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Building a Hub for Evangelization

Father Jim Rolph shares his early experiences at the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Lansing celebrates its patronal feast day this month upon June 17. Ave Maria! Ahead of the big day, FAITH spoke to IHM’s Father Jim Rolph, who is also marking his first year as a new pastor this month.

How has year one as a new pastor in a new parish been?

Being a new pastor at a new parish is like trying to take a drink from a firehose. There are so many good things happening, so many great people to meet, and so much the Lord has in store for us. One thing is certain: now is an incredibly exciting time to be a Catholic. The world is desperately in need of the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ. So many people need to hear and experience the Good News of Jesus Christ. While we are not necessarily being called to the whole world, we are certainly being called to be on mission in South Lansing and in Holt. As I come to the end of my first year I believe that Immaculate Heart of Mary is being prepared to become an evangelization hub where the kerygma can be proclaimed and many people can have a life changing encounter with Jesus Christ.

You and your parish have a heavenly patron in Mary and a special place in her Immaculate Heart. What help or inspiration has she been and why?

Mary is a huge part of who we are as a parish. Our staff is constantly turning to her for her intercession and motherly support. Just as Mary said "yes" at the Annunciation, so are we striving to say "yes" to whatever it is the Lord is asking of us. We recognize that God's call to us is far beyond what we could ever achieve on our own. Mary models for us the ability to dream big, to not limit God by our own expectations, but to allow ourselves to be drawn into His saving mission through our fiat. 

Mary also models for us what it means to endure suffering and misunderstanding. We live in a time and place that desperately needs God while also actively rejecting Him. The sorrowful, immaculate heart of Mary models for us a love that is willing to continue giving even when it is pierced and wounded. 

What’s your particular prayer to Mary upon your patronal feast day on June 17?

Our staff has been praying the Memorare daily together. We recognize that Mary as our loving Mother, whose Immaculate Heart is filled to overflowing with love for us, her children, will never fail to abide with us in any need. 

And so we pray:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me.