Fidelity bears fruit – A pastoral message on the occasion of the parish feast
My dear parishioners,
The feast of St Stephen our patron falls on December 26th each year. Somehow the Christmas season, with its festivities, overshadows this day. The day after Christmas, with its spiritual and social demands exhausts us and the thought of a parish feast the very next day has been the reason why pastorally this celebration has often been postponed to a Sunday in January
Just when we thought we had the covid virus tucked under our belt, a new variant, Omicron, took us by surprise. Mercifully, this wave was not as bad as the last one; yet we are mindful that lives were lost and we can’t let our guard down.
On the feast day I want to greet each of you, those who will attend mass over the week end and those who will join us on line. Personally, for me, the last seven months here at St Stephen’s has been a roller coaster and while we would all like to wish that things are fine, they are not. The reality of the parish, administratively, pastorally and spiritually is far from where it should be. Today, I wish to speak of a few key areas of concern that we as a parish could work together.
One of the saddest realities that dawned on me was that post the second wave of covid, the attendance at weekend mass, on the best Sunday, was just fifty percent of the parish. This means that more than five hundred parishioners continue to be absent. I acknowledge that of these many will be senior citizens and children but the reality is that there are many able-bodied people, who I am sure continue with daily work normally, who skip Sunday Mass.