“Are we still going to have Posadas?” the look of panic set in her eyes as she asked me about the future of leadership in our parish. “Of course, I imagine the parish will still celebrate Posadas,” I replied, “the parish is committed to accompanying the poor in the neighborhood, and it is dependent on your creative leadership.” The parish member was referring however to what happens when a new Claretian pastor arrives at the parish this fall. I also know it is important the religious continue to accompany these developments. The other day, the Parish Council met together for their monthly meeting. I always enjoy these opportunities because it is a group of leaders committed to a vision of hospitality, service and reflection. I learn so much from these leaders about hope and commitment. As I listened it became more and more evident that they are committed to a positive outlook and one that will not only welcome the new pastor, but an outlook that will remain full of service and hope.
The neighborhood is challenging: the Council must focus not only on new leadership, but also on how the parish will continue to serve youth, those affected by domestic violence, and those affected by our unjust national immigration policy. The many volunteers and staff who listen and accompany the poor must continue to advocate for those in need. They must continue to create new opportunities as well. All of this energy brings life to the liturgy and the mission of the church.
Fr. Hector made a wonderful point to the Council: the Claretians are missionaries, and as missionaries they are servant leaders. They work together and they attend meetings together to discuss the same common mission, in a very similar language. They all proclaim with their founder, St. Anthony Mary Claret, “the love of Christ impels us.” They are on fire with love and will use whatever means is necessary to live the missionary spirit.
And while Pastors are different, they are missionaries always and we are brothers in Christ. We also know that the mission of this parish was born with the first immigrants who built the community of Holy Cross/Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our ancestors left their countries of origin, suffering hardships, and they often had to leave a place they loved, often a family they held close, in order to survive and find a new life. They lived with hope. They served others. They lived a great commitment to build a community, a family.
So too, we all are called to that same spirit to journey on ahead, wherever we go, knowing we will arrive at a better place… in fact, at least in one way, we re-enact the journey every year during the Posadas celebration, so that we remember and not forget the hope we have and the love we share, Sincerely,
Fr. Bruce Wellems, CMF