This past weekend I enjoyed time with the people of St. Laurence O’Toole parish in Laramie. Saturday began around 10:00 with a meeting with the pastor, Fr. James Schumacher and continued with various meetings with staff and pastoral leaders through around 2:30 before taking a break before the Saturday evening vigil Mass at 5:30. As I was a bit ‘under the weather,’ I was remiss in taking any photos for this blog entry.
The pastor and pastoral council provided some great documentation prior to my arrival, outlining the many aspects of parish life. St. Laurence is a parish of around 600+ families. Dating back to the post World War II era there are many Hispanics from the ‘New Mexico’ parts of the US. The railroads were a big economic draw in those days. Laramie is also the home to the University of Wyoming, thus the second parish in town is the St. Paul Newman Center.
One thing I truly appreciated about my visit to St. Laurence this weekend was their frank assessment of parish life. They did not simply speak about the various ministries of the parish, but were humble in their assessment of things they knew they could and wanted to do better. They is a recipe for success! One area where they are truly blessed is the many choirs that provide for the liturgical music of the parish. I believe in total there are nine different groups that sing at Mass!
The highlight of my visit was the chance to celebrate three of the weekend Masses and to enjoy a wonderful breakfast cooked by the members of the KofC and hosted by the parish Council of Catholic Women. Keep up the good work, and continue to live the faith, people of St. Laurence O’Toole!
On another note, I have been struck by the recurring theme of God’s will in the past two days. I would like to draw this readership’s attention to this all important topic. The Opening Prayer for Mass this 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time: “Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours…” Then the Sunday Gospel tells us that the greatest among us is the one who serves the rest. (Mark 10:35-45) Jesus’ own humble service is our model. Jesus’ service was always rooted in carrying out ‘The Father’s will.’
Today’s reading also draws our attention to the Father’s will. “‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” (Luke 12:13-21)
From Daytime Prayer this afternoon, Antiphon 1: “The will of God gives joy to the heart; we see all things in its light.” No doubt, when we strive to ‘conform our will to God’s will’ we will be tested. And when we do not find our joy in God’s will, then we know for sure, we have something needing immediate attention!
Finally, from Evening Prayer: “May you attain full knowledge of God’s will through perfect wisdom and spiritual insight. … By the might of his glory you will be endowed with the strength needed to stand fast, even to endure joyfully whatever may come.” (Colossians 1:9-11)
Just this past week, I offered to God my entire life, in a new and more profound sense. I want only Christ to reign within me. Sure as the spiritual life goes, there were immediate and strong spiritual challenges to this new resolve. I needed these past few days the reassurance of God’s Word. More than anything, I need the power and transforming grace this Word provides.
May you find the same resolve and grace in your desire for and cooperation with God’s plan to increase within you the Life and Peace of Christ!