In the gospel for this weekend, Jesus speaks to his disciples: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Everything we do as a parish is about gathering in His name! When we gather together in His name, he is with us! What great news!
This past Tuesday we were able to remember and pray for Fr. Francis Diederich, our founding pastor, on the anniversary of his death. He first gathered the people of St. Francis de Sales in His name. It is astonishing to think about how Fr. Diederich was charged with the task of exploring and purchasing our grounds! On these 8 acres he oversaw the construction of all of our buildings—all sacred places for gathering in His name! Just 50 years ago this year, he would have finished the construction of the present Church and Rectory. I hear he was not even afraid to get his hands dirty and use the shovel every now and then! I love that! In a real way, I feel like I am walking in his footsteps as I have been blessed with the opportunity to supervise the construction of the Memorare Center. Currently, the foundation is completed and we are getting ready to frame the building. Exciting!
On the topic of buildings, many of you know about our Poustinia House which is located on Diederich Lane. Did you know that our Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart) Poustinia House is available for 24-hour retreats? Poustinia refers to a room or small house where one goes for solitude and quiet. Sacre Coeur is furnished simply, to provide a place of prayer, with icons, sacred art and a Bible. Often retreatants fast on bread and water, or other simple foods. A Poustinia retreat is meant to spend time with God, to be alone with Him without distractions. While there is no charge for using the retreat house, we certainly accept donations to cover various costs and upkeep. Bread is available upon request as well. If you would like to schedule a 24-hour poustinia retreat, please contact Michael Ott (330) 414-0203 or Diane Mellody (330) 388-3805. On this Labor Day Weekend, amidst the hustle and bustle of preparing for school and fall activities, pray about using the poustinia house this fall for a day to refrain from labor and to enter into the peace, solitude, and presence of our Lord.
Lastly, don’t miss the many opportunities that are being offered to gather in His name this September. From gathering on the shores of Portage Lakes Park, to hiking together in His name, to gathering outdoors for our parish revival, to gathering on Tuesdays @ 6:00pm to pray the Rosary for our country, to gathering together in the church on select Tuesdays after 6:30 pm Mass to listen to Adult Faith Formation topics, etc., etc., etc. But most importantly, don’t forget the grandest way we gather together in His name: the Eucharist—the way our God wants to share his life and love so boldly with us!
God’s peace and joy be with you,
Fr. Jeremy Merzweiler