Pastor's Letter - July 22, 2018

A frequent image of God in the Old Testament is the Shepherd. The image is a good one since the flocks of sheep and goats were integral to the economy of the times, and everyone understood the necessity for a shepherd to watch over and care for the flocks. The analogy of the people as “a flock” was easily made since God watched over and cared for His people like a shepherd his flock. A flock of sheep without a shepherd was in great danger from predators. This is the image we receive in today’s Gospel where Jesus has pity on the vast crowd, since they were like sheep without a shepherd. And what does He do? He “began to teach them many things.” This is one of the key duties of those appointed as shepherds over the “Flock” of the Church. Saint Pope John Paul II used every opportunity to teach the Faith wherever he traveled (and Popes Benedict & Francis, too). Each Bishop is responsible for teaching the Faith to his own flock within his diocese. Priests, especially pastors, are to be co-workers with their bishop in teaching the Faith. If one of the priest’s important responsibilities is to teach the Faith, then it follows that it is important for the faithful - members of the flock - to learn the Faith. Are you growing in your knowledge of the Faith? Every family - even every adult - should have a bible which is read regularly. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a sure and faithful resource on the teachings of the Church and a great tool (along with the Bible) to learn more of our Faith. Read good Catholic books. Ignatius Press, Ascension Press, Sophia Institute Press, Augustine Institute - to name a few - are excellent sources. A consortium of Catholic publishers have formed an online resource on all aspects of the Faith. Through a generous gift of a parishioner, SSPP has contracted with “Formed.org” so that all our parishioners may have free digital access to Catholic books, articles, movies, bible studies, etc. We will present more info on “Formed” in the upcoming weeks to provide the tools necessary to fruitfully use these great Catholic resources.

This coming July 25 is the 50th Anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae (On Human Life). In the upcoming months, I will be commenting from time to time on this prophetic document and on the many difficult contemporary issues surrounding marriage and human sexuality which it addresses.

May God bless you! Fr. Schaller