The following is a transcription of Father Tim Ramaeker’s Sunday Homily given at all Masses on the weekend of November 12 & 13, 2016…
Dear Team Corpus Christi,
Next Sunday we conclude our Church Year with a solemn feast, the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The Gospel readings of these final Sundays of the Church’s year focus on our final destiny, eternal life.
In today’s Gospel Jesus reminds us of how precious we are when he says ‘not a hair on your head will be destroyed’ though every age will be tested we are not to fear, because we are loved.
Focusing on our final destiny provides perspective. In order to keep growing and moving forward, it’s important to reflect on our lives. Am I on track? Is my life in alignment with my core beliefs, values, and faith? If not, what then do I need to do?
Often times in the evening while driving around Aliso Viejo I notice couples walking together. I sometimes wonder what they are talking about. Perhaps they talk about where they have been and are grateful for the blessings and challenges of life that have strengthened their bond of unity. Perhaps they talk about the future. How they envision it and seeing it playing out.
I invite you – Team Corpus Christi – to join me for a walk around the parish, as together we reflect on the ground we have traveled over the past year and where we are going as we look out upon the horizon.
Team Corpus Christi is about building an engaged community that makes a difference in our family, church, and world. Here are some of the 2016 engagement highlights:
Parish Covenant: The Pastoral Council created our Parish Covenant. This important charter defines who we are and who we hope to become.
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner: Born from the ME 25 parish-wide in pew survey taken in 2014 the Pastoral Council began a new tradition of thanking the life-blood of our parish community – our volunteers – with an appreciation dinner. I thank both the FSMF and the Pastoral Council for putting it together.
Club 52: Your overwhelming financial response to help us continue the tradition of helping a deserving Corpus Christi teen go to college by supporting The Corpus Christi Scholarship Fund through “membership”” in Club 52.
Living Your Strengths: We introduced the Living Your Strengths process to the parish community where by parishioners identify and affirm their talents, and how to use them for growth and service. Living Your Strengths helps people discover their true calling.
I am grateful to “Team James Dragon” for overseeing the summer Luau, “Team FSMF” for our summer evening movie night, “Team Tom and Denise Shalvoy” for our annual Oktoberfest, and “Team Scott e” as preparations are underway for our parish – wide Thanksgiving meal.
I am very appreciative of the work of both the Pastoral and Finance councils, and the PSA committee.
We are building engagement through social media. If you haven’t had the opportunity, please go on our parish website and view the “whiteboard Welcome video”. We have had over 9,000 hits!
Last year at both Christmas and Easter we sent out postcards to all the residences in Aliso Viejo inviting them to join us. We are letting people know who we are and that we can be better with them. We are doing the same this Christmas. Every time we invite the residences of Aliso Viejo to come join us, it costs the parish $5,000, which comes out of our savings. I see it as an investment. Michael Friedl (the chair of the parish’s Finance Council) spoke to you last May and said, “Father Tim is frugal. When he spends, he spends on vision.” Faith without works is dead.
We are building engagement in establishing the “You’re IT Ministry”. That is, empowering people to do what they feel God is calling them to do.
This is how the “You’re IT Ministry” works:
“Father the parish needs to do out-reach to the divorced and separated in our community.”
“Great!….You’re IT! I commission you to do it!”
Joe Tomei approached me and said, “The parish needs an Art in the Park Event”.
I said, “Great! You’re IT!”
A small group of parishioners approached me and said, “We would like to start a ‘Prayer with Movement Ministry’ “.
I said, “Great! You’re IT!”
EVERY baptized member of this parish is a minister. On this weekend of “Team Corpus Christi” I need everyone to really think about how they can contribute to our faith family.
As we move forward in 2017 we need to reopen our Sunday Mass Time Programs for children, so that married couples with small children can attend Mass here together. If we want our young families to be here on Sunday, to be with us, to be engaged, then we need to offer Sunday Mass Time Programs for children.
Here’s the issue: the Sunday offering – at its current level – cannot support paying someone to coordinate Mass Time Programs for children. So I can wait until we have the money or ask you to prayerfully consider becoming a volunteer Sunday Mass Time Coordinator, because faith without works is dead. I need someone with a servant’s heart and a deep love for children to come forward.
A dream that I have for Team Corpus Christi is creating small groups. When we stop and think about it, Jesus did most of his ministry in small groups. Although it was his public ministry – teaching, healing, miracle working – that brought him to notoriety, it was through his small group of 12 disciples that he really left his legacy and changed the world. Small groups offer opportunities for members to form deep and lasting friendships, have spiritual needs met, learn and grow, feel cared about, encouraged in their spiritual development, and see spiritual growth in others.
To move forward in creating small groups Corpus Christi will need a Director of Faith Formation for Adults. Our Sunday offering – at its current level – cannot support a person to oversee Adult Ministries and small groups.
Last Sunday was our 10th anniversary on this site. We have a beautiful campus and facility. The care of this campus and facility has been entrusted to us. Over the last 18 months we have had to address a number of facility issues costing us $115,000. To meet those expenses we had to go into our savings. Whatever extraordinary expenses around our facility occurred we needed to go into our savings. Our Sunday offering – at its current level – cannot support extraordinary expenses around our facility.
Your weekly, monthly, or annual support – known as our Sunday offering – is essential to our day-to-day operations, such as:
- Funding our Faith Formation Programs for children and our Youth Ministry programs
- Funding our music program
- Funding our ministries and outreach
- Not to mention turning on the lights, heating and cooling the facility, maintaining our campus, and paying our staff
If you worship here usually or regularly, your worship is to include tithing. Our Parish Covenant’s Fourth Commitment is “Serve”, and part of service is to provide financial support so that the parish can carry out it’s mission of building an engaged church.
On the eve of a new church year, I am asking everyone to consider raising their Sunday offertory $4 to $7 per week so that Team Corpus Christi can continue building an engaged church that makes a difference in our family, church, and world.
I conclude with these words from the Book of Tobit: “At all times bless the Lord God, and ask him to make all your paths straight and too grant success to all your endeavors in plans.”
My blessing is to be your pastor now and for many – many – years to come.
November 13, 2016
If you are interested in having a conversation with Father Tim Ramaekers around becoming the volunteer Mass Time Program Coordinator(s) – which includes our Little Hands of Faith (18 mos – 2 yrs old) and Guppies (3 -4 yrs old) programs – or beginning a new “You’re IT! Ministry” please contact Father Tim Ramaekers at 949.389.9011 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.