Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,
The Lord continues to restore me to life through my prayer, studies, and rest during this past month. Since my last update, I took a ski trip with my best friend from college seminary, as well as the parishioner from my teaching parish who taught me how to ski. I wrote about one of my prayer times in the bulletin article for Catholic Schools Week. I was able to return to SJB for First Confessions on January 29, which was a great blessing. It was a joy to see the students encounter the mercy and goodness of God, as well as parents and family members return to the Sacraments, some after many years! Forming our students in the Catholic Faith, which helps them understand how to live life to the full, is of utmost importance. For this reason, I returned to SJB for Catholic Schools Week as we celebrated our wonderful Catholic School. I was blessed to be able to celebrate Sunday Mass with the families as well the Wednesday School Mass. We also had a day where we focused on vocations. I shared my vocation story with the students and answered questions about how God calls us to our particular state in life. I was also able to participate in the talent show with our 2nd Graders as we sang and danced to the song “Awesome God.” I finished off the week with the students by going rollerblading and enjoyed a very fun Friday with them. We capped off Catholic Schools week with our annual Wines to Wishes Fundraiser, and we were able to raise much-needed funds to strengthen our school. Thank you to all those who supported that event.
I flew to Florida with my parents after Catholic Schools week and have resumed my studies through Formed. I have been focusing on The Eucharist and St. Peter. The lectures are engaging and inspiring. One takeaway on the Eucharist for me is that it is fitting the central event in our Catholic Faith of a meal, which mirrors the Last Supper. The Last Supper undoes what the first meal, Adam and Eve’s meal of the forbidden fruit, caused in the world. The Eucharist brings about healing and unity rather than destruction and division that sin does. We must partake in the meal to be Restored to Life and bring about healing in our broken world. Next week, I will be participating in an eight-day silent retreat with about thirty priests. We will pray four holy hours a day, as well as our Liturgy of the Hours, and celebrate Mass. We will be able to speak when we pray the Mass, as well as for a half hour or so for daily spiritual direction. Please pray for me and my brother priests on retreat. Be assured of my prayers for all of you back home!
As the Father loves me, so I also love you!
Father Paul Shovelain