Category Archives: Master Planning

Canons and piccolos

If you were at any of the masses this weekend, you heard Fr. Pat finally address the financial needs for our parish master planning and capital campaign. I personally was struck by the story he told in his homily, about the 1812 Overture. The canons are the big deal in that piece of music, but he pointed out that as he heard some rehearsals for an outdoor performance of the music, he heard canons going off alone and without the benefit of preface. That made them noisy and loud, which canons are.

19331584He went on to say that it was the preface of the piccolo during the actual piece that made the canons into something else. This struck me in more than one way.  The first way was exactly what he was talking about, that the small and beautiful sound of the piccolo paved the way for the power and the glory of those canons. Some of you might already see where I am headed.

For me, I thought about how God came to us in human form, in Jesus Christ. God could have sent a booming and loud canon of a human person, but God took the form of gentle beauty in Jesus. This prepared us for the coming glory, or at least that is what we believe.

I was also reminded of the power of what Fr. Pat calls “common union,” the power of all of our gifts, offered and gathered at the table. Take a look at the communion line in our parish one day. You see people great and small, and I mean literally and figuratively. You see a surprising number of races and ethnicities‎, even in our generally not so diverse area. (Although we are growing more diverse, aren’t we?) You see old and young, rich and poor, happy and sad, healthy and infirm.

We need one another. That is what God asks of us in Christ, to be one. None of us exists alone, piccolo or canon. And our parish thrives because of the power of common union and community in Christ.

And that is what will be at the heart of whatever we do or do not do going forward.

So next time you are at church, look around and you will see the truth of what was said during the homily… St Edward’s is a place where everyone can feel welcome. The sheer size can be daunting, but the sheer size of the heart of the community and the open doors are the power of love in action. That is the power of many gathered in Christ, not single canons… or piccolos. We all work together as one in common union in Jesus.

But about those pledges… What can I say? First I say pray, and pray with open ears. See where you are urged and what practicality deems realistic for you. I can tell you this, I am a piccolo when it comes to pledge time! But that does not matter! What matters is that I, we – you – all keep coming to the table. We offer what we can, God seeks our presence, not presence qualified by power or prestige. Great and small we are all called.

And in Christ, may we all respond, in whatever way, great or small, that we can. The amount means very little without the heart, and it is open hearts that are called for here. May we go forth as One in Jesus name, the presence of that same Christ, always in Clifton Park.StEdPrayer

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Making room for all to be welcome

Greetings all! Welcome to the Roman Catholic Community of St Edward the Confessor Clifton Park parish blog! This is a place where there is always enough room for all to be welcome… in cyberspace. However, in our physical location, we are faced with pretty much the best problem that we could have, we are growing.  We say all are welcome, but paraphrasing parishioner Linda Malloy, is there room for all to be welcome? In our hearts – yes! In our building – maybe not so much!

If you have not seen our Capital Campaign video, we present here for you today.  If you have seen it, watch it again. We wanted to tell the story about the heart and soul of what our parish community. Who are we? And why are we all here in this place? What is it about St. Edward’s?

Take a few moments to watch the video and find out. After you do, please feel free to leave us a comment. We would love to hear from you, whether you are a member of our community or not!  (Our comments are moderated, so they don’t appear immediately.)  If you are inclined to share this video with others, through email or social media, please do so.  And please pray that we continue to grow as the Body of Christ made present in this place.

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The king does as the king pleases

sainte03Imagine a king, leader of a land, a people. This is a monarch, in place not because he was duly elected by a democratic majority, but through birthright, place, power, prestige and privilege.

That king can do whatever the heck he wants!

Now try to imagine a king who uses his power entirely for the good. He is devoted to and serves the poor, he lifts odious laws and exhibits mercy in places not always known for mercy, especially to the poor. He also wishes to see a church that is meant to bring God’s people together for the common good, for common union, so he builds churches for his people.

That is some kind of king! And one that seems very Jesus-like in his behavior. As he does not simply what pleases, but does what pleases God, by serving God’s people.

StEdGatheringSpaceStatueIf you are wondering who such a monarch might be, look no further than our own gathering space. You might need to look up, maybe you have seen him so many times, he almost becomes invisible. There he is…together let us learn more about our patron, a saint of compassion, goodness, and generosity.

King Saint Edward – our patron saint. Unlike more popular saints such as St. Francis, St. Anthony, St. Therese, St. Jude, and so many others, St. Edward seems little known. This is less so in England, where he is revered as a saint by both Roman Catholics and Anglicans. He is remembered for his great compassion and generosity, always focused on the Body of Christ. He was always giving and he was interested in building churches.

He was not a priest, as some might imagine due to his title “confessor.” This simply means someone who bore great public witness in faith, and St. Edward certainly did that.  Add to that, he was not martyred, which would be part of his name if he had been.

On this weekend where we note his feast day of October 13, along with parish ministries of service, and the possibility of a new church, St. Edward should be in our prayers. As our patron, he can help us focus our hearts in prayer for the common good, for common union in Christ. For example, how are we called to ministerial pursuits of service?

Perhaps we want to do something traditional, such as be a lector, a eucharistic minister, or be in the choir. Is it REC prison ministry that calls to us? What about working with Mary’s Corner or Birthright? Prayer shawls? Rosary making? Cooking and serving at the soup kitchens? The essential work of being a catechist, teaching the faith? What about helping with this blog? There are so many things we might do. God calls each of us as he called to Saint Edward. May our patron lead us to the insight and courage to follow through.

Make no mistake however – God needs you, God’s people need you, we need you!

St. Edward the Confessor was also a builder of churches. One of the most famous churches in the world stands in all its glory because of him. That would be the iconic Westminster Abbey in London, England.

In the 1040s King Edward (later St Edward the Confessor) established his royal palace by the banks of the river Thames on land known as Thorney Island. Close by was a small Benedictine monastery founded under the patronage of King Edgar and St Dunstan around 960 A.D.  This monastery Edward chose to re-endow and greatly enlarge, building a large stone church in honour of St Peter the Apostle. This church became known as the “west minster” to distinguish it from St Paul’s Cathedral (the east minster) in the City of London.

The present building is of a later design; read more about that here.

A favorite legend about St. Edward the Confessor tells us that one day, on his way to Westminster Abbey, he was approached by a beggar. Having no money to give, King Edward took his sapphire ring and offered it to the stranger.  The story holds that the stranger was none other than St. John the Baptist. I snapped this photo when in London this past summer, it was in an Underground station. I know, due to the glare, it is a little hard to read, but here it is anyway. StEdStoryLondon(You can click on it to make it bigger.)

Our patron holds many gifts for us, and we would be wise to pay more attention to him. Gives of ministry, gifts of service, gifts of a place for God’s people to gather, centered around the Eucharistic table. What we receive at that table, like St. Edward and countless others before us, gives us the nourishment we need to go out and minister in the name of Christ.

The king who was our patron, just as the King who is our Christ, never does as the king pleases in the end. The king does what God calls us all to do. May we find the ongoing inspiration to live more deeply into the mission and ministry of our church, with some help from our patron, today and always.

(If you have an interest in a ministry and if you did not get to stop by the ministry fair this weekend, please contact Mary Ann Sekellick in the parish office for more information. We would also ask you to remember to pray with the prayer cards that we have distributed, so that we may pray as one body in Christ, discerning and committing ourselves to the future of this Roman Catholic Community in Clifton Park. Thank you and God bless you!)

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The vision presses on

Marble AltarThen the LORD answered me and said:
Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets,
so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time,
presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
if it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.
The rash one has no integrity;
but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.
Habakkuk 1:2-3,2:2-4

Yesterday’s readings remain with me today, they are very much present in my heart. Ironically, I accidentally turned to them when I began to pray this morning. In my still-sleepy state I thought “Oh, we have the Habakkuk reading again.” Perhaps I needed to reread them, so I did. As I reread all of yesterday’s readings today, I could not help but think about what we are considering doing here at St. Edward the Confessor.

In full disclosure, I am on the Master Planning committee, and have been since its inception in 2009. So for me, this “vision” of our parish has been on my own heart for a long time, deeply embedded in my prayers. Recently, a church friend from a distant place responded to me talking about where we were in the process, by saying, “What?! You have not mentioned this in about 2 years. When did it start up again?” I told him that it had never stopped. He could not understand the very slow speed with which we moved. How could he? Where he lives, the Catholic church is booming and new churches are springing up everywhere! Why would anyone proceed so slowly?

The vision has its time and it will not disappoint. For me this means, what God has ordained will be what happens – I can’t direct that personally, none of us can. As far as Fr. Butler and Master Planning, we have prayed, listened, worked, talked, listened, planned, communicated, listened – and we listened more, we continue to listen. This cannot be rushed, this has not been rushed, but has been a process of discernment. That process continues, but now we come to the time where decisions must be made.

So what does this have to do with the other readings?

“Stir into flame!” I love those words from the second reading, from 2 Timothy. This makes me think of Fr. Pat’s homily from Sunday, which I wrote about last night. If we “stir into flame the gift of God” we are living more deeply into our faith. And may the stirring of that flame bring our collective gifts, which are far beyond the monetary, into being. Whatever that being may be!

And the Gospel from Luke nugget that burns brightly for me today is the reminder that our faith may be like the smallest seed, yet that faith can grow to dimensions unimaginable.

What vision presses on for our community? What flames are stirred? How will our faith grow not only in us, because we are but members of One Body of Christ, but how will the faith of our members point us? If we are ever in prayer, oriented to God, listening deeply and responding in that faith, the vision that was once a tiny seed, will grow to untold heights.

Please continue to pray with us as we seek God’s will and the will of our people.

PrayerandChurch

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Imagination and Possibility

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Were you at mass this weekend? If so, you walked into the gathering space, if you came in that way, and saw an eye-popping array of visuals. Photos and a poster on the “St. Edward” wall, an amazing Steinway piano, and an image of what our new church may look like, if we do that route, projected onto the wall.

It was quite spectacular. Personally, I enjoyed hearing people guessing what church the windows might have come from. As many parishioners grew up in other parishes, their own roots go back to so many places in the diocese. To see the elements of their old parish and to think it might end up here, has the potential to be very powerful.

Fr. Pat’s talk reminded us all of the power of the Catholic imagination, the impact of Catholic sensibility, and how that impacts us as God’s people.

As Catholics we encounter God not simply “out there” or “up there” but in a more immanent way – something like (my words, not Fr. Pat’s) the Ignatian way of seeing God in all things.

If you grew up Catholic, what do you remember about your church as a kid? I know that I loved the stained glass windows. The bright colors, the pictures of the saints and the stories I learned about them. And I really loved the images of the Nativity or of the Virgin Mary, whom I loved.

There was the smell of the wood of the pews and the scent of Murphy’s Oil Soap, which must have been used to clean those pews. And the smell of incense was always present.

All of these things, the way that all of our senses are engaged, does not make us better – but it does make us different. It is in these things that we find possibility and transformation. What possibility exists without imagination?

Add to that – buildings and architecture speak. And from that too comes possibility.

Who are we as God’s people? And where are we going? That is what we are all praying about now!

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