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The Catholic Community  of St. John Neumann
A Christian Church of the Catholic Tradition
Califon, NJ

Pastor's weekly Writing

  FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK….

Dear Friends,

       For practical considerations, this is our Stewardship weekend. We proudly describe ourselves as a Stewardship community of St. John Neumann. What does it really mean to be a Stewardship Church? Stewards of God's gifts are not passive beneficiaries. We cooperate with God in our own redemption and in the redemption of others. We are also obliged to be stewards of the Church—collaborators and cooperators in continuing the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, which is the Church's essential mission. This mission—proclaiming and teaching, serving and sanctifying—is our task. It is the personal responsibility of each one of us as stewards of the Church. All members of the Church have their own roles to play in carrying out its mission:
· Parents, who nurture their children in the light of faith;
· Parishioners, who work in concrete ways to make their parishes true communities of faith and vibrant sources of service to the larger community;
· All Catholics, who give generous support—time, money, prayers, and personal service according to their circumstances—to parish programs and to the universal Church.
       Our Stewardship Committee has proposed the theme of “Socially responsible fiscal decisions” for our consideration and action this weekend. All of us are invited to participate in various stewardship ways of giving. Many of our parishioners are already doing some of these ways and I am truly grateful to them as the parish is truly dependent on your continued generosity and goodness. But I wish to reach out to others to participate in some easy ways that you will hear about this weekend.
       We are entering the Thanksgiving Week! Some have this doubt: Is Thanksgiving a religious holiday or a secular celebration? Although the secularism of our present culture may have turned the focus more to indulging in food, fun, games, and family gathering, we must not forget the history and the religious significance of this American holiday. It is definitely a religious holiday rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition of our country. So we need to pause to thank God. One lively song that has remained in my memory from my missionary seminary life is titled: Count Your Blessings, Name Them One by One. It has these wonderful and uplifting words in one verse:
Are you ever burdened with a load of care/Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?  Count your many blessings, ev’ry doubt will fly/And you will be singing as the days go by.
       Yes, we need to really take the time to be thankful for what we have been blessed with, especially for those simple things that we take for granted. Plan to begin the Thanksgiving Day by attending our special Mass to thank our loving God who is the source of all blessings. It is wonderful that many families have the tradition of not only saying a Thanksgiving prayer before meals, but also of going around the table and having each person say what they’re thankful for. In my observation, I’ve found that people most often neglect to mention items. Instead, they say “family” or “friends.” This is because Thanksgiving teaches us to appreciate the things we can’t buy-the important aspects of life. Yes, St. Paul is right:
“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater..”      (2 Thessalonians 1:3)
Happy Thanksgiving!


                                                                                                                       Your brother in Christ

                                                                                                                        Fr. Abraham Orapankal