Monday, October 17, 2016

It is our Grace that is Amazing

Hello St. Francis!!!
This week let us all live in the joy of God's Amazing Grace.  Sound Good?  I don't know about you but sometimes the "Grace Tank" feels like it is on empty or I just do not have the right amount of grace to be who I am called to be.  Just getting through the day sometimes can be a challenge in itself. Being full of life and positive energy is just too much to ask.  I spend a good deal of time studying the saints of the church and very often I am inspired but too often I come to my own realization that I am disconnected from their humanity.  "It can't be real"  I say.  I can't do what they did.  God must have chosen them for a special mission and armed them with some "extra" grace that we normal folks don't get or understand.  "If I only had what they have." I say to myself, 'Then, I would have what it takes to live more grace-filled".

So, there is a whole bunch that can be said about this.  But, let's keep it simple because life is too complicated already.  Here are two statements of truth that we often forget or deny.

1.  The grace that has been given to me and you is exactly what we need to live a life of positive energy and joy.  Serving others and being saints!!!

2.  God did not give Mother Theresa or Pope John Paul II or Pope Francis any more life giving grace than He has given to us.

That begs two questions that I ask myself and I hope you think about this week as you do what you do.

1.  Does that mean that God's grace is something that I already have and don't use all of the time?
2.  How do I find it?

Great questions if I do say so myself.  Here is my simple answer to this difficult question.  Remember when Jesus took 5 Fish and Two Loaves and fed 5,000?  Neat trick huh?  But what if he wasn't given the Fish or Bread by the young boy who had nothing else to give?  Was it a miracle of Jesus or was it the giving of what the boy had that made it possible for great things to happen?  I think Jesus would say it was the offering of what he had.  I believe that when we are not afraid to empty our "Joy Tank", or our "Faith Tank" or our "Help Someone Tank"  then we will realize that we have more than we thought we have.  Maybe the only reason we haven't felt more "Grace" is because we only use the small part we know we have and hold back the infinite part that we have to trust we have.  It is easier to know than to believe, that is true, but maybe the only difference between us and those great saints is that they just emptied their "Grace Tank" and believed that God would fill it up again.  Maybe, they believed that God would increase their grace, but, what I believe is that IT IS ALREADY THERE!!!  All I have to do is believe in it enough to see.  May we all see God's Grace this week at work in our lives in small and profound ways.
Jim

Music for October 23rd
Processional - Glory Glory Hallelujah Since I Laid My Burdens Down

Psalm 34 - Taste and See

Offertory - Bless That Wonderful Name

Communion - Amazing Grace My Chains Are Gone 

Recessional - Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What It Means To Be Intentional...Music for the Weekend of October 16th

Hello St. Francis,
I wanted to take this week's blog as an opportunity to share a vision we all have as a faith community. The term INTENTIONAL has become sort of a buzz word in the Catholic community over the last few years and it is certainly something that is a necessary part of a healthy and vibrant faith community, but, how do we become more intentional?

So often, I feel like we are somewhat called out by our church, school, or workplace to be intentional, and I think the average person, like you and I can often say that we are being intentional. We are committed to our work, our family and our church.  We give 110% to make sure that we are doing what we are asked to do.  In terms of our commitment to our church, we make an effort to go each week and we may even say hello to some folks that we have never met before.  We support the mission of being a welcoming church and we enjoy the time we spend there in prayer.  This is all great stuff, and may I add, more that a lot of places can say.  But, from time to time we are asked to do more than we may feel comfortable with.  This in turn can make us feel uncomfortable or even distressed.  I mean, we all have real and legitimate reasons why we can't do any more than we do. I get it, we all get it.  So, that's the end of that...right?

Well, I just have one question that I ask myself all of the time and maybe you do as well.  "If not me, than who?"  You see, the best part about making that extra effort to be intentional is that through that extra effort we become intentional.  If I only do what I am 100% comfortable doing than how do we grow into a deeper relationship with others, with our church or with God?  I believe that truly being intentional requires us all to take a leap of faith into uncharted territory.  So, when someone stands at the pulpit and asks for people to consider taking on a ministry, whether it be music, lector, Eucharistic Minister, Minister of Hospitality, Religious Education instructor, do we look around and hope that someone accepts the challenge or do we take that leap and make an intentional decision to support our community?

Here is the secret.  When you make that leap you are rewarded with a sense of pride in your community and a new vision of the love and grace of God abundantly flowing through your life.  The liturgy becomes yours to an even larger degree and your prayer, that at one point was done with words now is reinforced with intentional actions.

I want to extend an invitation to you to become more intentional.  If the music we pray at SFDS inspires you, join us in inspiring others.  The Music Ministry is having a Meet and Greet event on Monday, October 24th at 7pm in the Parish Office.  Come by.  Talk to the parishioners who are involved in this ministry.  Ask them how their intentional action has increased their faith.  And then, taker that leap.  Whether it be in this ministry or the many others at SFDS, be intentional and become the inspiration for others to take the same leap.  You know what they call that?  Being A Christian.

Thanks and See You This Weekend.
Jim

Music for October 16th
Processional - O Magnify The Lord
Psalm - The Mountain of God
Offertory - The Lord Is My Light
Communion - Stand By Me
Recessional - Go Out

Monday, October 3, 2016

Music From The Soul - Music for October 9th

Hello St. Francis,
It has been a while since I have written.  The good news is that the summer was wonderful and we in the Music Ministry have been hard at work over the past few weeks preparing songs of praise and meditation for our Liturgies.  I must say that working with the amazing people at SFDS is a true blessing in my life.  I enjoy every minute of it.

As you may know, we are continuously inviting anyone who has an interest in joining us in the Music Ministry to give it a try.  One of our goals this year is to involve more people in the Ministry.  I hear so many of you singing from your seats every Sunday (Thanks for that by the way) and whatever the reason is that is holding you back, let it go.  We are a "Come When You Can" Ministry.  I understand that making a commitment in this busy world is not easy, so we try to remove the commitment.  Every week, I send out links to recordings of the music we sill be singing as well as the sheet music.  There are NO REHEARSALS!!!  We get together around 10:00 on Sunday morning to go over the songs and then sing at 11am Mass.  If it is the 11am Mass that poses a problem, no problem.  We are also looking to expand our ministries at every Mass.  The bottom line is that whenever you can make it, we want you to.  If you can't, no problem.  The point is, having your voice, or instrument once a month or twice a month or every week would be a great addition to what we do.

To that end, we are having a Meet and Greet on Monday, October 24th at 7pm in the Church office for anyone who has questions or would like to spend some time with us.  It is an evening of prayer, music and fellowship.  No obligations, just a time to get together.

Finally, I would like to formally welcome Quincy Dover to our Music Ministry team.  Quincy will be the principle accompanist at the new 5pm Sunday Mass.  Quincy comes to us from Queens and is the Director of Music at St. Gregory's Church in Brooklyn.  He is an amazing young man and a fabulous musician.  You may want to check out our new 5pm Mass on Sunday to hear for yourself!!!

Talk to you next week.
Jim

Music for October 9th