St. Ignatius Parish
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
The wise old Mother Superior was dying. The nuns gathered around her bed, trying to make her comfortable. They gave her some warm milk to drink, but she refused it. Then one nun took the glass back to the kitchen. Remembering the bottle of whiskey received as a gift the previous Christmas, she opened it and poured a generous amount into the warm milk.
Back at Mother Superior’s bed, she held the glass to her lips. Mother drank a little, then a little more, then before they knew it, she had drunk the whole glass, down to the last drop. “Mother, Mother,” the nuns cried, “give us some wisdom before you die.” She raised herself up in bed with a pious look on her face, and pointing out the window, she said, “Don’t sell that cow!”
Blessings of peace to you, and welcome to this Catholic community in Southeast Portland, the only Jesuit parish in Oregon. St. Ignatius church and school aspire to be the place where you find your spiritual home. Our identity is to welcome everyone; especially those who are so discouraged by bad religion that this community is their last stop before abandoning an institutional church practice altogether. Our aspiration is to find the same joy in relating to the Risen Lord as the Mother Superior found when she said, “Don’t sell that cow.”
As you consider church practice, what are you looking for? What are the highs and lows of your faith journey? How has God’s Spirit been moving in your heart? Or, are you in a season when God seems absent and religion seems irrelevant? This faith community is eager to hear your story, to listen to your challenges, to partner with you in raising your children, to care for your aging parents, to negotiate your road as a young adult or widow or empty-nester. What makes St. Ignatius Parish vibrant is welcoming a wide diversity of backgrounds and life experiences to our assembly.
You will find here vibrant liturgy, enthusiastic music, probing homilies, and social justice with commitment to care for the earth that encompasses all we do. St. Ignatius School celebrates 110 years and couting from the moment the Holy Names Sisters partnered with the Jesuits to provide elementary education over the past four generations. School enrollment continues to grow with the leadership and care of many, but in particular our principal, Carol Pausz.
My hope is that you will be consoled that we aspire to make faith practice real. The political world currently has splintered us with divisions. The church hierarchy contributes our own share of shame and confusion around clergy abuse, episcopal cover-ups, and flight from accountability. But church culture is shifting away from acceptance of an old status-quo to a renewed response to the Spirit for protection of the vulnerable and healing for people with shattered trust.
The prophetic Spirit keeps prompting us to re-examine how to treat women in ministry, how to re-admit divorced and remarried Catholics to the Eucharist, and how to respect LGBTQ+ individuals, not as damaged, but as precious images of God. Responding to these and other similar hot button issues is what we are about.
Our mission as a Jesuit parish is to be authentic, to attract what is genuine in those who thirst for God, especially our young adults. Come and see. Come to the community where the Risen Lord is our host and our banquet. Hear with others around the altar, “Don’t sell that cow.”
Fr. Craig Boly, S.J.