After a pastoral year in which life returned to a sense of normalcy marked by a wonderful Food Fair and a marvelous COS Silver Jubilee celebration, it’s good to take a quiet moment and enjoy the rest that summertime offers.

Throughout the past year I’ve noticed that quite a few people are feeling tired. The profound impact of the Corona experience has left an indelible mark and the situation in the world makes many people feel uncertain about the future. In confessions and private counselling sessions, I’ve sensed frustration and a lack of patience in dealing with daily responsibilities and expectations, relationships, and work challenges. This is mainly caused by a lack of trust in politics, news items, and financial security. All these make people question where they are heading and how to make sense of it all.

While we seek forgiveness from God, we find it difficult to extend that same grace and ask each other for forgiveness. In the war between Russia and the Ukraine, there is more talk about the escalation of weaponry than about a sustainable peace plan. In our personal lives, we spend most of our energy getting our daily tasks done but we find it increasingly difficult to derive energy back from doing them.

Summer is a good time to take a step back and rest, reflect deeply, and consider our truths, values, and priorities. How can we use our energy and time in such a way that reduces anxiety, fatigue, and frustrations about life? How do we find forgiveness and forge a path forward together?

Despite all the negative news surrounding climate change, wars, inflation and refugees, there is still so much beauty and blessings to be found in life.

In our parish we witnessed the amazing success of the “Praat Café” and “Chat Café”. Twice a week, refugees engage with parish volunteers to “praat” in Dutch or chat in English.  Progress in language skills boosts confidence and opportunities. It creates new friendships and a more united world.

I am deeply grateful for all the energy of our groups, who selflessly donate their time and talents free of charge. It is amazing to be surrounded by so many generous and committed people who transform their faith into acts of worship, driven by gratitude, and who work with joy for the common good.

When we listen to the daily news, we may feel weighed down by the world’s burdens. However, when we take a moment to look around and see the beauty of life in daily small acts of genuine kindness, then our joy for living today gets an incredible boost.

I wish you all a wonderful summer with positive energy, quality time and confidence that in good and bad times, God’s love becomes real through the love shared among human hearts.    

Fr. Sjaak