A Message from Father Rocco
ADVENT 2021: LOOKING BACK AND LOOKING AHEAD
I begin by thanking our Pastoral Advisory Council (PAC) for their vision and desire to begin a monthly newsletter for the parishioners of St. Aedan’s and friends of St. Aedan’s near and far.
As we prepare for Advent I cannot but remember where we were as a parish a year ago. Still deeply feeling the challenges of the Pandemic, we remained ever so vigilant to maintain the safety and health of all those who entered St. Aedan’s and kept our ears and hearts open to so many parishioners who did not feel comfortable or able due to the virus to join us in person. Thankfully, our live streaming of masses and our virtual platforms allowed us to stay connected. But now we are in a very different and more hopeful space. So many in the community have been vaccinated and as we begin Advent 2021 many of our children are being vaccinated. This unfolding moment of greater hope and possibility has allowed us to welcome a larger number of families to our Family Faith Formation Program and to welcome to our monthly 1 p.m. children’s liturgy growing numbers. The October Mass recorded 286 in attendance and the November Mass, 246. What a difference a year makes!
A year ago we quietly put to rest the Migrant Center Community Garden. This year we were able to gather in the garden and have a beautiful afternoon of prayer, community fellowship, and cleaning up the garden until next spring. I want to take this moment to thank on behalf of the parish Cathe Tansey for over four years has labored as Coordinator of the Migrant Center. Cathe has decided to step down from this role and I know all of us to want to express our deepest gratitude and great affection for her passionate ministry for migrants and refugees in our midst. Thank you, Cathe, for your inspiration and compassion!
As we go forward into a new moment of Church beyond the Pandemic, I have been discussing with PAC and other circles of parishioners a new direction for us. As the Migrant Center worked to embrace one of the four Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus throughout the world as promulgated in 2019-To walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice- it is now the time for St. Aedan’s to expand its vision and ministry works to include the other three:
-To show the way to God through Spiritual Exercises and discernment;
-To accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future;
-To collaborate in the care of our Common Home.
I am happy to share that we have begun working on all three of these other Jesuit ministerial preferences through conversations with Carlos Aedo, the Executive Director of the Office of Ignatian Spirituality (OIS), our Family Faith Formation program now in its second year, a new youth/young adult initiative that is beginning with our recently confirmed young people and other youth of the parish and finally future planning for our parish community garden. It should be noted that the preference that became the catalyst for the Migrant Center and Community Garden continues with renewed zeal at 39 Tuers Avenue with the amazing work of Erich Sekel, Dominick Mastrodonato, and our Saint Peter’s University family through the Campus Kitchen, Clothing Closet and Food Pantry. It was the last Advent that we began to forge a better partnership with Erich and Saint Peter’s work for the poor and struggling of our community. This partnership is getting stronger and stronger as we all feel new energy and hope. We are moving together beyond COVID to a new ministry moment as partners in mission!
Advent is about a special preparation to welcome anew the light of Christ into our hearts, homes, and world. Let us give thanks for the amazing spirit of volunteerism and generosity that marked Advent 2020 at St. Aedan’s and continues to shine as we journey together into Advent 2021. May we be filled with a spirit of wonder and awe as Christ calls us to joyfully enter this time of renewal and life beyond COVID to a brighter tomorrow.
“The preferences give a horizon, a point of reference to the whole Society of Jesus. They capture our imaginations and awaken our desires. They unite us in our mission.”
Father General Arturo Sosa SJ
19 February 2019