Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish,
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is active and effective in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. We have so very much for which to be thankful and joyful in our parish. Jesus says, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them (Mt 7:18-20).” Our parish continues to grow and bear much fruit.
In Retrospect, In Thanksgiving
Let us take a moment to reflect on what God has done for us in our parish, to see the fruits that He has cultivated. Our parish sacramental ministry is very active. Our parish offers Daily Mass six days a week, six weekend Masses each week, eight care center Masses per month, and confessions five days a week. We also have exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament five days a week. In the past year, nine adults and fifteen youth received the Sacrament of Confirmation and several people have returned to a practice of the Catholic Faith.
We continue to grow our evangelistic and catechetical efforts. Our children and teen catechesis programs also continue to grow and we even have two teens and one young adult actively discerning the priesthood in our parish. Our adults are offered various opportunities for ongoing formation including two annual parish missions, Bible studies, Alpha, and various classes. Our revitalized library ministry has recently been instituted and our parish will be offering the free use of the Formed.org online resources to all in our parish boundaries.
In Pastoral Care, we visit Banner Del E. Webb Hospital with Holy Communion six to seven days per week. We will begin our Stephen Ministry this fall. Friend to Friend Ministry is blossoming. We have a full-time Social Worker on staff and we offer a bereavement support group. A group from our community also offers a free blood pressure clinic for parishioners once a month.
We have a fabulous parish gift shop, which was recently enlarged and remodeled. This ministry offers parishioners and our community beautiful Catholic products to grow our Faith and move our hearts to Christ.
Our parish reaches out to the poor and marginalized through various ministries, including the Food for the Hungry and Cradle Sunday Pro-Life ministries, has contributed to other parishes locally and abroad, and actively supports our four big organizations: St. Vincent de Paul, the Knights of Columbus and Ladies Auxiliary, Women’s Guild, and Catholic Daughters of the Americas.
We have active prayer groups that praise and glorify our Lord in diverse ways. We have almost 400 volunteers in our liturgical ministries and are always looking for more. We have a wonderful music department and a fantastic parish choir.
Our parish is socially active offering an annual parish picnic, movie nights, annual Ministry Gratitude Supper, our Thanksgiving Dinner, the annual Mardi Gras Stewardship Celebration, the Blessing of Animals, and, coming this year, our Veterans’ Gratitude celebration.
Due to the good stewardship of our Pastor, Finance Council, and Buildings & Properties Committee and the generosity of our parishioners, we have no debts and have been able to pay completely for $4,000,000 of preventative maintenance and repairs.
They will know us by our fruits. Our parish is marvelously fruitful and, as we grow, we have the opportunity to be bigger and bolder in our zeal for souls. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is meant for all people without exception. This means the young and old, people of every race and ethnicity, and those of various political persuasions.
Our parish boundaries encompass about 150 square miles in Sun City West and large parts of Surprise, Wittmann, and Peoria. The largest neighborhood within our boundaries is Vistancia, which includes the retirement community of Trilogy and the multi-generational communities of The Village and Blackstone at Vistancia.
Beginning on September 9, 2018, in an effort to bring the Gospel and the Eucharist to where the people are, we will be adding a 4:00 p.m. Sunday Mass at Vistancia Elementary School. Just as the catechesis programs are tied to the 11:00 a.m. Family Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, the Life Teen youth group will be connected to this new 4:00 p.m. Mass.
This is a very joy-filled outreach for our parish. The youth are the lifeblood of the parish, and our Catholic faith, and can so greatly benefit from the wisdom and life-experience of the older parishioners. By growing our parish in this way, the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ can reach more hearts and change our world. Every one of us in the parish have a part to play in this evangelistic outreach.
They will know us by our fruits. This means on a personal level as well. Do you bear fruit in your life? St. Paul tells us that “… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… (Gal 5:22-23).” By serving Christ and living a life in unison with the Church, we will bear these great fruits in our own lives.
Let us all, filled with the joy of Christ, go forth to bring the love of Christ to everyone in His Church. Let us go in peace and kindness to serve faithfully and generously in our northern boundary areas. Let us patiently walk with people as they approach our Lord from all walks of life. Let us be gentle with those who are at different stages of their journey. And may we have the self-control and humility to overcome indifference and stagnation. We have great work to do, and together, we can change our corner of the world.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you will renew the face of the earth.
Lord, by the light of the Holy Spirit you have taught the hearts of your faithful.
In the same Spirit help us to relish what is right and always rejoice in your consolation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Fr. David M. Ostler
Our Lady of Lourdes Parish
Finance Council Chair
Our Lady of Lourdes
Pastoral Council Chair
Our Lady of Lourdes Parish