Are you involved in the Ministries of our  Parish?

Our Parish has thirty different ministries. Are you involved in any of them? And if you are, what do you expect to get from that?

Since we are a church, the goal of the parish is to help us grow spiritually and guide us to enter the Kingdom of God. 

If you are involved in any one of the ministries of our parish, is that ministry or ministries helping you to grow spiritually? Do you feel that your participation in those particular ministries will help you enter the Kingdom of God?

This is a serious challenge for our ministry leaders: Is your particular ministry helping the participants in a spiritual way?

I ask this of myself every day. Are people who speak with me, those who encounter me and spend time with me, benefitting spiritually from my work, from my words, from my presence in their lives? If they are not, I am certainly wasting my time and my energy, as well as theirs.

In a parallel manner, the ministries of the parish that do not benefit the participants in a spiritual way are a waste of effort and resources.

There is, however, a qualification to this; every social gathering, which builds and enhances healthy relationships and is not causing people to sin, is a good thing by itself. Healthy relationships, where Christian love is shared, can be the beginning of spiritual growth. 

Hence, I will challenge all of us, members of this parish, leaders and participants, to examine everything we are doing from this perspective. We need to make sure that we are providing a healthy, spiritual environment for the development of all into members of God’s Kingdom, even in the here and now, by doing everything with God at the center. Let’s begin all activities with a prayer, offering thanks to God for His many blessings that He has bestowed upon us. The leaders of ministries, let’s pray for God’s Grace to come upon our ministries and enhance spiritually what we are trying to do. The participants, let’s pray for God’s wisdom and strength to come upon the leaders so that they may be able to accomplish God’s Will for all of us. Prayer is a source of divine energy that transforms all things from secular to spiritual.

The parish is the Ark of Salvation in the midst of a tumultuous world, an ever changing society. It is a safe haven from the tempest-tossed sea of life. All protection and peace comes from God. If we don’t make Him the center of our lives by invoking His help in prayer, we will miss out on His Gifts.

Dear friends and parishioners,

The wisdom granted to us by God through the Holy Scriptures and the writings and admonitions of the holy fathers of Christianity in the past two thousand years is a precious treasure trove to dig into and find guidance to strengthen everything we are trying to accomplish. Today, we have many books translated from the original languages for us to read and draw wisdom from. We also have many opportunities to discuss with others and deepen our knowledge and understanding, but above all we have more time than any generation of the past to attend worship services, pray privately at home and even visit monasteries and other holy places that will inspire us and bring us closer to God. All we need to do is transfer all these benefits to the ministries of our parish and share with others, thus transforming all activities to spiritual opportunities.

If our hearts are turned to Him, God will bless all the works of our hands. If our love for God and our fellow man is made manifest in our interactions, God’s Grace will fill the gaps and perfect our efforts. Then, the ministries of this parish will cease to be just for superficial and temporal fun, but will be transformed to paths leading us to Eternal Joy!

In Christ’s Love,

Fr. Panayiotis