1. This will be the sixth and, sadly, final week of our current series, “The Rules of Happiness.” I say sadly because spending so much time preparing for our series, it’s always sad to see them go, like saying goodbye to a friend. This series has had an unexpected impact on me, and others have made similar comments to me. The topic could sound “soft” but it was surprisingly challenging.
2. Next week is the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, which is an opportunity to hear from Cardinal O’Brien and learn more about the needs of the larger Church we are a part of. Since the Pope will be honoring the Cardinal that weekend (it is his elevation to the College of Cardinals) it is especially appropriate for us to do so. In place of the usual message, we will listen to a pre-recorded message from the Cardinal, and then instructions will be given about how we can support the Appeal.
Just one suggestion: this will not be the weekend to invite guests to church. Instead, plan now to make your invitation for the following week because…
3. …the following week we will be kicking off a major new series about grace. A lot of Catholics do not understand grace, and, as a result, they get much else wrong when it comes to their faith. We are going to take a long look at grace and it will help you see things differently, I guarantee. That weekend is also the first in the season of Lent, the perfect time to encourage someone who doesn’t have a church to begin again, and join us…or join us online, live Sundays, 10:30am and 5:30pm.
4. Well, as you’ve probably heard already, we’re moving Easter to the Cow Palace at the Maryland State Fair this year (back story for new readers, we move off campus for Christmas Eve, to accommodate larger numbers with fewer Masses). The general response from most people is “It’s about time!” The experience on Christmas Eve was so wonderful we need to replicate it for Easter Sunday. Speaking of time, we are going to offer two morning services (we will also have a Vigil the evening before, which will be at the Cow Palace too, though not because we need the extra room, just because logistically it would be impossible to try and be in both places for Easter). Anyway, we are interested in learning from you about what time you prefer for Easter Mass, so go to our Facebook page and vote.
5. Of course, the move will mean we need a lot more help. So, one of our major pushes this spring will be to recruit more adult ministers. Stay tuned for details; we are going to get a whole bunch of people out of the pews and into ministry.