Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23, 2017

Dear Friends,

Last week in my homily I made a reference to lectio divina. This translates to ‘divine reading’. It is a practice that was developed through the monsastic tradition in our Church to help the monks use the Word of God to enter into a contemplative experience of prayer with God. 

The method I woul like to share with you comes from the Sulpicians, a society of diocesan priests who teach in seminaries.  While contemplation is a level of prayer that anyone can strive for in their prayer life, the diocesan priesthood is by nature apostolic, meaning it is focused on ministry to the people of God.  I believe that this method is beneficial for those whose vocations are apostolic or in family life and living the Gospel in the world.

The Sulpician method of lectio follows three statements:  Jesus before my eyes, Jesus in my heart, Jesus in my hands. You begin with Jesus before my eyes: carefully read a line or verse of Scripture. Spend some time reflecting on what teaching of Jesus may be found in what you have just heard.  After some time you move on to Jesus in my heart: read the line or verse once again (slowly). Then reflect quietly and identify the word or meaning that stands out to you.  Does this word or meaning stir something within you? Take some time in quiet to explore this stirring. Finally comes Jesus in my hands: once again read the line or verse of scripture. This time in your period of reflection ask yourself, what is it from this experience with the Word of God that you can put into practice right now.

There is no set time frame for lectio.  It can take 10 minutes or an hour. It all depends on where you are in your spiritual journey as well as the realities of life.

I also posted a video about this method of lectio on our Youtube channel.  I invite you to visit the St. George channel on Youtube and to check it often.  I will be posting videos on it periodically as well as sharing other videos that are helpful in growing in a deeper knowledge of our Catholic faith.

As a parish, our primary purpose is the building up of the kingdom of God in our families and our community. The most important thing we do is the celebration of the Eucharist and providing access to the Sacraments.  We also seek to help one another grow in love of God. One of the devotions in our Church is Eucharistic Adoration.  This is done in a more formal way, such as the Eucharist exposed in a Monstrance (which will take place at St. George’s on First Fridays), or informally, spending time before the Tabernacle.  To provide more people the opportunity for quiet prayer before the Lord the Church will remain open throughout the week.  The hours the Church will be open are:  Sundays: 7:45AM to 1PM; Mondays-Wednesdays 8AM to 6PM; Fridays 8AM to 6PM and Saturdays 10AM to 6PM (the Church will be closed on Thursdays).  I invite you to take a few minutes when you can to stop in and spend some time in quiet before the Lord.

Finally, if you have a ‘smart’ phone, I invite you to download our parish app.  This app not only has information about what is happening in the parish, but also resources to help you grow in faith.  You can download it through the App Store or Google Play or you can text App to 88202.

This week is off to an exciting start as I preside at the wedding of two of our peer ministers at UMass Dartmouth Catholic Campus Ministry! Please pray for all those couples who are preparing for marriage here at St. George’s, in our families and around the world.

Peace,
Fr. David


Monday, July 17, 2017

July 16, 2017

Dear Friends,

First, thank you all for your very warm welcome last weekend.  I am very happy to be here as your pastor and look forward to getting to know everybody better.

I mentioned in my letter last week that one of my roles as pastor is to ensure that there are opportunities for each parishioner to continue faith formation.  So often we see faith formation as something for the kids, yet it is such an important part of the life of the Christian disciple, regardless of their age or experience.  The Catechism tells us at the very beginning that the Christian life is one of continuing conversion, that is, continually turning our hearts and minds to the Lord.  If we neglect our continuing formation our faith becomes complacent and eventually dries up and dies. 

I once saw a flyer from a university campus ministry program in Virginia that stated: “You came here for a higher education, why are you ok with an 8th grade knowledge of your faith?”  As we continue to grow in wisdom in our life experiences, it is necessary that we continue to learn how God is at work in our world and in our lives.  Our increased knowledge will help us gain deeper insights and understanding of who God is.  We grow in our love of God and in our life of prayer.  The result is a life that is more vibrant and joyful.

There will be some programs offered in the coming weeks and months.  However, I would like to draw your attention to a couple of opportunities that are available now.

First, we have a subscription with a program called Formed.  Formed is a website (formed.org) that contains catechetical, scriptural and spiritual programs as well as other resources such as movies, ebooks and other videos.  If you go to formed.org, set up profile.  It will ask you for the parish code, type in D3WZRH.  This will give you free access to all the resources on the site.  These resources include Bishop Robert Barron’s Catholicism series, the Symbolon series, and much more!

In addition, we will be utilizing social media as a platform to evangelize and to provide resources for people to grow in their Catholic Faith.  For those who are not on social media or don’t use the internet, no worries! As I mentioned before there are some programs being developed that will be announced in the coming weeks.

At the center of our lives as Christians is the Lord Jesus. That is why the Mass is so important. It is there that we encounter the risen Lord in the proclamation of the Word and most in a powerful way in the Eucharist.  As we look to the future, the Lord must be our anchor.  Starting August  4 we will have Eucharist Adoration each first Friday of the Month. It will begin following the 9AM Mass and continue until 7PM when we will have benediction.  As we get closer to the date sign-ups will be posted for ‘coverage’. It is best to have someone present each hour of adoration.  If you aren’t able to commit for an hour, I invite you to stop in during those hours to spend some time before the Eucharistic Lord. Among your prayers, please pray for our family of faith here at St. George.
This past week I met with the former pastoral and finance councils. The purpose of the meeting was to listen and learn about St. George Parish.  I will be meeting with various parish groups over the next few months for the same purpose.  Sometime in August or September we will have a parish wide survey in an effort to provide as many people as possible the opportunity to share their experiences, hopes and concerns of our parish.  From these meetings and survey we will gather as a parish to come up with some strategies for the next few years.

Once again, I am very happy to be here at St. George! Please pray for me and know of my prayers for you!

Peace,
Fr. David

  

Sunday, July 9, 2017

July 9, 2017

Dear Friends,

I am very happy to be joining the family of faith here at St. George!  I am also very thankful to Fr. Salvador for all the effort he has put into the transition of a new pastor.  Please join me in thanking God for the gift of Fr. Salvador to our parish and offering continued prayers on his behalf. I am very happy that he will continue to be a part of the parish and assist with masses from time to time.

I am very humbled to be your pastor.  I am comforted by the Lord’s words to Jeremiah when he was asked by the Lord to be a prophet:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you…To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak.” (Jeremiah 1:5, 7bc)

As I understand it, my responsibility as pastor is to help implement and continue the priorities established by Pope Francis, Bishop da Cunha and the Church.  These priorities are:
1.     The Worship and praise of God. This includes the Sunday and daily homilies, ensuring access to the Sacraments and Reverent and meaningful liturgies.
2.     Faith Formation. Not only the catechetical instruction for our children and youth, but also continuing faith formation and catechesis for adults, outreach to fallen away and alienated Catholics and utilizing social media and other technologies to share the faith and Gospel.
3.     Pastoral Care. Engage in works of social justice, support of families, married couples, parents; outreach to the sick; outreach to the poor, neglected, and immigrant; providing opportunities for the laity to exercise their gifts and abilities in ministries and works of the apostolate.

Finally, I have served as Chaplain at UMass Dartmouth since 2011 and also serve as the Diocesan Director for Campus Ministry for the Diocese. This provides some new opportunities for our Catholic college students to become involved in the life of a parish. In addition it does provide some opportunities for the parish as well.

I ask your patience as I start at St. George. It will take me a long time to connect names to faces. It will also take me a while to figure out the parish routines and rhythms and the communities of Westport and Dartmouth. In the meantime, here is all of my contact info:

Facebook.com/fatherdavidf
Twitter: @fatherdavid
Instagram: fr.david.frederici

Peace,
Fr. David