Home Page

Parish Letter

Dear St. Mary’s Parish Family,

Greetings in the Lord!

Let us pray for Michael Hendershott who was with us this past summer. Michael was ordained a deacon at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Thursday, October 2nd by Donald Cardinal Wuerl of Washington, DC.  God willing, he will be ordained a priest for service to the Diocese of Knoxville on June 27, 2015 at our cathedral in Knoxville.

Michael’s ordination calls to our attention that we Catholics are not congregationalists. When ordained a deacon and then a priest, a man makes a “promise of obedience” to the bishop of his diocese and to his successors. We are to work together for the building up of the Kingdom of God in our local parishes and also in what is called the “local church” known as a diocese. Our parish is part of the universal Catholic Church that extends throughout the world. Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ and Bishop Richard Stika is shepherd of the Catholic Church in East Tennessee which is the Diocese of Knoxville. We have all received the recent announcement from Bishop Stika that we are embarking on a diocesan capital campaign called the Home Campaign. Half of parish monies raised will stay right here at St. Mary’s. We begin the active phase in August 2015. As a family of faith, we will need to determine just how our parish campaign dollars will be used here at home in the parish.

On October 11th, we will have a visioning meeting in the school gym beginning at 8:30 AM and it will go until noon. No one is excluded and no thought, idea or suggestion will be discounted.  This year is extremely critical for many reasons:  our financial situation is tenuous and we can no longer operate under “business as usual.” Please pray for our parish and its future and plan to participate if possible.

On Saturday, September 20th, 55 parishioners, including parish staff and most of the members of the Parish Pastoral Council and Finance Board participated in a retreat day with the theme of Discovering Our Spiritual Gifts. What a wealth of charisms (spiritual gifts to be given away to others) we have! I felt that we are affirmed in what St. Paul said to the Corinthians about each of us having different spiritual gifts that are given for the common good. Our task is to order and direct them for the New Evangelization called for by Pope St. John Paul II and elaborated on by Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel.  With this attitude of collaboration for our visioning day, I trust and believe that the Holy Spirit will guide us to where God desires we go.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Pete Iorio, Pastor