St. Mary’s Parish 2020-21
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing great hardship for many people across our parish and throughout the world. We face the prospect of a cold and dark winter ahead. Our response here at St. Mary’s is to invite the fire of God into our hearts — to give God permission to kindle the fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the lives of others!
Operation Hearts on Fire officially began on the Feast of Christ the King (November 22, 2020). It is a six-month spiritual journey that we are calling on every member of our parish to undertake. Through faith, conversion, and outreach to our community, we will counter the fear and anxiety brought about by the pandemic with an unprecedented evangelization of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Where did the name come from? We chose “Hearts On Fire” to represent how the burning love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus overcomes the darkness and discouragement we are experiencing in these challenging times, and “Operation” to show how we will engage in meaningful, organized activity.
There will be three “Pillars” of Operation Hearts on Fire, listed below. Each “Pillar” is accompanied by a set of three spiritual practices, which we will explain and explore in more detail throughout the coming months.
Pillar 1: Catch the Fire.
Around this pillar, we will hold talks, retreats and other events to help people encounter the fire of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in their daily lives. Sunday homilies will explain how to catch the fire of God, while personal testimonies will be encouraged from those who have encountered the love of God. Our ministries and Small Christian Communities will be asked to help “catch the fire” for their members and those they serve. Our goal is for our hearts to be set ablaze by the Lord!
Pillar 2: Enkindle The Fire.
Around this pillar, those who have caught the fire of God’s love will be shown how to build it higher, to intensify their relationship into a flame that all around them can see. We will emphasize an increase in personal prayer and the Rosary, contemplation of Scripture, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Fasting to help grow the fire (for example, by the conversion of a friend) will be encouraged. We might also recommend books to read or movies to watch. Our goal will be to achieve a deeper and lasting conversion and purification of people’s hearts through the fiery love of Jesus!
Pillar 3: Share The Fire.
Around this pillar, we will set forth to share the fire of Jesus’s love to those in our communities. Through acts of mercy and charity to those who are suffering, as well as acts of loving service and assistance to those within our parish who are in need, we will share with others the fire we have received. Online workshops, ALPHA, Bible study classes, CCO faith studies, community outreach, and charitable service will help us evangelize. Our goal will be to proclaim the Good News of Jesus’s Resurrection through acts of love towards others!
Over the course of its six months, Operation Hearts on Fire will also include three 40-day “journeys,” with three different themes:
- “Encounter,” beginning on the feast of Christ The King (Nov. 22) and ending on the Solemnity of Mary The Mother of God (Jan. 1);
- “Conversion,” beginning on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 17) and ending on Palm Sunday (Mar. 28);
- “Pentecost,” beginning on Divine Mercy Sunday (Apr. 11) and ending on Pentecost (May 23).
All parishioners and Ministries within the parish will be called upon to play their parts in Operation Hearts On Fire. Every parishioner will be asked to invite someone to Mass, or to invite to participate in parish activities “those who do not yet know Jesus, or know Him well enough.”
Ministries will be encouraged to use the charisms of their members to support the effort. We can already announce that the focus of Night of Worship and Ministry from January to March 2021 will be the three Pillars, and that prayer teams during these events will intercede for the success of the Operation.
We will provide more details about “Operation Hearts on Fire” in the coming weeks. In the meantime, rejoice with us in the love of God and the radiant warmth of the Sacred Heart of Jesus!