On this St. Patrick’s Day, Patrick Place seems a fitting topic for this week’s "Along the Way."
Patrick Place is the name selected for a comfort-care home being developed by a group of parishes in Monroe County called Five Saints West — St. Mary of the Assumption in Scottsville, St. Columba-St. Patrick in Caledonia, St. Vincent de Paul in Churchville and St. Christopher in North Chili.
That parish grouping, as is true of all of the other groupings in our diocese, has been working hard to adjust in creative ways to rapidly changing times. The process is always challenging, sometimes very difficult but often yields exciting possibilities that never otherwise have been imagined.
It was with such thoughts in mind that I drove to the Genesee Country Museum last Saturday night to participate in a fundraiser to benefit Patrick Place. The community needs to raise $120,000 to renovate the rectory at St. Mary of the Assumption for its new purpose.
The evening was delightful in every way. Who could top enjoyable food, warm company, the soothing sound of the harp and beautiful, vigorous Irish step dancers? Were all of those not enough for a happy experience, blend into the mix the high level of enthusiasm and excitement among the people who turned out for the event. The people of Five Saints West are clearly into this project and committed to providing this important ministry to those who will be welcomed there in years to come.
I considered it a blessing to be at the party. It was a good reminder that the Lord continually renews the community — even in times of uncertainty and struggle. The evening also offered a meditation on the wide range of ways in which our faith community is called to respect and honor vulnerable life. I add that the event renewed my awareness of how important the many gifts of the community are in the translation of a dream into a reality — the vision, the research, the consultation, project development, community and ecumenical conversation, communication, fund development, and brick-and-mortar concerns.
In summary, I suppose it fair to say that the Patrick Place effort is an exercise in good stewardship — the generous use of time, talent and treasure to thank and praise God and to serve neighbor.
In my travels around our diocese, I see many such examples of good stewardship. Inevitably, such a disposition and practice bears visible and live-giving fruit. There is an expansiveness and sense of joyful purpose in the individuals and among communities so engaged. Human problems don’t disappear. The road is often as bumpy as smooth. But hope, good spirit and optimism prevail. Why? Because choices, activities and directions are rooted in faith, nourishment in prayer and always committed to the Lord’s gracious care.
During these days of Lent, how have you heard and/or responded to the Lord’s call to faithful stewardship?
Peace to all.