Looking Back and Looking Ahead: Our Parish on Mission this June and July
As we journey from June to July, I am struck by how much has been happening at St. Aedan’s, and so much more is approaching.
Looking back, we began June by welcoming 21 of our parish young people, three students of Hudson Catholic, and two adults to the Sacrament of Confirmation. This Sacrament dramatically focuses on young and not-so-young alike that Christ invites us always to say in our words and actions, YES to love, YES to service, and YES to hope.
We also began, thanks to the Office of Ignatian Spirituality of the USA East Province of the Jesuits, a program of formation in Spanish at all of our Jesuit parishes of small reflection groups using the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius as the focus for prayer, communal discernment, and parish ministry. In time, the Office of Ignatian Spirituality will offer the program to the English-speaking communities of our many East Coast parishes.
And as a nation, we celebrated June Pride Month, and the Pastoral Advisory Council and other parishioners worked to form a post-COVID parish youth program and young adult outreach. We are especially sensitive in this emerging moment of ministry and outreach to our young people of a statement that Cardinal Tobin signed with other bishops last January: “We take this opportunity to say to our LGBT friends, especially young people, that we stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you . . . Most of all, know that God created you, God loves you, and God is on your side.” Let us pray for blessings upon this important Catholic and Ignatian outreach to our youth and young adults.
A great end to this inspiring month of June came this past Sunday, June 26, as we gathered after all of the Masses for our POTLUCK FELLOWSHIP. Thanks to the hard work of members of our Pastoral Advisory Council (PAC), so many parish volunteers and donations of all sorts by our parishioners’ great food, lots of fun, and music were shared, and a spirit of hope filled the air. Now, let’s look ahead!
July promises to be filled with so many possibilities and projects. Our first big project will be to light the front of the Church with LED outdoor lights that will fill the main entrance wall of St. Aedan’s. We will work to continue new LED lighting along the front of the Church and rectory grounds. We will also get bids from contractors for refreshing/refurbishing the church bathrooms. As exciting as these possibilities are, perhaps even more significant than these will be our celebration of the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
The actual Feast of our spiritual guide falls on Sunday, July 31. This will also be the close of the Ignatian Year. From May 20, 2021, until July 31, 2022, the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) celebrated the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius’ conversion—that fateful day when Ignatius the soldier, struck by a cannonball, began his transformation into Ignatius the pilgrim. We will have the Saturday, 5:30 p.m. Mass on July 30 and one bilingual Mass (English and Spanish), 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 31 to celebrate Saint Ignatius and his conversion. This Mass will be live-streamed from the parish Facebook page. At 11 a.m. Mass special thanksgiving blessings will also be offered for Fr. Claudio Burgaleta, S.J., as he completes his six-year term as the Superior of the Saint Peter’s community, and welcoming blessings will be offered for his successor, Fr. Joseph Costantino, S.J., as he begins his term as Superior. This special Feast Mass will be followed by fellowship under our tents, music, fun for the children, and fantastic food once again by our Bergen Avenue restaurant friends of KREWE.
I look forward to seeing so many of you throughout the weeks ahead, especially at our Feast on Sunday, July 31. Be sure to invite friends, family, and parishioners who have not yet returned since COVID. Finally, know that you are all daily in my prayers, and I give thanks for your incredible generosity of time, talent, and treasure. How lucky I am and so very blessed!