Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This weekend we encounter the famous Old Testament prophet Elijah. Within this short reading we see Elijah exhausted and ready to throw in the towel. Having had enough, he gives in, for the moment, to physical and mental fatigue. This clouds his trust in the presence of God that has guided him through many trials and struggles as a prophet for the Hebrew people. The pressure overwhelms him, and he requests that his life be taken. No longer does he feel valued, but rather a failure like others before him.

God does not give into Elijah’s request but rather offers him support to continue his journey as God’s prophet. The key to Elijah’s recovery is that he listens to the angel to eat and drink. Not just once, but twice. What was it inside Elijah that pulled him through this dark experience to hear and to obey? What is it inside us that helps us overcome the darkness and struggles of our own lives to continue the journey?

Despair, as a verb, is defined as being without hope. Hope is grounds for believing that something good will happen. In our world we see many types of people that, because of personal struggles, give in to acts of despair because they have no sense of hope. This struggle affects people of all types and backgrounds. Without hope, people too often get caught up in acts of life that can bring harm to others or themselves.

The seed of hope gives us a glimpse of the potential for something more than our present experience. Those that acknowledge hope are able to overcome any obstacle that tries to distract them. I can only imagine the strength that hope gives migrants who flee their homeland for a better life. The hidden strength of hope of a cyber bullied teenager, who is considering suicide who confides in a trusting person about their struggle. The perseverance of hope in communities that experience catastrophes, that leave their town, businesses, and homes in ruin, to start over and rebuild.

Hope stirs us into action. Like Elijah we remember that God provides us with strength for the journey. We are fed with the compassion and support of others, the sacraments, and our faith. We are strengthened as we walk our path to the mountain of God. For Jesus says “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” (Jn 6:47) For Jesus becomes for us that seed of hope that overcomes all darkness.

Times of despair and struggle may come our way and/or to those we love. Let us recall the gift of hope that came into the world. Strengthen by hope, may God use us, like Elijah, to be a prophet for his people.

In our modern history, unfortunately there has been much darkness. One of the great dark periods has been the horrific reality of World War II. However, through this darkness the hope of freedom breaks through to provide outstanding examples of faith and culture that overcomes the evil of darkness. On May 2nd, 2022, Fr. Kreidler and I will lead a pilgrimage to Poland and Eastern Europe to be inspired by the people and cultures of that region. So many people overcame such suffering because of the hope that inspired them to never give up. This 12 day pilgrimage will visit the beautiful cities of Warsaw, Czestochowa, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. We will pray at some of the most sacred sites in these cities and offer prayers of reparation as we face the reality of the Auschwitz concentration camp. We hope you’ll considering joining us and participate in this opportunity to get away for spiritual and cultural growth. More information will be available next month.

Let us continue to pray for our students, parents, teachers and administrators as they make preparation to return to school. Although the concerns are different from last year, new challenges can present themselves very quickly. May the Wisdom of the Spirit guide our educational institutions.

At Saint James, I have received the Bishop’s permission to hire a consultant to help create a phased approach to refurbish the Church roof and sandstone walls. I am very grateful for the hard work that our property development group has done to get us to this point. A lot of behind the scenes investigation has been done to ensure that we move efficiently during the years ahead.

As we head into the Fall, I encourage those with some musical skills to consider joining the parish choir. St. Clement is in the process of discerning a new music director, but in September we will start forming a choir while this is in process. At St. James, Adam will invite participants to join that choir when he returns in October.

These beautiful days of summer can inspire us! May we be inspired to be lights of hope for our brothers and sisters.

Christ’s Peace!
Fr. Workman