can’t and shouldn’t do everything. The parish relies on the generosity, the passion, commitment and dedication of many ministers to ensure the mission of the Church, to spread the Gospel and give witness to their faith. But, in every life there comes a time to pass on the baton, pass on the mantle of leadership for none of us can serve in the same capacity forever. But unlike business, when you retire, you leave your employ and pursue other activities, in a parish when a person steps down they still remain a parishioner, but hand over and pass on the responsibilities they once had, serving now in new ways, maybe reduced or more limited, but a change nonetheless. Each person is entitled, I believe, to a rest or sabbatical. We don’t hand out gold watches or plaques to memorialize great volunteers, instead we do what Jesus did, we bless them offering God’s blessings.
Happily we blessed Cookie Ruschin on Sunday, June 25th, who served as the coordinator of our Pastoral Care Team for over twelve years. She ensured that communion visitors to the sick were trained, guided the Pastoral Care team that assists with funerals. She helped train people to assist with a potential grief and loss support group and implemented the annual Mass of Consolation over the past eleven years. She assisted with many more things, Sobrato in July, Saint Joseph Family Center in Gilroy drive, and much more along with music ministry at the 8:30 AM Mass. She will continue to be a worker bee, and we give God thanks for all that she has done, and all that she will do. May more women and men step forward to assist with the vital ministries of Saint Anthony Parish! Happy fourth of July weekend!
Blessings, Father Larry Hendel