The Most Important Thing

The past couple years we’ve talked a lot about changed lives here at Sacred Heart Parish of Norfolk. Jesus gave us a mission – “Go and make disciples of all nations…baptize them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:20) A baptized person is not someone who has experienced a ritual. Baptism is the gateway to a brand new life; a life full of meaning and joy.

So, if this is our mission we need to celebrate successes. After all, culture is what we celebrate…and what we tolerate. When Jesus changes lives it cries out for a celebration! What better time to do this than on Pentecost Sunday.

Pentecost is not a remembrance of a past event. It’s given to us so that we can experience the power of the Holy Spirit here, now. So on Pentecost weekend we did three things:

1) Call upon the Holy Spirit

Jesus says that all we need to do is as the Holy Spirit (the love between the Father and the Son) to “come”. That’s all it takes. During the homily we all stood and invited the Holy Spirit to come through song and the opening of our hands (a posture of openness). How beautiful to hearts opening in song! It was powerful.

2) Called forth those who experienced Jesus changing their life this past year

As a way for us to see, concretely, that Jesus is moving I invited those who experienced Jesus changing their life in a major way, or for the first time, to come forward for a blessing. Over the weekend 61 people came up to the foot of the sanctuary. I’m sure there were many more. God is moving!

3) A call to those who are open to Jesus working a major change in their life

Lastly, we invited anyone to come up who is open to Jesus bringing change to their lives. 39 people came forward and received a blessing of encouragement to trust that Jesus will show them the next steps. Again, powerful! The Risen Christ is on the move!

One of the main ways God is using to change lives is the Christ Life course that we offer. The first course of Christ Life is called Discovering Christ (DC). It consists of a meal, a talk, and some conversation. DC runs for 7 weeks. The next experience will begin this September. You are welcome to join a bunch of people just like you who are looking for more in life. Click here all the information.

I’m grateful and humbled to lead a parish that is growing in its hunger to share Christ with others. We are ready to help you know the love of Jesus.

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One Church, One Mission…Big Steps

I’m Fr. Dan Andrews and I’m very proud of my parish. The pride has many sources but this past weekend is a big one. As a way to prepare for a consistent weekly bilingual (English and Spanish) Mass the people of Sacred Heart experienced this form of worship at our weekend Masses. What I’m so proud of is the openness and willingness to take this step together.

It’s said that people don’t like change. I tend to disagree. I really believe that folks don’t like transition. To change we must leave familiar things behind and, for a time, move into the unknown. The destination or change may be good but the transition difficult or frightening.

The Christian life is all about change: old life to new in baptism, growing into the new self through the sacramental life, dying physically and rising to eternal life. Now those are big changes, how can we bear it? We can because Jesus allows us to know the difference maker – the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God is our advocate, guide, and encouragement through every transition. He knows where we are going and how to get there.

The Holy Spirit is moving in our parish in many many ways. It’s good to stop and praise Him for his faithfulness. In this moment he is moving us together as One Church so that we can fully launch into our One Mission – Walking With You To Meet Jesus. Jesus says people will know his followers by the fruits. Unity is a clear fruit of the Holy Spirit.

All of us are partners in the mission of Jesus. Each person is vitally important. As we enter into consistent worship we need your feedback to make the Mass all it can be. Please use this link to provide helpful suggestions for our worship teams as we guide our parish transition. It is key to our success.

Bilingual Mass Feedback Form

Most of all please pray to the Holy Spirit daily for the mission of our parish. This is a great time to be a Christian. The world is ready and waiting to hear the message of Jesus.