This week I have been meeting with the Pro-Cathedral parish council and finance committee. Each group is helping me to get to know that parish better. They are assisting me to understand their unique history, being a merging of two important and distinct communities – the former Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Parish and St Mary’s Parish. As we at St Francis of Assisi parish know very well, the melding of different traditions and sharing of treasures doesn’t always come easily. It can even be painful moving on from separate identities into something new.
But we live by faith, trusting that God will bless and enrich us on the path we’re asked to walk.
Our story at St Francis of Assisi Parish resonates with that of the Pro-Cathedral. We were three separate communities which have grown into a new singular reality. Great blessings have come to us also as we learned to ‘travel light’ and focus on the person of Jesus Christ – our worship of him and proclamation of his kingdom.
As our two parishes prepare to become one on Pentecost Sunday this year, I want to promise you two things. Firstly, of its very nature, these days are going to be unsettling as we come to birth as a new cathedral parish community. It will require wisdom from your priests, and indeed wisdom from all of us. Please pray for your priests and for our whole community. Let’s make a decision to be gracious to each other.
Secondly, I promise you that the Lord will work wonderfully among us when we humbly offer our efforts to him. When we step forward in faith, as did the Old Testament Israelites in their journey to the promised land, the Lord will draw us to himself and grant us gifts which will surprise and delight us.
What is happening to us in these days is the story of the people of God from the very beginning of salvation history. As we work together toward a new beginning in June this year, we know God will never be outdone in generosity. And we will do our best to match that generosity.
Father Simon Eccleton – Parish Priest