Twilight Twitches

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 
Dear Family,

Happy Independence Day weekend! It has been an interesting few weeks at St. Sebastian, and I for one will be thrilled to welcome Monsignor Jim home on Monday. Just in case you haven’t heard, the majority of the air conditioning system in our church building breathed its last several weeks ago. We are in the process of replacing two 20 ton units. The company has the units ready to install. As this bulletin goes to print, it looks like we are ready to begin the permitting process with the City of Fort Lauderdale. Hopefully the project will proceed quickly from this point. In the meantime, my heartfelt thanks to those of you who helped to make Monsignor McDonnell Parish Hall a suitable temporary worship space, (Patricio and Peter, especially) and to those who spread the word and stood out in the sun (Nancy and Frank, among others) pointing folks in the right direction.

There were a number of positive remarks from parishioners about celebrating Mass in the Parish Hall. Comments like “It’s nice to be closer to each other;” “It feels more like we are a community;” and Father Brohammer’s remark, “You sound great!” as the Entrance Hymn ended at the 5:00 Mass last weekend lifted my spirits.

But what about this sense of ‘community’? For years, Pastors have been encouraging us to sit closer to each other; some people make an effort and others grumble that “no one is going to tell me where to sit”. So what is our vision of community? In my opinion, it goes beyond where we sit; it involves accepting a vision of living as a disciple of Christ and of caring about each other, caring about every single human being.

St. Sebastian Parish is very blessed to have a Pastor who holds up this vision for us. How many times have we heard him say that we are to show the face of Jesus to everyone we meet? I think most of us would agree that we have heard it a lot. But how do we do that? In my opinion, we start by asking ourselves how Jesus sees this person. Try to put the needs and feelings of the other first, being patient with the other, listening and trying to understand their needs and their point of view. In a word, to always respect that other person as a child of God, like myself. I realize this may sound very basic, but the is fact is that we don’t always respect each other… and that causes pain and division and alienation from the community that most of us work so hard to build. We all have the occasional “bad hair day” when we do not speak or act as we should, and when we realize we have offended someone because of it, we need to apologize and be reconciled. Just do it! Saint Paul tells us that when one part of the Body (of Christ) hurts, we all hurt.

While on the subject of respect, I think Monsignor Jim deserves it. He has dedicated 47 years of his life to service of the people of South Florida as a good and faithful priest, sharing the love and consolation of the Lord with many. He is concerned with the mission of the Church and not just maintaining the status quo. He is a man of compassion, faith and vision. If you have a question or concern, please bring it to him. Make an appointment to talk with him. Discussing things among ourselves without a clear understanding of what we are talking about can lead to division among our community. We, the people of St. Sebastian Parish Community, are better than that.

In-dependence upon the Lord with you all,

Annie Gardner

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