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Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,

Now that the we have some space between us and the pandemic, society has had a chance to reflect on some of its ramifications. I have seen various studies on the academic consequences for students, and as expected, scores for math and language comprehension have noticeably declined. One study that we won’t see, though, is the spiritual consequences of the pandemic on young people. There are no spiritual scores, if you will. But I would argue that the spiritual health and religious competency of our young people is of much greater consequence than math or language scores. The effects of a spiritual and religious decline in our youth are far reaching.

Without a sense of God and his providential care, we are much more susceptible to succumbing to a sense of purposelessness. God’s love is the basis for our lives, but when we lose sight of that, power and influence become a tempting idol. We risk more unethical and unjust behavior without a religious upbringing. Strong spiritual health in our children points towards greater social cohesion and healthy bonding. The institution of marriage has taken a severe hit in the past sixty years, and I fear that a weakening religious affiliation among our youth will only worsen the situation. These should be the concerns that preoccupy us as a society, but too often they take a back seat to academic performance and economic factors.

There is no easy fix to the spiritual and religious predicament we find ourselves in, but it is absolutely essential that we regain the primacy of the spiritual life. First and foremost, we are called to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and to worship him. The first commandment is the most important: I am the Lord, your God, and you shall have no other gods before me. We have placed many other gods before him, and that is ultimately to our detriment and unraveling. A step all of us can take is making the Lord’s day holy. Sunday is not a day to rest up for the week, but the week is to prepare us live Sunday well. Sunday is the high point of our week, because it’s the day of the Resurrection, the day that orients us toward heaven.

Our child protection coordinator, Pat Dorney, has recently retired. Pat has worked at the parish for 48 years! To put that in perspective, she has served at St. Martin’s for almost half of our parish’s existence. This Wednesday we are going to celebrate Pat and thank her for her decades’ long service to our parish. Join us at 4pm on Wednesday, July 26 in the parish hall for a parish party in honor of Pat. May the Lord bless you, Pat, and reward you for your great generosity to St. Martin’s!

In Christ,

Fr. Dave

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