Dear People of St. Luke’s,
There is truly joy in the resurrection, for life has conquered death!
This message of joy comes to us shortly after the agony of Holy Week, even in the midst of the sorrow and suffering of the disciples of Jesus Christ. On the Resurrection Morning, the faithful women brought spices to anoint the body of Jesus - an act of mourning. Yet, joy struck when it was least expected.
It is a message we can take to heart, and hope in the joy of the resurrection at Easter!
After the death of a Christian, joy awaits. How profound the joy; it is enough to make the sufferings of our individual experiences of the Passion seem as nothing but a speck in the ocean of God’s Love.
When we face the seasons of life that call us to die to self, and eventually rise with Christ, let us remember the story of the mustard seed - a seed dies, it is buried, and it becomes new life.
Death to self, when led by the Spirit, produces a fountain of grace and love in the world.
As you have no doubt heard, I am being reassigned to Creston in July. The death to self that came from this decision has been a hard road for me, but one that already I can begin to see the fruits of. The death of plans, the death of aspirations, the death of dreams, all leads to a rebirth into the reliance on Christ that is so paramount for Christians. The supreme will of Christ is one of love and trust; there is no goal higher for any Christian than the total acceptance of that most Holy Will. Pray for me as I make the transition, I pray for you.
I’ve also reached out to Tom Green of Gateways Pastoral Resources, an organization that helps pastors transition to new roles. I saw that Fr. Michael used this resource in December to transition to pastor of OLIH, and my goal now is to setup a plan so that your new pastor, Fr. Ken Halbur, has all the tools he needs to make a smooth transition into his ministry at St. Luke’s. This will also help me as I transition out of the role of your pastor.
We have 3 months together, and while the future is in the hands of God and Fr. Halbur, we have much to do to make ready for the transition. The most important thing is to ask the will of God to be done. We need to pray! St. Luke’s is going through a period of dying and rising, and we need to hold fast to the one reality that will never change - God loves this Parish, and he has a plan for this Parish.
As we pray, let us be led by the Spirit to the heights of Easter joy.
Also, in the next 3 months, I have some parting favors to ask of you. Two for now.
First, Get involved in Discovering Christ. One of the unique gifts God has given me for the sake of ministry is a connection to evangelization initiatives across the globe; Discovering Christ is the best manifestation of that gift that I can give to the parish before I leave. Sign up now at www.slte.org/discover. There will be a meal, prayer, a teaching, and then discussion over desserts.
Second, if you are a Catholic Man, then I’d ask you to join the Knights of Columbus here at St. Luke’s. Our Knights Council is wonderful, the members are solid men with generous hearts. Membership in the Knights is a great way of showing your support for our parish, and also of staying involved in the many activities (and keeping up to date on news) which are happening here. Our parish is alive! There will be a 1st degree (the initiation ceremony) on May 5th at 11:40 at the Church. Please come and show your support for this great organization, and your support for my wish to leave Fr. Halbur an even stronger, ever more vibrant, and a renewed and refreshed Knights of Columbus council.
Thank you all for the many gifts, talents, experiences, and treasures that you bring to St. Luke’s. It has been an honor getting to know you and working with you. The future of St. Luke’s is indeed bright and filled with the joys of Easter; let us embrace the future the Lord has for us, and know that all is truly in the hands of God.
Blessings to you,
Fr. Adam Westphal
Pastor, St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church