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Fr. Doerr's Letter to Seton Parishioners

Fr. Doerr's Letter to Seton Parishioners

  • Today in Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
  • Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
  • 31 July 2020

July 25, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

When I was seven years old, I knew that God was calling me to the priesthood and that someday I would be the pastor of a parish. Then, the church made me a Vocation Director, then a Seminary Vice Rector, and then a campus Chaplain. I have waited nearly 48 years for this dream to come to fruition! As you know, Bishop Doherty has assigned me as pastor of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church. Thank you for allowing me, Monsignor Robert Sell, and Father David Newton, along with Deacon Bill Reid, to serve you as your pastoral team. I pray that the parish of St. Elizabeth Seton and her new pastoral staff will be blessed for many years together.

We have much to consider and discern in these modern times. A parable about stone masons will help shed light on our current situation as Catholics: “Two men were toiling over a huge pile of stones. When asked what it was they were trying to accomplish, one of them angrily replied: ‘Can’t you see? I am cutting stones.’ The other mason smiled happily and said simply: ‘What is it I am doing? I am building a cathedral!’”

Now, consider the plight of the two stone masons. The first, burdened as he was with the task of cutting stone, impatiently pushed himself to accomplish a task. He lacked the joy of his mission. A broken stone, a stone cut too small or too large, or a mismatched stone, was enough to throw him into a rage. He was narrowly focused and lacked the vision and patience needed to accomplish his mission. As a result, he was discouraged by the arduous nature of his undertaking. The work became an ugly chore. Our other mason, who dreamed of the beauty of the cathedral he was building, could not but feel “transported” by the significance of the work in which he was engaged. The work he had undertaken, no less difficult than the work of his colleague, lifted his spirit and allowed him to transcend the sweat and suffering – all because of his objective.

This simple parable will help us in our contemporary Catholic journey. We do not strive to build a simple cathedral, we strive mightily -as is our mandate- to build the Kingdom of God – a kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. We all know the many disappointments, setbacks, and struggles we experience along the way, but we cannot close our imagination to the beauty and transcendence of the Kingdom we are called to build.

When I think of the privilege of serving as your pastor, I think of the greatness of our own mission. We will continue building the Kingdom in our own time. We will continue the tradition of St. Elizabeth Ann parish to “believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” With certainty, that has always been the legacy of St. Elizabeth Seton parish – love of God and an open hand of fellowship offered to all.

Our commission begins again on August 19th. I look forward to meeting each of you, worshiping God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and serving our brothers and sisters who come to us for any need. Let us pray together. Let us always keep our eyes focused on the Kingdom of God and never waiver in our union with him.

“Encourage one another and build one another up. Be at peace among yourselves. See that none of you repays evil for good, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the wisdom of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, 13, 15-17).


Father Brian Doerr