In Luke 9:62, Jesus warns his disciples that, as they work for the growth of the Church, one should not look back at what was or was left behind. “No one, who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” True. But it is nice every now and then to look up from one’s work too see what has been happening and what the future might look like.
Back in September, we began several initiatives which were felt important for the growth of Visitation. Fixing the parish facilities. doing more for the youth. Adult education. Social outreach. Better communication. Families with young children. It is difficult for any of us to see all that is happening, so I look up from the field we are plowing to share with you what can be seen.
Last year, at this time, we celebrated 32 First Communions, 25 from the school and 7 from Religious Education (CCD). This last Saturday, 51 children received First Communion, 33 from the school and 18 from Religious Education. Wonderful growth.
We also celebrate Confirmation this Sunday. Last year, there were so few youth that we had to join with St. Jerome Parish to celebrate the sacrament. This year, we have 26 Confirmandi, with Bishop Clarke returning to Visitation to confirm them. Wonderful growth.
Adult education has grown, with Martha and Mary continuing their scripture studies during the day for more than 25 of our parishioners, this alongside our new bible study on Tuesday nights, enjoyed by 20 people. All year long, our Faith, Food and Fellowship was well attended, allowing people to learn about and discuss more deeply their faith. This past weekend, 30 men from our parish joined together to experience our first Cornerstone men’s retreat. Wonderful growth.
To improve communication, we have made changes that you have seen in the bulletin. We have also just begun a new website (visitationchurch-la.com); take a look! You can even like us on Facebook. Wonderful growth.
As for social outreach, during Lent, our parish put together more than 500 Mercy Bags for the homeless who frequent St. Margaret Center. This was so successful, that the Center was inundated with them. Such good news! Also, as a clarification, the Mercy Bags were never intended to replace food donations. We continue to have the last Sunday of each month as Mercy Sunday, when we collect food for St. Margaret Center. Wonderful growth.
To improve the parish plant, the Knights of Columbus will be inviting any willing parishioners to join them in a parish cleanup day during the summer. (Date to be announced) Reconstruction of the school and faculty restrooms is scheduled to begin in early June. Wonderful growth.
So, all this plowing by so many good people deeply involved in these various initiatives of our parish is producing good fruit. Wonderful growth.