In Your Midst
Pastor's Letter
April 98

Dear Friends,

In early January, I had the opportunity to participate in a historic event - the first national meeting of Cathedral pastors ever held in this country. Dr. James Savage and I were both invited to present workshops at the gathering which was held in Orlando, Florida. Jim's workshop dealt with issues of cathedral liturgy and music, mine with the cathedral as "the spiritual center of the city." To get an unprejudiced reading on the two workshops, you would, of course, have to ask the participants, but I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb to say they were well received.

The greatest value in national gatherings of this sort usually lies in the opportunity to mix with one's counterparts and swap ideas. The Orlando meeting was certainly no exception. Both Jim and I were able to learn a good deal from others. However, both of us were also quite amazed at the way many people seemed to regard us as "experts!" People from the farthest reaches of the country, including both coasts and the heartland in-between, were highly aware of St. James Cathedral - not only of recent, award-winning renovation but also of our highly acclaimed music program, and, in general, of the wonderfully vibrant, highly diverse, socially committed parish we are. To be honest, it felt good, but also a little unnerving, to be regarded among Seattle's notable "exports" such as Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks and Nordstrom!

In reflecting on all of this afterwards, I find myself thinking several thoughts. The first is how lucky I am be part of this incredible place. St. James is not perfect, of course, and never will be, but there are many wonderful things going on here and the presence of God is easy to see. My second thought has to do with you, the parishioners and friends of St. James. You are the ones whom God calls and uses to accomplish such amazing things here. It is your faith, your prayer, your generous-hearted involvement in the loving service of this community, and especially of the poor in our midst, that makes St. James what it is. Still another thought has to do with the Gospel saying that, "to whom much is given, much will be required." We have been given a great deal - a long, rich heritage of faith lived out in this place, a magnificent cathedral, a city on the cutting edge - as full of opportunity as it is of vexing challenges. There is no time for resting on laurels. There is much work to be done. Together, with God's amazing grace, we will accomplish it.

Father Michael G. Ryan
Cathedral Pastor


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