Saturday, December 10, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
“You defended me in the womb; please defend me in the world!” I cannot claim that I have literally heard anyone say these exact words. However, I believe that they are consistent with the heart of the Gospel of Life. We appropriately speak up in defense of those who literally cannot speak for themselves. However, in our world, there are so many who, while they can speak the words, “please respect my dignity,” nevertheless need other human beings, who claim to respect all life, to speak up on their behalf, when some individuals— whether they be few or many—are behaving in ways that disregard fundamental human dignity.
By the time you are reading this article, in print or online, a gathering of concerned citizens and leaders will have taken place in downtown Wooster, at the gazebo on the corner of Market and Liberty. This peaceful demonstration is a response to recent spikes (from what I understand, quite substantial spikes) in incidents of harassment of persons of varying ethnicity in our community. While heckling of students of the College of Wooster is reportedly a longstanding (and shameful) occurrence, we are given to understand that it is not at all limited to the college campus area. I hope that without exception, the people of the St. Mary Parish will look for opportunities to challenge this attitude of insult and ignorance, and additionally reach out in genuine ways to those who may be targets of this sin.
In past years, a cooperative of area churches has sponsored the Alternative Gift Market— for a good many years, hosted at First Presbyterian Church. While this year, transition of coordinating staff did not allow for the event to be held on such a scale, there is still an online opportunity to participate in this effort nonetheless. Anyone can visit Alternative Gifts International (www.altgifts.org) and make a gift , including gift cards. I am told it is hoped the event will return to town next year.
As Christians, we show respect for life even after natural death. As you know, St. Mary has a cemetery on the top of Madison Hill across from O.A.R.D.C. In just the past few days, we have begun a project out there, to add a columbarium (an above-ground structure with niches for the placement of funerary urns). We hope that this will provide a further option for consideration as individuals and families consider their final arrangements. We will let you know of the progress of this addition; this will include an updating of our St. Mary Cemetery brochure.
Finally, as you are discerning charitable giving at the conclusion of the current tax year, St. Mary Parish Finance Council asks you to consider a gift to one of the following:
·Major Repair Fund (which finances ongoing capital improvements and maintenance)
·St. Mary School Endowment (a conservative and ethical investment account that provides a substantial annual contribution in support of school operations)
·St. Mary Guardian Angel Fund (from which direct aid is given to families in need of tuition assistance).