I pray for you and ask that you pray for me and all the people of Our Lady of Refuge Parish. May we all be healthy and safe as we ask for the end of the Coronavirus and healing for all who are ill throughout the world.
You are aware of the sad news that we will not be able to celebrate our Holy Week publicly and that includes our Easter Masses. We are being faithful to the executive order of Governor Whitmer to “Stay Home, Stay Safe” through Easter Monday, April 13. Let’s pray it does not go on further. As a result our parish offices and campus are closed during this time.
Despite the challenges of this crisis, I want to say that this is a great opportunity for grace as we hopefully are able to spend more time with the Lord in our homes. We have to socially distance ourselves from each other during this time, but certainly not from the Lord. This is a time to be spiritually closer to Jesus knowing He will look after us. Most importantly, our faith tells us that we are in the loving hands of the Father.
While we are not able to connect in church, it is possible to connect in other ways. The archdiocese recommends two websites to help you with your spiritual growth: aod.org and spiritualcloseness.org. Prayers and good health to you.
March 22nd Update to March 8th
Visioning Night Postponed
This event scheduled for March 30th has been postponed. This is going to be our opportunity to give our input on how we as a parish will develop a strategic plan to fulfill the six propositions of the Archbishop in his pastoral letter, Unleash the Gospel. We are excited about this. However, we have to wait and will schedule a new date.
Msgr. Gerald A. McEnhill
We are being Sent on Mission! In the same way that the apostles were sent on mission after they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, each one of us is sent on mission to bring the Gospel to the people of our time. The world is waiting for the Good News of Jesus Christ!
In a few weeks, our parish will come together to pray and discern how we should respond to this call. I hope all of you will participate in our Parish Visioning Day on Monday, March 30th @ 7:00pm. The input we receive from this Parish Visioning Day will be key to the creation of our Missionary Strategic Plan (MSP).
As we prepare for our Parish Visioning Day, I invite you to reflect this week on two of the six propositions that will be part of our MSP: Family Evangelization and Parish Culture.
In Unleash the Gospel, Archbishop Vigneron has this to say about families:
“Families who, having embraced their role as the domestic church and in connection with other families and single persons, actively seek the spiritual and social renewal of their neighborhoods, schools and places of work. Such families and individuals would display a strikingly counter-cultural way of living: grounded in prayer, Sacraments and attention to Scripture; unusually gracious hospitality; a capacity to include those on the margins of society; and joyful confidence in the providence of God even in difficult and stressful times.”
Our MSP will address how our parish will bring about this vision for families.
The Archbishop has this to say about the culture of a parish:
“Parishes are to be founded upon prayer and a culture of encounter with Jesus. This will lead to parishes that are ready to welcome others and mobilized to evangelize: invite, connect, mentor and send families and individuals into mission. Every activity and resource of the parish must be in alignment with the fundamental commitment to evangelization. Parish leadership should manifest a healthy teamwork that is oriented to equip parishioners with the necessary training, formation, planning and resources to initiate and realize meaningful endeavors to extend the Gospel to every corner of the parish territory.”
Our MSP will address how our parish will bring to life a culture like that described here.
In the spirit of Blessed Father Solanus, I thank God ahead of time for all the wonderful work he will do in our parish and through us.
Msgr. Gerald A. McEnhill
Come to the Dedication Ceremony for our New Organ
Sunday, February 23rd
Admission is Free
Today with our celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord we complete the Christmas season. It indeed has been a holy time as we have celebrated the mysteries of our faith. I thank you for being a part of it and I am grateful to all the parishioners who contributed their time and talent to enhance our festive feasts.
Our joy was increased by the completion of the installation of our totally new pipe organ on December 14th. This was a major accomplishment on the part of our parishioners. Everything went so smoothly. It all started with an outstanding response to the 2018 Catholic Services Appeal in May 2018. We used the structure of the CSA to raise the funds for the new organ. You were so generous in your donations and so faithful in fulfilling your pledges that we confidently proceeded with the project. We received permission from Archbishop Vigneron and construction of the organ by Noack Organ Builders began in December 2018 in Georgetown, Massachusetts. During the summer, we prepared the site in the church for the new organ. Delivery to our church of the new organ took place on November 4th. In a matter of six weeks the installation was completed. We were so happy to have the organ in place for the Christmas season. After four weeks of use, and being extremely satisfied with the quality and the beauty of the organ, we made the final payment to the Noack Organ Company this past week and the project is completed. Alleluia!
I want to invite you to the dedication ceremony for the organ that will take place at 4pm on Sunday, February 23rd. There will be a formal blessing ceremony that I will lead followed by a concert led by Olkukola Owolab who was the consultor on our organ committee who provided his expertise to this successful project. He is a professor at the University of Michigan Music School. He is excited to show the capabilities of our organ through his concert. Do plan on coming.
We are blessed with the joy and grace of the Christmas season. That spirit continues with today’s solemn feast of the Epiphany as the child Jesus is manifested to the whole world as our Savior and Lord. This is shown in the meaning of the Three Kings coming from far away to be with the newborn King. Our Christmas season continues until next Sunday as it concludes with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
I am well aware that many parishioners put forth a lot of time and energy to allow for these beautiful days of the Christ-mas season to happen. Many people in the parish have a true sense of ministry as they share their talent and volunteer their time through their involvement in the Christian Service, Worship, Education and Stewardship Commissions, the Evangelization Committee and the Faith Formation Program. All of these groups were very busy during the Advent and Christmas seasons. We as a parish have benefited from their efforts and we are grateful.
I also express thanks to all of you for making my Christmas so joyful. It is indeed a time to proclaim our faith, to be inspired and encouraged as we all grow further in our faith. I appreciate all who sent Christmas cards, gifts and baked goods to the rectory. I enjoyed them all. Thanks.