“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” – John 3:16
Welcome to our church family: a message from our Pastor, Monsignor Robert E. Lawrence
Greetings to all who have found our Parish, our community of faith!
If you are an active Catholic, welcome! If you are a lax Catholic, welcome! If you are searching, welcome! We welcome your presence! God will provide the rest, His grace and blessing and healing.
As you peruse our website, you will learn about our prayer life, our elementary school, our religious education programs, and our service ministries.
When you sense the Lord speaking to you, respond in prayer and openness to His call in your life.
Jesus reminds us that “it is not you who have chosen me, but I who chose you that you may go forth and bear fruit.” The Lord desires us more than we desire Him and He will give us the grace to respond to His love and invitation.
May the good Lord lead and guide you in your search for Him!
How to join our Saint Columba Church Community
Have you considered becoming a Roman Catholic? The process for becoming a Catholic is called RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). There are several steps along the way before entering the Catholic Church. The process includes prayer, Scripture, instruction (using the Catechism of the Catholic Church), sharing, and discernment. Adult Roman Catholics, who have not completed their initiation sacraments of Confirmation and/or First Eucharist, are also encouraged to attend. Classes are held according to your schedule and special arrangements can be made. If you or someone you know wishes to join the Catholic Church or if you are a Catholic who wishes to complete your sacramental initiation of Confirmation and/or Eucharist, please call the Parish Center (570.784.0801) and speak with Joe Mullen. A Catholic spouse or friend may attend with you throughout the process.
Coming Back Home to Jesus: We have missed you
There’s an old saying that goes, “Once a Catholic, always a Catholic.” Maybe you have been away from the Church for a little while or for quite some time, but now you feel a tug at your heart calling you back to the Catholic Church. Listen to that tug. It’s your Heavenly Father reaching his arms out to you, the Holy Spirit whispering in your ear, hoping to draw you home.
We hope you accept this as your invitation to rediscover the truth, wonder, and mystery of the Catholic faith. As your brothers and sisters in our worldwide Catholic family, we want you back. We’ve missed you, and our Church is not the same without you.
Regardless of why you left or got out of the habit of going to Mass, you can always come home and return to the practice of the sacraments and the fullness of relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church he founded. We are Catholic. Welcome home.
Recognize that your Heavenly Father yearns for you to come home to his Church. Then, go to Confession at your local Parish and consider discussing any concerns or questions you may have about returning home with a priest. Begin going to Mass again and experiencing Christ’s presence through worshipping in the liturgy. The Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are also there to help you on your journey home, as are Parish ministries like RCIA. Know that you are not alone, and do not be afraid to find answers to your questions. Call Monsignor Robert Lawrence at the Parish Office for more information.
Invitation to Become Involved in Saint Columba Parish
Some Parishes, like ours, will eagerly invite you to participate in any of the many activities we offer if you ask or show interest. Often, however, it takes time to get to know the Parish community and to allow them to get to know you. When you are interested in becoming part of any St. Columba Parish program, please call or email the group’s contact person who will explain the process and whether or not you will need clearances to participate.
Activities or programs that involve contact with children or students such as CYE or Vacation Bible School require specific certifications, clearances, and online training. Your contact person will guide you through this process or you can contact Bernie Staniszewski at the Parish Office or you could visit the Diocese of Harrisburg’s Youth Protection website @ https://www.hbgdiocese.org/safeyouth/.
But to start, here are some steps we can take to get more involved and to allow ourselves to become a more integral part of our Parish communities.
1. Be present to the community.
Attend Mass, introduce yourself to people, go to Parish events. Other people will involve you if they know you.
Try sitting in the same area at Mass each week. You might slowly get to know the people who sit around you.
Linger after Mass. This might be a good time to strike up a conversation with others who are hanging around and catching up with friends.
Take a bulletin home and look for Parish events. Invite friends to attend with you if you don’t want to go alone, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to other Parishioners at the event. Hint: If you tell people you’re a new Parishioner, they might be extra friendly and even introduce you to other people.
2. Allow our Parish to minister to you.
It’s true what they say: you can’t give what you don’t have. Or, as St. Bernard of Clairvaux more eloquently says:
The man who is wise, therefore, will see his life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, then discharges the overflow without loss to itself . . . Today there are many in the Church who act like canals, the reservoirs are far too rare . . . You too must learn to await this fullness before pouring out your gifts; do not try to be more generous than God.
Before you give of yourself to our Parish, allow our Parish to give to you. Remain close to the sacraments and nurture your prayer life. Seek out opportunities for adult ministry, adult faith formation, or small Christian communities. Here at St. Columba, we have many opportunities like these, all looking for your participation.
3. Take stock of your gifts and interests.
We all have different gifts to contribute to our Parish. Are you great with kids and love teaching about our faith? Do you have a heart for serving the poor? Do you have design or marketing skills? Do you work in accounting or finance? Are you a great event planner? Do you have a strong, clear reading voice?
No matter what your gifts are, you can find a way to serve God and the Church with them. But before you offer your gifts to God, you have to know what they are. Spend some time prayerfully considering the ways you’d like to serve our Parish community.
4. Talk with the pastor, Parish staff, and ministry leaders.
When the pastor, Parish staff, and ministry leaders know you and are familiar with your gifts, they’ll be better able to help you get involved in the life of the Parish.
Introduce yourself after Mass or at Parish events, name your desire to get involved, and ask to set up a meeting to talk about possible ways you might be able to serve the Parish.
In the meeting, you can share your gifts and interests, but be sure to listen too. You can learn a lot about the Parish community and its needs. Ask questions to gather information about opportunities to serve and the commitment that would be required for each opportunity.
Now that you’ve taken stock of your own gifts and interests and learned more about the needs of the Parish, spend time prayerfully discerning where God might be calling you to serve. Where do your gifts intersect with the needs of the Parish? What type of commitment are you able to make at this time? Where is God calling you?
6. Make a decision and follow up.
This might be where most of us lose steam. We like the idea of getting involved in the Parish, we talk to the people in charge, and then we get busy with other things and never circle back.
Even if there are many tempting options for involvement, start with one or two areas where you can realistically invest your time and energy for our Parish. Communicate your decision with the Parish and clarify any next steps for your involvement (e.g., training, background screening, reaching out to ministry leaders, next meeting to attend, etc.).
Don’t be discouraged if you’re not able to get plugged into your preferred role right away. There are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved in your Parish, and once you’re involved it’s easier to move around into different roles as your time and gifts and the Parish’s needs allow.
7. Make a commitment.
This is important. Our Parish is depending on you. Make sure you know what will be asked of you before you commit. Some ministries require a weekly commitment with additional preparation time, others are less frequent, and some require intense commitment over a shorter period of time.
If you’re unsure whether you’ll be able to maintain the commitment, ask to shadow another volunteer for a short time before you fully commit.
Once you commit, do your best to stick with it for at least a year (or for a complete cycle/event). If you need to reconsider your commitment, set up a meeting with the organizational leader to discuss your challenges.
We all have busy, complex lives, but it’s important to fully commit to whatever way you choose to serve our Parish.
Parish life is imperfect, but that’s what makes it beautiful. It’s one of the rare places nowadays where we can have meaningful face-to-face interactions with people of different generations, people who have different jobs, different education levels, different lifestyles. When we get involved in the life of the Parish, we can begin to build relationships that challenge us and nourish us. In the Parish, our common desire to know, love, and serve God brings us together and gives us common ground on which to stand.