“Welcome back!” That’s what many children and young people are hearing as a new school year begins. “Welcome back” to school… to a new year filled with possibilities! The slow, restful pace of summer gives way to a flurry of activity as students and teachers and parents shift into the high gear of fall. Please join me in praying for God’s blessings on all our students and teachers, especially in our Catholic Schools.
The start of a new school year also means that many parish programs, apostolates, and meetings get underway. This fall promises to be especially rich here at St. Charles and St. Peter’s.
- On Tuesday evenings we will be running the Alpha Course. I’d encourage everyone to “come and see” on September 8th from 6 – 8 p.m. Even better: invite someone to come with you! Alpha meets in the St. Charles School. Each evening includes a meal, presentation, and small group discussion.
- On Wednesday evenings we’ll be hosting “Catholicism 201” for those who have completed Alpha. This eight week follow-up course covers aspects of the Catholic tradition, from sacraments to saints to some thorny moral questions. Like Alpha, Catholicism 201 includes a meal, presentation and discussion.
- Sunday nights see the return of the “Dead Theologians Society” for young people Grade 7 through high school. In addition, our confirmation candidates will be participating in Youth Alpha, a version of the adult course designed especially for teens.
- Religious Education resumes later this month. If you’ve not yet registered, please do so asap!
- Charles Parish Choir resumes their regular rehearsal schedule on Wednesday evenings. They are always looking for more members! Please contact Jerry Boorsma if you are interested in the choir, or serving as a cantor.
Our various parish ministry teams also resume meeting in September. The Liturgy Team helps plan and prepare for the various liturgical seasons and feasts, devotions, and pastoral care of the sick. The Discipleship Team tackles faith formation “from womb to tomb” as we all continually grow into more mature disciples of Jesus Christ. The Mission Team helps coordinate outreach to the wider community; service/assistance to those in need; and pro-life activities. The members of these three teams come from both our parishes and they then form the parish pastoral councils of each parish. If you’re interested in serving on any of these teams, please contact the Central Office – we welcome new members and new ideas!
One of the main objectives our teams and councils will be focused on this fall is preparing for the special “Holy Year of Mercy” proclaimed by Pope Francis. This extraordinary holy year begins December 8th – the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. As a preliminary preparation for the holy year, a pilgrimage to venerate the relics of St. Maria Goretti on October 16th is in the works. (St. Maria forgave the man who attempted to rape her as she was dying from the wounds he inflicted upon her.) Watch for other holy year events to come!
So many new beginnings! So many possibilities the Lord opens before us! I pray that we’ll make the most of these opportunities … that each of us will take a step forward in faith by attending, volunteering, or serving this fall. “Welcome back!”