I am so pleased and thankful to have Fr. Stephen Mazingo joining our staff part-time as Sr. Associate for Family Ministries at the end of this month. (He’ll be ¼ time through Nov/Dec, then goes ½ time in January.)
While some internet issues interrupted our “Meet and Greet” with Stephen this week, those who attended heard him say that the first and most important task he sees for himself in this role is to build relationships with the young families in our parish, and to listen. I could not agree more.
So much has changed since the onset of the pandemic – for everyone. There are a lot of exhausted parents out there, still struggling to keep kids safe while they go back to school. There’s still a lot of hesitancy about gathering young children in person when it’s optional. And while the slower pace of pandemic life led to cabin fever for some who live alone, for many families it was a welcome reprieve from a too-busy schedule – a simpler life that they’d like to hold onto, with more time together as families and less time scattered into age-segregated activities.
Whatever we end up doing as we slowly “get back to normal” in our children, youth, and family ministries; one thing is sure: it’s still likely to look different than it did before the pandemic. And it probably should. If we are alive and healthy, we should always be growing, evolving, and learning from our experiences. The pandemic has changed us; and it is important to let ourselves be still and listen for the quiet, underground “rustling” of new ideas and new priorities that are germinating underground as this pandemic drags wearily on.
Fr. Stephen’s role will be to listen to us, help us listen to ourselves, and together listen for the “still, small voice” of God beckoning us to new life, new joy, new expressions of love, and new depths of relationship in Christian community. Out of this listening, I trust God will help us discern the best ways – as a parish community— to feed the spiritual hunger of our children, youth, and families in this new post-pandemic era, and find life-giving sustenance for our souls.
It’s going to be an adventure!
Please join me in welcoming Fr. Stephen, his spouse Abigail, their kindergartener, Emma, and her soon-to-be-born, little brother, Gus. Please pray for Fr. Stephen and for our young people and their families as he begins his work with us.
This comes with Love,