Changing of the Guard…

When I first thought of writing this week’s pen with the title: “Changing of the Guard”, I had no idea that Pope Benedict was going to make his historic announcement. But he did. Technically speaking, any Catholic, baptized male can be elected as the next pope. Realistically, you have to be a Cardinal for that to happen. So you can take my name out of the running, as well as yours. (Despite the lively debate that one of my UMSL students began on her facebook page: Fr. Bill or Fr. Joe for Pope – you decide…)

That being said, there are two other ‘changing of the guards’ that I ask you to consider. One of them I suspected was coming. The other caught me by surprise.

Kay Dieckmann and Cheri Smith have informed me that this is their last year to head up the Sponsor’s Dinner Dance and Auction. What an amazing job they have done. Over the past 6-7 years (I don’t remember how long, actually) they have built on the foundation of a long line of chair people and made the dinner dance the most successful and enjoyable evening of the St. Ann year (that doesn’t count Sprenke – because that lasts a month…) Last year, they (and you) helped to raise $68,827 for the good of the school, the new boiler and the parish. Where would we be without them? In your name, let me say a profound word of thanks!

And then, after the 8 am mass this past Sunday, George Copp came running across the pews as I was making my way toward the sacristy. “Fr., did Al talk to you yet?” “No, actually, he didn’t.” “Well, here is the deal. We are both ready to step down from our roles coordinating the Fish Fries. (they have been doing it for at least as long as I have been pastor – for these past 11 Lents and perhaps more). We’ll do this year, and work with whomever for next year, but it is time for others to take the lead.” Again, in your name, let me say a profound word of thanks.

So, like the universal church, we are looking for leader-ship. Unlike the church, we don’t have the luxury of calling a consistory and having the Cardinals go into a con-clave to elect the next leader. What we do have is the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your hearts and lives….

So, among the many things to reflect and pray about this Lent, I invite you to consider the invitation to leadership here at St. Ann’s. Whether it is a Dinner Dance Co-Chair, or a Fish Fry Overseer, bring that choice to prayer and ask a simple question: “Is God inviting me to use my talents and gifts for the service of St. Ann parish this way for the next two years?” And then let me know… Or say yes, when I call and ask…