Poland, OH 44514

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From Your Pastor-April 24, 2021

Dear Parishioners

,On May 29th, 2020 late Bishop George Murry appointed me as Pastor of Holy Family Parish. On August 22nd, 2020 I began my ministry in this parish as your pastor and on this Saturday, April 24th, 2021 I am being installed as your seventh pastor by our Bishop David Bonnar. Last few months of my priesthood, while serving as your pastor, have been a blessing and I am grateful for your welcome, support and commitment to Holy Family Parish as well as to our Holy Family School. As I am being installed as your “new” pastor, I could not find a better weekend to remind me of my role as your pastor and leader.

Today is 4th Sunday of Easter also called: GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY. When I was in seminary in Slovakia I always enjoyed this day, since it was a day that the doors of our seminary in Kosice would be opened to the public and anyone was able to come and see how young men preparing for priesthood are living, praying and being formed. This was the only day in a year that my family was able to visit my liv-ing quarters in the seminary. On this Sunday we are asked to pray for vocations to ministerial priesthood, deaconate and consecrated life. Please say one Our Father and Hail Mary for Church Vocations today.

On this day I also try to rededicate my commitment to be a fruitful worker in God’s vineyard. Saint John’s gospel gives us a wonderful description of who Jesus is for us: I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep...I have other sheepthat do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. (Jn 10:11;16) As I re-flect on my priestly ministry I feel more and more as a gatekeeper than a shepherd. For me, Jesus is the Shepherd and my role is as a gatekeeper to recognize the voice of the Shepherd and open the gates for the Shepherd to meet His sheep. As a gatekeeper I am challenged to have a personal relationship with Jesus so I can recognize His voice in my life and in lives of others. At the same time, I am tasked with opening the hearts and minds of the People of God to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Therefore, on this Good Shepherd Sunday I would ask for your prayers as I continue my priestly ministry at Holy Family Parish that I am able to recognize the voice of the Lord and to do His will. Some-times the voice of the Lord can be lost in the sounds of daily life and worries, but if we are able to silence ourselves and find some time for prayer and reflection, I believe that the voice of the Lord becomes clear-er, guiding and comforting.

May Jesus, our Good Shepherd leads us to His kingdom and may we, His sheep, always recognize His voice and follow Him.

Have a blessed week,

Fr. Martin (the gatekeeper)

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