Did you miss my column last week? Below is my column, slightly edited, for last week, June 23, which I had written but never sent, as I was on a silent retreat without internet access.
It is Summer time and things slow down here some at St. Austin, but they certainly do not completely stop. This coming Monday, June 24 a book discussion group begins at 7 p.m. … Everyone is welcome to this book group, and there is more information in this bulletin.
Also this Tuesday evening (June 25) the Diocese will again honor a parishioner from each parish with the annual “Lumen Gentium” award. According to a letter from Bishop Joe Vásquez dated March 30, 2013, “The Lumen Gentium Award is a way to recognize some of the “unsung heroes” of our parishes who provide good examples to others, invite others into Catholic stewardship and promote the Gospel message in their everyday lives.”
This year St. Austin’s pastoral staff nominated Mr Christopher Kennedy. The citation the parish staff wrote for him states: “Christopher Kennedy became a parishioner at St. Austin Catholic Parish as a University of Texas student in 1982. Over these 31 years, Christopher has been a very active participant in the life of the parish and has brought great energy and innovative approaches to his endeavors. With a servant leader’s heart he has chaired the Parish Pastoral Council, chaired the Planning and Development Committee, served as a Eucharistic minister, and has for many years and most recently chairs the Finance Council as the parish experiences growth in numbers and in facilities. Christopher’s humble and wise leadership is a wonderful example of discipleship in our world today. His willing service gives great witness to God’s love and is a beacon of light to all.” He will receive his award at a Diocesan-wide gathering in Temple at the Mayborn Civic Center.
Picking a recipient for this honor each year has been a difficult task for our pastoral staff but not because we have so few people who are deserving of such an award. Rather, our difficulty has been quite the opposite. We are truly blessed with MANY wonderful, faithful and dedicated parishioners here. It is really difficult to pick someone among so many deserving and worthy parishioners. We agonize and argue over this for weeks!
Actually, this is a great problem to have. It is truly gratifying to me to see so many parishioners willing to take leadership roles and dive into work here. We are extraordinarily blessed as a community to have such talent and such generosity joined together. I do think we attract a higher caliber of parishioner here at St. Austin. But I may be slightly biased.
So as we honor Mr. Christopher Kennedy, we also remember this is an award for our entire parish community, and I for one want to THANK all who do so much around this place and do it so well. You are all “lights to the nations!” (lumen gentiums).
And for this week, as we look forward to celebrating INDEPENDENCE DAY, we give thanks to God for the blessings bestowed on our country and re-dedicate ourselves to the preservation and extension of our precious liberties, especially our freedom to worship according to our conscience. Have a safe, relaxing and WONDERFUL Fourth of July!