Fr. Francis on Discipleship

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I would like to ask everyone to prayerfully discern what it means for each us to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. How do I serve God? How am I serving my neighbor? In what ways am helping to build God's Kingdom?

I like to look at Discipleship through the lens of Service, Gifts, and Spirit.

Service:  Please take a few minutes to hear from some parishioners [link to come] who are involved in various parish ministries and how this has enriched their relationship with God, our parish and those they serve. I hope their stories will encourage you to prayerfully consider joining one of the many ministries we offer at our parish. Please take a few minutes to review these opportunities and see how you might get involved.

Gifts:  Everything we have is a gift from God.  How are we using our gifts to benefit others and build the Kingdom of God?  Included in the many gifts God has blessed us with are our financial resources.  How are we using our financial gifts to serve God?  Have I prayerfully discerned how God is calling me to share my financial gifts with the parish each week?  This is not a one-time special collection.  It's an opportunity for each of us to prayerfully discern the commitment we will be making on a weekly basis to our parish throughout the year.  Knowing our budget is essential to helping us plan our ministries.  Can you make a weekly commitment [link to come] to St. Josaphat?

Spirit:  What does it mean for me to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in terms of my spiritual life?  How often do I pray?  How do I pray?  Why is the Eucharist important?  I will be speaking at all of the Masses that Sunday to talk about the Spiritual Life of the Parish.  I would like to ask for your feedback on how I can help you to grow spiritually and serve you better as your pastor.  Please respond to this brief survey [link to come] to let me know.

I hope these next three weeks will help you to reflect on what it means for you to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Some good questions for each of us to consider as we move forward are: "How can I serve?  How is God calling me to be generous?  Who can I pray for this week?"

Undoubtedly, each of us will answer those questions differently.  Jesus is asking each of us to be his disciple in a unique way.  Some of us may be feeling a greater draw towards deepening our prayer life or to become more actively engaged in ministry.  Or we may feel a strong sense that we can be more generous in our fiscal support of the parish and the ministries that benefit our parishioners and our wider community.

The point is that we know God is always calling us to do more, to grow in our relationship with Him and to be witnesses of the Gospel to all those we meet.  So I hope you will join me these next few weeks in prayerfully discerning the many ways we can say, "Yes!" to God's invitation to be his disciple.

Your Brother in Christ,

Fr. Francis Bitterman

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