To the editor:
About once a month I make it a point to attend Mass at St. Andrew’s Church. It is always a joy to participate in the liturgy there because of the spontaneity and whole-hearted way the parishioners praise God. Last Sunday, Father’s Day, was even more so. It was the most deeply stirring Mass I have ever attended in all my many years.
Father Mike Mayer read the bishop’s letter regarding the consolidation of the northeast parishes to the congregation. Then he gave a homily that sounded so much like Paul’s letters in the Acts of the Apostles, exhorting the early Christians to keep doing the good things they’ve been doing and to hold on to faith and hope. We were all touched by his message. The people stood and clapped for him for several minutes with silent tears. I realized that this is the church that Christ came to teach about — the kingdom of God on earth.
Father Mike is loved and revered by these people — poor people, probably the poorest in our city, but very rich in love. I wish you could have witnessed it. Spirit Alive? St. Andrew’s in the inner city is where the Spirit is alive! It seems that every parish has a unique personality, just like human beings do. The traits that mark the personality of St. Andrew/Annunciation are warmth, compassion, openness, humility, sincerity, joyful spontaneity.
That Father Mike will not return there after his sabbatical is sad. He has fostered and nurtured some of the older outreach ministries and initiated new ones. Here are some just to name a few: the St. Vincent de Paul Society, gatherings for senior citizens, Life-teen Masses, Friday after-school drop-in program, Tuesday afternoon tutoring program, the clothing room, summer basketball camp.
Father Mike Mayer is a dedicated, zealous, holy, spiritual, gifted priest and a credit to this diocese.