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From the Pastor 06/10/18

I am happy to announce the final results from the Archdiocesan Campaign: One Faith, One Hope, One Love. Our goal was to raise $2,580,000. I am happy to report that we exceeded that goal and raised $2,705,648. This means that $591,000 is scheduled to come back to the parish over the next five years as parishioners are sending in their pledges. I cannot express how relieved I am that this extra income will be coming in as we stabilize our budget and do more capital improvements to our campus. 525 out of 2,200 registered families participated in the campaign, of which I am truly grateful. 24% of those participating were able to offer a gift or pledge. 6% were unable to give a gift or pledge, but I am grateful for their prayers for the success of this campaign. I have been working on this campaign since November of 2017, so I am happy to see the fruits of so many people who joined with me in helping with the campaign, and so many who gave gifts or pledges. Thank you for a job well done and for your generosity.

I would like to share with you two recently received letters.

From Sister Mary Sylvia, Isp, the Superior of the Little Sisters of the Poor:

Dear Father, Thank you for allowing us to come to your parish the weekend of March 17-18. We thank you for the gift of $13,831.61 that we received from your parish! With the individual donations that were sent to us, your parish has blessed us. You truly have generous parishioners, and we are grateful for their support. As you know, our ability to provide a home and security for our elderly is made possible only through generous donations such as these. For many years, the Little Sisters have visited your parish, and it is a double blessing for us. In addition to the generous support we receive, it is wonderful to join so many individuals and families in celebrating our faith and worship and to witness a joyful parish community. Please express our thanks to all your parishioners and remind them of our prayers for their intentions. In a special way, we will pray for you Father. We have contracted a debt of gratitude to you that only Our Lord can pay for us and we shall often remind Him of it. With renewed thanks for your goodness to us, we ask God to abundantly bless you and all in your parish family.

And another letter from a recent graduate from St. Gertrude School to Sr. Mary Aquinas, our principal:

Dear Sister Mary Aquinas, I hope that you, and the students, and the rest of the faculty and staff at St. Gertrude’s are doing well. I was sorry I did not get a chance to visit over the Spring Break this past week. I had to come back to DC to help with a Confirmation Retreat. That retreat has been the inspiration for this letter. I truly want to thank you and the others on faculty and staff for everything you have taught me about God. I do not know where I would be if I had not had a solid foundation in my faith that you helped nurture and grow. This Confirmation Retreat was one of the most challenging I’ve experienced, for a variety of reasons, but what is striking me most was the lack of understanding. One retreatant asked me if he was Roman Catholic after I had mentioned some different traditions. It saddens my heart but also made me realize how valuable the time I spent at SGS really was and how much you all have given me. I aspire to be like the teachers of St. Gertrude’s whether
I become a teacher or a youth minister, and if I am able to help one person the way you all have helped me, my life shall be well spent. You are all in my prayers and I hope the school year ends as peacefully as it can despite
the busyness.

This week we celebrate two important memorials in the Church’s calendar. On Monday, June 11 we celebrate the Memorial of St. Barnabas, the Apostle. All we know of Barnabas is to be found in the New Testament. A Jew, born in Cyprus and named Joseph, he sold his property, gave the proceeds to the Apostles, who gave him the name Barnabas, and lived in common with the earliest converts to Christianity in Jerusalem. Tradition has Barnabas preaching in Alexandria and Rome, also the founder of the Cypriote Church, and stoned to death at Salamis about the year 61.

On Wednesday, June 13, the very popular St. Anthony of Padua. His journey as the servant of God began as a very young man when he decided to join the Augustinians in Lisbon, giving up a future of wealth and power to be a servant of God. Later when the bodies of the first Franciscan martyrs went through the Portuguese city where he was stationed, he was again filled with an intense longing to be one of those closest to Jesus. So Anthony entered the Franciscan Order and set out to preach to the Moors. But an illness prevented him from achieving that goal. He went to Italy and was stationed in a small hermitage where he spent most of his time praying, reading the Scriptures and doing menial tasks. Recognized as a great man of prayer and a great Scripture and theology scholar, Anthony became the first friar to teach theology to the other friars. Soon he was called from that post to preach to the Albigensians in France, using his profound knowledge of Scripture and theology to convert and reassure those who had been misled by their denial of Christ’s divinity and of the sacraments. After he led the friars in northern Italy for three years, he made his headquarters in the city of Padua. He resumed his preaching and began writing sermon notes to help other preachers. In the spring of 1231 Anthony withdrew to a friary at Camposampiero where he had a sort of treehouse built as a hermitage. There he prayed and prepared for death. On June 13, he became very ill and asked to be taken back to Padua, where he died after receiving the last sacraments. Anthony was canonized less than a year later and named a Doctor of the Church in 1946.

A blessed Week to All,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor