Saturday, September 08, 2007

Very Busy

I'm too busy to write much of a post, but people like my little "day in a life" posts, and I don't know that I'll have much to post for the next few days.

For example, I'll be giving a financial report to both parishes this weekend, so that means (a) preaching at all six Masses and (b) not posting my homily here. I consider these matters the business of the two parishes, not the world's business.

Also, that means preparing two budgets, because each parish keeps separate accounts, and meeting with two different finance committees. Maybe other pastors with multiple parishes do it better, but this is a pain, because a number of expenses are shared, many are separate but impinge on each other, and so forth.

In a few minutes, I'll meet with a couple preparing for marriage; then I'll run to a campsite for the cub scouts, to eat a hotdog with the boys. I really think every boy should be a scout, at least for awhile. I say that as one who was not a scout, but I wish I had been; and I see how much good scouting does for many boys. In particular, I think scouting helps with their spiritual lives, because, in my experience in two parishes, the scout packs have integrated spirituality with scouting, and thus the boys are encouraged to see spirituality as something for them as boys. Boy Scouts, in my limited experience, reinforce personal morality and religious practice as masculine. (Question: do scouts offer a merit badge specifically for serving at Mass? I wonder how one would make that happen?)

Then, I have to be at 4 pm Mass to preach, then offer 5 pm Mass.

Oh, there's lots of other things -- school, fundraisers, meetings, staff, pastoral council, and so it goes.


pdt said...

Father Fox -

In your copious spare time (yeah, right!) you can contact your local Scout council for information about Scouting and Catholicism. The Parvuli Dei award for Cubs and Ad Altare Dei award for Boy Scouts are wonderful programs for all involved. Not a lot of pastors are aware of these tools.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why two individual parishes are maintained in your small town. Would it simplify administration to put all your apples in one basket - and perhaps save on the budget in the long run? You once mentioned there could be a third parish added within the near future. Gasp!

I am not in parish administration, so please forgive my question if it is naive. I truly don't know why this course of action - multiple parishes for what seems to be a relatively small Catholic community - would be preferable to consolidation.


Barb, sfo said...

As a longtime Boy Scout Mom, I want to thank you for taking the time to encourge the Scouts.

Besides the awards PDT mentioned above there is also the "Light of Christ" award that boys can earn. My son earned this one.

Religious awards are the only ones that can be "carried over" from Cubs to Boys and worn on the uniform all throughout their Scouting years.
Full list here:

Father Martin Fox said...

PDT, Barb:

I am aware of the religious medals and badges; what I don't know if being an altar server is specifically tied to a badge. I.e., I believe one could earn those other awards and never be an altar server. If there is a specific award given for being an altar server, that would be great; and if there isn't one, I wonder what might be done to make that happen?


Your question is a good one, the short answer is that it raises complications involving civil law, canon (church) law, and above all, the feelings and desires of the people involved.

As it is, I administer the two parishes as much as a unity as is practical and acceptable to the two parish families. This is new, so it takes time to discover and adjust to new ways of doing things. So some thing may come in time.

That said, as long as each parish is a separate, legal entity, under civil and church law, then certain things must be kept separate.

Also, "merging" the parishes, as some say would be the solution, would save me headaches, but it wouldn't save any real money, unless and until I have fewer physical assets to maintain. Meaning: only if I close and sell some property can I really save money.

Well, then, you can see why I don't do that!

Both parishes are healthy, albeit with challenges; but closing one of them would not solve those problems, it would make them worse. That is the last option when all else has failed. It would be terribly destructive.

So, I have said many times: if the people of these parishes want to merge, then they must convince me; I will be the last person to sign on. I won't be the one forcing it, because even if that were right, it wouldn't work.

Finally, I don't intend to treat the priest shortage as a permanent problem; it is a temporary problem. We do what we must to handle it, while we await the day -- and pray and work toward the day -- when we have more priests.

Charles Ryder said...

Fr., as an Eagle Scout and now a seminarian a few scouting tips...

1) Talk to your local Catholic Committee on Scouting or, if you do not have one, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting. It is VERY easy to become a counselor for the religious awards offered by Scouting. It is not a large commitment, but might very well be worth it. After all, the boys can be presented with their awards in front of the whole parish some Sunday - they love it!

2) In my diocese, we sponsor "Scout Sunday" once a year. The scouts come to Mass in their uniforms, carry flags in the procession, act as lectors, servers, etc. They then have a lunch together and do some sort of a service project. Now, this is not feasible for every Troop of scouts as not everyone is Catholic (sigh!).

Some ideas....but mostly, take a look at the NCCS (National Catholic Committee on Scouting) stuff. Very worthwhile. I know that working with the scouts for so long had a large effect on my 'finding my vocation'.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed looking at the St. Boniface website. Very nice. Is there one for St. Mary which I missed?

Father Martin Fox said...


We're working on a web site for St. Mary.

St. Boniface has had a site for some time, but it needed to be revamped; so I had the volunteer (a bright high-schooler!) do that, first, since he had something to start with, before creating something from scratch.

Anonymous said...

r Fr. Fox, whew! Just reading this post knocked me out! May the Lord give you lots of pep during your busy days, along with good health and an increase in your sense of humour! I'm "number-phobic", and couldn't imagine going through two sets of budget meetings - yikes! God bless, Patricia Gonzalez

Sara said...

Here's a suggestion, Padre. Our parish had members of the finance and stewardship commissions hit the high points of the financial report a few minutes before mass and then put the detailed information as an insert in our bulletin.

Anonymous said...

a few of mine are scouts..what a busy schedule you have..

Franklin said...

The various "denominations" set their own requirements for "God and Country" (which is essentially what "Ad Altare Dei" is.) I don't understand why the Church wouldn't tie the Catholic "God and Country" medal to serving at Mass. I kind of took it for granted that it would be required, that Altar service would be the glaring difference between my Baptist "God and Country" and "Ad Altare Dei".

But as far as I know, the Campbellites still have the easiest "God and Country".

PJF said...

Hi Father,

I was a scout, have 3 sons who all were Eagles, and each got their Ad Altari Dei Medal. I also have been a conselour for the Ad Altari Dei Medal as well. It is a lot of work (if they do it in less than a school year, they did not do it right)! Mainly it covers the sacraments and how to incorporate them into their daily life. It is a great program.

Kate said...

I just happened to come across your blog while blog hopping and I'm so glad that I did! I wish Father at our Parish held a blog, that would be neat!

I'm in Az, raising 4 little girls and we are expecting our 5th (Deacon counts extra greys every week on my husband! haha)

My 2 oldest are starting Sacred Hearts club through our homeschooling group here soon, I'm leading their class and they get pins. I will check into that for you! Maybe keepers of the faith has a special pin for you?? I can look if you would like me to, or I can give you the link to the site, this is what our group uses to supply our boys and girls with their pins :0)

Anyways, I must say I got tired reading all that you do! And I thought *I* was tired :0D God Bless you Father!!!

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