Fr. ChasDear Parish Family,

Today is Laetare Sunday!  “Lae-what?” you may ask.  Laetare [lay-tah-ray] is the Latin word for “Rejoice!” and it comes from the first word of today’s entrance antiphon.  

Well, what is the “entrance antiphon?”  The entrance antiphon, or introit, is the opening sentence usually chanted at the beginning of a liturgy.  Here at St. John, we hear it just after the processional hymn and before the opening sign of the cross at Sunday Masses.  At daily Masses, the priest often simply recites it just before the sign of the cross.  In addition to the “entrance antiphon,” there is also the “communion antiphon,” which is normally chanted or said right after the priest consumes both species of the Eucharist.

Today’s entrance antiphon is “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her.  Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.”  With the midpoint of Lent having passed, this Fourth Sunday of Lent takes on a celebratory flavor due to its closer proximity to the Easter victory.  A hint of flowers is allowed on the altar, and the priest can wear rose-colored vestments in place of the penitential purple.

The Amazing Parish Conference

Five of us truly had an “amazing” three days at the Amazing Parish Conference in Atlanta.  We want to thank once again the Trinity Foundation for making it possible for most of our senior leadership team to make it.  They covered the costs of not only the registration, but also the travel expenses.  Joining me were Fr. Brian Lenz (Parochial Vicar), Andy Bihl (Director of Parish Operations), Todd Gale (Director of Faith Formation), and Angel Koerkel (Coordinator of Sacramental Preparation), who took the spot of our principal, Kristi Blair, who had another important commitment with the diocese.

The presenters were all world-class.  Patrick Lencioni, one of the co-founders of the Amazing Parish movement, is one of the most sought-after organizational consultants in the for-profit world.  He has nine best-selling books, including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and has worked with thousands of senior executives of Fortune 500 corporations, professional sports teams, universities, and privately held companies.  

So why is Pat now working with parishes?  Pat is a devout Catholic, and he believes that the work done in parishes is the most important venture in the world.  The parish is the place where God reveals, forms, and nourishes his people, so that they can be his presence in a world in dire need of him.

Inspired to apply his gifts to this most important work of advancing God’s kingdom, he partnered with John Martin, the multi-millionaire who wanted to use his material blessings for the same purpose: to improve parish life as the primary means by which to bring God’s goodness, truth, and beauty to a hurting world.  We’ll be sharing more about the conference in future bulletin articles and look forward to working with the rest of our staff, the Pastoral Council, and our Parish Representatives in prioritizing what ideas would best serve our parish.

Yours in Christ,

Father Chas