14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A NEW PASTOR BEGINS. . . 

By Fr. Chris Valka, CSB

When I was ordained, only a little over four years ago, I was told I should make a prayer card to mark the occasion.  Though I am not one to stress over details, I was very aware that such a card was as much of a statement as a tool for prayer.  What image and message to do you chose for such a momentous event?  How do you convey the sense of mission, gratitude and joy that you feel as you begin a new journey?

It is not hard to imagine why I bring up that experience as I write my first bulletin message here at St. Basil’s. . . after all, this is my first time to serve as a Pastor.  I am grateful for the confidence that is shown in my own person by this appointment.  I am deeply humbled by the tradition of this particular parish.  I am overwhelmed by the amount of activity that exists here.  And I am filled with joy because of the many possibilities that lie before us.  In fact, my own heart echoes the Psalm this week:  “Let us cry out to God with joy!”

My prayer is that you feel the same sense of joy as we begin a new journey together.  I pray that you feel comfortable enough to share your stories, wisdom, and dreams with me; as I hope to share mine with you.  You may consider this an open invitation to do just that at any time; after all, there is always room in a day for another cup of coffee and good conversation.

But before that conversation occurs, you might be wondering what I chose for the prayer card to mark my ordination?  The image was of the Apostles putting out into the deep, painted by a monk at Benedictine Monastery in Mission, BC.  And the prayer was the daily prayer of Eleanor Roosevelt when she was chairing the committee that wrote the Declaration of Human Rights.  It read,

Our Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find, forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life.  Draw us from base content and set our eyes on far-off goals.  Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength.  Deliver us from fretfulness and self-pitying; make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world.  Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us and our hearts to the loveliness men and women hide from us because we do not try to understand them.  Save us from ourselves ­­and show us a vision of a world made new.

Amen.