The new pastoral year in our parish begins this Thanksgiving Weekend. We are called to receive God’s grace, love and joy and then share it in our daily lives helping build the kingdom!!

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend with family and friends, I cannot help but to thank God for the many graces and blessings he has offered to all of us. I am especially grateful to serve St. George Parish. How time flies!! I am already in my seventh year here!! I am overwhelmed by all the parishioners, all the activities and the involvement of so many people. The ministries, programs and outreach are powerful signs of a vibrant, active and living parish!!

Over the past five years the pastoral team along with the Parish Pastoral Council have developed yearly plans to help form disciples and reach out to all. Each year has focused, encouraged and pointed us in the direction of true intentional disciples, not just looking after our own interests and faith but reaching out in loving service to those around us inviting others to draw close to Jesus through our parish family. Here is the journey so far and how we in everything we do in the parish focus in on these:

We continue to be a parish that is open, welcoming and recognizing that we are all one family of brothers and sisters. We are one community of faith journeying and supporting each other. Hospitality and caring for each other is most important.

Our parish is a school of prayer and Jesus is our teacher. We take the opportunities to pray and encounter Jesus through Mass, devotions, ministries and programs so that our hearts are changed — we become the one whom we encounter!!

After encountering Jesus and being transformed, we need to find out the gifts Jesus has given us and where he is calling us to serve in our parish, in our families and in our community.

As one family, we learn from our teacher and master the way to live our lives, transformed by his love we discover our gifts, talents and call. Once we know where we are to serve, we must act in love. Therefore we become true witnesses in this world by offering ourselves in the various ministries, programs and outreach at St. George. We serve and are living signs of Jesus in this world. Putting our faith into action!!!

This past year we were reminded that we need to trust Christ and sail into the deep waters obediently lowering our nets for a catch. Being a disciple of Jesus is a risk — we need to trust and not be fearful of the storms and high waves on the sea. Even though we may think we cannot serve, or make a difference, we trust in Jesus as he will provide everything we need and with him we make a big catch!!! We need to get into the boat and enter the sea simply trusting in Him.

This year we are invited to continue the journey and transformation of our parish to become FAITHFUL DISCIPLES by receiving and sharing the good seeds God gives us each day.

In the Gospel of Mark we hear the parable of the sower who sows good seed. This is Jesus, who sows the word of love, peace, joy and eternal life. The seeds fall on different types of soil and depending on that soil, either takes root and grows strong or lacks what it needs and withers away. We need to be people who are open, ready, and receptive to Jesus’ love, peace and joy. We need to have hearts and lives tuned into God’s grace so that our lives are truly rich soil for the Word to have strong roots and grow in everything that we do.

Everyone in the parish will be invited to the many different ministries, programs and outreach to first and foremost receive the good seeds of love, grace, knowledge, hope, reconciliation and discipleship. We need to receive Jesus in our hearts. We need to experience Him. How does this happen? Come out to a holy hour, go to confession, come to Roman Roadhouse, spend time in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, attend a novena, join a MOSAIC faith sharing group, come to a FAITH 101 update gathering or any other event here at the parish. Truly see what the Lord is trying to say to you. Be open and listen to his voice!

After these experiences in which we allow the Lord to enter into our lives, to transform us and bring us peace, we are then called to share our joy, to share our love and to become sowers of God’s grace. This happens by joining the St. Vincent De Paul Society, the Knights, CWL or join one of the many ministries of the parish and go out to your friends and neighbours inviting them to St. George so that they too can experience the gifts of our parish. We must both allow the Lord to sow his mercy, courage and Spirit within us so that we too can become messengers of hope, so that we can be saints and sowers of goodness in this world. It begins with Christ and it begins here at St. George Parish!!