Sorry for not so many posts.
Summer is both less busy and more busy for me this year. Less, insofar as all the craziness that seems to coincide with the school year goes away, and a lot of regular meetings don't happen, such as pastoral council, school board and finance council; but more, insofar as projects I just couldn't get to before school let out, I am trying to dig into now:
> Future Commitee.
When I arrived as pastor at Saint Boniface in July, 2005, I knew then I would be taking over as pastor of Saint Mary within a year. The pastor of Saint Mary at that time was very ill, and couldn't wait to step back. Also, each parish had a retired priest helping, but both were approaching 90; and, finally, the Archdiocese's plan for dealing with not enough priests to go around called for the pastor of these two parishes to take over a third parish at some point in the near future, so...
Therefore, even before I arrived, with my consent, he chose representatives from the two parishes for a "Future Committee" that would begin thinking about what needed to change with both parishes sharing one pastor. That committee met frequently that first year or so--and they helped the other priest (who remained as parochial vicar) and me decide on what changes would be made to the Mass schedules and when; they supported a recommendation that both parishes have the offices combined, and the priests live together, and where (offices at one parish, residence at the other), and we talked about holy day schedules--Midnight Mass alternates each year, and other issues. It was helpful to me in making decisions, and it has proved extremely helpful in how all this has worked out for members of both parishes.
When we got through all our major items, we agreed we'd meet as needed. In recent months, I've talked with the pastor of the third parish, and while he has no plans to leave, we have to be prepared; so he is sending two representatives, and we'll meet again soon.
> Stewardship Commission. This is something new and is all about the long-term health of the life of the parishes.
"Stewardship" doesn't just mean money, even though that's what many associate with the term. Rather, the idea is more fundamental: it's about how we see ourselves in relation to our parish. How centered on our parish are we? Do we see ourselves as fundamentally blessed and gifted, and fully able to share our gifts with our parish family? Why do we see ourselves that way--what impels us? And if we do not, what should change--in me, in you, in the life of the parish, in the leadership of the pastor, to foster a deeper sense of involvement and confidence in sharing ones gifts with the parish?
The objective is that, through the Stewardship Commission, we will try to ensure that every parishioner has a greater sense of being graced and called and involved, we will try to communicate this message to the larger parish family, to foster a greater engagement with the parish (i.e., it's not simply a matter of "going to church" to "get" something, but being part of the parish, the Body of Christ), and foster a greater level of planning and involvement with these ends in view. The intended end results are greater sense of commitment, involvement, and this will result in sharing our faith more and sharing all our gifts with our parish.
For almost a year now, I have been working on this, and we have a commission that is "good to go."
> Fundraising. Saint Boniface Parish has many, many infrasctructure needs; a list of the most urgent and critical adds up to over $500,000. Along with some not-urgent-but-important needs, the total goal is $580,000. We've raised in gifts and pledges over $160,000, most of which has been spent or committed; so much more remains, including restoring the century-old stained-glass windows (which could cost more than $150,000), refurbishing or replacing the falling-apart pews, repairing the exteriors of the church and office, upgrading electrical service in the office so we don't have a single spark destroy everything, installing new windows on the school (over $100,000), and so forth. This past week I prepared some grant applications, please pray that the foundations respond generously.
Meanwhile, all the usual business of the parish, and the care of souls. There are lots of stories I don't tell because people would not like seeing their stories, even without their names, posted online.
Well, time to end this post (which was interrupted for several of those needs); Saint Boniface Festival is this weekend, a few things to attend to, there, please come to Piqua for our festival:
Friday, 6-11 pm, 'Texas Tenderloin' Dinner, plus DJ
Saturday, 5-11 pm, Father Caserta's famous Pasta & Meatballs Dinner; Band, 'Rufus X';
Sunday, 12:30-9 pm, Wooden Shoe (Minster)'s famous Chicken Dinner; Cornhole Tourney @ 2 pm.
Bingo Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 5 on Saturday, 2 pm on Sunday.