especially anyone who is visiting
and perhaps is not familiar with our parish.
If you’ve never been inside St. Remy Church,
please come back another time for Mass, and we’ll be inside the church.
Our church doors are open every day, from very early to late,
and they are open for you.
As many of you know, I’ve been talking a lot about
the importance of each of us sharing our faith.
It may seem odd, when over 90 percent of our community is Catholic;
but there are still a lot of folks who need the hope of Jesus Christ,
and it’s our task to share it.
When we stand before the Lord, and we say, well,
I thought 92% would be good enough, we better hope he agrees!
But what you may not know is that for the past year or so,
I’ve been working with the Pastoral Council, and our parish staff,
to develop a plan for how we, as a parish,
can be better oriented toward sharing our hope in Jesus Christ,
and drawing others to him.
And then, I listened to that bit in the first reading,
where it says that the plans of mortals are uncertain,
and I thought, uh-oh!
But then I noticed the promise that when the Holy Spirit is involved,
we have sure wisdom.
Now, I want to give everyone here a task.
I assume you will be at our picnic today or tomorrow;
so I ask that you will be Christ’s ambassador
at our festival this weekend.
When you are in line, in what you say to others,
in what you spend your money on, and in how you handle yourself,
will you be Christ to the others who are here today and tomorrow?
Of course our festival is a fundraiser,
and it has been very successful in years’ past.
And as a result, we are able to do a lot of good
with the money we raise.
In addition to helping to keep these grounds in top shape,
these funds help share the faith
with our children in religious education.
They help the parish reach out to the homebound,
the elderly and the needy in our community.
And we are able to give directly to many worthy causes.
So each of us has reason to be grateful for our volunteers,
our festival leadership and for everyone who will take part.
Still, as important as this is as a fundraiser,
that’s not the only, or even the main, reason we have this picnic.
Lots of parishes have festivals because they feel they have to;
but I think it’s different here.
We could raise the money in other ways if we needed to.
There are more important reasons for our picnic,
which is why we call it our “homecoming.”
This is a time to come together as a family,
and it is a time to welcome people to our parish.
Those are the more important reasons to have our annual picnic.
So that is why I’m asking you to be Christ at our picnic,
so that everyone who is here,
can come away from this visit with the sense,
“I’ve been somewhere special; I’ve met some special people today.”
I hope our beer booth folks won’t mind,
but we don’t want anyone to drink too much beer.
We don’t want anyone to bet or spend money they can’t afford to lose.
As you enjoy yourself, and you help others enjoy themselves,
please be a good neighbor to anyone else who’s here.
Jesus told us to “count the cost” of being his disciple.
Well, he’s given us perfect weather.
We are blessed to gather with our family and friends,
we have good planning and preparation. This is about as good as it gets.
Being his messenger, his welcome, this weekend – not very costly.