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April 21, 2024

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake,


Just before last Christmas I mentioned that I, along with our key staff members, attended

three all-day meetings hosted by the Diocese in partnership with the Catholic Leadership

Institute. These days guided individual parishes and groupings of parishes in strategic planning in order to help them make a pastoral plan for the next 3-5 years with goals for both themselves and their parish groupings. Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake are grouped with St. Anthony in Hillsdale. To help with the planning, the Diocese had drawn upon a wealth of information October Mass Counts, Sacramental data, the number of those entering the Church, the results of the Discipleship Maker Index that every parish took twice in the last four years.

It has been a time to examine the whys and what of who we are. If someone on the street asked us why our parish exists or why we are Christian, would we have a good answer? What is my identity in Christ as a disciple? What is my personal mission as a Christian? Do I have a mission? What is the purpose of the Parish? What is my role in our individual parish? What is my role in society as a whole? These are questions we do not always think about. Even if the Church has been a large part of our life, it can be hard to readily put that meaning and purpose into words, simply because we haven’t thought about it.

Why is this so important? We all know people among our families, friends, coworkers, and neighbors who have either drifted from their faith or never had an encounter with Christ

themselves. What are we doing, what can we do, to help bring them back to Christ? We know why we are at Mass – the peace that comes from being with Christ, the love of the Lord, the guidance and direction, the grace to choose Christ in the face of temptations and failures, the strength to persevere in our walk with Him. That is what we want for our loved ones, for those who have left, and for those who have never known Him. We all want to be better equipped to communicate these truths.

The first few months of this year we have been following up on those three sessions to begin developing that pastoral plan to help us better know and live our identity both as individual Christians and as a parish community. Easter is the season of resurrection, of new life.The Apostles and disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit and are quite literally new men and women – no longer controlled by fear but filled with confidence. No longer hiding but present in the world and transforming that world with their joy and confidence. It has, and will be, a blessing to take a deep dive examining those fundamental questions. It is my firm hope that the good work of this pastoral plan will help us experience that same transformation. More to come!

Just a quick reminder that the ordination Mass for the transitional Deacons will be Saturday, May 11th, at 10:30 am at St. Thomas Aquinas, 955 Alton Rd., East Lansing. They all just found out their assignments for their next year. Daniel Lacroix will be serving at St. Mary Magdalene in Brighton, MI. Jack Jobst will be serving at St. Martha’s in Okemos, MI. My brother Randy will be serving at St. Mary’s in Pinckney, MI. They will spend their summer at the parishes, and then throughout the final year at Sacred Heart Major Seminary they will go to those parishes for the weekend Masses and functions. I remember well the excitement of getting the phone call to find out the assignment. In one more year’s time they will be getting a call about where they will go for their first priestly assignment.

God Bless,

Fr. Todd Koenigsknecht

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