Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
We have been making some modest, inexpensive, yet very effective changes to the feel of the rectory in Paulding. First, the extension tiles that we connected to the downspouts of the house – taking the water runoff away from the house and out into the yard – were very effective keeping water out of the basement, even given the extreme rains we had this last spring. So, we decided to bury the tiles in the yard permanently as a solution to the basement water problems. This was done a couple weeks ago. Instead of $30,000+ to dig around the whole rectory and install drainage tiles, the job got done for less than $2,000. I am really hoping it’s a permanently effective fix.
Then also in this last week, we repainted much of the downstairs living area of the rectory – the dining room, the front office, and the living and piano rooms. We gave away the living room furniture to people in need, and replaced it with furniture purchased by donated money for this cause. The difference is stunning! And I’m very grateful to the small team of parishioners who helped make this happen, including those who worked on the practical items, such as replacing electrical outlets and moving furniture around, and replacing outdated fluorescent lights with efficient LED lighting and hanging art. And, my gratitude goes out to those who made financial donations. With very little money, we have already made the rectory so much more livable and welcoming to guests (as well as the resident priest!). Over the past couple of summers, especially, when we have hosted seminarians, their families have come to dinner, and I have never been satisfied with the experience, because the whole place felt so dark and closed-in, and I did not think the living room had enough seating. I think the improvements are phenomenal!
Now, given the extraordinary success of a simple paint job on the first floor of the rectory, I intend to repaint the second floor, which is dark-as-dark-can-be because of (very dark) wood paneling throughout. How much more inviting and comfortable the second floor will be for our seminarians and visiting priests if we can lighten things up and have some art that is a little more intentional. If there is anybody excited about doing some painting for the parish – and you are somewhat skilled – please call the office to offer some assistance. If you appreciate creating positive, decorative change, you will be astounded at how satisfying this will be!
We still have plans to replace the outsiding siding on the rectory, so that weather damage does not increase. You can easily see the need, if you walk around the rectory and look at the chips in the siding. And you can see the need for the porch to be repaired. I am looking at accomplishing these projects next spring.
On another note, last week we had an organizational meeting with the heads of our funeral luncheon committees at each campus. At our Paulding campus, in particular, we are looking for a couple people who would be willing to lead the funeral luncheon teams, because the two ladies who have done it so faithfully for decades now will doing a bit more traveling, especially in the winter months. They are very willing to train a couple newcomers for this beautiful work of mercy. I am so very grateful to Ellen Schlegel and Mary Nieto for their amazing commitment and service for funeral luncheons for so many years! The funeral luncheon is actually part of the corporal work of mercy, entitled “to bury the dead”.
At my last two parishes, we did not have a building to host funeral luncheons, so families had to rent out restaurants, and this cost them a ton of money, on top of what they already had to pay for the burial of their loved one. And the environment of a restaurant is simply never as warm and loving as that of a parish, surrounded by loving and caring parishioners (with the exception of the Pasttime in Paulding, of course!). The funeral luncheons we offer are a beautiful, built-into-our-life work of charity, that allows families comfortably to spend literally hours together after the cemetery service – to mourn, to reminisce and to remember the goodness of their beloved deceased, and to comfort the family members of the deceased. I am so grateful, and so proud, for all the work of parishioners who spontaneously “come out of the woodwork” with their sacrifice of time and talent in this very practical way to support those who are grieving after a death! I am well aware of what it means to be given only a couple days’ notice for this service – having to rearrange your precious plans for many hours.
As I stated above, if there is anybody willing to help with leadership at our Paulding (or any!) campus, please call the office, or call Ellen Schlegel. Sometimes we do have a number of funerals that have been close together, but usually they are spaced apart; so the job should not be overwhelming. Furthermore, we are organizing things, such that at each campus volunteers will only be called to provide a dessert, rather than having to cook the entire meal. This will make your calling much easier. Then we have standardized the pricing, so that each campus will be the same, and the costs will be covered, for the most part. Funeral meal costs have not been considered for quite some time.
Finally, we are looking for people who would be willing to be called for setup and takedown at funerals at each campus. Currently, the people who actually run the funeral luncheon also have to do setup and takedown. Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to have a few people who could be called for set-up, and a few more people who could be called for takedown to share the workload, so those who directly work with the food and the luncheon itself have more energy to do this to the utmost? Please call the office if you would be available to help set up for funerals and clean up afterwards. Thank you so much for considering this! It truly is such a beautiful – and obvious – and extremely appreciated work of mercy!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,