Good News for the City

The Acts of the Apostles is the sequel to St. Luke’s Gospel and our daily companion at every Mass in this Easter Season. It is the account of the Gospel of Jesus Christ making the passage from the distant province of Palestine to the bustling metropolises of the Empire and to its core in Rome, called in Latin, Urbs, or The City. That this is the essential scope of the book is made clear by the fact that it ends not with the martyrdom of the Apostles but with the arrival of St. Paul in Rome. The Apostle Paul and all Evangelists after him sought to bring the salutary truths of the Faith to cities: centers of population and culture; places where ideas were exchanged and business was transacted; in short, places whence the Gospel could ‘go viral’. And go viral it did, impelled by the Holy Spirit, in speeds almost surpassing 4G connectivity!

The lectionary selections read throughout the weekdays and Sundays of Easter provide some more-or-less chronological highlights of the passage of the Gospel from city to city, if not a systematic reading of the Acts. For that, one needs only to pick up a bible and read this lively Book of Acts in a sitting or two. It is worth the effort, especially with the help of a handy biblical map that shows the missionary journeys of St. Paul and his companions. (Full disclosure, I’m currently reading an engaging little book entitled Paul and His Team by a Protestant pastor and student of the New Testament and I’ve found it to be very on point with the themes of the Easter Season).

 

In today’s First Reading taken from the Acts of the Apostles we hear that Paul and Barnabas “proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples…they strengthened [their] spirits and exhorted them to persevere in faith” (see Acts 14). It is interesting to note that the good news (the literal meaning of the word Gospel) is proclaimed to the city. In other words, the Good News of the Christian proclamation is not only for the inhabitants or visitors to that city, but for the city itself! It reminds me that our presence in this great city of Minneapolis and in the neighborhoods of Northeast is for precisely this task: for the upbuilding of the city’s good through the fostering of human flourishing, growth in community, and an ever stronger commitment to those in need. To seek the city’s good by living well in it: this is one of the perennial tasks of the Urban Catholic Christian.

 

Our hosting of an ART-A-WHIRL ® site at St. Clement this weekend is a splendid expression of this orientation. At the heart of our hospitality to artists, performers, neighbors and guests, is a proclamation of the reason for our hope as a parish. This is a message sorely needed—longed for even—by the broader Minneapolis community. My prayer is that spirits are strengthened and a few hearts are touched by what they see, who they meet, what they hear. If you’re reading this and haven’t made your way over to St. Clement yet this weekend, this is your heartfelt invitation. Don’t miss it!

 

Just a couple of noteworthy notices:

+ One of our parishioners, Lucas Hobbs was confirmed at the Cathedral on Monday evening, May 13th. He chose the name St. Peregrine as his confirmation name, fitting due to his battle with pediatric cancer. In their own way, he and his family are dedicating themselves to the good of the city using food this weekend at Art-A-Whirl! You can find out more about Lucas’ story and the movement that it gave rise to at www.cheflucasfood.org

+ Our candidates for Confirmation will be confirmed at the Basilica of St. Mary on Monday evening, May 20th. We had a great retreat experience this past weekend. Please keep them and their sponsors in prayer. Come, Holy Spirit!

+ I am grateful to a letter from Archbishop Hebda that I recently received appointing me as Pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church, effective July 1st. I am humbled and encouraged by his confidence in my ability to serve effectively. The title that I have used up until this point has been Parochial Administrator, a stage that new pastors in this Archdiocese are typically appointed to prior to a more formal pastor appointment. The past two years have been a fitting way for me to grow into greater leadership here. I am excited for all that is ahead and beg your prayers for our further discernment of God’s beautiful plans for our campuses and Northeast Minneapolis more broadly!

+ Friday, May 24th marks Fr. Earl Simonson’s Golden Jubilee (50th Anniversary) of Priestly Ordination. I am personally grateful for his witness and I know I speak on behalf of countless souls who have been served by Fr. Simonson through these many years at St. Charles, St. Clement and even Our Lady of Mount Carmel. You are welcome to send cards to the parish office to his attention. Ad multos annos!

+ All are invited to a special, festive 6:30 pm Mass at Holy Cross on Sunday evening, May 26th as we honor St. Philip Neri, the Sixteenth Century priest and Second Apostle of Rome. He built on the work carried out by Sts. Peter and Paul as the First Founders of the Church of Rome. St. Philip is founder and patron of the Oratory—the form of life that Fr. Hagan, Fr. Jaspers, myself and a couple of other priests are striving to live.

+ Just a word about transitions among the parish staff: I express a brief but nonetheless heartfelt appreciation for Jordon Monson, our Coordinator of Parish Liturgical Life and Madeline McNeil, our Communications Manager, Bulletin Editor and Parish Secretary. Both came to us shortly after college and are now taking steps forward in their developing careers. I couldn’t be more supportive of them as they move into this next stage of their young lives. Whether you are directly familiar with their roles or not, I can attest that they both served the needs of our parish community exceptionally well and grew into these very important roles. Since his arrival in the fall of 2017, Jordan has been very hands on as a key support to our parish clergy and volunteers helping us unify our liturgical worship across three campuses. We will still see him around the parish. Since Madeline’s arrival in early 2018, she has been a delightful presence in the parish office and a tremendous part of the team, taking responsibility for the bulletin, website, flyers, communications, parish scheduling and much more. She is relocating to Nashville, Tennessee in pursuit of a career and possible further studies. In this time of transition, I appreciate your understanding and patience with us.

 

May the Lord bless and sustain us in His Love as a parish, that “all may know” that we are His disciples due to our love for one another (see today’s Gospel, from John 13).

Fr. Howe