The Unknown Road Will Be Filled with Many Blessings . . .

              We have just entered a new era for our parishes across the entire Diocese of Pittsburgh. The five-year On Mission process of prayer, study, discernment, and absolute trust in the Holy Spirit has led us to this significant moment.  As of this past Monday, October 15, 2018, all parishes in the diocese are now officially part of groupings with a new structure of leadership. Saint Alphonsus and Saint Alexis parishes will now be served by a united staff with the goal of better serving our community by making best use of our resources so as to fuel ministry, service, and evangelization.

               I am humbled by the charge Bishop Zubik has given me in being a part of shepherding this community being formed by bringing together two parishes each with rich histories, amazing people, and tremendous potential.  Besides the blending of two staffs whose dedication and hard work are second to none, I (we) are richly blessed to have Father Joseph Freedy assigned to us.  Fr. Joe is recognized locally and in circles across the country for his amazing gifts and ability to connect with people young and old alike.  He will truly be a great asset in helping to grow the Church. 

               We both look forward to living, worshiping and growing closer to the Lord with you.  Together, we need to remain focused on the Lord.  The times are in a very real way changing; and we will adapt and grow stronger.  I know that because Jesus always goes before us, that much he has promised as well as his abiding presence.  With courage and openness, Bishop Zubik has recognized and is addressing circumstances facing the Church which include but are not limited to, declining or minimal growth of population in our region, changes in cultural attitudes, limited resources, and fewer priests.  All of these concerns need to be included in our daily prayers.  Though I do not have a clear “play book” as to what will be asked of us, I am confident in the path forward.  Again, that’s because God is with us and goes before us. 

               As we continue on this journey together, I humbly ask three things of you.  The first is PRAYER.  Without it, we are lost and our efforts are of not.  Everything must begin, be sustained, and brought to completion in the Lord.  With prayer comes the freedom of knowing this is God’s Church.  The Church is Christ’s gift to us.  Through our baptism, he has invited us to be members of his body and participants in his mission. 

               Secondly, I ask for your OPENNESS.  There is an expression that goes something like this: Minds are like parachutes, they work better when they’re open.  Things cannot remain as they were.  The times have changed and they will continue to do so.  What we are called to is a loyal faithfulness.  Finally, I ask for your PATIENCE.  We have never really faced what we are being called to do on this scale.  I know I will make mistakes, likely disappoint some, and unintentionally anger others.  No matter what decisions are made moving forward, I know that not everyone will be in agreement.  I can promise you my openness to listen to all opinions, but ultimately make informed decisions with the intention of doing what I believe to be right and of God.  Trust me when I tell you that leadership is a cross.

               Together with Fr. Joe, I thank parishioners from both parishes for their warm welcome and commitment to prayerful support.  It is by that love that others will know that we are Christians, one in Christ.  I am confident that together, we will in a most intentional way, continue to build up a Church pleasing to the Lord.

Seminarian Visit 

               We welcome Very Reverend Thomas A. Sparacino, Rector and Director of Pre-Ordination Formation for Saint Paul’s Seminary in Crafton, along with several seminarians on Sunday, October 28, at the 11:30 a.m. Mass.  After Communion, one of the seminarians will give a brief reflection on vocations.

               The purpose of this visit is to raise awareness of the need for vocations, encourage people to consider a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, ask for your prayers for vocations and introduce you to the quality of men who are studying for the priesthood in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. 

               The Seminarians will also be at the 10:00 a.m. Mass at Saint Alexis Parish to speak that same day. 

Building up the Body of Christ              

               Your help is needed.  As a community of faith called to service, our community is in need of support in carrying out our mission to the sick and homebound.  So often, those whom we identify as “shut-ins” are more accurately “shut-out.”  You can help break down the walls of isolation by being a part of a team approach of ministry to the sick.  Small gestures like making a phone call, sending a card, the gift of a home or hospital visit, and the ultimate gift of bringing the Eucharist – the Divine Physician to those who hunger and thirst to be united more closely with Jesus.  This call to service is rooted in our common baptism, not ordination. More than priests and deacons are needed to meet today’s needs. Those who are already serving as Extra Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are great candidates for this ministry!  Members from both Saint Alphonsus and Saint Alexis parishes are asked to pray about and respond to this appeal.  We are all called to do more than go to church; we are called to BE Church for one another. 

               Curious?  Questions?  Please contact Cindy at 724.935.1151 to learn more or sign up for this very meaningful ministry. Thank you. 

In Jesus’ love,        

         Fr. Zywan