Opening Hearts to the Fire of God’s Love

The story of any human community is written by that community with every single “today.” Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, founded thirty years ago, benefits from a legacy of optimism and hospitality. As a new-born parish, our founding mothers and fathers were free of the burdens of yesterday, and to some extent, the fears of tomorrow.

Today, thirty years later, like any vital group, we seek to employ the collective wisdom of the parish to throw light on the state of our present and to overcome any pessimism about our tomorrow. At this moment of our time, we want to begin to write a new chapter in our history. We want to begin to create a state of Christian growth with purpose-filled activities. We want to be open to God’s promise to “make all things new!” (Revelations 21:5). We propose to embark on a process of revitalization of our parish.

Since the reign of Pope Saint John XXIII, every pope has urged us to look back to our baptismal promise of becoming disciples, in deed, as well as word. Pope Saint John Paul II reminded us that we are formed as disciples within our families and our parishes. It is the work of each member of the parish to “Go out and make disciples of all nations.” It is our mission to bring Jesus to others, not keep him to ourselves.

Today, we begin with prayer for the process of rejuvenation. We look to the power of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Our Lady to bring us back to that vigorous and lively stage of growth begun in Baptism. We ask to be restored to that season of hope. We ask that our hearts be touched with the fire of God’s saving love.

As we continue to write our story over the next “todays,” we invite every parishioner to participate in the effort to revitalize his or her personal faith in Jesus Christ. We invite every parishioner to remember that each of us promised to “Go out” to all nations, whether those nations are neighbors, friends, co- workers, children, or grand-children. We invite each parishioner to make visible the youthful joy of love of God and unselfish love for every neighbor.

One of the first tasks the Ignite Team completed, with the help of our parishioners, was to write a new Mission Statement that will guide us through St. Elizabeth’s next chapters:

Mission Statement of Our Parish
“Opening hearts to the fire of God’s love”

“Transform our Parish through prayer, worship, service, charity, and growth in knowledge of our faith, while being guided by the Holy Spirit. We invite all people to enrich our community with tolerance and cooperation with all other faiths.”

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Father Stan and Father Hernan wrote a beautiful prayer to guide us through Ignite. We will use this prayer to help keep us focused on our goals.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Ignite prayer
Heavenly Father, pour forth your Holy Spirit to inspire our parish community. Stir in our souls the desire to renew our faith and deepen our relationship with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ignite us that we might truly hear, believe, and live the Good News. Grant us the confidence to proclaim your message to others. Strengthen us that we might go forth and witness to the Gospel in our everyday lives. Sanctify our words and actions.

God, our Father, we pray that through the Holy Spirit, we might begin to “make all things new,” as we seek to transform our parish. We pray that we might renew our commitment to your mandate to minister to one another. We pray that we might be restored to the vitality of our Baptism, as we accept our mission to go out and witness to the saving grace of your Son, Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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When we first formed our Pillars we had a Day of Recollection to inspire us and ask for the Holy Spirit to guide us. Our day started with Phil Lamoureux leading us in song, Go Light Your World. This is a song written by Chris Rice, who is a Contemporary Christian singer. We chose this as our theme song for the Ignite program and we will be hearing it often in the coming months. The day continued with a talk on evangelism given by Fr. John-Andrew. Fr. Stan presented a theological and biblical explanation of our new Mission Statement & Pillars of Ignite. Richard de la Fuente explained the application of the Mission Statement and how it applies to our parish.

Attendees had opportunities to ask questions and sign up to work on one of the four pillars. Those who could not attend are still encouraged to join and can do so by calling the parish office at 973-927-1629 or emailing PAB@stelizabethschurch.org. This is a never ending program and we encourage all to join one of the pillars.

Easter 2015-Easter is not simply one feast among others. It is the feast of feasts. This past Easter brought the IGNITE initiative into our parish community. Easter announced “the new age” of Resurrection. We want to be sure that we are living Resurrection life as fully as we can. Appropriately, we began our adventure in grace by praying together the IGNITE prayer. We will continue to do this at every Mass. Without God, we can do nothing. We ask that God will direct us in the right way. We are praying that we will bring the light and warmth of His fire of love to our families, our community, our individual lives. We want to become the Light of the World, our World.

The Easter fire is used to light the Paschal Candle which is brought into the darkened church during the Vigil, and as this happens, the light is passed on to everyone in the congregation. This action symbolizes well our parish renewal program. We receive the fire of God’s love from Jesus Himself who is the Light of the World. We do not receive it to be kept to ourselves but to share it with others. As we are personally united with the fire of God’s love, we must share our faith by worship and prayer, by service and charity, by growing in the knowledge of our faith, and by ultimately by sharing our faith.

The Paschal Candle remains lit for all the Masses of the Easter season. It reminds us of the light of faith which Christ brings. As the Paschal Candle is brought into the Church, three times “Christ Our Light” is sung. The Ignite program is aimed at helping grow in faith and in our relationship with Jesus, who is our Light.

All parishioners received a candle at the Easter Mass. Remember the light that was given you at Baptism and we asked that you ignite the flame of that candle spiritually and join with our parish in living and spreading our faith in Jesus.

The IGNITE program belongs to every member of our parish. IGNITE is not a project that was imposed on us from outside. The people of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish have initiated it. We have named it. We are in the process of designing it to fit our understanding of the discipleship that Jesus’ directive to “be the light of the world” means in our time and place. We urge you to contribute advice, suggestions – wisdom, as we develop the structure and functioning of this spiritual adventure.

When we began our Ignite initiative, we asked for your prayers that we may make good decisions that will help transform our Parish through prayer, worship, service, charity, and growth in knowledge of our faith, while being guided by the Holy Spirit. We invite all people to enrich our community with tolerance and cooperation with all other faiths. As we continue with and put our goals into action, we ask for your continued prayers. Pray the IGNITE prayer every day. Decide where you would like to enter the process.

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