Dear Saint Stephen’s Parish,
We hear these words from the Acts of the Apostles, as the leaders of the Jewish community are watching Peter and John. They are annoyed by the message of the Risen Christ that Peter and John are proclaiming, which is leading to crowds of people believing in Jesus. As I have been praying with this scene from the early days of the Church, I’m wondering if the same words could be said of me. Of course, “uneducated and ordinary” fits for me, but do people in my life recognize me as a “companion” of Jesus? How about you? Do the people around you recognize you as a “companion” of Jesus?
This is our calling—to live our lives in such a way that the people around us know that we have a relationship with our Risen Lord. Our focus as a parish should not be inward. We weren’t baptized to be focused only upon the life of our parish. While it is a great blessing to have our people serve in the ministries and activities of our parish, our ultimate vocation is to be a missionary in our community. In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), Pope Francis writes, “Even if many are now involved in lay ministries, this involvement is not reflected in a greater penetration of Christian values in the social, political and economic sectors. It often remains tied to tasks within the Church, without a real commitment to applying the Gospel to the transformation of society” (E.G. no. 102).
Pope Francis places a great and significant pastoral challenge before us. He is calling us to “be Church” in a different manner than we are used to. The life of a Christian missionary must be built on conversion and a daily, intimate encounter with Christ, which allows the Holy Spirit to inspire us toward discipleship and witness in the world.
With this in mind, the Parish Pastoral Council is discerning how our parish is called to instill the virtues of faith, hope, and charity in our members, so that we can be sent out by Christ to share His transforming love with the people we meet every day. While we offer many bible studies and opportunities for catechesis, we must together discern how God is calling all of us into a deeper, personal relationship with Him. Out of this comes a renewed rhythm of life that is built on the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Through our daily life, those around us who don’t know Jesus, or those who feel alienated from Him or the Church, come to encounter His love in a genuine and powerful way.
Please pray for the Pastoral Council and all who are involved in this important work of discerning how our parish is called to nurture and nourish, through Word and Sacrament, all who are baptized and called to be a disciple of Christ in the world.
Do the people around you recognize you as a companion of Jesus?
P.S. On a personal note, I would like to offer my gratitude for the prayers, messages, and assistance you have offered for my brother Doug and his family, as they recover from losing their home and possessions in a fire on April 7. They hope to move out of a hotel room into a rental house in the next few days. They will live there until what’s left of their home can be demolished and a new home can be built.
Pastoral Council Open Positions
The Pastoral Council is looking for individuals who are passionate about their faith and their parish to serve on the Council. New members would serve a 3 year term and would have the opportunity to contribute to the development and execution of a 3-5 year strategic plan for St. Stephen the Martyr Parish as well as advising and supporting the vision of our pastor.
Skills that would be particularly sought after include organizational development, strategic planning, communication and marketing, familiarity with our ministries, parish and archdiocese mechanics, etc. But most of all, we seek those with the faith, energy, and drive to make St. Stephens the parish God is calling it to be.
Those interested in more information can contact the Parish Office at 402-861-4507 or email@example.com or reach out to any of the current Pastoral Council Members. The deadline for applications isMay 10.
The response to our Parish Survey has been strong. Thank you to all who have completed it. If you have not, there is still time to make your voice heard. We would like every member of your household, high-school age and above, to complete the survey. A link to the survey can be found on our website or in the bulletin.
What is happening?
April 19 – Confession times scheduled for today have been cancelled.
April 21 – Alumni, Current Students and All Parish Families are invited to celebrate St. Stephen the Martyr School’s 25th Anniversary. Please join us at 5:00 PM Mass on Saturday, April 21st With a Complimentary Picnic Dinner to Follow. Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and more will be served from 6:00-7:30 PM. Families are welcome to eat in the Dining Room or bring a blanket to eat picnic style outside. We look forward to having you attend. Please select the sign up genius to RSVP==> http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080549aaab2da5f94-rsvp
April 21 / 22 – Diaper Drive. The Social Justice ministry is supporting a Skutt student who is collecting diapers for distribution to pregnancy centers. There will be a playpen in the gathering space for your donations.
April 22 – World Day of Prayer for Vocations. There will be a community Rosary recited in the worship space at 5:30 pm prior to the 6:00 pm mass.
April 29 – Graduation Breakfast for graduating seniors and their parents. See the bulletin for the details.
April 29 – The Adoration Committee will be filling empty adoration slots on this Adoration Commitment Sunday. The goal is to have 2 people signed up for adoration 24 X 7.
May 23 – Omaha Gives! sponsored by the American National Bank. Our goal is $65,000 to knock out our Adopt-a-Project list.
– Repair School Roof ($33,000)
– Remodel Restrooms – North Hallway ($33,000 – $13,000 raised last year)
– Update 2nd Floor bathroom at rectory ($10,000)
– Replace ceiling tiles ($6,000)
– Replace Office Window Sills ($600)
– Replace Rectory Carpet ($6,525)
– Repair Rectory Kitchen Ceiling ($250)
– Purchase needed equipment ($7,844)
When: May 23rd – You may schedule your gift starting May 1 for processing on May 23.
Click on “Non-profits”
In the name, Keyword box, type “St. Stephen the Martyr”, then hit enter
Click on St. Stephen the Martyr logo
Then click on “Donate Now” and set up your Omaha Gives! Profile.
Thank you for your support!!!
If you know of someone that would like to receive this email, please have them send their email address to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to this group.