Pictured here is Pastoral Council member, Matt Howe, his wife, Jean, and their first child, Annie. Matt is a math teacher at Northwest High School, and he is a Parish Representative for the young adults of his Northwest area.

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

Hello! My name is Matt Howe, and I a member of the Pastoral Council. A couple of months ago, I had the privilege to speak at Mass about the Witness to Hope Campaign. Since I did not speak at all of them, I thought I would share the main points here in the bulletin. My wife and I have been attending St. John for a little over a year now, and we are happy to be a part of this community. We have a one-year-old daughter, Annie, who you have undoubtedly heard or seen at Mass.

First, I would like to mention a book called Rebuilt. It is the story of a particular Catholic parish’s journey as it was revitalized and re-energized by and for Christ. The book suggested that the regular parishioners should be challenged to welcome newcomers so that they feel “comfortable” at Mass.

If we really think about the dynamic of each Sunday here at St. John, this suggestion is often unintentionally neglected. People who are new to the church can fall through the cracks and be left feeling not connected. The people who regularly attend sit in their usual seat (you would think that it was assigned), and they either have the few people that they talk to after each Mass or they tend to leave right after Mass, not conversing with anyone at all.

If we are truly trying to do the work of Christ, which is to become strong in our own faith and share it with others, then some things certainly need to change. I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and to start getting more involved with the Church that Christ built. Be intentional about reaching out to others, get to know those who are part of this community, and most importantly go deeper in your personal walk with Jesus.

Ultimately, we all would like to have one thing, which is happiness. The common misconception is that happiness leads to gratefulness. The world tells us that, if we could be fortunate enough to stumble upon happiness, then we would be grateful for the happiness that we have. There is a problem with this. In this understanding, we are subject to the events that occur in our lives. We have to hope that good things happen in order to make us happy.

The recipe to happiness is actually the reverse; it is gratefulness that leads to happiness. We can choose to be grateful for what we do have, and this is what will make us happy. This understanding allows us to be in control of our happiness.

I pray that you would consider giving to the Witness to Hope Campaign with a grateful heart. This is how Christ called us to give. In the end, God doesn’t care about our money, he cares about our ability to let it go and rely solely on Him. I encourage you to grow as an intentional disciple and help do the work of God here at St. John.

Sincerely yours,
Matt Howe