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Priest's Letter - September 2019

Dear friends,

there are many reasons to hope, just as there are to despair. While this is often true in life, it is especially evident in this season at Christ Church, Ontario.

The outpouring of energy and good will that I am experiencing is truly amazing. Because we have started so many projects with (admittedly) a relative small number of volunteers, at times we are tired but, even worse, each of you might see only a small portion of the whole that is underway. Being placed at the hub of the wheel, instead, I can certify what I am saying, and I rejoice at the extraordinary energy that, slowly but surely, is blazing forth and becomes a blessing to the world. Because we are placed here, on this corner of San Antonio and Fourth Street, not only to enjoy each other's company, but to grow as a welcoming space of sacred trust.

The other side of the coin, however, is that our financial deficit is not sustainable and has not improved substantially in the last two years. I hope that nobody will use this fact as an excuse to throw blame around. The Vestry has explored and is exploring many possible sources of income, and I renew my invitation to all parishioners to come to the Vestry meetings. At this time, I believe that it us up to us as a united community of brothers and sisters to face the situation straightforwardly. It is understandable that nobody really wants to face it, as it creates an inordinate level of anxiety. Will the parish survive? And for how long? We have reached a pivotal point in the year 133 from the foundation of this parish. At this time, going ahead means go on united, aware of the risks, and willing to make an even deeper covenant among each other.

There will be a meeting on Saturday, September 14, at 3:00 pm, to discuss in depth the financial situation of the parish. Mother Kelli Grace Kurz will lead us into considering what are our options. She will be able to give us a fresh look at our situation from the outside and from many years of expertise with parishes. I pray that we may all be present at this meeting. And that we walk into this meeting with an open heart.

Recently, one of our Sunday Gospel readings presented Jesus exhorting the crowds to interpret correctly the "sign of the times". Just as you can read the sky to know how the weather will be tomorrow, so you are able to see what is ahead in your life and the life our your community. To some extent, of course. But the invitation is not to hide within our anxieties and, instead, ask ourselves again what is the purpose of our presence as a community of faith in the city of Ontario, given the present social, cultural, and political circumstances. Especially given the hunger for meaning and for spiritual resources.

There are chances for the parish to pull together a feasible financial plan. A lot will depend on our willingness to leave our comfort zone and really question ourselves and our priorities. Are we able to read and interpret the "signs of the times"? What is our call? What is our duty? Where do we find joy?

See you at church. And at the Stewardship Meeting on September 14, 3:00 pm, followed by our traditional dinner for the Feast of the Holy Cross.

Fr. Gianluigi

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