Dear Brothers and Sisters of St. Andrew the Apostle,

Monday, August 15, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In most years, this is a Holy Day of Obligation, but since it falls on a Monday, the obligation has been lifted. It is still a solemnity, the highest feast day of the Church, and we will celebrate Masses at 6:30 AM, 9:00 AM, and 12:00 PM. So while we are not obligated to attend, please join us for this great Marian feast if you are able.

One more reminder to enroll your children at St. Andrew's School for the 2022-2023 school year. There are still openings in most of the grades. If your children are attending public school and are in grades K-8, enroll them in our St. Andrew's Religious Education classes. We're also still looking for volunteers for religious education on Mondays and Tuesdays. Please see the bulletin (bottom of page 4) for more details. This is a rewarding and challenging opportunity and one that is so necessary to the formation of our children. If no volunteers come forward by August 24, some classes will be canceled for a lack of teachers.

One of the most important ministries in our parish is educating our children in the Catholic faith. Of course, what we do through our wonderful school and religious education programs is to support what our children are learning at home. Without our parents taking the lead, the content of what we offer often falls by the wayside, no matter how excellent it is. Children will value what their parents value.

So I ask all parents in the parish to instill the faith in their children through teaching, example, prayer, and practice. Make sure that your family is rooted in Jesus Christ and His Church by placing him at the center of your day every day. Yes, come to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, but also pray before meals as a family, pray the Rosary as a family, and offer your prayers at the end of the day. Many families have the habit of each parent and child thanking God for something that happened and also praying for a particular person that day. Bring your family to Confession, and to Eucharistic Adoration. Be sure to make Mass a part of your vacations, showing that God is always at the center of your family. Allow our Catholic faith to inform, enliven, and strengthen our families!

We have some of our parish groups are meeting in the coming days. Our Gardening Club is meeting this Sunday, August 14, to work on the flower beds by the two main entrances and the Ten Commandments statue. Please gather at the main parking lot at 3:00 PM to join in! Our Sts. Ann and Joachim Group will meet in the Padre Pio Room after the 12:00 PM Mass on Monday. It is open to all parishioners over the age of 55.

We also have two social events coming up. on August 28 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, the St. Andrew's Music Ministry is hosting a gathering at the Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton to help introduce parishioners to each other and to introduce the St. Andrew's Concert Series for the 2022-2023 season. Then, on September 18 after the 12:30 PM Mass, we will have our parish picnic for the first time since the Fall of 2019, which is before I arrived here at St. Andrew's. I'm looking forward to it. I hope that you are, too!

Regional tournaments for the Little League World Series began this week throughout the world for a chance of being in the championship tournament in Williamsport, PA, from August 17-28. As much as I love baseball now, I only played for two years. Basketball and soccer were my sports as a child. I was very much afraid of being hit by a ball in baseball, and honestly, even as an adult playing slow-pitch softball, I was never completely comfortable with fast-moving projectiles. My fears were confirmed when my nose got broken after I was hit in the face with the softball while in the seminary. They're called softballs, but that's a misnomer. They can do some damage.

Endearing stories come out of the Little League World Series every year because serious and highly competitive games are played by players who still have a lot of little kid in them. This year, there was a frightening moment after a batter was hit in the head by a pitch and dropped to the ground in pain. Eventually, he was helped up and stayed in the game, going to first base. The pitcher who threw the ball was so shaken up by hitting the batter that he was in tears and couldn't bring himself to pitch. So the batter, who was probably still hurting from being hit in the head, left first base to comfort the pitcher and give him a hug. In the video, you can see how this moment of sportsmanship and tenderness even touched the crowd, who gave the players a standing ovation.

The lesson could easily be to love your enemies. They were enemies in the moment because they were playing against each other, but they had met each other beforehand and respected and liked each other. Would that we would have such compassion and respect for our enemies.

I would argue that the lesson of this interaction is that we are called to be charitable even when the situation steers us away from it, even when it looks awkward, even when we might not be expected to. In the interview with the parents of the children involved, there is pride in the batter who hugged the pitcher, but there is also a bit of shock. No one expected it. Such compassion seemed like it didn't belong. It's a national news story!

Hopefully, our world isn't like that. Hopefully, we make sure to reach out to others in charity, even when it's unexpected, awkward, and humbling. Let's go out of our way to help someone we don't know, or be generous to a point that surprises us, or contact a person we hold a grudge against. The more that we do it, the more comfortable we will be with it, and the more suitable we will be to be instruments of God's grace.

Know of my prayers for you. Please pray for me as well!

´╗┐In Christ,
Fr. Wagner