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Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,

In this Sunday’s second reading St. Paul claims, “An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided.” My first thought on reading this was, St. Paul never was a pastor of a parish! I often find myself divided: yes, attend to the Lord first and foremost, but also, how to keep the heat on. St. Paul challenges me to prioritize well. I know that if I prioritize my relationship with God, then the rest of the worldly tasks will find their proper place. It is so easy to get things backwards, that is, to spend the bulk of my energy tackling administrative tasks and then fit in prayer where and when I can. I think it boils down to control. I feel I need to control finances, administration and the like, whereas I can take for granted my relationship with the Lord. The reality is that the Lord is calling me to trust in him concerning those things that I want to control the most. That growth in trust, though, only comes about when my relationship with him is strong. In recent years, The Surrender Novena has grown in popularity. Don Dolindo Ruotolo, who was a holy Italian priest of the last century and friend of Padre Pio’s, developed The Surrender Novena. The gist of this novena is summed up in the final prayer of each of the nine days: “O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!” How perfectly expressed that is! I suspect that many of us, whether priests, religious, or laity, often have the same struggle I have described. We could all benefit from Don Dolindo’s simple yet profound spirituality, “O Jesus, I trust in you, take care of everything!”

Next week, you will be asked to make a pledge to the Annual Catholic Services Appeal. The church of Washington asks our contributions on a yearly basis so that essential programs of the Archdiocese of Washington can continue. I, too, ask for your generosity in this important annual appeal. The bulk of the money supports our seminarians’ education. That is a noble cause to support. Yet, there are so many little things that the Archdiocese provides that could not happen without this appeal. When we went through the process of purchasing the two properties on Summit Avenue, I of course leaned heavily on the expertise of the Archdiocese’s Legal and Facilities Teams. Without their help, there are any number of ways that this purchase may not have happened or have gone poorly. In the coming months and years, the expertise of these offices, as well as others, will guide my decision making for the good of the parish. The Appeal contributes to the vitality of these Archdiocesan offices that help with the nuts and bolts of parish life. I will delineate other programs that the Appeal serves in this Sunday’s homily, but suffice it to say that the Annual Catholic Services Appeal is worth rallying around for the health of our local church.

In Christ,

Fr. Dave

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