Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Thank you for your warm welcome to our parish family of Saint Therese. I’ve only been here a few days and Montauk already feels like home. While we are masked and socially distant to safeguard each other’s well-being, I hope I will come to meet you and get to know you both at our church gatherings and all around our village. For those of you who are home bound because of this pandemic, hopefully there will be a chance for us to have a FaceTime conversation, a phone call, or even a wave from the window. Let me know.
In 2013 our Holy Father Pope Francis wrote an Apostolic Exhortation (a letter from him to the whole Church) named “EVANGELII GAUDIUM” which translated means “The Joy of the Gospel”. It is a beautiful and profound reflection about the life and mission of the Church. I reread it before coming to Saint Therese, a sort of preparation for becoming pastor. Many sentences jumped out at me but this paragraph in particular:
“A Church which ‘goes forth’ is a Church whose doors are open. Going out to others in order to reach the fringes of humanity does not mean rushing out aimlessly into the world. Often it is better to simply slow down, to put aside our eagerness in order to see and listen to others, to stop rushing from one thing to another and to remain with someone who has faltered along the way. At times we have to be like the father of the prodigal son, who always keeps his door open so that when the son returns, he can readily pass through it.”
My guess is that is a big part of our mission as a Catholic faith community here in Montauk...to be that open door and open heart, accepting people as they come to us, with whatever burdens or questions they might be carrying deep within, especially during this time of virus, economic depression and social unrest. We can be the listening ear, the welcoming word, the healing presence, the place of hope and safety. We can be for them and for one another “the joy of the Gospel”.
I so look forward to walking that faith journey with you!
Blessings and peace,Father Bob, C.P.