In God’s eyes, all human life is sacred. God has a plan for every person. Choose life.
Livonia Save Our Youth Coalition
We have a mission to educate and empower the community regarding the health and safety of our young people with a focus on alcohol and other drugs. The coalition includes parents, teens, educators, health care workers, law enforcement, the faith community, and substance abuse professionals. All interested community members are welcome to join us.
1st Way Life Center
1st Way pregnancy service centers are located throughout the United States where any girl or woman with an unplanned pregnancy may find help as near as her telephone. It is a person-to-person operation based on the belief that no problem is so great that it warrants destruction of innocent life. http://1stwaylifecenter.com
Mary’s Mantle is a residential program rooted in the Catholic faith. The home is designed to accommodate four expectant mothers at a time who are at least eighteen years old, regardless of their religious affiliation. Mary’s Mantle is a safe haven where expectant mothers can fully realize their potential as children of a loving God. http://marysmantle.net
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
The mission of SAVE is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education, reduce stigma and serve as a resource to those touched by suicide. https://save.org
When you are feeling depressed or suicidal, a crisis worker will text you back immediately and continue to text with you! Many people, especially younger people, don't like talking on the phone and would feel much more comfortable texting, the idea is for you to talk (text) with some one who will listen, understand and not judge you. This is a free service for anyone. https://www.crisistextline.org
The Jerome Lejeune Foundation USA
The mission of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation USA is to provide research, care, and advocacy for people with genetic intellectual disabilities. This is achieved by conducting, promoting, and funding therapeutically oriented research; by assisting in the development of healthcare services; and by serving as an advocate in a spirit of respect for the dignity of all human persons. https://lejeunefoundation.org
Senior Citizen Services
Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan. https://ccsem.org/senior-citizen-services/
Today we hear a vision of heaven in St. John’s Book of Revelation; a place where we will dwell with God. There will be no more tears, no death and mourning, wailing or pain; all will be made new. I think a lot about that: working on losing weight (mourning), exercising to feel good (pain), practicing in order to play music better (wailing). I am trying my best to be the authentic self—the person God intended for me to be here and now—and sometimes feeling like I fail. I forget that through any death comes life; that we are celebrating resurrection and all that it means for us as believers. All things new… In our Profession of Faith we “look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” What of resurrection and the world of the now?
We know the journey to resurrection is filled with all kinds of crosses that we must bear. The trials and tribulations are the way we learn and grow as human beings. It is through our errors, mistakes and missteps that we understand ourselves and the world a bit better. We just don’t like it and would rather avoid the problems (or deny them)—missing the point of life and death and resurrection…
I read where someone retired said, “The best thing about growing old is you don't have to feel the need to impress anyone anymore.” I've seen that happen marriage, at work and in the ministry, but the same should be said for any time of our lives. People as they age no longer need to worry about meeting the right people and saying the right things and being in the right places. They're free now to be their authentic selves under God's grace. We Christians really should live this way all the time—no matter what our ages—because the one who really counts is our loving Father, our God. We should be what He wants us to be: genuine, authentic creations, our best selves, responding in any and all situations the way He would want us to respond. St. Paul says that those in Christ are “new creations” (2 Corinthians 5:17). That means that by our baptisms the old way of doing things has gone—and with it, old value systems and ways we lived before—and the new has come!
St. John writes about a new heaven but also a new earth. I believe that is our responsibility in the here and the now. In the First Reading we hear a piece of the mission story and travels of Paul and Barnabas. It ends with them reporting what God had done with them in their ministry, not what they had done for God. God uses them [and us] in His plan of salvation.
In knowing that we are part of God’s plan, and that God makes all things new, we may be carried through the days of our lives when our many crosses may become difficult to bear. St. Paul today encourages us to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” I find comfort in the times we must emulate Christ in the face of trouble, in the face of difficult and disappointing people who are hard to love, in the face of fear, anxiety and chaos. I find comfort in these words when I fail miserably at the goals I have set for myself. I need to remember that it is in God that I am made new in order to be able to face my crosses, my everyday challenges, my life and my death.
In the Gospel today we are also told to emulate Jesus in love, “As I have loved you, so you also must love one another.” We understand we must emulate Him in the carrying of our crosses, too.
God makes all things new every day, every moment in our lives, and even in all of the many and frequent deaths we experience. That is comfort for our journey. We should live in the joy of resurrection every day, every moment. This Easter Season He gives us the chance to be better when our crosses make us fall. Let God make you new.
For those who may not know me, I am Paul, and I am before you wearing my hat as CSA Chairperson for life and a member of our Stewardship Commission. Unlike the first reading, I am traveling without Barnabas.
35 years ago, I stood right about here holding a candle at the groundbreaking ceremony for this building. Raise your hand if you were there. I can remember it was such a thrilling event and because I was an altar server I was right in front of the excitement.
35 years later and we come here every Sunday as Today’s Gospel proclaims, to Hear Jesus’ voice. To follow Him and to enter eternal life.
When we prepare our dead for eternal life at funerals you can still observe visitors for the first time arrive and enter this space, and in their grief, find comfort in the beauty that surrounds them.
Our beautiful space needs some expensive maintenance. We have had a new baptismal font designed to match the limestone and the shape of the altar ambo and presider’s chair. Fr. Kevin obtained an 11th century Romanesque/early Gothic baptismal font which will be incorporated into the design giving it much character. That should be completed this summer.
Look above you. There is a lot of roof to replace. We have been working with a roofing consultant to evaluate the structure, prepare and solicit bids and be onsite during the project which we anticipate later this year.
The parish has savings to carry out these projects and that is thanks to generosity for this annual campaign and Father Kevin’s influence on our stellar stewardship commission. Whenever we exceed our CSA target, which is just over $100 Thousand this year, the excess is returned to our savings without being assessed 7%. However, we do need this year’s campaign to be a lot more successful because we have other expensive maintenance items on the horizon that our savings will not cover unless we refill the bucket.
So, the Archdiocese is going to mail you pledge cards because that is what they always do. My hope is that those of you who are able, will go online and set up your pledge to reduce the expensive manual processing. Do this from the Give Tab on our website or there is a QR Code to scan in the bulletin. If you just want to donate to the Baptismal Font, or to the Roof Fund, you can do that too. We have permission to raise funds for these projects and avoid the assessment. Both funds are open in our online giving portal.
St. Aidan’s Mission is not just about keeping a building maintained. Paul and Barnabas spread the Good News with just a shiny pair of sandals. But people are attracted to beauty and throughout the world people enter spaces like this in their hour of need. They arrive and find comfort in a church building that displays how its community poured out their treasures for the Glory of God. Be generous so St. Aidan can continue to stand tall in Livonia to serve our neighbors and lead them to eternal life with Jesus. Be generous, so I don’t have to come up here again.
As Catholics, we are called to faithful citizenship and to put our values into practice. There’s no easier way to do that than by joining the Catholic Advocacy Network, a free online service aimed at keeping Michigan Catholics informed and helping them make a difference on important policy issues.
By signing up, you will receive weekly emails about legislation of interest to the Church and will occasionally be invited to contact lawmakers directly to weigh in on important issues. Our state lawmakers need to hear from the people they represent, and the Catholic Advocacy Network makes it easy for you to provide them the Catholic perspective on public policy.
Our First Reading, beginning with Easter Sunday and continuing through the Feast of Pentecost, is from The Acts of the Apostles. In The Acts we hear the story of God’s activity in the life of the Church. This is the third stage of our salvation history, God’s saving plan for his people. The first stage is The Old Testament (God’s activity in the life of Israel); the second stage is The Gospels (God’s activity in the life of Christ). We are graced to live in the third stage—God’s activity through us and the Church.
During the Season of Easter we have the opportunity to be inspired by the “acts” of the apostles and believers in Christ. Paul and Barnabas say the Lord has commanded them to be “a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” In reading this, I ask myself, when was the last time I was a light for someone or an instrument of salvation leading those around me to Christ? This is part of the call of our mission here and now…
In the Gospel I am comforted in the face of these hard questions by the image of the Good Shepherd: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me…no one can take them out of the Father’s hand…” As a shepherd does for his sheep, He will guide me, help me, and has already saved me! The Good Shepherd is the archetype for good leadership. I have often heard people denigrate the idea of following someone or something—calling others “sheeple.” The meaning of “archetype” is the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies: prototype; also: a perfect example. I would call God the perfect example of a good leader… I am happy being part of His flock!
In thinking about the qualities of leadership—why would I not follow a good leader? Here are some insights into what every good, human, servant-hearted, leader knows and practices whether in community, in the workplace, or in the classroom. Creative leaders are seers of alternatives. They move forward by influencing events and inspiring people more than by ordering or demanding. They know that every one-sided solution is doomed to failure (more than one way to skin a cat…). One sided-ness is never a lasting solution but only a postponement of any problem. Good leaders learn to study, discern, search together with others for solutions. They know that total dilemmas are very few. We create many of our dilemmas (problems) because we are internally stuck, attached, fearful, over-identified with our position, needy of winning the case, or unable to entertain even the partial truth that the other opinion might be offering. Sound familiar?
Good leaders know that wisdom is “the art of the possible.” The key question is no longer “How can I problem solve now and get this off my plate?” It is “How can this situation achieve good for the largest number and for future generations?” They continue finding and sharing new data and possibilities until they can work toward consensus from all sides. They want to increase both freedom and ownership among the group—not subservience, which will ultimately sabotage the work anyway. Good leaders emphasize the why of a decision and show how it is consistent with the group’s values.
In short, good leaders must have a certain capacity for thinking beyond polarities and tapping into full, embodied knowing (prayer). They have a tolerance for ambiguity (faith), an ability to hold creative tensions (hope), and an ability to care (love) beyond their own personal advantage. (Thanks, Rev. Rohr!) Last weekend in the Gospel Jesus told us to follow Him. In the Second Reading from the Book of Revelation this week we hear that we will be led to life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. The disciples experienced persecution for their faith, yet they were “filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.” The danger we experience as believers is not like the persecution of St. Paul and others, but there is an inherent danger for our Spirits as believers, none-the-less. Our persecution is more subtle and insidious: we are victimized and persecuted by media hype for other gods and other values, by confusion and chaos perpetrated on us by greed, selfishness and sin. We need to be good faith leaders to those around us.
This third part of our salvation history is still being written. What will be written of us and our acts as disciples? I try to always keep present that The Lord is My Shepherd—The King of Love My Shepherd Is! I will follow Him.
Just a Note: Here is a lovely setting of the 23rd Psalm… The Lord is My Shepherd.
I have never been much of a fisherman. It is difficult for me to stay still and stay quiet for the long periods of time needed to fish successfully… I would rather swim with fish than fish for them─although I love fresh fish for dinner! I have never had to catch fish in order to eat or had to make a living catching them in order to eat, like Jesus’ disciple Simon Peter.
In today’s Gospel we hear the story of Jesus’ third appearance to the disciples after his resurrection. Peter decides to go fishing; the others join him. Maybe they had nothing better to do, or maybe, probably, they were hungry. In any case, they return to what they were doing before they met the Lord and “lost” Him. Jesus meets them on that seashore, reminds them of their mission and of his love and mercy and forgiveness.
The fishing party had been unsuccessful in their catch until they follow Jesus’ instructions: a paradigm for all believers! Their nets were empty until the Lord told them where to cast them. They are successful at fishing this time, and they join Jesus and they eat together—Jesus “breaking the bread” and sharing the fish. (He eats with them because ghosts do not eat, and so He proves His living existence.)
Jesus asks three times (like the cock crowing) if Simon Peter loves Him. Each time He tells Peter what his mission is Jesus also asks if Peter loves Him. In Jesus’ questioning and his answering of Peter, he gives explicit directions to us all: “Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep.” Jesus tells us clearly that love of Him is expressed by feeding and tending the hungry and lost—great food for thought…
So, where do you cast your nets in order to fish as the Lord instructed? By example and behavior do we cast nets of faith in the communities in which we live, work and play? People are fed and tended by many things; and they are hungry for more than just physical sustenance—they also hunger for spiritual nourishment. If you love Jesus, you must work the mission He gives us.
The Gospel reading ends with the simplest of instructions; yet also the hardest of instructions from Jesus. He says, “Follow me.” Keep casting! Get fishing!
Just a Note: Some songs about following Jesus.
David J. Conrad, M.A. Theology. Our Director of Faith Formation.