One Book One Parish 2017

“God wants you to be happy. Why resist?“

The former quotation contains a very powerful statement and a very intriguing question and is the set up for One Book One Parish at Saint Andrew Parish in 2017. We’re excited to invite parishioners into our year long journey of spiritual enrichment and for that reason we are providing a copy of the book to every adult, young adult, and youth of our parish. Pick up a copy of the book for free at church and read along. For more information about the book, 

All of us, every day, act in ways contrary to our own happiness. Sometimes it is because of habits that we have formed and sometimes it is because of conscious choices that we make. Either way, it is baffling to think why we would resist the generosity of a God who loves us so much that he’d do anything for us to be happy. (John 3:16)

Today, on the Feast of Epiphany, we see the cultural antecedent to any notion we have of “gift-giving” during the holiday season. History records that gift giving at Christmas is a recent phenomenon relative to the 2,000-year history of Christianity. What is certain is that the practice of giving gifts was enshrined in the story of the feast we celebrate today, the story of the three Magi coming to Jesus and bearing gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.

And in that spirit of gift giving, Saint Andrew Parish has a gift for you. It’s a book that we are distributing at the end of all Masses this weekend. It’s not Frankincense nor myrrh but it does have a certain golden tone to it. It is a book entitled “Resisting Happiness” by Matthew Kelly and I won’t be surprised if while we are handing it out to parishioners, there aren’t one or two people who resist taking a copy.

I feel a certain tragic tinge in my body by just imagining that scene. I know that some will decline to accept the book out of habit, which is ironic because the book specifically addresses that tendency we all posses to some extent. The habit of resisting a gift given to us that we don’t feel we need or even deserve. Matthew Kelly, who is a very well renowned Catholic author and speaker, names this tendency as “resistance,” and it is the nemesis to the happiness God intends for us. Like all of God’s gifts, we don’t earn them, buy them, deserve them, or achieve them. They are freely given to us.
The newly formed Faith Formation Commission of the parish (developed out of the strategic goals set out by Parish Transformation) chose this book for our parish’s “One Book One Parish” book of the year. We will use this book as a year-long spiritual enrichment curriculum inviting us into an ongoing conversation about our faith and life.

So please take this gift! Don’t resist. The gift comes with an invitation to read the book over the next few weeks (before March 1). Starting in March 1,2017 (Ash Wednesday), the parish will begin scheduled reminders and activities for you to do as an individual or with your family. These reminders and activities will help you to commit to practice the insight and wisdom of the book.

But the first step is to avoid resistance and take some time to read. When you do, I firmly believe that you’ll enjoy it (it’s a simple read with short chapters) and that it will have a significant impact in your lives. Finally, for one last time this Christmas season, a very Merry Christmas! And may Peace and Joy be with you in the year to come. God Bless!

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate.

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