Dear St. James Family,
Today I stopped at the beautiful Southbank Hotel where I was working on some of the planning details for the fundraising dinner that we are assembling. Bishop Lopes will be in town and will be the speaker. It’s going to be a great night that you will not want to miss! Prepare your cocktail attire and mark your calendar for Saturday, December 9. If you are considering joining us, let us know soon as seating is limited. Check out the full details here.
News and Happenings
When there are problems with Church leadership, some split off and form new factions of Christianity, others leave all together, others stay. How do you know what to do and when? Fortunately, Jesus taught about this, preparing you for these difficult times so that you would know what to do. Listen and learn what he had to say.
Autism, ADHD, OCD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Tourette’s, Down Syndrome: Strengthening our Welcome
I had a great meeting yesterday with our Blessed Carlo Acutis Children and Family Ministry Guild. We had the privilege of going through a training on neurodiversity (various ways of thinking such as those listed in the above title), presented by our own Susan Miller, which was excellent and insightful. We discussed how we can continue creating space at St. James for this area of need and have put together a three stage plan, which I am happy to share with anyone who would like to learn more. This proposal includes providing hands on tools, an away space, signage, an orientation video, workshops, and an advertising rollout to be able to serve to the wider community. This is a big, often overlooked and unmet need in many parishes and I am looking forward to continuing to strengthen this important ministry of welcome and hospitality at St. James to the neurodiverse community.
News From the Priest Convocation: Pilgrimage, Hymnals, Missal, Equipping
I have been wanting to share with you some items of note from my time at Mundelein Seminary with Bishop Lopes and my brother priests.
Your Help Needed for Ordinariate Big Splash in July: Bishop Lopes shared with us that at the upcoming National Eucharistic Congress, the first since 1976, he would like there to be a large gathering of Ordinariate members. He said that this is our chance to show to the rest of the Catholic world our beautiful Mass (it will be part of the big program) and make clear that we are part of the Catholic Church and have gifts to share. He said that this is an opportunity that is not to be missed: July 17-21, 2024, Indianapolis, IN. If you would like to be part of this please let me know. You can find out more information at EucharisticCongress.org
Hymnal Update: As you know, we are working on completing our own hymnal which will contain our beloved patrimonial hymns, including the restored Marian verses which were lopped off during the Anglican years. This hymnal will include the best of the 1940 hymnal, the 1982 hymnal and a few others, and will have the words of the Mass for you to follow (no more abbreviated liturgy tri-fold :-). It will also contain all of the favorite Marian and Latin hymns that every Catholic is accustom to.
Bishop Lopes shared that the publisher has recently sent to him the plates for Advent. He explained that everything has to be double checked, first the wording, and then the music. Once he and his team have completed this, they will go back to the publisher for the next set. Everything is currently on track and we are hoping for the hymnals to become available in 2024.
People’s Missal Update: Unfortunately, I have bad news on this one. Some of you will recall that earlier this year I asked for the numbers of how many of you wanted to purchase your own missal (the book which contains all of the Sunday readings and prayers). The publisher decided that because of the low numbers requesting this across the Ordinariate, it is not currently financially feasible to do a printing at this time. For it to make financial sense, they need to print at least 5,000 copies and from what I understand the demand is not currently at this point, so there has been no forward progress on this.
Building St. James Together: I was reminded in various ways at the convocation that I need your help to get out there and invite people to come and discover the beautiful riches that we have at St. James. I spend a good amount of time each week gathering names and contact information of those I have met outside of St. James, checking up on them from time to time, and inviting them to various things that I think would be helpful to them. I would encourage you to do the same. We are in this together, the future of St. James depends on us all putting forth a strong effort to build this community. This spring I am planning on giving a little class on how to do this even better. More details to come, though do let me know if you would like to be on the list to receive an invitation.
Best Explanation of the Synod for Those Who Want to Know
Like many of you, I have been following various news outlets and their take on the synod (big meeting/discussion) currently taking place in Rome. At this point, I have heard a number of angles on this, including from those who argue that the synod is being used to destroy the Church, exclude the good and the true, and that it is embroiled in secrecy.
Recently, I listened to what I would consider to be the best explanation of what is going on with the synod and recommend it to you. Longtime Vatican correspondent, Gerard O’Connell, explains the history of synods from the beginning of the Church and how they have been revived in the last fifty years in the Church. He also explains how this synod is different from all of the past synods that he has personally experienced and why this is a good thing. O’Connell brings the synod into context from his many years of Vatican experience and provides you an insiders look that pushes past the hype and media spin. Be inspired and discover what is really going on in the Vatican right now and how the Lord is at work within our Church.
Respect Life Month: Pray the Novena (Nine Days of Prayer), October 13-21
Be Courageously Pro-woman. Promote the choice that truly protects, but don’t stop there: accompany and support women and their children. A great way to start is to join Catholics nationwide by praying for the protection of human life, from conception to natural death using the Respect Life Month Novena. Each day of the novena features a different pro-life prayer intention, accompanied by a short reflection and suggested actions to help build a culture of life. Get daily intentions, brief reflections, and more. Sign up at respectlife.org!
This Sunday’s Homily: No Catholics Don’t Believe in Salvation by Works . . .
I have been working on crafting a homily on the much misunderstood Catholic teaching on good works, which I will be delivering on this Sunday, October 15. Learn why the Church teaches neither salvation by works nor salvation by faith alone, two very common but incorrect doctrines. The truth of Jesus’ teaching on salvation or justification is much richer than this and frees you to be a person of virtue, of excellence, of charity.
Hurt by Family? Check out the Life-Giving Wounds Retreat, Oct. 14-15
The Life-Giving Wounds retreat will be held at Mission Nombre de Dios, 101 San Marco Ave., in St. Augustine. This is a unique opportunity for young adults (18+) and adult children of divorce, separation or family brokenness to reflect intentionally on the wounds caused by their family’s breakdown, together with others who know this pain and knowledgeable, compassionate retreat leaders. With the help of God, retreat attendees learn to see how their life-draining wounds can become a life-giving mission of love for themselves, their relationships and others. For more details and to register or check out the flyer. Contact Mike Day, director of the Family Life Office, at email@example.com or call (904) 262-3200 for more information.
Grab a Rake and Help Us. Easy Opportunity to Form the Next Generation, Saturday, October 28, 2023, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Studies show that children serving with their families has a major impact on a child’s faith and their involvement in church long term. Join the first quarterly service gathering hosted by the Children and Family Ministry at L’Arche Jacksonville a worldwide federation of communities founded by Jean Vanier, a Canadian Catholic philosopher and theologian, for people with developmental disabilities and those who assist them. We will assist staff and residents with fall planting and yard work at the facility located at 700 Arlington Rd. N., Jacksonville, FL 32211 Please contact Colleen Kelley @ firstname.lastname@example.org or text 408-306-6280 to sign up and receive additional information.
All Saints Mass, Potluck and Kids Activity, Wednesday, November 1, 5:30 PM
Join us for this fun and festive holy day of obligation in honor of the many unknown saints of the Church. Following Mass there will be a Potluck and a Saint Craft Activity for the children. Please sign up to bring your favorite dish at the hospitality table after Mass or by contacting Tammy Bonkowski 904.838.4859.
All Souls Mass, Thursday, November 2, 7:00 PM, Hosted at Lucas Home
Why an All Souls Mass? Though the souls in purgatory are assured of their salvation, according to both St. Augustine and St. Gregory and others, the pain of purgatory is more intolerable than anything a person can suffer in this life. However prayers, alms, works of piety, and especially the Mass can be offered for the assistance of those being purified. All Souls Mass is a great opportunity to offer this assistance to the faithful departed. Should you be curious, I’ll be explaining more about why we as Catholics participate in this practice at the Mass.
Names of the Deceased: All those planning to attend the All Souls Mass are invited to submit the names of deceased souls along with a gift of at least $10 per name. I will be using traditional black vestments at this Mass. Please let me know by October 28 so that we can gather and set up the appropriate number of chairs. The Mass will be hosted at the home of Dan and Chris Lucas: 12069 Dividing Oaks Trail Jacksonville.
Check out More Upcoming Events at the Website
Faithfully, your pastor,