June 5, 2022

In the second reading today from St. Paul we hear, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord…..To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” (1 Cor12: 4-7) On this feast of Pentecost, we are reminded that the Gospel message Christ preached while he walked the earth has been entrusted to us who are his followers to continue to share the Good News of the Gospel.

Throughout the world there are over 1.2 billion Catholics. That's a lot of brothers and sisters in the faith (!) Over 40% of Catholics live in Latin America. The fastest increasing area for growth in the Catholic Church is in Africa. Catholics continue to be the largest single denomination in the USA with over 68,202,492 Catholics and the second largest single denomination is Southern Baptists with 16,136,044. (Statistics from National Council of Churches.)

On this Pentecost Sunday we are reminded that through our Baptism we are challenged to not only grow in faith ourselves but to share that gift of faith in Christ with others. In our troubled world today, the Gospel message of Jesus is needed more than ever. Let each of us do all we can to bring Christ's message to others.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about an important meeting for the Franciscans, called a "Provincial Chapter" that many of the friars here at St. Peter's will be attending June 13-17. Because many of us will be attending that meeting, we have adjusted our daily St. Peter's Church ministry schedule for that week. You will find that schedule at the end of this article.

Since the time of St. Francis of Assisi, the Friars of the Franciscan Order have been called to gather periodically to discuss our common life of prayer, ministry and our faithfulness to our Rule of Life. These gatherings are called "Chapters." When the Franciscan Order was young, the friars would all gather together in Assisi usually around the time of Pentecost. As the Order grew, expanding throughout the world, the Order was divided into provinces. Each province would hold a "Chapter" to discuss the living of Franciscan life and ministry in their province and area of the world. Here in the United States, we have been seven provinces for many years. Due to diminishing numbers and a need to better focus on what should be our ministry today, six of those provinces, under the guidance of the head of the Franciscan Order (Minister General), decided to merge into one entity that would oversee our presence and ministry throughout our country and the missions we staff and support throughout the world.

Since the decision to restructure the six provinces into one, all of us friars have been involved in many meetings, much prayer and also a concern that we continue to serve the People of God and the Church in the best way we might in our times. The official beginning of the new province will be in October 2023. A new name for our province will be chosen by the General Administration of the Order. The location of the headquarters of the new province will also be announced soon.

The six provinces, who will combine to form one province in October 2023, are having for the last time a Chapter gathering for our individual provinces sometime in the coming months. For Sacred Heart Province (the province of the friars who staff St. Peter's Church and Friary) we will gather together for prayer, brotherhood, and discussions in St. Louis, Missouri (site of our present Provincial headquarters) on June 13-17. As you might imagine these last provincial "chapters" of the six provinces will be bittersweet. Our coming together as one province will offer us new challenges and opportunities. We will be able to continue serving others in places we are presently at and also will be able to branch out into new areas and opportunities that we presently cannot staff. But our coming together as one province will mean our accustomed ways of doing ministry may have to adapt to different approaches.

This is an early alert to everyone who comes to St. Peter's that because many of the friars from St. Peter's will be attending our "Chapter" meeting June 13-17 we need to make a significant change in our daily schedule for that week of June 13-17. There will be very limited services that week. The exact schedule will be published for June 13-17 soon as well as available on our website.

I ask that you keep all of us Franciscans in your prayers as we step into the unknown future. As the Franciscan Order has adapted and spread throughout the world ever since the time of St. Francis, our present age also calls us to rely upon the guidance of God's Spirit. As St. Francis often reminded his followers in the 13th century, the Holy Spirit is the true Minister General (Head) of the Order. God's Spirit is guiding us all on a new journey of how to live the Holy Gospel and how best to bring the Gospel message to others in the 21st century.

TEMPORARY CHURCH SCHEDULE

Monday through Friday, June 13 - 17

MONDAY, June 13

One Mass only at 7:30 am

Confessions only 1:30 - 3:00 pm

TUESDAY, June 14

One Mass only at 11:40 am

Confessions only 1:30 - 3:00 pm

WEDNESDAY, June 15

One Mass only at 11:40 am

Confessions only 1:30 - 3:00 pm

THURSDAY, June 16

One Mass only at 11:40 am

Confessions only 1:30 - 3:00 pm

FRIDAY, June 17

One Mass only at 11:40 am

Confessions only 1:30 - 3:00 pm

CHURCH OPEN FOR PRIVATE PRAYER

7:00am - 4:30 pm (Church closes at 4:30 pm)

FRONT DESK OPEN

10:30 am - 1:30 pm

PLEASE NOTE

Regular times and services resume on Saturday, June 18.

ST. PETER'S 8th ANNUAL GALA

After two years of doing our annual fund-raising Gala virtually, we return to the Union League Club on Thursday, July 14 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. This is our largest fund-raising event of the year and it helps keep our ministry at St. Peter's operating. You can purchase tickets for this event at the church or by visiting our website. Hopefully, we'll see many of you at this important gathering of supporters of St. Peter's.

Fr. Michael