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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we continue our observance of Respect Life Month, I invite you to read my pastoral reflection, “Always in Spirit and in Breath: A Pastoral Reflection and Response Regarding the Issue of Racism.” This reflection is the result of listening to individuals who have generously shared their personal reactions and responses to the evils of racism. I thank those who met with me for the resources they offered. I also want to thank those who reviewed the several drafts of content and who assisted with the technical editing of the paper. Certainly not intended to be the final word, my pastoral reflection concludes with some concrete action steps I hope can be part of parish life at Saint Patrick and Saint Malachi. I will be meeting with a group of our parishioners to reflect on those next steps.

With regard to Bishop Malesic’s letter to the diocesan community, I have heard from many of our parishioners. Some expressed disappointment about the timing of this letter and what was interpreted as an endorsement of a particular candidate. Others were pleased that the bishop, in his role as teacher, provided clarity for them as to how we approach matters of life. I am grateful to everyone who shared their responses as it helps me to appreciate our parishioners’ perspectives. While I may not agree with every opinion offered in these conversations, emails, and voicemails, I clearly see a reverence for the sanctity of all human life—something we continue to address, regardless of an election cycle.

A few of our parishioners have requested some type of forum to address these and related topics. While I remain enthusiastic about this possibility, I believe it needs to be done in a manner that is actually formative for participants. This may make for a wonderful ongoing formation series where we explore different aspects of Catholic teaching—all topics and all subjects throughout the  year. Of course, with limitations due to COVID—which still has us in a state of emergency—we are continuing to explore effective ways to gather. While Zoom, or other venues, offer the possibility for some meetings, a large group doesn’t necessarily work, as evidenced by the personally painful experiences of sitting through them. (I know many others can relate.) And while our regular weekly gathering (Sunday Mass) remains around 50% on a good day, I’m not sure we’re in a position to gather a large group for anything other than public worship at this time. We continue to weigh all possibilities.

Finally, please join me daily as we continue to pray for the many needs presented to us. The gift we can always offer, regardless of the complexity of any situation, is the gift of prayer. May we remain united in peace and unity through our daily witness of discipleship.

Sincerely yours in Our Lady of the Rosary,

Fr Gurnick Signature