Happy Easter, everyone! The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord celebrates the wonderful call given to all disciples of the Risen Lord to be his ministers of Word and Sacrament to the ends of the earth. Even as we hear the written “conclusions” of the proclaimed Gospels, we see not an ending but rather the commencement or “new beginning” of the ministry of those Baptized into the Risen Lord Jesus. With the experience of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection inscribed deeply in our minds and hearts, our changed lives are to have new dimension and direction. And so we pray:
God of majesty, you lead the Messiah through suffering into risen life and took him up to the glory of heaven. Clothe us with the power promised from on high, and send us forth to the ends of the earth as heralds of mercy and repentance, the witnesses of Jesus Christ, the first-born from the dead who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
This past Monday morning we opened the doors of OUTWARD SIGN to our first clients in our new facility in the Emerald Lakes Shopping Plaza, located across the street from the Church on SR50. While we had completed the renovations, furnished, and blessed this facility by Thanksgiving, some issues (which needed to be addressed by the building’s owner) prevented us from being able to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy. Since that time we had continued to fully operate out of the parish office. I am so happy to say that we have had volunteer training and have seen our first clients! With this in mind, I would like to draw attention to a few of the ways in which we can all assist in this ministry:
- Please recycle your newspapers and place them in the Newspaper Bin which is located in the northwest corner of the parking lot. All proceeds from this support Outward Sign!
- Please remember our Monthly Food Collection which occurs on the first Sunday of each month. This stocks our “Food Store” and provides qualifying families with a chance to go food shopping. On the third Sunday of the month we will identify specific food areas that need special attention.
- The “Back Pack” program operates out of this facility and your generosity goes a long way as we operate this program throughout the entire year and not just when schools are in session. Our parish covers the areas of Mascotte and Groveland.
I am so very grateful for your loving support of this, and of the many missions which we generously support throughout the year!
Before concluding, I would also note that on this special day when we honor our mothers who are living and pray for mothers who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again we offer them a very Happy Mother’s Day! We offer this prayer for them:
God our Creator, we pray for new mothers, coming to terms with new responsibility, for expectant mothers, wondering and waiting; for those who are tired, stressed or depressed; for those who struggle to balance the tasks of work and family; for those who are unable to feed their children due to poverty; for those whose children have special needs; for those who have children they do not want; for those who raise children on their own; for those who have lost a child; for those who care for the children of others; for those whose children have left home; and for those whose desire to be a mother has not been fulfilled. Bless all mothers, that their love may be deep and tender, and that they may lead their children to know and do what is good, living not for themselves alone, but for God and for others.
May the week ahead be filled with countless graces and blessings!