November 10, 2013
Dear Fellow Parishioners:
You may know I recently went on a pilgrimage to Italy as one of the spiritual directors. I love to travel to foreign countries because I find it helps me understand and appreciate our own American culture more fully. I typically take about 10 days in May and the same in October. Since I rarely take a day off, I look forward to the time away from the parish office so I can relax and think more clearly. I find I usually get some of my best ideas for pastoral ministry when I am traveling.
Now that we are a one priest parish we are greatly blessed that there are charitable organizations that can arrange to have a priest come to celebrate Sunday masses with you in my absence. Of course, they expect to be able to task for donations to support their work. Because priests are in short supply these days (young men—please consider a vocation to the priesthood), it is difficult to have a priest celebrate daily Masses while I am away. We now have six parishioners who have been trained to conduct a communion service in the absence of a priest. At a communion service the scripture readings are proclaimed, a reflection is given, prayers are offered, and pre-consecrated communion is distributed. Of course, we can never substitute for an actual celebration of the Eucharist but given the current vocation shortage, a communion service is a legitimate way for parishioners to be nourished by God’s word and sacrament.
The funny thing is that, even though I look forward to traveling, towards the end of my vacation I usually can’t wait to get back to celebrating the Eucharist with the Saint Ambrose Parish community. Travel is very inspiring for me but so is getting back to the place I call home.
Fr. Kevin Carlin Kennedy