Dear Parishioners and Visitors,
The Savior is born! Great news!
The purpose of the coming of the Son of God, Jesus, is to bring us fullness of life ‘I came so that they may have life and have it more abundantly’ Jn 10.10), particularly heaven! We express this fullness of life by giving gifts to one another each Christmas, bringing joy to people’s lives, especially to those whom we love including some of our gifts to help the less fortunate through St Vincent de Paul (chaired by Stephanie Aiken) . Bringing life to the world in and through us is the message of God becoming human. We are people who take our faith and give it expression (James 2.26).
This is the joyous life of a Christian pilgrim in this world and what I’ve witnessed in the people coming to Mass throughout the last six months here at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish and missions. St John the Baptist came, making straight people’s paths to welcome the savior, in word and deed, particularly stating of Christ, ‘He must increase; I must decrease’ (Jn 3.30). This brings us to life here at OLGC, when we receive and share the love of Christ.
There are so many great expressions of faith here in our parish! My deepest thanks to so many of the heads of ministries, the work of our parish staff and visiting clergy, bringing what we’ve received to those we sit with in the pews and to those who do not regularly attend church.
I ask you to please pray for those who are struggling this Christmas, where joy is hard to find, especially the widowed, divorced, homeless, jobless and seriously ill. May our faith be expressed in prayers and acts of charity.
I extend a warm welcome to those new and visiting our parish for the first time and I encourage you to take the time to learn more about us by reading our parish bulletin or visiting our website, www.olgcid.org . We are happy you are here!
I offer you my prayerful best wishes for a Holy and Blessed Christmas Season!
With deep joy and gratitude,
Father Ben Uhlenkott, Canonical Administrator
Dear OLGC Parishioners,
What a gift it has been for me to see so many familiar faces these past months. Though this has been a challenging time for some and their faith, we are reminded of the one high priest, Jesus Christ, of whom we are disciples. Generation after generation the call to go and make disciples (Mt 28) has been heard and responded to by people such as ourselves. Go, make disciples..of and for Jesus!
What I've witnessed during the times I've been here at the parish is a true gift of a faith alive! You are taking the initiative to stand in the breach, as we spoke about in July, when everyday parish life was changed for many parishioners here at OLGC.
I've witnessed the Parish Council, Finance Council, St. Vincent de Paul, Mother Cabrini, Knights of Columbus, as well as many individuals recognize the needs of the parish and the larger Mountain Home community and tackle whatever they've found. For instance, the Parish Council has recently embarked on new adventures with the startup of two new ad hoc committees, a Hospitality Committee and one to look at how we can further communication efforts within the community and diocese. This might seem small at this juncture, but a fire starts with small dried kindling. Thank you to those looking into these efforts!
The finances are extremely solid because of generous collections which remain close to budget. As a reminder, this parish has no debt!
So, the bigger question becomes: how, as a parish, do we want to move forward?
I ask each of you reading this pastoral letter, what are you desiring for your parish community? What does a parish on fire with faith look like? Some answers might be: firstly, a people dedicated to the Word and Eucharist. Secondly, a people dedicated to being educated in the faith and lastly, a community in service to the larger community, specifically the works of St Vincent de Paul, Knights of Columbus and Mother Cabrini. I'd also like to suggest at this time, that we begin exploring how an online educational service many parishes throughout the USA are using, FORMED.org., might aid us in furthering our faith education.
Through these ways of being and building community, we are 'the light not hidden under a bushel basket' (Mt 5.15).
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Reverend Ben Uhlenkott