(re)Introducing the weekly pastor’s post!

Almost a year ago, I started a series at the parish website – a weekly pastor’s post. I quickly found that I enjoy the opportunity to research saints I wouldn’t otherwise celebrate or know, muse a bit on topics that didn’t quite fit the bulletin or in a homily, highlight current events in-parish and out, or learn about odd trivia for a given date.

With the announcement of the upcoming priest transitions in Partners in the Gospel, it occurred to me that this was a good time to move over to my personal blog for this kind of thing – that way I can continue doing these while not necessarily obligating my successor to do so when he arrives in July. I usually post them on Mondays or Tuesdays – I hope these offer a pleasant way to start the week!

P.S. I’ve added a new feature to these posts – the week’s priestly anniversaries and necrology. Please spare a moment to pray for these priests this week!

April 16 – 779 years ago today (1245), two Franciscan envoys left Lyon as missionaries to Mongolia. Giovanni da Pian del Carpine and Benedict to Pole were the first Catholics to make this trip. Upon his return, Carpine was the first European to give an account of a Mongolian court! Read about them at the Central Minnesota Catholic website.

Image courtesy Archdiocese of Seattle (used with permission)

April 17 – Please pray for all of the pastors the archdiocese today through Friday as we gather together in preparation for the next phase of Partners in the Gospel. As you might imagine, we share in the anxieties and hopes of every Catholic in the archdiocese! Know of our prayers for you, too, during this time.

A volume of the Liturgy of the Hours in Belarusian, open to one of the offices

April 19 – Though I am away, our parish school will nonetheless gather at the normal time in the church for prayer. Since the pastor is away (that’s me 😬), the school will be praying Lauds or Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. Though clergy and religious are required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, all Catholics are encouraged to enter into this liturgical practice regularly. If you’re intimated by the books, consider using an app! I highly recommend iBreviary and Divine Office – both of which have browser versions and apps for iPhone and Android devices.

April 20 – This Saturday (and Sunday) kicks off the Saint Mark parish ministry fair! Organized by one of our pastoral council members (thank you, Paul!) and staffed by representatives from our parish ministries, programs, and groups, this is an opportunity for every parishioner to see, celebrate, and support the good work that is done year-round in our community. Especially as we prepare for the new pastor & vicar of our parish family, we need folks to help ensure that these efforts may continue to thrive and grow! Read about it in the parish bulletin (page four).

A color line art picture of people gathered around an altar as incense rises above them to heaven before the three Persons of the Trinity, Mary & Joseph, and all the saints & angels.

Priests celebrating their anniversaries this week

Remembering our deceased priests

  • Monsignor Gustave Achtergael (April 14, 1943)
  • Father Hervey Vanasse (April 14, 2001)
  • Father Joseph Doran (April 15, 1964)
  • Father August Banasky (April 15, 1985)
  • Father John Koehler (April 15, 2013)
  • Archbishop Thomas Connolly (April 18, 1991)
  • Father Patrick Donnelly (April 19, 1968)
  • Father Francis Jones (April 19, 1936)
  • Father Joseph Simon (April 19, 1959)
A black and white line art drawing of Christ the judge enthroned within an arch with angels seated on pillars to His right and left with stars behind him.

Light shining in the darkness – an eclipse on the Annunciation

Image courtesy Margaret Maurer (used with permission)

The day after Easter, I left for Austin, Texas with my family to see the eclipse along the path of totality. My parents, having witnessed this in 2017, invited me shortly thereafter and have been pretty enthusiastic evangelists for the event since then. Having only seen partial eclipses, I admit that I wasn’t entirely convinced that this was all that it was cracked up to be. Added to that was the forecast here in Texas: thunderstorms all day on April 8, with thick cloud cover anticipated well before the eclipse was to take place (~1:30 pm CST).

But having come all this way from Washington after all, we decided to give it the old college try. We made our way to the small town of Dripping Springs and – after enjoying a hour or so of the eclipse fair the town was putting on! – found a nice set of bleachers to witness whatever we could see as the moment drew near. And the Lord did not disappoint!

Though the predicted clouds did indeed turn up, they cleared up for a total of probably 10 minutes – the perfect 10 minutes, starting with an unobstructed view of the final moments of the moon’s movement into place. And with my special eclipse glasses still on, my first impression seemed to be accurate – I literally couldn’t see what the big deal was! Thankfully, my mom snapped me out of it as, between her own delighted exclamations, she called out “take off your glasses – take off your glasses!”. Rather sheepishly, I did.

And just like that, the splendor of the moment was laid bare. The moon, for that oh-so-brief period of three minutes – blocked out the majority of the sun’s light. We sat in a strange, almost mystical twilight – not exactly dark, but an odd dimness that was everywhere I looked. But of course, the real beauty was found in looking up at the sun.

A silhouette against the sun, the moon enabled us to look directly at it without fear of damage to our eyes – and because the sun’s brightness was mostly blocked, we could see more details rather than less. Apparently this eclipse was special due to increased thermal activity – and those flares were visible around the bottom edges of the moon, giving the appearance of a ruby gem1 at the 5 o’clock position of the wavering ring of sunlight around the moon. That ring of sunlight was distinct and sharp – we all marveled at how clearly we could make out both the moon’s shape and the shifting rays from the son. For three brief minutes, we could gaze directly at the sun and wonder at its glory. And so we did.

By virtue of having landed during Holy Week this year, the solemnity of the Annunciation was transferred to this same day. One of the words of the archangel Gabriel rings out as especially appropriate: “overshadow”. Despite the miracle Gabriel is describing with this concept, we often see it as a negative. Being overshadowed calls to mind a zero-sum game – one person shines while another is diminished. Whether it is at work, in our family, or among our friends, being overshadowed by someone else is not something to be sought after. But Mary, not suffering from pride or ego, simply says ‘yes’ – and light entered into the darkness of our world.

The light of Christ is intimidating. For us sinners, drawing close to Him – just looking at Him – is painful. But by Christ’s gift from the cross itself, we have Mary. And in a manner of speaking, she now overshadows Christ – placed by His divine providence between ourselves and Him as intercessor & guide. Thanks to her intercession, we find ourselves able to look more directly and see more clearly the glory & splendor of God. In contrast to the Lord, she is but a silhouette – we barely see her at all! – but because of her position & role as Jesus’ mother, we can make Him out more clearly and in greater detail while we are yet still sinners.

What a strange contradiction, that the Lord would go to such lengths to both enlighten the world and at the same time voluntarily allow Himself to be diminished! But in doing so He both offers salvation from darkness while also easing us into the brightness of eternal life.

As my parents were several years ago, I find myself continuing to marvel at what I saw this Monday, April 8 on the Solemnity of the Annunciation. I suspect I will be recounting the experience for a long time to come. I am particularly grateful for the way this celestial event points to a supernatural reality: that the Lord continues to provide for our sin & weakness – allowing us to turn toward Him and see His glory while we are yet in the valley of the shadow of death. By His grace, we will one day be able to see Him face to face – but even now we see glimpses of the glory to come, if we have the courage to look to the Lord.

  1. Just before totality, these diamond-looking visuals are called Bailey’s Beads. The red lights are prominences – which is a fancy word for solar flares! ↩︎

The next step of Partners in the Gospel – priest transitions

Across the archdiocese, announcements are being made at every parish about priest transitions. On one hand – and I’m surely not alone in this! – it is good to finally have priest (re)assignments known publicly. On the other hand, this is another benchmark where things get real: major changes are coming and we can’t pretend otherwise.

Adding to my own mixed feelings is the fact that I am on away with my family in Austin, Texas this week and next – we’re here to see the total solar eclipse, a trip we’ve been planning since my folks saw the last one in 2017. Even two thousand miles away, our hearts & minds (and conversations!) are enmeshed in all that is happening and to come with Partners in the Gospel. Who will our priest(s) be? What will our parish(es) look like? How will our communities change? Even with some of those questions answered this weekend, there is a lot that has yet to be discerned and revealed by the Lord.

It may be providential that we are reflecting on these questions at the tail end of the octave of Easter. Surely the Apostles were wondering these things at Christ’s death, but all the moreso at His resurrection. Though a wholly joyful event, His return must have raised new worries and anxieties. What will happen next? If Jesus is willing to suffer and die for His Father, what might He ask of us? Surely things won’t be the same as before…. but what does that mean going forward?

With the advantage of time & hindsight, we know that everything did change – with great fruitfulness even where sacrifice & suffering was required. But before that was demanded of the Apostles, Jesus made sure to spend personal time with them, to repeatedly console them – “peace be with you” – even when that meant walking through locked doors to find them where they were huddled in fear.

Jesus I trust in you…. mostly ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Despite any unease about what the future might hold, there is great peace to be found, if only we will spend time with the Lord. I know that I have spent – and will spend many more! – hours before the Lord in prayer, sometimes with great serenity, other times with great restlessness. But His message remains the same: “peace be with you”. Though it is hard to accept the ambiguities the future holds, the Holy Spirit is here with us now. As best we can, may we entrust ourselves to the providential care of God, confident that regardless of what comes next, He is actively caring for and guiding us.

Click below to read the letter from Archbishop Etienne as well as my own letter, both shared with my parish at all the weekend Masses:
Archbishop Etienne’s letter announcing the new priests of Parish Family 12
Father Maurer’s parish letter regarding priest transitions
Archdiocesan appointments for Partners in the Gospel

Easter Vigil in the Holy Night & Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

Happy Easter! We have, at long last, reached the celebration of the resurrection of the Lord. And what a series of celebrations we have had, between the Easter vigil and the two Sunday morning Masses!

As I told the servers before Mass, the Easter vigil is the most solemn, the most important Mass of the entire liturgical year. It is our great privilege to be ministers of the mysteries we celebrate this night – and we do our best to do so with reverence, care, and attention to detail.

And there are a LOT of details. The first half of the day, in the morning, was spent in rehearsals. The servers and I spent and hour & a half going over the Mass, from top to bottom. After a brief break – fueled by several pizzas from Dominos – those to receive sacraments of initiation ran through their own rehearsal of the rites of baptism & confirmation.

When the night finally came, things fell together wonderfully. I won’t say that it was without a few hitches – not the least being my voice beginning to give out! But the Mass was beautiful. I have many favorite moments, but the most mystical one was during the Exsultet. Inside the church, illuminated only by the candles held by the congregation and the altar servers, with the smoke of the incense floating above us, the history of God’s plan for salvation was sung. This is one of the great highlights of the liturgy for me, and one I look forward to throughout the year.

We continued on with the Old Testament readings – proclaimed in the darkness. When we finally reached the seventh and final reading, the gloria was proclaimed and the lights came up. Servers lit all the candles in the church while bells rang out. At last, the light of Christ has dispelled the long dark night of Lent! I was struck by the contrast of extinguishing the candles at Tenebrae (the Service of Shadows) and lighting them anew at Easter: death & darkness do not prevail.

For the first time in a long time, we had baptisms and confirmations at the Easter vigil. I think my face is sore from how much smiling I did throughout – these folks were ready! They were so excited to be baptized and confirmed, and their joy was contagious. As I look through the photos of the night (thank you, Hope, for taking them!), I find myself smiling all over again.

All in all, the Mass was nearly three hours long – but it felt like it moved far quicker than that. And at the end, no one rushed out to leave! Thanks to the generosity of many parishioners, we had a wonderful reception afterwards – home made coconut macaroons (so good!), cake, fruit, sandwiches, sweets and more.

While I can’t pretend I wasn’t dragging a bit on Sunday, both of the Easter Masses were lovely – and packed! Special kudos, by the way, to the many volunteers who came back to serve on Sunday mere hours after the Easter vigil! There were a lot of naps being taken Sunday afternoon, I’m sure 🙂

Of course, Easter is not ended but rather, just beginning – we have a whole octave of celebrations, each day of which is a solemnity! And the entire Easter season – running until Pentecost – is fifty days. May we use it well, rejoicing in the graciousness of our Saviour, praying for all of those who received the sacraments of initiation, and proclaiming the Good News: He is risen, He is risen indeed!

Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord

Of all of the days of the Triduum, Good Friday is the most intense, both figuratively and practically. Practically speaking, I find it to be the most physically taxing of days. In addition to the normal routine at the parish school (drop-off & prayer), we have morning prayer in place of Mass, the school Passion play, the Tre Ore service with confessions between the Seven Last Words & the accompanying brief homilies, Stations of the Cross, and (at last) the Good Friday service of the Passion of the Lord. It is fitting that the day weighs so heavily, though it can not compare with the weight of the cross or that of our sins.

Between the various services and prayers, I was struck by how many people not only came to the church but how many of them stayed. Good Friday is not a holy day of obligation, yet the church was never empty – and for the three hours of largely silent prayer and confessions, the crowd of people only grew. When the Stations of the Cross at 3pm concluded, I had to (gently!) chase people out of the church so that we could close up and prepare for the evening.

But the most affecting moments – from where I sat, at least – were in the Good Friday service of the Passion of the Lord. During communion, the choir sang a haunting arrangement of “O Come and Mourn1, and I know I wasn’t alone in responding in kind. But the height of mourning came while the congregation came forward and the choir sang the Reproaches. I found myself joining in the refrain: “My people, what have I done to you? Or how have I grieved you? Answer me!”

The only answer we have is the one of the Good Thief – begging Christ’s mercy even while accepting that it is our own sins that merit the cross. And so we enter into the long night of His death, awaiting His reply.

  1. I’ve been told that the arrangement sung by our choir was put together by our music director, Greg Teeter! ↩︎

Holy Thursday Mass of Lord’s Supper

Tonight we enter into the three-fold celebration of passion, death, and resurrection of the Lord: the Triduum has begun.

Our Mass tonight had it all: the presentation of the oils, a homily on the three-fold mystery of the Eucharist, the priesthood, and the call to service, the washing of feet, the procession of the Eucharist to the altar of repose, and the stripping of the altar. I was especially touched and grateful to the twelve guys – some of them children (and one baby!) – who said ‘yes’ to my at-the-door-of-the-church request to be among those whose feet were washed. I know that it is no small thing to allow someone else to wash you – especially your feet! – and I was humbled by vulnerability that was entrusted to me at this Mass.

Tonight’s Mass is not without sorrows. This is one of many ‘lasts’ here at Saint Mark and I especially feel that weight as we begin the Triduum together. I can’t help but wonder if this, too, is part of growing close to the Lord and feeling what must He have felt as He looked at His Apostles. He knew each of them intimately, their joys & sorrows, their struggles & triumphs, their virtues & vices. The Last Supper wasn’t just about sacraments and commissioning – it was a kind of goodbye. And this is reflected in our celebration – not just in the context of Partners in the Gospel, with all the changes it brings, but in liturgy itself. Jesus goes forth to die for us and we must let Him, if we are to be made whole.

In the meantime, the tabernacle of our church is empty, the sanctuary cleared of all ornamentations, and the altar laid bare – an icon of the invitation for us to do likewise. May we allow the sacrifice of Christ to work in us, that we may be cleansed and made ready to be filled with the gifts to come.

Tenebrae (Service of Shadows) at Saint Mark

The lone candle remaining lit at the conclusion of Tenebrae

As part of preparing to enter into the Triduum, we gathered tonight at Saint Mark parish for Tenebrae or the Service of Shadows. Over the course of an hour and a half, we chanted fifteen psalms – split into groups of three called nocturnes – with readings from the Lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah, the writings of Saint Augustine, and Paul’s letter to the Hebrews between each nocturne.

As each psalm concluded, an altar server extinguished one of the fifteen candles set before the altar. Though the church was lit from without and within when we started, the shadows deepened as the service drew on and twilight fell.

At the conclusion of the Canticle of Zechariah, the fifteenth and final candle was removed from the sanctuary. Standing together in the darkness, the Christus Factus Est was chanted and the Our Father prayed. In the silence that followed, a loud noise – the strepitus 1– rang out in the church, signifying the closing of the tomb of Christ. The lone candle was returned to the front of the sanctuary and by its light, we left the darkened church.

I was introduced to Tenebrae in 2015, when my friend Thom Ryng (along with some interested parishioners) introduced me to the tradition. A sort of liturgical portmanteau of Matins & Lauds (Office of Readings and Morning Prayer, respectively), this used to be a staple of the Triduum – offered on Spy Wednesday, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday. With the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, Tenebrae fell out of practice – though it has been experiencing a resurgence in many parishes.

Personally, Tenebrae is one of my favorite para-liturgical celebrations of Holy Week. As a pastor, I have been rather blown away by how well received it has been by parishioners – I would never have guessed that a mid-week hour-plus service of chanted psalms would inflame the hearts of so many! And yet, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised: who among us doesn’t long for a mystical experience of the Lord’s work among us?! Happily, this is not the last but rather the first of such opportunities to enter into the mysteries of Christ’s saving work.

May we continue together in prayer as we contemplate the passion, death, and resurrection of the Lord.

  1. The strepitus, it should be noted, is produced at Saint Mark by an altar server slamming the sacristy door (a solid-core wooden door framed in steel) shut hard. This role is much-sought-after among the servers – and they relish the gasps of those caught off-guard at the noise! Though I was not among those gasping, close observers may have caught sight of the priest flinching ever-so-slightly ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ↩︎

Preparing for the Triduum

As I write this, it is Tuesday evening of Holy Week – my day off landing smack dab in the quiet lull before the many liturgies to come. Here at Saint Mark parish, we had three Masses for Palm Sunday – the procession was at our principal Mass (10:30 am Sunday), but we also had simple processions at the Saturday vigil and 8:30 am Sunday Masses. Thanks to the many hands that go into our liturgical celebrations, our celebrations went without a hitch. The choir even had a lovely meditative piece at the conclusion of communion that captured well the joy and sorrow of the Passion we had heard earlier in the Mass – it was as beautiful as it was haunting.

As familiar as this week is, I nonetheless find myself at least a little (if not a lot!) overwhelmed both in the minutiae of each liturgy and the emotions they elicit. The gospels for Palm Sunday (from Mark, since we’re in Cycle B) had a couple of particular moments that stood out for me – I found myself unexpectedly empathizing with the owner of the colt Christ used to enter Jerusalem. While my irritation might (probably?) would have transformed to a sense of honor eventually, I couldn’t help but think of how frustrated I would be in his shoes! Similarly, I wondered about the owner of the upper room where the Last Supper was celebrated – what must have he thought when the disciples came and passed on Jesus’ words! Elizabeth Scalia, in a fictional imagining of that man & his family, paints a lovely picture of a loving family ready to share it for the Passover. I’m not certain I would be so welcoming of His request.

And this is the realization that has been coming to me as the Triduum approaches: how begrudgingly I allow the Lord to enter into my life, to re-take possession of the gifts He has entrusted to me. I know that He all-loving & good, yet I distrust and fear Him even as I desire to draw closer in relationship with Him. Despite my faith – and my priestly vocation – my heart is all-too-often afraid of what He might ask – or take, without asking! – of my life, of what I might lose from among all that I treasure.

Simcha Fisher wrote a reflection (“The temple Jesus purifies is the human heart“) and the last paragraph drives the whole thing home: Jesus’ work of purification can be summarized by the crucifixion. We are made whole by the wounds He takes on for us. He sees our suffering – suffering brought on by our sinful self-reliance – and takes it on Himself, so that we may suffer no more.

All that is left is to entrust our hearts – and their healing to Him. May we use these days well, taking time to walk the familiar way of the cross, renewing our invitation to Him to accomplish His work in us, that we make make a gift of our very selves.

What to actually DO with Fiducia Supplicans – a (relatively) brief Q&A

As we start the new year, questions and opinions about the late 2023 declaration Fiducia Supplicans continue to whirl about online and off. There continues to be a great deal of conversation – most of it producing more heat than light – about its value.

In addition to following CCC 2478 as best I can, I’ve been mulling over a friend’s variation of Hanlon’s razor: “Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity – or human brokenness”. If we’re going to approach human sexuality and Church doctrine – both complicated in their own right! – it will serve us best to assume both the best about the character of others while leaving plenty of room for the limitations and foibles of their humanity.

All that to say that the one thing we ought to be determined NOT to do is lose ourselves in bitterness, despair, or self-righteousness. At the end of the day, Jesus is Lord and He has promised to safeguard & guide His Church. All will be well, and all will be well, and every kind of thing will be well – if not now, then in His good time.

Okay, great – but what are you actually going to DO?

When it comes to blessings, I don’t know that much has changed for me. As I mentioned in my first post about the declaration, it’s not like I’m carelessly throwing around blessings in the first place. There are plenty of examples where a blessing is inappropriate (or just weird, such as when folks ask for a blessing mere moments after Mass ‘just because’ – yes really!). Sussing that out is part of ministry – if anything this declaration offers both more opportunity AND gives me language for when I ought to say ‘no’. I’m SUPER excited about paragraph 31 of Fiducia Supplicans, which allows for the possibility of blessings of same-sex couples & couples in irregular situations but establishes clear expectations about whether and when that might (might!) be permissible.

Isn’t the use of ‘couple’ to describe relationships (presumably) rooted in sin problematic?

If the use of ‘couple’ is assumed to somehow recognize as legitimize or approve of sinful behavior, it would be problematic. But that is clearly not the case: the document goes to pains distinguish blessing the people versus the relationship (see paragraphs 4-6, 11, 26, 30, 31, 38, 39). ‘Couple’ here is simply a way to reference those who present themselves for a blessing, regardless of whether or not that pairing is rooted in God’s plan or human brokenness.

And please note: every reference to couples (eleven in total) is coupled1 with adjectives that set apart the subjects from married couples. Do the word search yourself – there is no instance of ‘couple’ appearing without an accompanying qualifier that clearly distinguishes between married couples and the couples being discussed.

So you’d bless any couple who presents themselves – what about pedophiles, incestuous pairings, or the KKK?!?

Yes, these are all examples that have been thrown my way. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too, weird Catholic Twitter X.

Of course I wouldn’t offer a blessing for just any two people who presented themselves expecting their favorite sin to be blessed. Again, that’s what paragraph 31 outlines for us. And in my experience, unrepentant sinners don’t present themselves for blessings. If they did, well, what a great opportunity to preach the Gospel! If they’re truly recalcitrant or confrontational, they’ll find that that preaching will get more, rather than less, fiery upon subsequent attempts.

If it’s all so clear, why is Fiducia Supplicans necessary at all?

I suspect that if you have to ask, then its not really necessary – that is, not necessary for you. For the people who DO feel marginalized by or outright unwelcome in the Church – perhaps highest among them being those who are in irregular marriages or who have same-sex attractions – this document sends an unexpected but much-needed message: even as She challenges you to a new way of life, know that you are loved and you can be blessed by the Church. It’s necessary because those who are wounded need ministering to – and that’s what the Church is for!

What about Father James Martin, the Church in German, or [insert latest scandalous example here]?

Let’s be real: those who were going to act in bad faith didn’t need Fiducia Supplicans to energize them to act badly. They have a history of bad acting and will continue to do so regardless of what the Church does or doesn’t say. What this declaration does is give concrete direction about what is and isn’t allowed. Moreover, it makes distinctions that – if actually read within a hermeneutic of continuity – emphasize rather than diminish what we believe! Have I mentioned paragraph 31 of Fiducia Supplicans? Seriously, read paragraph 31 of Fiducia Supplicans! Notice the language of the second and third sentences – that’s not the language of changing doctrine, but of changing hearts…which not only implies but depends on recognizing (as the declaration says) one’s destitution and need of God’s help!

In short, pray for those who are weaponizing Church teaching for their own purposes – but we can’t let their actions embitter our hearts or tempt us towards despair.

Isn’t Pope Francis/the DDF culpable for releasing a document they have to have know would be misused?

Knowing that something good will be abused isn’t necessarily reason to withhold it. The Lord had to have know that the Eucharist would be unworthily received, misused, and abused (at the Last Supper, no less!) – and yet He handed His Body over to untrustworthy and weak men…. and those were just His Apostles!

Should [insert scandalous example here] be rebuked and/or punished? Absolutely! Why that hasn’t/isn’t happening is beyond you or me – but we should 100% be praying both for those in authority and all the more for those who are acting so scandalously. May their hearts be changed and converted – soon!

So what do WE (average Joe/Jane Catholic) do with Fiducia Supplicans?

Unless you’re a priest or bishop, probably nothing directly related to blessings. But you know what would be AMAZING? If every Catholic started reaching out to those around them, especially those who have felt like they are unwelcome in church because they are divorced/remarried/gay/lesbian/whatever, we could have a real revolution on our hands.

Imagine if we actually sought out and invited others – not the indirect & generic message of ‘everyone’s welcome’ but individual invitations. You know who called people by name? Jesus! And He left US with the great commission, to go out and bring people in. At the end of the day, this is what we’re called to do. If this declaration helps you do it – great! If not, let it be. But whatever you do, go out preach the Good News to all.

  1. No, I’m NOT sorry. I’ll take my light-hearted moments of punnery where I can! ↩︎