From the Pastor – March 21, 2021

“FOR A BRIEF MOMENT I ABANDONED YOU, BUT WITH GREAT COMPASSION I WILL GATHER YOU.  IN OVERFLOWING WRATH FOR A MOMENT I HID MY FACE FROM YOU, BUT WITH EVERLASTING LOVE I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON YOU, SAYS THE LORD, YOUR REDEEMER.” (A Lent Sourcebook:  The Forty Days, Book Two, p. 114). As we get deeper into Lent and closer to Holy Week and Easter, we are reminded of all Jesus did for us.  To accept the Father’s will and die for us was not an easy decision for Jesus. But his death was redemptive and his resurrection transformed us all. Yet, sometimes we forget that we are called to live as a people renewed by the love of Jesus. Sometimes the way we speak and act towards one another betray the fact that we are called to live differently because of our faith in Jesus. Lent is always a good time to look inward so that we can better reflect the presence of Jesus in our lives. It is incredible that it has been one year since COVID-19 changed all of our lives. What we all took for granted has become a challenge for us, as we live differently because of the pandemic. Masks, social distancing, frequently washing our hands, and limited activity have certainly shown us a different lifestyle. Even with the vaccines, we will still live differently, so that we can continue to protect ourselves and each other. Just as Christmas was different for us, so will Holy Week and Easter be, and you will receive information about that in about a week. I know most of you were surprised by the announcement of my July 1 retirement last weekend. What I had hoped to accomplish in a year, will now be done in 3 ½ months. It has been a privilege to serve you as your pastor these past 5 ½ years. When I arrived here on January 1, 2016, I wondered if God’s calling me to Saint James was to benefit you (the congregation) or me. I hope that my being at Saint James has benefited all of us and that together we have grown closer to the Lord and become more aware of our care and concern for one another. THANK YOU for the opportunity to serve you as pastor and  be an example of Christ’s presence for you.GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU!! HAPPY LENT!! FR. JOE