August 15, 2016
Dear Holy Spirit Parishioner:
Spiritual growth and renewal are an ongoing part of the life of any Christian. They also are essential to our parish life. An important part of this spiritual growth is embodied in the principle of stewardship. Stewardship leads us to recognize the blessings we have received from God and to show our gratitude for the gifts we have received by returning to Him a portion of the time, talent and treasure He has given us.
During the next weeks, our parish will be conducting a stewardship renewal. You will hear about the many opportunities to do God’s work here at Holy Spirit. Since stewardship is the whole parish’s responsibility, I am asking everyone to participate. I would like to thank you for your involvement in our parish. Please reflect on the following two specific areas of stewardship; Time and Talent and how you live them out in your life.
Time: Committing more throughout the week in personal prayer, study, adoration, adult faith formation classes, etc.
Talent: Using your talents, skills, abilities and knowledge to benefit our parish family youth/adult ministries, parish missions and other worthy causes.
God is the origin of all of our gifts. Jesus speaks of the faithful and prudent steward as one the master assigned the responsibility to manage resources. A good steward receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with all, and returns them with increase to the Lord.
On the weekend of August 20-21, 2016, each Mass will have a lay minister talk, emphasizing the importance of Stewardship in all of our lives. Then on the following weekend, August 27-28, 2016, I will preach at all the Masses about the Spirituality of the Stewardship in regard to Time and Talent. We will also make our time and talent commitments to God in church at each Mass that last weekend in August.
The Seven Commissions forming the foundation of our parish ministries and stewardship opportunities are summarized below. I look forward to everyone’s participation. Take time to think about and recognize the abundant gifts you have received. Reflect on how you can use those gifts to further His work here at Holy Spirit.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Rudolf Crasta Fr. Jonathan Phillips
Sacrament of Ordination
What a life changing event it is when one receives one of the sacraments, instituted by Christ to give grace.
On Saturday, June 11th within the sanctuary of Christ the King Cathedral at 10:00 am, Deacon Jonathan Phillips and Deacon Jose de Dios Gonzales will receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. They will be ordained priests that day. Priests of the Diocese of Lubbock, priests for life, priests for us the people of Lubbock. May God bless them in their chosen vocation which will nurture our faith journeys.
Please join in the celebration of this sacrament the Presbyteral Ordinations of Deacon Jonathan Phillips and Deacon Jose de Dios Gonzales.
Thank you Deacon Jonathan and Deacon Jose for saying ‘Yes’ . Hail Mary, full of grace; all generations call you blessed. Hail Mother of God; when asked by the angel to bear the Son of the Most High, filled with faith, you responded: “Let it be done unto me.”
Father Jonathan Phillips
I think that the most powerful influence that persuaded me towards the priesthood was good witnesses of the faith. I’ve had the pleasure of encountering priests, friends, and family that were and continue to practice a deep faith in Christ. It was never arguments or fancy attention grabbing gimmicks. Rather, the power of honest Christian witness to the faith works powerfully in the lives of others if their hearts are open to it. It has had and continues to have a profound effect on me.
In what way has your internship here at Holy Spirit, this summer, helped to maintain your interest in continuing your seminary training and to continue pursuing your vocation to the priesthood?
Dear Fr. Rudi & Parishioners of Holy Spirit, As I understand that you have set aside a seminarian fund in support of us seminarians, I would like to extend my gratitude to your kind and generous contribution. It has truly been a pleasure to work with you and get to know all of you over the summer months. Please be assured of my prayers. May the grace of the Holy Spirit be with you always. Sincerely yours in Christ, Deacon Jonathan Phillip
I suppose what has motivated me the most this summer in my vocation is seeing the thirst for encounter with Jesus Christ. I believe that that thirst can be satisfied through frequent reception of the sacraments and faithful participation at Mass. When I see this thirst or longing in the hearts of men and women, young and elderly, I see that I only need to direct them to Christ. He desires our hearts, because our hearts are made for Him.
To help us understand the seminary training what is your current level of seminary formation what is your next milestone in seminary training, ordination, or the diaconate. Would you like to share how your original family foster your choice of vocation?
In Seminary, there is a total of six years (if you have completed college) – two years of philosophy and four years of theology. So far I have completed the two years of philosophy and three out of the four years of theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, in Emmitsburg, Maryland. I only lack one more year of theology before I am finished. So I am at the tail end of my formation and training towards priesthood. August 15, of this year, I will be ordained to the diaconate. I will serve as a deacon at my seminary to complete my final year of theology, and then I will return to be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Lubbock.
My parents have played a big part in raising my brother and me in the Catholic faith. I know that if it were not for them, I would not be the person I am today. They have always been, and continue to be, pillars of wisdom in my life. Because I have been able to see firsthand, how they have grown over the years spiritually, I hope, as a priest, to encourage Catholic parents to get closer to our Lord through prayer and sacrifice, for the sake of their own spiritual well-being and for the sake of their children. Parenting is a challenge, especially today when the family is under attack by many forces. With God’s grace, parents can be positive role models when they put Christ in the center of their family. The saying “A family that prays together stays together” certainly rings true.
How did you begin your journey to pursue your vocation to the priesthood? Are there specific situations, circumstances that inspired you to consider the priesthood? Was it someone or something during your early childhood, teens, adulthood, and/or an educational, sacramental retreat, parish or community event?
As weird as it is to say, the truth is I didn’t feel an attraction to the priesthood when I was growing up. I was absolutely sure that I wanted to be a doctor. I loved science and the many possibilities it had to offer, especially as it applied to the medical field. It was not until after college that the Lord started to work in my heart. I can’t really pinpoint any one event that started me on the journey towards the priesthood. But looking back now, I see how God has always been with me. I graduated college with the intention of pursuing medical school, and I entered seminary only three years later. So the Lord worked within me within those three years’ time, silently but steadily calling me towards something that was outside my world and my ambitions. Deciding to enter seminary, for me at least, was a leap of faith. I had been preparing to be a doctor for the body my whole life, but I came to realize the Lord was calling me to be a doctor of the soul. All I can say is that is has been nothing but pure grace that has led me to where I am now. God is the one who is control of everything, even the desires of our hearts. It was he who put into my heart this silent desire for the priesthood, which grew and eventually blossomed during my time at seminary.
Is there a specific ministry you feel that your gifts, talents, experiences, and desires to serve could best be utilized to help serve In a parish, mission, ministry, and the Catholic Church?
I think that a strong desire to encourage a deeper encounter with Christ, most especially through the sacraments. The greatest encounter we can have with Jesus is through the Eucharist, which is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium, 11). However, I firmly believe that confession is a powerful sacrament that enables us to deepen this encounter with our Lord. I hope that my love for Christ and His Church will only guide others into a deeper relationship with Him.
What are classes like in the seminary? Are they integrated with secular institutions? Is there a selection of degree plans available to you?
The schedule for the academic year in Seminary is just like any other academic schedule in the U.S. We get summers off, and we have Thanksgiving Break, Christmas break, Spring Break, and Easter Break. Some seminaries are attached to a university while others operate independently. The seminary that I attend, for example, has a university campus attached to it. The seminary and university work together, and some of the buildings and facilities (such as the cafeteria) are shared by the university and seminary. The academic requirements for priesthood is a Masters of Divinity (or M.Div. for short). In addition to this, seminarians can choose to pursue an additional degree, such as a Masters in Scripture or Church History, or a Bachelor of Sacred Theology.
Do you have time to enjoy any technical or recreational activities during your seminary training? Are there any hobbies or activities you enjoy during your down time from the seminary studies?
In seminary we do get a time to ourselves. We get recreational time to go to the gym, play sports, gather for clubs or groups (such as a book club), or just hang out with friends. For me personally, I enjoy taking up reading a good book, and spending time with people. So far in seminary, I’ve had the pleasure of reading some really good books, such as The Brothers Karamazov (by Fyodor Dostoyevsky), The Prince and the Pauper (by Mark Twain), and Coriolanus (by Shakespeare), all of which were great reads. Seminary is also a time to form friendships with classmates, who, God willing, are going to be priests also. So seminary affords us the opportunity to share our experiences in learning and growing towards developing priestly hearts.
How can we as parishioners help you during the remainder of your time with us and during the upcoming academic year?
I think that one way in which parishioners can help us is by spending time with us. I love spending time with people and getting to know them. I think it is vital that parishioners spend time with their parish priest. As future priests one day, I think we all hope to get to know and spend time with the faithful. So far, this summer, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting with several families. It is a beautiful thing to see how people are striving towards holiness in their families, and I have been humbled to see the different way in which families live out their faith.
Would you like to share your contact information with us? How can we stay in touch with you and you with us?
I would love to stay in contact with anyone and everyone who would like to stay in regular contact with me. My email address is email@example.com. Anyone is free to contact me for any reason. If anyone has any specific prayer intentions, I will receive them and pray for them as well.
Is there anything we as parishioners can do to help foster vocations within our parish?
Yes! Parents have a very noble and dignified role to not only raise their children but to instruct them in the faith. Parents should be praying with their children daily. They should not only be regular practicing Catholics, but also should be filled with the wisdom of God so that they can guide their children, who sometimes face difficult and challenging issues. I feel very passionate about encouraging parents to raise their children in the faith. The call to the priesthood or to religious life is a very noble endeavor that requires a degree of self-surrender. Parents can encourage their children to prayerfully discern a vocation in a positive manner only if they themselves are steeped deep into the love God. This requires an active and working relationship. Promoting vocations, I believe, begins with the family. Certainly not everyone is called to the priesthood or religious life. But when more families are living their faith daily and promoting an environment of prayer in the home, I am sure that the number of vocations will only increase.