Happy Pentecost! This weekend is Pentecost, the “birthday” of the Church. This weekend, we celebrate the day when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles, empowering them to go out and make disciples of all nations. We hear from the book of Acts about how the Apostles, all huddled in one room for fear after the crucifixion of Jesus, received the Holy Spirit and were empowered to go out into the world proclaiming the good news and the mighty works of God.
I’d like us to think about that this week. If you were asked to go out and proclaim the mighty works of God in your life, how well would you be able to do that right now? What would you say? Jesus is asking us to do it right now, so what DO we say? Do we talk to others about how God is working in our lives? It’s something to think about honestly. If we really can focus and see that, it changes everything. As I walk through all the transition stuff this week, as I get to tour my two new parishes, and as I work with the staff, councils, and committees here on the transition, a thought keeps hitting me through all of it. What we’re doing here really is the work of God. Our Church is so much bigger than any one of us. None of us are irreplaceable. There’s only one who’s really irreplicable and that’s God himself. Those first Apostles never thought they would have been able to do a tiny fraction of what they actually did. I can look at my own life, and my time here. It’s amazing how many people have really stepped up in my two years here. All sorts of people here have all sorts of different skills. Just as we hear from St. Paul, there are many gifts, but one spirit. Whether it was parishioners stepping up to help cut the grass, change light fixtures, cook for dinners, make baskets, serving on a committee, or bring communion to the sick. I’ve been amazed at the willingness of so many to step up. Thank you to each of you for answering the call in so many different ways over the last few years.
As we move into the next few weeks, our real challenge is going to be working to make a smooth transition, work to bring your new pastor into the loop, and build on what we’ve been working on so far. I keep thinking of those apostles, they were worried about how things would go too. Yet, they realized the Holy Spirit was with them, empowering them, but it was their turn to step up. So as we move forward in the next few weeks, there’s quite a few things we’re working on. I’d ask that you please be open if I call asking for your help with something in the next few weeks. Right now, I’m asking for your help with two specific things.
First of all, next Saturday, May 29th, Deacon Groeger will be ordained as Father Groeger at 10am at the Altoona Cathedral. The assignment has officially been made public, so it would be wonderful if we had a healthy representation from his new parish attending his ordination. Please consider making the trip down. Additionally, if you’re a little worried about crowds, on May 28th, from 6pm-7pm at St. Michael Church in Hollidaysburg, there will be a Eucharistic Holy Hour to offer prayers for those to be ordained. Let’s work together and make a good first impression on this new guy!
Secondly, I’d really like to see us begin to focus on our Summer Dinner. Please start bringing the baskets in, helping us hang up the flyers around town, taking a look at that weekend as we get requests out for help. I’d love to see that dinner be an opportunity for your new pastor to be able to meet and greet everyone, as well as helping that event get things off for him on the right foot financially with a few extra resources for us to be able to get some new things done at this parish.
Please continue to pray for me and the soon-to-be Fr. Mark Groeger, as we walk through this transition.
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.
Prince of Peace