Dear Parish Family,
So God put something on my heart almost a year ago. It was an invitation to step aside in 2016 to gain perspective on where I’m at in my pilgrimage to His Kingdom. I like to remind people that I am a practitioner of the Faith just like everyone else. I’m a sinner in need of constant mercy who hopes to run the race to the finish.
The Father provided a perfect opportunity by allowing me to travel to World Youth Day (WYD) in Poland with a group from the Archdiocese of Omaha. This will be my first WYD and, who knows, perhaps my only one. Pilgrimage just works. There’s something about leaving the friendly confines of daily, getting out on the road, and letting the Lord lead the way. This summer I didn’t need a vacation…I need pilgrimage.
I’ve been asking the Lord what grace He would like to give me on this journey. This is what I heard: “I want to you inherit more joy as my beloved Son. I want you to be free ever more in that joy to be a father to my people.”
In this Year of Mercy I’m not only in need of God’s continual mercy but yours as well. As I begin my 7th year as your pastor I’m acutely aware of and grateful for all the beautiful things God has shown us. He’s truly on the move and I think we’re on the verge of something very special. But as we move forward together into His heart I need to ask your forgiveness. As pastor, I’m to be the image of Jesus but there are times my humanity gets in the way.
By nature I am an introvert. People are surprised to hear that given what I do but it’s true. Being alone and in small groups refreshes me, large crowds and the spotlight don’t. Because of this, I can come across as unapproachable, intimidating, or arrogant. If I have negatively affected you in this way, in the spirit of this Jubilee Year of Mercy, I ask for your mercy. We can’t turn our personality on and off like a switch but I can, and will, do more to make people feel more comfortable.
The responsibility as pastor can be intense at times but I tend to make it worse by thinking all of the responsibility falls on me. It doesn’t, and I know the Lord wants to free me from this self-imposed burden. He is in charge of this parish and I have hundreds of good teammates in you, His people.
Most of all I offer a offer a word of peace and an open hand to anyone who may be going to church somewhere else or stopped going because of anything I have said or done (or not said and done). I desperately want to share the life of Jesus but at times the message can seem out of reach or even frightening. Please come home. You are missed! We’re here to walk with one another to meet the Lord. There’s no need to be afraid. Jesus doesn’t want to take anything good away from you.
So, please pray for me and all of the pilgrims heading to Poland. These are troubled times in the world but it’s in darkness that His light shines all the more. I’m open to the grace He wants to give me and trust that he will. He wants to give you great things too!
I’m excited to return from this pilgrimage and begin the next chapter with you. Be assured of my prayers as I head out on this journey. I’ll be offering Mass for you with the Holy Father this coming Sunday. God bless and keep you, good people of Sacred Heart Parish.
Your Brother in Christ,
Fr. Dan Andrews
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for Us.
St. John Paul II, Pray for Us.
My pilgrim prayer: Lord, give me the joy your Son talks about (John 15:11). Free my heart and let me be a good father to your people. They are beautiful. Amen.