Easter Vigil
St. Mary
of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
527 Beall Ave Wooster OH • 330-264-8824

Pastor's Letter

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dear Parishioners,

   A Mother receiving her children with love!  Within this last week, the mother-in-law of our music director, Barb Hufford (husband, Steve), died at Wayne County Care Center.  Her name is Neileen.  Over last weekend, the sequence that many families experience at the end-of-life moved into play.  Children and grandchildren travelled in from near and distant places.  Barb has remarked at how moved she was, to witness how Neileen, despite a very weakened physical state of being, responded with clear recognition as well as affection, as each individual approached her bedside.  

   During my short visit with some of the family, I observed her reaching up her arms and hands to them, a gesture that must have required a great portion of her remaining strength.  Barb believes that in addition to her joy of seeing her family by her side here on earth, she was also experiencing a vision beyond this world, that led her to utter, “I am so happy!”

   I believe I have written and spoken fairly often about the ancient image of the Church as Mother.  There are so many elements for reflection within this language.  Here, in light of the Hufford family experience, I am specifically struck by the way strength and vulnerability come together in the Church.  Clearly, throughout history, Catholicism has faced continual attacks from without, as well as controversies and scandals from within.  There is no way to sugarcoat the effect of all this, as there is no way to avoid the harshness of the process of dying.  Yet, even within these trials, the Church continues to nurture life and growth within its present members, even as she extends herself to welcome new persons. That is the Triumph of the Cross manifested!

   Speaking of vulnerability, we are well aware of the delicacy of life within the womb.  While a mother’s body provides the ideal protection and sustenance for a developing child.  However, there can be many undermining forces from the outside to endanger the life.  The Christian battle lovingly to oppose those forces is, I believe, most effectively carried out by appealing to the personhood— of the child, of the parents, of the members of our society— in such a way that we break down the perception that pro-life advocates are placing more importance on one life than on another.  Christ cares about each and every person; therefore, as Christians we must display the attitude of Christ, even as we are facing possible dismissal, insult, or mockery.

   As we look to October as Respect Life Month, we would like to create, to be displayed in church, a mosaic of ultrasound images of children within our parish. I believe this will serve as a beautiful graphic affirmation of the Culture of Life.  To think that an eight-year old parishioner, for example, could approach the mosaic and say to her mom and dad, or to her classmate, “Look, there I am” will be a living testimony to the positive impact of this technology.  If you have an ultrasound image that you are willing to have copied and displayed in such a mosaic, please contact me.

Peace,  Fr. Stephen

What's Happening at St. Mary

View Full Calendar

News or Current Events

Catholics Returning Home

Catholics Returning Home

An Invitation for Nonpracticing Catholics

Were you raised Catholic but do not come or seldom come to church anymore?

Are you a Catholic who now feels separated from the Church?

Would you like to know more about the Catholic Church as it is today?

Would you like to feel at home in the Catholic Church again?

No matter how long you have been away and no matter the reason, we invite you to consider renewing your relationship with the Catholic Church. Please join us for informal listening sessions and an update of the Catholic faith. The 6 sessions are held at St. Mary Parish Hall, beginning Wednesday, April 23, 2014 from 7-8:30 pm. For more information, call Mindy at 330-464-8873 or mindyptp@aol.com.