We celebrate more solemnly Saint Agnes, our patron, a young girl martyred in 304 at the age of thirteen for resisting sexual assault. You will actually notice two statues of her in our church, on the east side, one by the side altar, and one mid-nave. She is also represented in the mural above the altar (second from the left). Her attributes are a lamb and a martyr’s palm branch.
Her example of steadfastness is an inspiration to us. She is also present to us, a strong sister on our journey, who intercedes for us. What blessing to have such friends along the way. When a parish is named for a saint, I dare believe that the saint watches over the parish in a special way. How can he or she not? Is this not how the Body of Christ functions? We respond to one another’s appeals in love. Let us express to the Lord our gratitude for Saint Agnes.
This seems to be a time of particular blessing, if I may dare say. We had the visit(ation) last Sunday of our Bishop, Mariann. Her simplicity and her gentle, luminous presence were and remain a gift to us. Thank you for being so welcoming of her. In her communication to me post-visit, she expressed how deeply touched she was.
On Saturday, January 9, we had the first of three meetings: “Moving Forward: Parish Visioning and Planning”. After Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Morning Prayer, we brainstormed for a couple of hours, possible things to do regarding “inreach”. Our next session will be regarding “outreach”, and our last session will be regarding “facilities and finances”. As previously announced, as we progress, we will open the conversation to the entire parish, during a coffee hour. We will then prayerfully wade through our long list of possible things, sorting short-term from long-term, discerning the resources needed for each, prioritizing, and finally choosing. I believe the Lord is calling us to express His love to one another and to the surrounding community in new ways.
One upcoming “to-do” is an exciting event in the making, to take place on Saturday, May 7: “Blessing of Bicycles”! To my knowledge, this has never been done in Washington, D.C. When I shared this idea with Bishop Mariann, she immediately exclaimed, “Count me in! I will be there!” The committee (of 7) for this is looking for a few other members. If you are interested in serving in this way, please let me know.
We are blessed to be co-sojourners in Christ. Let us continue to pray that, by grace, we grow in love for our Lord and for one another. I close with encouraging insights from the medieval Italian Dominican mystic, St. Catherine if Siena, “Everything comes from love; all is ordained for our salvation. God does nothing without this goal in mind”.
Yours gratefully in Christ,