The last several months, and especially in the past couple weeks, attention has been given to the suffering and violence that is present in our world as well as here locally. What should be our response? First, prayer for the safety of people in harm’s way, the consolation and healing of the victims and their families, and the conversion of heart for the perpetrators. Second, reconciliation in our hearts with regard to those whom we have harmed or held unjust prejudice against. Thirdly, a concerted effort to reach out to those who are in pain. Fourthly, seek out justice, mercy, peace, and safety in the name of the Prince of Peace.
All of these are things we can all do. In addition, reflecting on imitating Christ through today’s reading from Colossians 1:24-28, we are called to suffer with those who are suffering. By offering up these sufferings, we join together with our Lord in his Passion. By joining in his passion, we join also in his death and resurrection. This is a mystery. But, it is one that Paul models for us to do.
In the last several months, St. Anne has seen an increase in mischievous to malicious behavior on our campus. We’ve had cars parked near the adoration chapel vandalized late at night. Two men entered the church last month, stole some candles and put their half-empty beer cans in box-top container for the school. Just this past week, a young adult tried to enter the adoration chapel around 10 PM and when he couldn’t get in, he proceeded to harass one of our adorers who was just driving into the parking lot by jumping on his car while brandishing a large cane of some sort. What are we to do? Again, I offer the same four things as I mentioned above.
As the pastor, I am committed to the pastoral and temporal stewardship of the parish. So, I take all these events seriously. We have placed cameras all around our campus and even have more yet to be installed. We will soon be changing the combination to the church and possibly retrofitting it with a completely different security system. I’ve given my concerns to the Adoration Chapel Committee to discern a measured response to keep our parishioners safe. And I’ve asked the police to increase their patrols on our campus through the night watch. There is no way to make every public place safe from persons bent on harm. But, our prudential judgement paired with wisdom for the good of the community will help mitigate temptation and loitering which will keep our campus open and safe.
All that said, let us all continue to commit ourselves to being stewards of our church. Do not hesitate to report anything that seems odd or out of place. I need to know, and you are my eyes and ears. Let us pray as a community to pour the Holy Spirit on our campus, so that all who come here will find St. Anne of place light, refreshment, and peace.
Fr. William Holtzinger