Overcome Evil With Good

11-04-2018Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The recent shootings at a Pittsburgh synagogue are the latest in disturbing events of hatred. We stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters, praying for the injured and the dead, and asking God to heal the wounds created by acts of violence. Friends, in these days where evil seems to be so prevalent, where hatred that leads to murder seems to appear in headlines on our smartphones daily, remember these words of St. Paul, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21

It is good for us not to wish for a “better” or more “tranquil” time that never really existed. Those supposed halcyon days when we didn’t have to lock our doors, these were also the days that produced some of the worst atrocities people have ever done to each other: Slavery, the Holocaust, World Wars, Jim Crow laws … just to name a few of the recent things. The point is for us as disciples of Jesus Christ to rise to the occasion as we always have and do good in the face of evil. To love even our enemies (Jesus’ words, not mine) because evil only begets more evil. In a word, what we need are Saints. The Church exists to produce holy disciples of Christ – Saints.

We have strong weapons that we can use to combat evil: Prayer, fasting, and works of mercy. Consider taking Friday – the day Jesus gave His life in the ultimate act of love for His bride, the Church – as a day of penance seriously even outside of Lent. In 1966, our bishops removed the pain of sin from the observance (hoping we would freely choose it), but not the observance itself. “We give first place to abstinence from flesh meat [on Friday]. We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law.” Corporate fasting is a powerful prayer. We could at least substitute something to mark the day and pray for the world.

In other news: Since the opening of our new church in February of 2015, many people have contributed to the splendid enhancement of the interior and exterior. The plaques recognizing these gifts are long overdue and will be placed in the church soon. I know that I’m not alone in offering a big “thank you” to all who have made such gifts to beautify our church.

One exciting addition in the works is stained glass for the sixteen lower windows in the nave depicting important scenes from the life of Jesus. These windows have been designed and will be produced by the same company used for the three we currently have, Franz Mayer of Munich. Some parishioners have already stepped forward early to donate funds for windows. If you are interested in donating a window, please call the office so that we can schedule a time to meet. The donation for each window is $62,000.00, and will be done entirely through voluntary donations from interested individuals (i.e., not a capital campaign!).

Let us pray for each other,

Father Wilson