As I write this column, we are still basking in the glow of Easter morn. Our hearts are filled with gratitude to God who gave us His only Son to be our Savior. From His resurrection springs our hope of life eternal. All blessings flow from the death and rising of Jesus. This Easter, more than Easters past, my heart swells with gratitude, because of what the parish has accomplished the last few weeks.
When we embarked on our capital campaign almost a year ago and launched its public phase several weeks ago I was deeply aware of my lack of experience in running a campaign. That is why, even though I was hopeful, I was rather skeptical of reaching our goals. Thanks to the great, enthusiastic capital campaign committee members who gave their all to this initiative, the project moved forward smoothly. Through resourceful marketing and constant information-sharing we were able to keep the larger parish enthused and engaged. The remarkable generosity of our major donors who donated more than $1.4 million completely floored me. By the time we conducted our in-pew pledging process on March 14-15, we were nipping at the heels of our archdiocesan goal of $2.4 million.
Then, just a few days later, precisely on the feast of St Joseph, under whose patronage we had entrusted our capital campaign, the total pledges and gifts reached the parish’s enhanced goal of $3 million. This past week our campaign surpassed that goal, and at last count we were at $3.4 million. Our hearts are brimming with gratitude to all our donors who made pledges big or small. Once again our parishioners have proved that their generosity towards the parish matches their faith in the Lord. I am humbled by the abundant bounty of our God who has blessed us once again.
If we look at the Scriptures we have ample evidence of this abundant bounty of God towards His people. The God who rained manna on the Israelites and made water gush from rocks manifests His boundless generosity over and over again. Let me cite just one example. All of us are familiar with the story of the wedding feast at Cana where Jesus and His mother were present. At the time of Jesus the couple was expected to provide enough wine for three days of celebration. When they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus turned to her Son for help. Even though he was reluctant at first, he responded to her request with abundant bounty.
One day I sat down and calculated how much wine Jesus must have made that day. The gospel story provides us the rough numbers – 6 stone water jars each containing between fifteen and twenty-five gallons. Now we know that the British gallon is five liters whereas the American gallon is 3.5 liters. Taking these into account, I discovered that Jesus made between 1200 and 1400 bottles of wine. If there were 200 guests at the reception, each one would have gotten between 6 and 7 bottles. That is what we call abundant bounty.
We have touched this abundant bounty of God in the tangible sacrifice of our parishioners. This campaign so far has been a prayerful exercise. One of our sub-groups of our campaign committee was dedicated to prayer. We recited the campaign prayer at several Masses. We held silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and our adorers prayed for the success of the campaign. The Lord has blessed us because we placed this initiative in His hands. Since the Lord is in charge we have not labored in vain.
I also want to point out the special role played by St Joseph. As you may know, I have a particular attachment to the foster father of Jesus. I know firsthand the powerful intercession of this humble saint. We placed our campaign under his patronage and he has come through for us. We reached out parish goal exactly on March 19th which is his feast day. I don’t think we need a greater proof of his effectiveness than this “coincidence.” Thank you, dear St Joseph!
This demonstration of God’s abundant bounty should help us to put our trust in Him completely. He has proved once again that “Everything works unto good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28). When we are tempted to become anxious because we are buffeted by the storms of life, we need to hold firmly onto His reaching hand. St Thomas More who was executed by Henry VIII for being faithful to his Catholic faith wrote the following words to his daughter:
I will not mistrust Him, Meg, though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear. I shall remember how Saint Peter at a blast of wind began to sink because of his lack of faith, and I shall do as he did: call upon Christ and cry to Him for help. And then I trust He shall place His holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning.
In the name of the entire parish I thank each and every one who gave to our campaign. I thank all those who prayed. I thank all those who served in any way to make our campaign a fruitful one. May the Lord bless us all!
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...