Message from the Pastor
From The Pastor's Desk
by Fr. Kevin Gillespie, S.J.
(From the December 31, 2023 issue of the Holy Trinity Bulletin)
By many accounts, 2023 was a difficult year for so many people in so many parts of the world. Each time one picked up the paper and read the headlines or watched a news program, it seemed there was one tragic story after another. It was genuinely a desolate year, unless…. one stepped back and considered the many positive events that happened leading to grace-filled consolations.
As is my custom, at the end of each year I do an Ignatian Examen though which I prayerfully consider the personal consolations and the desolations of the past year. As we say goodbye to 2023, I would like to consider some of Holy Trinity’s Parish consolations of the year, as well as a few challenges as we look ahead to 2024.
I recently asked some of my colleagues to list their ministerial consolations of the past year. Here are some of them.
Among her consolations, Ashley Klick, the director of our Social Justice program lists:
Commitment of parishioners to provide nourishing food and support through our weekend meals for the marginalized (happy 10th anniversary!) and our monthly collections for Fr. McKenna Center, Georgetown Ministry Center, and So Others Might Eat (SOME).
Light-filled moments in the accomplishments-- ordinary and exceptional- of the families and individuals the Holy Trinity Migrant Team closely accompanies. Consolations abounded this year with new jobs, work permits secured, English acquired, and milestones on the road to permanent safety in the United States.
The grace of a deeper understanding of the role of race and racism in our history and in the way we respond beyond our campus.
Catherine Heinhold, the Director of Ignatian Spirituality and Prayer found consolations in:
the strong response to our Ignatian spirituality ministry programs -- retreats, faith sharing, prayer opportunities, training programs, and more. The desire to be in relationship with God through Ignatian ways of praying runs strong both locally and nationally.
Vibrant and active young adult and LGBTQIA+ ministries.
Meanwhile, Katie Laskey, our Coordinator of Youth Ministry, found consolations in
The increase in altar servers at the 9am church mass
Participation in service immersion programs by middle and high school students in DC and Baltimore
While Jennifer Dorsey, the President of the Parish Council found a distinct consolation in
The joy of welcoming the PPC’s (the Parish Pastoral Council) first two youth representatives - they have already shared many insights with us and we are thankful for their willingness to share their gifts of time, wisdom, and enthusiasm with us and the parish this year.
Finally, Tony Varas found consolation in
The large number of parishioners who are passionately committed to well celebrated liturgical celebrations... I was encouraged during last year's spring evening of appreciation for liturgical ministers by the desire to celebrate God's love as a community... and the willingness to serve each other in those liturgical celebrations.
For me during this past year, three notable parish consolations were: the Synod process initiated by Pope Francis, a Parish Survey in which 1067 parishioners participated, and a Strategic Planning Committee who have met several times to develop a parish Vision Statement for the next several years.
The list could go on and on. This end-of-the-year Parish Examen, whereby I have looked backward, would not be complete if I were not to look forward with you about some of the challenges in the year ahead.
Three parish projects are underway. They are:
- Continuing the momentum of the Synod wherein on ten occasions we experimented with lay preachers. With the permission of Cardinal Gregory this experiment will continue one Sunday a month.
- Furthering the Strategic Planning process from which a parish feasibility study may occur in the spring. During the month of January a Vision Statement developed by the Strategic Planning Team will be introduced at the meetings of a variety of parish committees for their consideration. Following this process we will then place the plan on the parish’s website so that all parishioners can be informed on the parish’s vision for the next 3-5 years;
- Thirdly, after a five-year process involving many details, we are planning to install Solar Panels on the roofs of the Lower and Upper School.
And so, folks, as the parish look ahead to the future, toward 2024 or for the next several years, may we continue to be blessed with many consolations and the challenges presented to us as we serve Jesus the Christ in our worlds. May God bless you and your families throughout the New Year.