Welcome Back to Campus Reception

Welcome Back to Campus Reception

Welcome Back to Campus Reception

Welcome! As is often the case, the summer has flown by and here we are, looking at a new academic year – which often feels like a new year.

We’re celebrating the return of those dedicated humans studying in their chosen fields – sure to make the world a better place – also known as students! The 5:00pm Sunday Mass at St. Joseph on Stevens Avenue seems to be a popular option for students. So, the Welcoming Ministry here at Our Lady of Hope Parish is hosting an outdoor (weather permitting) reception after Mass on Sunday, September 11th. All are invited – and welcome – to join in conversation while enjoying some light fare from about 6-7 pm.

Of course, you’re always welcome at other Masses at Our Lady of Hope, too. Weekend Masses are at 7:30 on Sunday mornings at St. Joseph Church, as well at 4:30 pm Saturdays and 9:30 am Sundays at St Pius X Church on Ocean Avenue (across from Payson Park).

Our Lady of Hope is a Jesuit ministry and is part of the Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine.

You may wish to check out an upcoming reflection that Fr. Brian Conley, S.J. is offering on September 17th, Talking with Others about our Faith – a topic that is always relevant. It will be held in the Parish Hall on Ocean Avenue.

Preparing to Volunteer in Parish Life

Preparing to Volunteer in Parish Life

Preparing to Volunteer in Parish Life

Your response to the needs of your fellow parishioners has been heartwarming!

When you learn about folks who are unable to physically go to Mass who are asking for someone to visit, pray with them, and bring Communion, your hearts are moved by the Spirit to help. When you hear about events and plans to connect families more deeply to their Faith through their children’s Faith Formation and Sacramental Prep, you ask, “how can I help?” and respond with, “I can do that!”. Thank you, one and all.

We promised to provide training. And the first opportunity is coming up at the end of the month. All adults who volunteer with vulnerable adults or children begin with the Diocesan required training of Protecting God’s Children. This session provides clear, helpful guidelines and is a reminder of the seriousness of our sacred charge. You’ll learn specifics about how to interact with each other.

So, if you’re considering becoming a Eucharistic Minister, at Mass or by visiting adults in their residence, this training is the place to start, so that you can begin serving others. And, if you’d like to be part of Faith Formation activities and events, or consider offering arts and crafts for kids so that their parents can take part in one of the upcoming opportunities for deepening their spiritual lives, this training is the place to start. If you’d like to learn more about what’s planned in the coming months so that you can better discern your options, please give us a call.

Thanks to Bill Burke, principal at St. Brigid for offering and delivering this training!!

Protecting God’s Children Training Session for Wednesday, August 24 at 6:30 pm. The training session will take place at St. Brigid School.
Here is a link to the training registration page: https://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/reg_0.cfm?theme=0
Follow the prompt and scroll down to Portland, Maine (Diocese) to get started.

Enjoy this beautiful Maine summer!

Baptismal Blankets Made with Love

Baptismal Blankets Made with Love

Baptismal Blankets Made with Love

The Baptismal “Garment”

There is an ancient tradition of dressing the newly-baptized in a white garment. In some families the garment used at the baptism of young children becomes an heirloom treasure, used generation after generation. Our parish has recently started the tradition of presenting the family with a white or cream-colored baby blanket. These beautiful blankets are knitted or crocheted by members of our parish. Talk about hospitality!!  Heartfelt thanks to the individuals who are taking this on — it is indeed a ministry of welcome, to the newly baptized and their whole family.

If you are a knitter or one who crochets, would you like to become part of the tradition and join others in creating these blankets? They’re typically about 36″ x 36″ in a variety of patterns and styles — that’s up to your creative vision and gifts! Let us know. The families love them, and they are a tangible sign of the love and support of our parish.

Generosity, Gratitude, and Grace – Gardeners Share their Gifts

Generosity, Gratitude, and Grace – Gardeners Share their Gifts

Generosity, Gratitude, and Grace – Gardeners Share their Gifts

“Is this a weed?” “Yank it out!” “You know, some annuals might fill this space nicely, and bring color in July.”

“Wouldn’t a restful spot for prayer be lovely over here?”

“Oh, yes, a contemplative space would be lovely – gardens of remembrance.”

It’s a joyous ministry, These gardeners know how to have a good time – together. And, the grounds around St. Pius X are shaping up beautifully, thanks to their hard work each Thursday morning. Unless there’s pouring rain, you’ll find them there, starting at 7:30, wrapping up around 9:30 each Thursday morning. Your help is welcome – and needed – whether on a one time, occasional or frequent basis. You’ll learn as much as you’ll laugh.

Pastoral Council Update to Parish

Pastoral Council Update to Parish

Pastoral Council Update to Parish

On the weekend of March 12 -13, 2022, members of the Pastoral Council spoke at each Mass, providing a brief update on parish life. Below you will find the seven points that were covered:
1. It is important that we all remember that the “church” is not an institution or a “they”. Church is “us”! The results of the recent Synodal listening sessions have been reported to you in the bulletin (and here on our website). These show a desire to be a people who are connected to one another and a parish that is welcoming to all of God’s people.

2. This has been a year of action: we created the role of a director of parish life as part of our parish team, resulting in more connections between our parish ministries and between the ministries and the reset of the parish; increased activity through social media (which is drawing new people to our parish).

3. We have a revised sacramental prep program for our children. This shift has been in the works for several years. Our 9 am Mass has become our “Family Mass” and actively involves the children. This is a part of our journeying with youth, one of the key Jesuit areas of ministry.

4. Our parishioners have been supporting charitable causes and agencies in the larger community. This is part of our mission to walk with and care for the marginalized and those who suffer. The most recent effort, coordinated by our Social Justice and Peace Commission, was a collection of supplies for Hope House. Thank you for your generosity!

5. This year we expected that our parish operational budget would be in a deficit, and it is. With costs increasing as they are, we will have a more detailed report next month.

6. Upcoming events for the spring and early summer include: Arts ABloom, a parish paint night, Plant Sale all in May, an outdoor Mass on July 30. Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, best selling author nationally known for his work in California with Homeboy Industries (the largest gang rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world) will be here on May 24th. He will be speaking to students during the day and at an evening event at Cheverus open to the public.

7. Lastly, we are seeking candidates to serve on the Pastoral Council for the coming year. The Parish Office is accepting nominations now. To serce on the Council, you must be a registered member of the Parish, active in parish and/or school life and be at least 16 years old. You may nominate yourself!

In this Ignatian Year, as we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the birth of the Ignatian Vision, we can report that Our Lady of Hope is a parish with a lived concern for others. Thank you for playing your part – and for considering what new might be calling you.

What Makes a “Good” Mass?

What Makes a “Good” Mass?

What Makes a “Good” Mass?

What makes for a “good” Mass?  After our Catholic Schools Week celebration Mass at 5 PM on Sunday, Jan 30th,  many people expressed their feelings of joy and enthusiasm about the presence of such joy and enthusiasm at that Mass. 

What makes for this kind of experience?  It is, really a gift of the Holy Spirit and can’t be “made to happen” but there are some “ingredients” that make it more likely we have such a positive experience. What are they?

I think this is part of the recipe:

A sense that people are there. The Assembly is present.

There’s a joyful energy that grows as each person is greeted and finds a seat.

The church need not be full (it wasn’t on Jan 30) but a half- or three-quarter empty church takes away from the experience that everyone enjoys. This is why Church documents teach that we shouldn’t be celebrating weekend Masses that are regularly less than half-full.

A full use of liturgical ministers, including servers (who can be adults as well as children), well-prepared readers, possibly several of them, greeters, Eucharistic Ministers. Having a number of people involved in the action of the liturgy makes a difference that you can feel.  We can get by with fewer people serving as liturgical ministers, yes, but that’s a missed opportunity.

Attention given to the surroundings, decorations, etc.  Use of the banners at that Mass in the procession and on the altar, for example, made it feel more festive and special.

Well-prepared presentations, reflections or homilies.

A willingness on the part of those attending to take part in the liturgy by responding to the prayers with enthusiasm, by joining in the singing.

Good music.  This includes both the music that is being sung and the willingness of those present to sing (as we often say at Mass to everyone “you are the choir.”)

A visible expectation by those attending that this will be a good experience. 

In a real sense, every Mass is “special.”  This was certainly the case at that Mass.   How might we repeat this recipe?  A question for us to consider is this: what is important for us to do as a parish to invite these kind of positive experiences at Mass to happen as often as possible?  The congregation (the “Assembly”) is a very important part of this picture.  It is from the congregation that the readers, greeters, servers, etc. come.  We minister to each other in the liturgy. The whole Mass is a responsive prayer between the presider and the assembly.  When people respond or sing with energy and enthusiasm, the energy level grows, and that is what you feel at a “good”  liturgy.   If the response is weak or absent or other parts are missing, then the energy is just not there.     When we all do our part as we come together to celebrate the Mass, when we have the resources and people there in the necessary numbers, then we give that important opening for the Holy Spirit to light a fire of excitement, energy and love.  This is a good goal to have and to work toward.  Let’s do that!    

Fr. Paul SJ   .

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