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  • Writer's pictureChurch of St. Mark

From the Heart of the Shepherd

By Fr. David Hottinger, PES - Pastor

From the bulletin for The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jun 30, 2024)

Thirteenth Sunday

Despite my recent bulletin article about changing the pace during summer, this past week witnessed the inaugural meeting of the Campus Master Plan committee. The need for such a plan was identified last summer during the series of conversations I held with parish leaders after assuming the helm of the good ship San Marcos. It is a need that has continued to bubble up in various contexts through this initial year of my pastorate. Home-school co-ops are leaving, how will we pay the bills? The Business Guild wants to expand, can we give them more classroom space? Are we ever going to reopen the school? If the roof over the school were to collapse, would it make sense to replace it? With solar panels, perhaps? What to do with the lower church? What is our prioritization of the restoration work in the upper church? What do we do with all this space? How are we to use our facilities to live and share Christ’s call to holiness, bringing our un-evangelized neighbors into the fold?  Questions such as these beg an answer to the big question: what is the Lord’s will for our parish campus for the next 50 years? 

I am most grateful to those ten parishioners of diverse backgrounds who bravely accepted the call to serve on the committee. Though the number and gravity of questions that need to be answered is surely daunting, it is also exciting to look boldly into the future, armed with the confidence that God wants to empower the parish to do great things for His Name and the salvation of souls. All the more so when we are blessed to have a faith-filled community characterized by its youth, unity, and devotion to the Lord with which to face that future. 

Please pray for the committee, the pastor, and the process. With all the talent and experience on the committee, great ideas will not be lacking. Yet even if we had all the professional acumen and worldly wisdom needed to build a tower to the heavens (and the cash to boot!), “if the Lord doesn’t build the house, in vain do the laborers labor.” We must do our share of the work, to be sure, but we want this to be an exercise in Spirit-driven discernment, not human ingenuity! 

Of course, during the process the broader parish will be needed for input and feedback, as well as for support and financing. My desire is that the vision this committee helps to generate is something that the entire parish community will be excited to embrace and work towards realizing. We will certainly also need the blessing of our local Shepherd and ideally can use this as an opportunity to reconnect with alumni of our parish school and perhaps even some of our neighbors and community stakeholders. (Apparently our parish is a focal point for local chimney swift enthusiasts. That’s a kind of bird, BTW!) 

Thankfully, though the particulars are not clear yet, the general vision is. This parish—people, primarily, but the spaces in which they gather, included—is called to be nothing less than a furnace of the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, where weary souls find a spiritual home, are warmed by the fire of His love, and are transformed into saints who set the world on fire. Please joining me in saying this prayer (every day if you like) for a fruitful discernment and a divine Master Plan for the future of our facilities: 

Jesus, you are the Cornerstone. Rejected by men, but chosen and precious in the Father’s eyes. Through Your Church, You call all men to come to You and be built as living stones into a spiritual house, a temple of the Lord. You have entrusted to us this parish, with all its riches, both temporal and spiritual, along with the responsibility of witnessing to You and sharing the Gospel of holiness with all within its territory. Make us faithful stewards of these treasures. Give success to the work of our hands. Bless our parish efforts to generate a Campus Master Plan that conforms to the designs of Your Heart, one that will transform this parish into a beacon of light and a furnace of divine love. Enlighten and direct the minds of those involved in the project. Send us the people, resources, and inspiration needed to discern, decide, and accomplish Your most perfect will for the facilities at St. Mark’s. Give us Your Holy Spirit; inflame us with Your Love. To You we consecrate all we are and have and can do; do with us whatever You wish. Mary, Mother of the Church, make this prayer your own. 

Saint Mark, pray for us and this parish. Amen.

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