Restored with the Peace given by the Holy Spirit

May 19, 2022
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,

In two weeks, I will gather with Archbishop Hebda and hundreds of other faithful Catholics for our Archdiocesan Synod as we discern the future priorities of our diocese. Among the attendees will be two of our parishioners and two staff members, so SJB will be well represented. Rob Jensen and Beth Robertson are the parish representatives from SJB. Jill Fink, our Coordinator for the Discipleship of Adults, will be there as she is on the Synod Core Team. Our parish Communications Coordinator, Joseph Huebl, will be representing his parish St. John the Evangelist in Union Hill (part of the merged parishes of St. Wenceslaus in New Prague). I will be attending as the dean of our north metro deanery and representing the 13 parishes in the north-central part of our Archdiocese.

We will pray and reflect upon 3 specific areas, namely forming parishes that are in the service of evangelization, forming missionary disciples who know Jesus’s love and respond to His call, and forming youth and young adults in and for a Church that is always young. I am looking forward to learning from what the attendees have to say. I am also grateful for what we are doing here at SJB. We have focused on those three areas and made them a priority.

We work to form our parish in the service of evangelization, both in our engagement with the community, i.e. upcoming Compassion Clinic, FallFest, participation in New Brighton Stockyard Days, National Night Out, and Easter Egg Hunt. We form missionary disciples who know Jesus’ love and respond to his call. We try to do this with Reach More Small Groups, our men’s and women’s groups, and our Catholic School and Faith Formation programs. We work to form youth and young adults in and for a Church that is always young. We have done that by partnering with NET ministries the past three years as well as hiring another youth minister to continue building our youth and young adult programming. I really noticed the young families at Sunday morning Masses this past weekend as both Masses were quite lively! It was wonderful to have so many babies and young children there.  We also celebrated 7 Baptisms, 3 of which were preschoolers in our school.

While we have had a lot of success at SJB, we still are willing to grow. Our numbers at Mass are still down from before the pandemic, and attendance had been decreasing for several years already. However, seeing the faithful return and people here from dawn to dusk most days, I know God is at work here in many powerful ways. I am honored and humbled to be part of such a dynamic and Christ-centered parish. Please pray for the synod and all those attending that we would be docile to the Holy Spirit and follow His lead.

National Police Week

This past week, May 15-21, 2022 was National Police Week in the United States. I am grateful to serve as Community Chaplain of the Department of Public Safety in New Brighton. We have a fantastic group of police and fire responders. One way to get to know them is by participating in National Night Out which will be on August 2. These First Responders desire to protect us physically and we are invited to protect them spiritually by praying for them. One of my favorite stories of our parishioners’ interactions is the following: One of our parishioners, on her way to Sunday Mass, was pulled over an officer out on patrol here in New Brighton. When the parishioner told the officer she was on her way to Mass at SJB, the officer questioned, “Oh, you are going to see Father Paul?” Our parishioner responded, “Well, I’m going to see Jesus, but yes, I will see Fr. Paul too!”  Our parishioner nailed that one! We go to Mass not to just see our friends or someone we like, but we go to encounter Jesus! It was an opportunity for that parishioner to Evangelize and share the Good News that Jesus is present at SJB! Please pray for our New Brighton Public Safety men and women.

As the Father loves me, so also I love you!

Father Paul Shovelain