It’s February 2016. We’ve been back in Plano for over a month now. After being gone for Christmas, we see things in a new light. The sun is shining down on us as we bump, set, and spike the volleyball back and forth over the net. It’s 70 degrees and the wind is a bit too strong for volleyball, but we are having too much fun to care as we kick up sand with our bare feet and run to catch the ball before it rolls into the nearby creek. It’s a unique life we live here in Texas. We spend our days at the parish center, an old bank that the church bought out, planning ministry, and living in intentional community.
Everything’s bigger here in Texas, including our parish. St. Mark’s claims 36,000 parishioners. That’s bigger than my entire home town! Plano itself is the one of the largest suburbs in the Dallas Fort Worth area, numbering 270,000 people. St. Mark’s is one of 3 Catholic parishes in Plano, but it also draws a lot of parishioners from the surrounding suburbs because of the way it accommodates for language barriers. On Sundays, Mass is celebrated every hour and a half from 7:30AM to 6:00PM, totaling 10 masses per weekend.
Every day except Monday (our team day) we have at least two hours of ministry with a different set of youth, totaling about 1,000 different people, each with names and faces to go with them. Our only constants are the Lord, our teammates, and the handful of young adult volunteers that are ever present and ready to help.
With a parish of this size it’s easy to feel like we are facing a giant. This semester, however, we are trying to face the challenge with a different attitude. Our team has found our strength from David as he prepares to face Goliath. We feel small against such a large force. David charges into battle with nothing but a shepherd’s staff, a slingshot, and the name of the Lord on his lips.
This is the attitude we have resolved to take. David’s staff reveals that he is a shepherd. It is our duty this year to be a shepherd to the youth we meet; to care for them, to protect them, to guide them. For me, the slingshot with pebbles represented the small amounts of truth that we must never tire of proclaiming. They may seem small and useless, but can penetrate the mind and ultimately win the battle. Thirdly and most importantly David calls on the name of the Lord of Hosts. We are recognizing that the presence and name of Jesus Christ has power.
This semester we have already been seeing the Lord work more clearly. We are experiencing growth and breakthroughs. We recently launched a parish wide event called Let Us Adore. Every few weeks will be hosting a night of Eucharistic Adoration with praise and worship for anyone in the parish to attend. Our first one we had over 100 people come to join us in prayer. This battle that once seemed hopeless may still become a victory through our trust in the name of the Lord. Please pray for our ministry here in Plano! Call on the name of the Lord.