Father’s Letter – June 19, 2016

Follow Jesus.
Go out and serve as He serves.
Form His disciples.

Of these three pillars of our St. Ann mission, “Follow Jesus” keeps resounding in my soul and I want to leave you with those words. It has not always been easy for me to remember how simple Christianity really is. There are so many teachings and with the growing complexities of the world, these teachings are constantly called into question. As a priest, I am particularly called to explain these teachings and how they really do bring the greatest happiness for mankind and lead us into the life and love of God. But sometimes it is easy to think of Christianity as simply the following of this set of ‘teachings.’ The most important thing that God has taught me over these last two years is that I must follow a person, Jesus Christ. He is the motivation for everything that I do. Even when I have not followed Him with all of my heart, He constantly loves me and pursues me. He is the meaning behind every teaching of the Church. And, to please Him brings the greatest joy the world will ever know. That was the experience of the first disciples. How else could they leave everything to follow Him?

There is no greater clarity to the purpose of life than to be known and loved by Jesus Christ and to seek to know and love Him in return. This is what caught the heart of Peter, James and John, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and so many others. They encountered a person who made present, to them, the face of God. It is not until that desire for Jesus burns in our heart that we can come to love the Church and her teachings. It is not until we experience Jesus, personally, through the sacraments, that Catholic practice will ever make sense.

So if I can leave you with one last thought, it is – Follow Jesus. Pursue Him with all of your heart. There you will find the beauty of the Catholic Church and realize that her purpose is to lead us into an encounter with Jesus, and through Him, with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Please pray for me, that I will love Him with all of my heart. Peace to you and know you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

In Christ through Mary,
Father Adams

Father’s Letter — June 12, 2016

In our first reading and in the Gospel, we heard about two sinners who made big mistakes in their lives and yet became great saints. The key to their return was humbly and simply admitting their faults. We heard the Responsorial Psalm, “I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not.” How easy it is to fall into despair after a mistake. The fear of coming out into the light bothers us terribly. We are afraid of being judged or misunderstood and so we justify ourselves and stuff away our sins. But these two individuals chose a different path. They humbled themselves. They pushed through the fear of humiliation and accepted their smallness before God. They knew they needed Him. They could not go on living a happy life without His healing and they knew it. They deeply desired God to look at them with His eyes of mercy, humiliating as that might be. Overcoming this fear gave them confidence to own their sins and to show them to the Lord with humble trust. And the Lord welcomed them back with great joy. They began to follow Him and to be transformed by a relationship with Him.

Is not this the story of each one of us? If we are really honest, there are those parts of our souls that we do not want to be illuminated by the light of Christ. Fear paralyzes us from coming into the light and the joy of being the children of God. But truly, there is nothing to fear. God’s perfect love casts out all fear and you are perfectly loved by your Heavenly Father. If we could just get this through our heads, how many more saints there would be in this world. These words may seem intense, but I am convinced that the Lord desires to set so many free in this Year of Mercy.

As my time with you here at St. Ann comes to a close, I want to share with you a few details about this time of transition. My last weekend Masses will be next week, June 18th-19th. I look forward to spending some time with you after each of the Masses to say our goodbyes. I depart for Rome on a pilgrimage with Hackett parents and students on June 20th. Father John Fleckenstein will officially become pastor on July 1st. Since neither of us are able to celebrate Masses the weekend of June 25th-26th, I have found two priests willing to substitute for Masses. Bishop Murray will celebrate Mass Saturday evening and the newly ordained, Fr. Andrew Raczkowski, will celebrate the Sunday Masses. I am so grateful for your support and prayers in this time of transition for our whole diocese.

Many blessings to you all and happy Sunday!

Fr. Adams