From The Pastor's Desk

From the Desk of the Pastor
October 1, 2023

Dear Parish Family,

Doers and hearers of the word

Part of my commitment to our parish renewal is participating in online programs conducted by Divine Renovation ( Currently I am participating in “Kickstart Cohort,” a 12-week, six-session online program where I meet with five other priests from the U.S., Canada and England to explore different topics regarding parish renewal and support one another in our joys and challenges. We are accompanied by a mentor from the international Divine Renovation team.

Very early in the program we are invited to develop the vision we have for our particular parishes. Some of us have already been doing this work prior to joining the support group. This process helps us clarify the vision, refine it, and communicate it.

My vision has its inspiration from the letter of our patron, St. James the Lesser, also known as James, the brother of Jesus. He wrote this is his letter, preserved for us in scripture: “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.” As I prayed over these words and spoke about them to others, it became clear to me that he was writing those words to us, here at ISJ and eventually the words got distilled to what I came to understand was my vision – “Doers and hearers of the word” (see James 1:22). Six words, yet filled with meaning and power. Words of action. Words that we can live into as disciples of Christ.

This past Tuesday, proclaiming the Gospel at the daily Mass, similar words were spoken by Jesus. He is gathered with some followers, and they inform him that his mother and brothers were outside and wanted to see him. From Mark’s Gospel we know that they had gone to “kidnap” him, “thinking he had lost his mind,” (see Mark 3:20-21). Jesus responds, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it” (Luke 8:21). This moment must have been so powerful for the family of Jesus, that St. James passed that lesson on to others, and 2000 years later, we, who are disciples at Incarnation-St. James, have inherited this legacy.

The six-word vision now needs to be fleshed out. What does it mean to hear the word? What does it mean to be doers of the word? This is the work that is ahead of us. Working with the Parish Pastoral Council, a leadership team, and the parish staff, we will listen to you and to one another attentively so that we can live into the words from Vatican II:

The joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially those who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joy and hope, grief and anguish of the followers of Christ, as well” (Gaudium et Spes, 1).

In Proverbs 29:18 we can read “Without a vision the people will perish.” This is the challenge before us – be people of vision. And our vision will be manifested as we dedicate ourselves to being doers and hearers of the word.

In Christ,

Fr. Stan, OSST