St. Matthew

Catholic Church

Pastor's Columns

Pastor’s Column for 1/27/19

Dear Friends in Christ,

This weekend is our Annual Pastoral Appeal Prayer Weekend. The theme for this year’s APA is tied in with the Diocesan Vision “BE COURAGEOUS Live the Gospel through the Annual Pastoral Appeal.” The prayer is the same prayer that we’ve been using since June to promote the vision. If you are familiar with the Annual Pastoral Appeal then you probably have helped us to reach our goal. Thanks to a very generous donation from a family in the parish who gave in the final week of the year, we were able to reach our goal again last year. Our Goal of $104,520.00 was exceeded in payments by almost $100. and in pledges by over $1,000.00 as of the date of this writing 1/6/19. My prayer this weekend is mostly one of thanksgiving for your response over the past 10 years to our APA requests.

The readings for this weekend bring us to the book of Nehemiah and the story of the gathering of the assembly. The second reading emphasizes the diversity of the assembly, the body of Christ. Luke’s gospel has Jesus quoting Isaiah’s good news to the poor, captives, blind, and oppressed. As I often do, I’ve asked Deacon Tony to preach for me as this is my first weekend back from the Holy Land pilgrimage. The readings are loaded with positive ways to help us be inspired and become better disciples of Jesus.

As I look at the calendar I see plenty of opportunities coming up to grow in God’s grace. Next weekend we’ll have another chance to take part in providing a meal for the homeless at Pinellas Hope. What I noticed last month when I went was that a lot of the people who went through the line seemed to be new to their current situation. On February 10th I will be speaking at all of the Masses regarding APA and the Bishop will be having the Annual Marriage Jubilee Mass at the Cathedral at 3 pm (just in case you want an excuse to miss my APA talk). The APA Commitment weekend will be the following weekend February 16th & 17th but the big and exciting event that weekend will be the Parish Ministries Fair. You will get a chance to see displays from all of our parish ministries and ask questions from volunteers that take part in those ministries. Growing as a Disciple of Jesus is really more about time and talent than it is about the third “t” which most priests hesitate to mention.

For those of you who have experienced the Light of the World Retreat, you know what a blessing it has been to our parish family. We’ll be finishing up the month of February with our Spring Light of the World Evangelization Retreat. It will be the fourth time that we have done it and I believe that the strength of this ministry is evident in the number of people who have become more involved in parish life since making their retreat. Please set aside the weekend of February 22nd-25th on your calendar if you wish to renew your faith and anticipate Lent in a way that will help you truly grow in God’s grace.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Tom J. Anastasia,